CanadaWeekend Trips

When you can’t go anywhere, go see nature. A winter weekend in Sandbanks, PEC

Do you tend to spend more time on your digital devices these days? I definitely do. With the lack of face-to-face interactions, my social life is restricted to digital devices, and then there is work… Social media and the internet have become a much more significant part of my daily routine to the point that sometimes I feel like all I see throughout the week are screens. Some time ago (I can barely remember when, time is vague these days) my partner and I spent an off-line winter weekend in Sandbanks, Prince Edward County (PEC) and it was a wonderful little adventure. No social media, just food, wine, cards, and nature.

PEC has a different vibe in the winter, more isolated, spread out, and quiet. You can see the stars, hike the trails, and listen to ice chips crush against the shore, almost singing in the wind. It’s a wonderful feeling, even though admittedly I got a little cranky during the cold walk.

 Sandbanks Provincial Park (above) has quite a few hiking routes, and different distances and most are quite easy. Some inland hikes are return, some are loops through the woods with lovely observation points on the water. The shoreside is a long walk along the beach. This walk can be incredibly windy and cold on a winter day – a great way to meet the elements face-to-face. In the peak season, this is an incredibly busy area. The cars are typically tightly parked on the pavement, umbrellas and beer coolers line the beach. But on a day like today, the park was eerily empty.

I’ve visited the Sandbanks once a long time ago but I’ve never been to Dunes Beach. This short hike and the sandy hills brought out a kind of a childish feeling in me. If left behind, I would’ve contently frolicked up and down the dunes and chased otters along the icy shore for hours. Something I am very much looking forward to doing again soon. 

The Dunes Beach (below) is a bit out of the provincial park area. This park has a smaller parking lot and a range of nice, easy hikes. A short trail will take you to the beach. The water edge is guarded by the sandy hills, weaving along the shore with picnic tables spread out between high points. The naked trees appear very tall, as if reaching for the sun. I can only imagine the lovely shade they must cast on a sunny summer day.

Millennium Trail (below), on the other hand, spans nearly the entire county and can be entered through multiple points. Some parts of the trail pass between farms, others on the side of the road, and along various water sources. Rumor has it, the trail is also a route for a local pub/brewery crawl. But that’s an adventure for another time. We chose an hour or so walk to one of the lakes divided by a short bridge from which you get a lovely view of a swan bevy. I couldn’t help but wonder if one could swim out there on a boat in the summer. It would be wonderful to float, be one with the swans, have a glass of lemonade, and take in the sun.

In the gear bag: Fujifilm X-T100 with an XF50mmF2 R WR lens.

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