As someone with a slight case of claustrophobia and a sincere love of the great outdoors, I was delighted to discover the UTM Nature Trail. With my good friend Saaranga Balagengatharadilak, a fourth-year student pursuing an English specialist and a political science minor, we set out along Principal’s Road by the North Building parking lot.
The trail has a long history. It’s recorded in an old copy of The Erindalian (the former student newspaper before The Medium) that the UTM Nature Trail was around back when the Davis Building was brand new in 1973.
Saaranga and I are completely at ease in the heavily forested area. “This trail reminds me of the forest hiking route up in Hamilton by Webster’s Falls,” Saaranga observes.
Hearing the quiet stream of running water below us, we look down and are overcome by the lovely view of the Credit River far below. Though the nature trail is up on a very steep hill without any fencing, I’m overtaken by a sense of calm. It’s been a really hectic week with schedules becoming more chaotic, but on the trail we’re surrounded by birds chirping and tall trunks with a canopy of green leaves above our heads. It’s breezy in the forest and the sun is peeking through the trees.
Saaranga and I climb over fallen tree trunks and branches, while being careful not to trip over tree roots coming out of the ground. The further down the nature trail we go the more relaxed we become with the immense amount of greenery around us. It feels so good to be away from the crowded Tim Hortons lines and slow students in the hallway on their way to the library.
Saaranga and I come to the end of the trail at the former Argonauts training field and parking lot. We continue to the river in Erindale Park and spot a middle-aged man and a young boy fishing by the riverside. The man asks Saaranga and me if we have ever seen the Credit River before. I reply, “I have, but not from this area. I’ve been to Eldorado Park in Brampton, where the river flows on by.”
Saaranga asks him if he caught anything yet. The man smiles and answers, “Yeah, but I never keep them. I just like to do this for fun. I throw the little fishies back in the water right away.”
We head back through the trail to the Instructional Building. Few things are as beautiful and stress-relieving as being in a quiet forest with the reds, yellows, and oranges of fall all around you.