In March the hills take a while to dry out, so we look for south-facing lower elevation routes. The hills north of Brocklehurst offer us a series of trails. Over time, we have developed a 14km return route for shoulder season, but we can vary the route to do somewhere between 7km and 14km. On this last spring outing, we covered 11km on dry trails.
From the top of the Batchelor Hills Subdivision, we go past the cattleguard for 0.65 km and turn left. This sideroad goes into the gravel pit operation, but the first part is in the provincial park. Go a few metres down the road and park on either side. Hikers and bikers should follow the road south, but then bear off to the right onto a rough double track. It climbs moderately over a ridge and then heads west. A single track bike trail also parallels the old double track. Various side trails often go off either side so there is no way to describe the exact route. Just continue to bear west. At the far west end (4 km along the route), the track comes to a big gully. Bear right (north) and climb up the hill for a ways, then watch for tracks that loop back inside the fenceline. If you choose a different loop,you won’t get lost since there are no trees in the Barren Hills (the south border of Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area) so just pick a trail or track and enjoy the route.
In the middle to the end of March, there are a number of possibilities for hiking and biking here when all the hills above are muddy or icy. And the buttercups? They weren’t out yet. We will go back at the end of March to look for the first appearance of wildflowers in the hills.