Sorry I have been MIA since fall. I started my Masters in addition to working full-time, so as you’ve probably guessed, my spare time is limited. What spare time remains is for getting outdoors! Today, however, as we are all stuck inside from another whirlwind blizzard, I want to write to you about a great winter hike!
You may not hear from me again until May, but I plan to have lots to share then because we are planning an epic family road trip this summer. More to come!
Uniacke Estates Trails are located just 30 to 40 minutes outside of HRM. When I first heard of them, I thought estates sounded lame and too urban for my kind of hiking, but I had it all wrong. Uniacke Estates Trails are located on a property formerly owned by Richard John Uniacke, a Nova Scotian Attorney-General, that was donated to the province and now serve as a museum and nature trails. The property is completely gorgeous and large enough to be full of nature. In the winter, the trails are even more isolated as the museum part (the house and out buildings) is closed.
The trails range from very easy to hard. The map is easy to follow and the trails are too for the most part. The signage and trail markers are great! As with any trail that travels through barrens or fields, the Drumlin Field can be tricky in the winter to know if you’re on the trail, but it is never too worrisome as children are often sledding down the hill alongside you.
My favourite thing about this hike was the sounds of the ice! As you hike alongside Murphy Lake and Uniacke Lake/Lake Martha, you can hear the moaning and cracking of the ice. It’s a nice break from the noise of daily life to stand in the forest and hear only the uncontrollable movements of ice.
As a great first winter hike for families, I would recommend parking behind the Uniacke & District Fire Department in the parking lot (654 Highway #1) where you will find the trailhead for Murphy Lake Trail. (Note that because the museum is not open in the winter, the main entrances to the park are rarely plowed or accessible.) From Murphy Lake Trail, you can connect with Drumlin Field Trail and then onto Lake Martha Loop where you will see the estates. This is a good amount of challenge, not too long to be out on a cold winter day, and allows you to see both the nature of the property as well as the residence.
Recommendations for hiking this trail with kiddos:
- Stroller-friendly on the easy trails in the summer.
- Babywearing will be essential for babies up to preschoolers (depending on distance covered) in the winter.
- Parents: WEAR/BRING TRACTION DEVICES especially if wearing children!
- In the winter, toddlers who are steady on their feet can toddle some, but be cautious of ice as the trails can be very slippery.
- Outhouses are not open in the winter, so be prepared to pee in the woods.
- Bring sunglasses for kids and adults alike to avoid snowblindness/snow headaches!
PS: We did this hike when it was -19°C with the wind chill. We had lots of warm clothes and tea, and we loved it!!