Bruce Trail Part 12 – Twiss Road to Hilton Falls

Although we wanted to push for a 25km hike after our 23km hike last weekend, the distance between a number of parking lots were rather limited in choice so we had to reduce our hike to only 21km. We were surprised to find that parking is actually pretty expensive on the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.

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Although we wanted to push for a 25km hike after our 23km hike last weekend, the distance between a number of parking lots were rather limited in choice so we had to reduce our hike to only 21km. We were surprised to find that parking is actually pretty expensive on the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.
We were rather eager to tackle this final section of the Iroquois section of the Bruce Trail and the hike started with some amusement when we realized one of our part-time hikers was a little under prepared for the hike.  After poking some fun at the “tourist”, we went on our way.

The first part of this section of the trail soon after Twiss Road.

The trail was relatively flat although surprisingly unmaintained.  There were areas with significant overgrowth and anyone wearing shorts might find this section of the trail pretty  uncomfortable at times.  The early part of this section was also a bit stinky.  The bogs in the area end up producing quite a bit of sulphur-like aroma.

We did make it to certain parts of the escarpment — particularly as we were passing through the major conservation areas such as Rattlesnake point.  There were a number of lookouts and we had once again more opportunities to see turkey vultures.

A turkey vulture about to fly.

There were some points of the trail that were not only unmaintained but also pretty challenging for folks who aren’t accustomed to hiking.  This part of the trail was completely made up of medium-sized uneven stones.  We’ve encountered some sections of the Bruce Trail like this as well and usually people find it is easier to navigate with trekking or hiking poles.

Descending on boulders is pretty tough when the stones are a little wet.We kept seeing fields of these wildflowers.

Similar to our recent hikes, we’ve been noticing a large number of wildflowers — having encounters with many vast and beautiful fields full of them.  Aside from noticing the typical landscaped gardens in the city, it is always so much more pleasing to see what mother nature has in store for us as we pass through these different areas.

Surprisingly, as we hiked through certain parts of this hike — we found ourselves encountering a large number of other hikers and mountain bikers.  We had merely sat down to enjoy a snack and within minutes had large numbers of people pass by us in all directions.  Must’ve been an excellent day to get out and about!  It wasn’t hot nor too cold.

Hiking into Rattlesnake Point Conservation AreaA great lookout point but it's unfortunate we have to look out towards warehouses and big box chains.

This part of the hike is rather fascinating from a personal standpoint.  There were a lot of opportunities to enjoy and take in great views from the escarpment.  For years, I have travelled back and forth on the 401 west of Toronto and on each of those trips, I had passed by these escarpments — curious as to whether it were possible to stand and hike along these tall cliffs.  This hike served as a fulfilling answer as I stood on the escarpment looking out to the highway.  I wonder how many people pass by on the 401 with the same idea or thought.

Looking out over Lake Kelso from the escarpment along Kelso Conservation Area.Awaiting the weekly glamour photo shoot.We often see exits/entrances into certain conservation parks.Passing by a building with a giant pigeon?

Every so often on these hikes, I encounter the most out of context peculiarities.  I’m never sure what to think but I do enjoy these random encounters.  I’m a bit puzzled though about giant pigeon on that visitor centre building.  We also encountered a lot of funny names for mountain bike trails like “Gateway to Heaven”.  A little over-the-top?

After passing under this bridge that the 401 runs over, we will have completed the Iroquois section of the Bruce Trail!

Given the length of the Bruce Trail, it’s always exciting to complete a section of it.  It is important recognize and photograph the milestone.  In this case, it was the bridge that 401 traffic was passing over.

Another really awesome encounter was a commemorative plaque marking an approximate location where the first trailer blaze marker for the Bruce Trail was painted.  Pretty amazing to think that people have been hiking this trail for so many decades. 

This apparently was near the spot where the first ever Bruce Trail marker was painted.The autumn colours are beginning to show!

Through out the hike there were early signs of autumn.  Some friends and I will be heading to the Adirondacks soon so hopefully we’ll catch some more autumn colours!  This hike wasn’t bad but I was hoping for some more interesting scenery.  Still, I loved the vast fields of wildflowers and having the opportunity to stand on the edge of the escarpment was brilliant and reminded me of my years past.

Hopefully the next hike will be even more interesting as we begin a full part of the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.  The full gallery from this hike is available here.

Bruce Trail Part 11 – Fisher Access to Twiss Road

This time we were a full crew with 5 people, or at least this is the maximum number of people we could accommodate on the hike with only two cars available. I was aware of the fact that this section of the trek was going to involve a lot of road so I was quietly hoping that the trail would have some fun surprises for us this time.

We started off the day at a local Tim Horton’s thinking that it would rain — and it would, but by the time we arrived where we last ended our previous hike near the Fisher Access, it was merely a little bit of overcast sky.  This time we were a full crew with 5 people, or at least this is the maximum number of people we could accommodate on the hike with only two cars available.
I was aware of the fact that this section of the trek was going to involve a lot of road so I was quietly hoping that the trail would have some fun surprises for us this time.  At the same time, I was thinking that we should all begin picking out trail names — either for ourselves or for one another.  I was thinking of “Tumbleweed” for myself, but it seemed to have gotten a little out of hand when hilarious trail names like, Water Boy, Mud Girl, Smokey Owl, and Mosquito Magneto start appearing.

From out of the woods and back into the next forest.Overgrown trail with boardwalk along the hike

The section of the trail this time around was not very well maintained.  I felt like we should have been equipped with machetes and I would recommend wearing hiking pants rather than shorts.  That said, it was pretty cool and jungle-esque.

One of the part timers who hadn’t joined our Bruce Trail hike since the spring had returned and we all joked — much to her chagrin — that it seemed to be an odd coincidence how both she and the mud returned at the same time.  It’s always fun to hike with different people and personalities — makes life on the trail more interesting.  Of course this is assuming that these people are actually interested in hiking and are up for the challenge in the first place.

Due to the past week of rain, the trail was muddy.  Not as muddy as the spring time though.Beautiful and vast fields and sky to take in.Trekking past a ranch that was probably for horses.

It wasn’t too long until we ended up along country roads for long stretches.  The roads were rather straight and not necessarily too interesting so I spent most of my time chatting with friends and observing the quirkiness of things and places we passed by.  From long stretches of private ranches where horses were being raised all the way to places where big sky and vast fields would meet, these were elements that reminded me of those long road trips — except for the fact that we weren’t really on a road trip.

Wagon wheel gates?  Just one of many peculiarities along the country road.The last bit of the hike up to Mount Nemo

Fortunately, the hike on the road didn’t last too long because we then began the trek up Mount Nemo.  It was about a 90 metre hike up — not too strenuous for the experienced hiker but it may be a challenge for the average or casual hiker.  Near the top of Mount Nemo is a neat little ladder and crevice that will only fit an individual.  Once at the top, the trail is pretty flat and has plenty of lookout points to enjoy.  It was particularly spectacular to have been able to spot the CN Tower.

It was relatively flat on top of Mount Nemo.Enjoying the view from a great vantage point on Mount Nemo.

We’ve experienced some pretty amazing views along the Bruce Trail but Mount Nemo is by far one of the best ones.  The lookout point above is one we all wished we had sat down and enjoyed lunch.  We had ended up enjoying lunch in the middle of nowhere along the trail.  It is somewhat ironic that if we had continued along the trail, we would have found these perfect lookout points.  I couldn’t help but grab a photosphere here, it would have been a missed opportunity to take in just a great view.  Note:  Be sure to check out the photosphere to really see what it looks like from Mount Nemo.

Rock climbers at the bottom of the cliff.It really says Rest House.Instead of simply trekking on the road, the Bruce Trail had us walking through a tiny sliver of trail next to the road.

You can’t help but end up goofing around with friends and fellow hikers when you’re on a boring part of the trail.  Seriously, having us walk along the side of the road through a strip of grass in single file is rather boring. We might as well just walk on the road itself!

Thankfully, it doesn’t last too long and before we know it, we’re back on the road — passing by random places of interest with fun photo opportunities.  It’s also amusing to see what diverse interests the hiking group has.  Some of us were excited to say rolls of hay in the field while others were curious why anyone would be interested in something so ordinary.

Just goofing around with the camera along the road.It's always fun playing with hay rolls.Another boardwalk through some really interesting flora.

As we got closer to crossing over to Milton, one of the significant landmarks along the trail was a school in Kilbride.  We got a bit lost trying to look for the trail markers but fortunately someone driving by noticed us and pointed us in the right direction.  Thank you random stranger!

Growing up in Toronto, many schools that I attended as a part of growing up, summer camp or activity programs, or those that I merely passed by — often reminded me of the 60s and 70s.  I imagine that many of these schools were built at that time.  I was surprised to see that this school had more than one playground.  Population growth?

Passing by Kilbride's public school. It had numbers like this all along the side of the building.A slow trudge near the end as some folks were pretty tired but we made it!

This was a longer hike than usual with us pushing 23 kilometres.  Not everyone was pleased about it but with encouragement and some nudging, we achieved the longest hike yet on the Bruce Trail.  We anticipate striving for 25 kilometres in the near future.  In the meanwhile, feel free to check out the full gallery for this section here.

Hiking Mount Fuji

According to the official guide for climbing Mount Fuji, hiking Mount Fuji apparently for majority of people is only an option during the months of July and August when weather is a little more stable and the huts are in operation.  The trails up the mountain are considered closed for the remainder of the year.  This meant my travel plan had to coincide with July or August but unfortunately, they are also the hottest months to spend in Japan.  Every day involved 100% humidity and a temperature of typically 35 or 36 degrees Celsius.

Looking up at Mt. Fuji with clear skies.

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to tackle Mount Fuji (aka. Fuji-san) and when my friend moved to Japan a few years ago, I told him that when I visited, we would do this hike! So when I finally had the opportunity visit Japan and my friends just this past July — I made sure that Fuji-san was a priority.  As typical with my travels, hiking is always one of the top priorities!

According to the official guide for climbing Mount Fuji, hiking Mount Fuji apparently for majority of people is only an option during the months of July and August when weather is a little more stable and the huts are in operation.  The trails up the mountain are considered closed for the remainder of the year.  This meant my travel plan had to coincide with July or August but unfortunately, they are also the hottest months to spend in Japan.  Every day involved 100% humidity and a temperature of typically 35 or 36 degrees Celsius.

As you might imagine, this meant hiking is pretty tough in general, but I did end up trekking the Kumano Kodo (which I will post about later!). The only time I felt cool or even remotely cold in Japan was on Mount Fuji!

Getting to Mount Fuji Having been staying in Osaka, my friend and I had to make our way to Tokyo via night bus (a very long ride) and then once in Tokyo, catch another bus to Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station (this one experienced a lot of traffic jams during the day).  The night bus is something to experience in itself if one hasn’t done so before!

If we had chosen to take the bullet train (Shinkansen), it would cost each of us about $300. I wasn’t really willing to dish out that much so I opted to go for a more spacious night bus experience (I prefer the deluxe ones in Chile, but who wouldn’t?!).  The Japanese night bus isn’t bad with curtain dividers and space between every seat but it was still cramped in my opinion and if you are sitting in the middle, you don’t get much air conditioning so it gets rather warm at times.

The Plan I had heard that there was a primary route or trail that everyone used so I figured that rather than trying to find some off-the-beaten path approach, I wanted to experience what would eventually resemble a massive pilgrimage.

To do so, I decided that we would take the popular Yoshida trail which starts at the Fuji-Subaru 5th station.

The Trail Experience As soon as we arrived at 5th station, I was amazed at how much of a tourist attraction Mount Fuji was.  Of course, I had already anticipated this in my mind but seeing so many people was still surprising to me.  I imagine that since Mount Fuji was declared a World Heritage site, the volume of tourists must have increased dramatically.

Mt Fuji 5th Station was crazy busy.  Tourist central.

My friend and I hadn’t really had much to eat and we were attempting to save money (as you probably noticed earlier by our mode of transportation) so we quickly purchased some meat buns from a food vendor, scarfed them down and made our way to the trailhead.  The trailhead was more of a lengthy dirt road that passed all the buildings.

The beginning of the Yoshida trail up Mt. Fuji.

The initial part of the hike wasn’t too interesting to be honest.  I was glad that for once in my time spent in Japan, the temperature was rather cool and I was in a situation where I was sweating profusely — but I wasn’t very keen on hiking up the loose gravel path all the way up, especially if all I could see was cloud or fog in front of me!  Nevertheless, the end goal was set in my mind.

The early part of the hike up was steep and pretty cloudy.

Thankfully, after hiking past a lot of tourist groups of all kinds (some chanting, some singing) — all of which were very slow because they were hiking in single file and often at the speed of its slowest party member.  This is an excellent thing, unless you are not a member of the group and you are forced to speed up the path of loose gravel to pass the entire group.  This meant my friend and I were constantly passing groups — taking breathers — and sometimes getting passed by the groups we just sped past.  Most of the time though, the groups ended up taking breathers with us which was fun.

Clouds dissipating as notice the long line of hikers.

As we continued our ascent, we finally began to see the clouds dissipate.  It was exciting to find that we were hiking above the fog and much of the lower lying clouds.

What wasn’t so exciting was the fact that we were faced with an extremely long and slow moving line all the way up the mountain.  No joke, sometimes it was 5 minutes just to take a couple of steps.

That is the crazy line up of hikers up Mt. Fuji.  Unfortunately it is incredibly slow paced.

Unfortunately, sometimes what made the pace of the hike up Mt. Fuji even slower is the actual impatience of others.  This applied to a lot of foreigners but also some local Japanese people as well.  While standing in line, they will notice that they can get past a group by creating their own trail up the mountain — only to end up creating a bottleneck further in the line because there is no other real path.  I’m guessing that some people are on some tight timelines!

Lesson to learn:  Don’t hike Mt. Fuji on a tight schedule!

Above the clouds

As we continued to make our way up Mt. Fuji — passing station after station — we began to see the sunset.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a sunset from near the top of a mountain and it is quite awe inspiring, just imagining how everything becomes so dark once daylight is removed.

Accommodation

We eventually donned our headlamps and continued up the trail (slowly), working our way to Fuji-san Hotel located on 8th station along the way up to the summit.  I didn’t book any accommodation because I anticipated that it was pricey, and that it would be pretty bare bones when it came to sleeping quarters — however my friend really needed a rest so I agreed to to stay.

I’ve experienced a variety of mountain huts before and along the way up Fuji, I noticed that a number of the mountain huts we passed had bunk beds.  This was pretty standard so when my friend and I finally arrived at Fuji-san Hotel, I was pretty surprised to find that I would be sleeping side-by-side next to strangers (take a look at this photo – via Summer of Blake’s post on Climbing Fuji).  Imagine a giant bunk bed — two levels with many sleeping bags lined up next to one another.  We were on the lower bunk.

While I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about sleeping literally right next to my friend and some random stranger — I was really not a happy camper when I realized the person next to me was making all sorts of weird noises!  My friend apparently had some guy next to him who kept rolling into him so he decided to turn around facing me.  So what that resulted in was some person to my left — who kept making weird noises (to the amusement of all the Japanese people giggling and chuckling softly, but not softly enough) — and to my right, was my friend who was sleeping on his side facing me directly.

Facing the fact that I wouldn’t get any sort of peace and quiet, I decided to just sleep on my back, staring towards top bunk while listening to some form of meditation guide on my iPod.  This didn’t do much good either because eventually the stranger to my left began kicking and elbowing me.  I merely counted the hours until we would wake up at 2:30am to continue the hike up to the summit in time for sunrise.

Sunset on the way up Mt. Fuji

Finally out of Fuji-san Hotel, we re-joined the slow-moving line up to the summit.  Though I wasn’t able to capture in a photo what was experienced, one of the most stunning and beautiful sights along the way was the vibrant line of headlamps leading all the way up and down the mountain in the dark.

I saw families with children as well as elderly sitting to the side in the cold, as tourists and travellers like myself trudged past them, eager to get to the summit in time for sunrise.  We may have been close to the summit but it took us 2 hours or so to get there.  We finally arrived at some time between 4 and 4:30am.

My friend speaking with a local about their travels.

When we arrived, it was nuts — there were so many people at the summit that trying to navigate to the real peak was like trying to weave my way through a traffic jam.  Barely any movement at times while at other times, I felt like people were shoving and pushing unnecessarily.  It was like mini town on the summit, with a small temple, souvenir shops, restaurants, etc.

The crazy busy summit of Mt. Fuji.  It was like a small town!Enjoying the beautiful sunrise at the summit of Mt. Fuji.

Finally we made it to the top and got away from the massive crowds huddling around the edge — eager to observe the sunrise.  Instead we pushed even further towards the peak where we noticed a shrine and fewer people sitting around.  It was a tough last push with the winds quite powerful and us being so tired but there was something so sweet about finally making it and just watching as the sun gradually and then rapidly rise to light up the sky … something so tranquil and peaceful.

The moment was so brief yet priceless.

Take a closer look and you can see hundreds of people gathered here on the summit of Mt. Fuji.Looking towards the crater of the volcano.

Once the magic of the sunrise had worn off and we were beginning to really feel the cold, it was time to descend.  There was an opportunity to hike around the crater but we had two buses to catch and were concerned about whether we would make it on time.  These buses aren’t exactly inexpensive so we really needed to keep an eye on the time.

The slippery and dusty way down from Mount Fuji.

Now fully lit in daylight, the descent was a little different than the ascent. One thing to take note of is that the descent is very very dusty.  In fact it is so dusty that I would recommend covering yourself as much as possible.  Everything from my ears to my bare arms were layered with red dust and on occasion the wind blew the dust into my eyes as well.

It was just as beautiful, possibly even more so with the feeling of success.  For me, I had achieved what I had intended on doing when I decided to visit Japan.  Meet up with an old friend and successfully hike Mt. Fuji to enjoy a sunrise.

Enjoying the descent with wonderful views of the clouds.My friend's walking stick.  At each station, he had the folks burn engravings into the wooden stick.  Pretty cool and quite the accomplishment!

Would I do this trek again?  I don’t know.  Many folks say that you wouldn’t likely want to do something like this twice.  I guess I would like to ideally see the sunrise or sunset elsewhere but it’d depend on the company I was with.  I figured my friend and I — despite the now hilarious mountain hut story, as told above — were pretty fortunate.  I’ve heard so many stories of people intending on hiking Fuji-san to view the sunrise only to be turned back because of weather or to only see cloud when arriving on to the summit.

I will however say that it is possible to not join a tour company, save money, and make it to the summit.  My friend and I made it happen with just a little bit of planning.  Sure, we got a little lost here and there but it made the journey that much more memorable.

Bruce Trail Part 10 – Sydenham to Fisher Access Trail

I often am asked what it’s like on the Bruce Trail.  The only answer I have for those who ask me is that I really never know what to expect.  Sometimes you find yourself in a middle of a quiet and tranquil forest, other times you’re walking down an empty country road next to fields of harvest, and then suddenly you find yourself in the hustle and bustle of city life. 

A great view as we started this section of the trail.

After our rather exciting last hike through Hamilton, I was looking forward to this upcoming section of the Bruce Trail.  Starting where we left off on Sydenham, we immediately stepped into the forested escarpment overlooking the city.

I often am asked what it’s like on the Bruce Trail.  The only answer I have for those who ask me is that I really never know what to expect.  Sometimes you find yourself in a middle of a quiet and tranquil forest, other times you’re walking down an empty country road next to fields of harvest, and then suddenly you find yourself in the hustle and bustle of city life.  It’s rather odd but I think it’s one of the things I enjoy most about this extensively long trail.  Still so much to go.

Stumbling upon random buildings. Is this for holding a party on the trail?Always enjoy vibrant landscapes where a blue sky meets a vibrant yellow-green field

It’s pretty bizarre how often we hike from one landscape to a completely different one.  I often wish I had more time to sit down and watercolour sketch some of the things I’ve seen.  The diversity I see makes me feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to tackle such a tremendous challenge.  It isn’t easy to find friends who have common goals and similar interests and for that I’m grateful.  I doubt I’d be able to do this on my own.

Just a neat part of the trailAbout to walk under the highway 403.

As I had mentioned earlier in this post, one of the unique things about the Bruce Trail is where you will find yourself.  Here we end up hiking under Highway 403 where a tunnel is completely covered in graffiti, although I am curious if some of these guys will end up tagging the ceiling.  I figure it’s a bit more challenging to carry a ladder around!

It seems graffiti artists spend a lot of time under the 403.More peaceful forested areas once we pass the highway.Lunch on a bridge!

I have to give a lot of kudos to the Bruce Trail Association and the volunteers.  It must be a ton of work to lug all the material to the site and build a very nice bridge over a river.  Not only is it well built but it’s got some conveniently-located seating too.  Perfect for lunch!  We had initially stopped at a nearby pond with swans and geese but we caught a whiff of sewage and that wasn’t too appetizing.

A nice valley-like area with a stream running through.

After lunch we push forward and find ourselves hiking up a section of the escarpment leading us to an area called Smokey Hollow and in the park area we found Grindstone Falls (aka. Great Falls, but what a bland name).  We were only looking over the falls but there seemed to be a lot of youth enjoying their remaining days of summer vacation at the base of the waterfall.  I envy them to some extent, to have such an awesome natural wonder in their neighbourhood.  Didn’t really have that when I was growing up in a suburb of Toronto, and the Don River doesn’t count!

Enjoying the remaining days of summer next to a waterfall.To our right, we had a nice view of the city.

After some more ascents, passing through residential areas, and enjoying some decent views of the city of Burlington (we could see the Skyway bridge), we found ourselves in a bizarre predicament.  We had to cross Highway 5 (or now called Dundas Street).  This was a pretty hazardous and difficult task considering how much traffic there was in the early afternoon.  Unless the Bruce Trail Association is planning to build a bridge or tunnel soon, I would recommend tackling this part as early as possible in the morning when there is less traffic.  We fortunately found a gap in traffic to run through.

Running across busy traffic on Highway 5 / Dundas StreetChecking out an uprooted tree

Sometimes it’s amazing what you find in nature.  The opportunities for juxtaposition are quite common.  Also brings to mind how powerful of a force nature.

Few things bring so much awe as a large tree uprooted by a storm, few things bring such a unique form of joy that comes from seeing a tree with so much character and history.  Of course my friends and I ended up spending time walking around it and taking photos with it.  This was another place I wish I could sit down and sketch.  It seemed so magical and it was in the middle of nowhere (in a manner of speaking).  I wonder if this tree receives a lot of visitors.

Myself with the now glorified treeA final descent before we ascend to the Fisher Access point.

We made some major progress on this section of the hike — finally crossing into Burlington.  Not as exciting as our previous hike but we had the opportunity to enjoy streams, waterfalls, and some pretty good views.  As the weather gets cooler and we make our way further and further away from the city, my friends and I have been discussing how to manage the future hikes because we will likely need to tackle a few days worth of hiking at a time rather than the approximate 20km or so that we’ve been working on.  Will post on that later.

You can find the full gallery from this hike here.  Stay tuned for the next section!

Bruce Trail 9 – Scenic Drive to Sydenham Road

This part of the trail that passes through Hamilton is quite interesting because it weaves its way through a number of conservation areas in the city.  This meant that the trails were often quite wide and very well developed — some of which were even accommodating to horses and mountain bikes.

The previous section of the trail was a tad dry (lots of straight paved paths) so I was hoping that this section would be a little more exciting. Thankfully, it was an excellent section to hike through.  The timing was impeccable as there were many surprises along the way that made the whole journey so memorable. Right off the bat as we drove into the city of Hamilton to continue from Scenic Road, we encountered road blocks.  We weren’t sure what was going on but we simply assumed that it was construction.  It definitely delayed our start a little.  This time our group grew back to four people!

Apparently someone lost a book.  Good reading on the trail?

When isn’t it a good time to read?  I’ve never actually read while on the trail before but I suppose anything can happen.  I hope the book gets returned to its owner … unless it isn’t worth reading of course.

This part of the trail that passes through Hamilton is quite interesting because it weaves its way through a number of conservation areas in the city.  This meant that the trails were often quite wide and very well developed — some of which were even accommodating to horses and mountain bikes.

Along the trailSome beautiful and lush areas along the trail.

There are always little parts of the trail that you have to stop and take in.  For whatever reason, they always remind me of magical forests in fantasy novels and movies.  At a certain point, the group gets a little silly so we decide that we should greet fellow hikers along the way in different languages — each of us speaking a language that would not match up with our appearance.  As much as we laughed at our ridiculous idea, the action failed to take hold.  Perhaps later into the hike!

Deer!  This was the second one we encountered as we were hiking.

Along the way, we were surprised to encounter a number of deer.  It astounded me that they were literally metres away from the road behind the trees.  Makes me really appreciate how much takes place in the forest without drivers noticing anything whatsoever — not that they should anyways — for safety’s sake.

The deer spotting had us in a great mood but what made the day even better was stumbling upon Sherman Falls.  We didn’t notice it on the map so it was completely unexpected and it was a very pretty waterfall — one that you could walk right up to.  No one was around at this time which was quite surprising but later in the afternoon when I was driving home, I saw so many cars parked nearby.  What made this waterfall even more interesting is that it is technically private land.  The family who owns this piece of land with such a beautiful waterfall are very lucky but I’m also appreciative of the fact that they are sharing it with us all on the Bruce Trail.

What an unexpected treat to pass by Sherman's Falls.Someone had too much fun and forgot their sock.Enjoying a view of the forest along the escarpment.

Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any more interesting, we came across the remains of an old summer cottage in the Dundas Valley Conservation area.  I have to admit, people and their ideas of cottages haven’t really changed much — they are still large houses in what is supposed to be an “isolated” area.

The remains of a summer cottage.Dundas Valley Conservation area is a fascinating place.  We saw a runner who literally blazed by us.

Because we were passing through a relatively urban park, it is always interesting to see who you encounter along the way.  We saw people on horseback, mountain bikers, people simply out for a stroll, other hikers, and most surprisingly — one of the fastest runners I have ever seen.  He literally bolted up and over hills without slowing down even a bit.

What do we have here?  Pollen Central?

Once we passed through the major conservation areas, we came across a still water pond covered entirely with what I believe to be pollen.  Of course hikers just have to have a little bit of fun with this and so some of us began to try and skip stones across the water or in one case, just make a big splash to disperse the pollen on the water.  I suggested a skilled attempt at creating a happy face…

Quirky bakery

Along the way we decided to take a small detour because we noticed all these signs about the Dundas Cactus Festival.  We had no idea what this was about but it seemed like fun to check out. We also barely saw anyone with cacti (although it could be because of the rain).  I think I saw more chiropractors offering free spinal examinations than food joints.  Some food was pretty tempting … poutine along the hike?  Why not?

Strolling through the Dundas Cactus FestivalSome funky graffiti on the way to our destination point

After passing through a chunk of the festival, we joined back up with the trail and hiked towards our destination point on Sydenham.  It’s a pretty long uphill climb, but the views are nice and the weather wasn’t too bad that day, although it did get a lot warmer and more humid into the afternoon that day.

Unfortunately, my GPS for whatever reason decided not to record the track so I have no map data to provide this time around!

For now, check out the full gallery here and keep an eye out for the next Bruce Trail update!