Bruce Trail Part 16 – Willoughby to 7th Line

Following last week’s rather wet and cold experience with the partial rain and snow, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate but the weather seemed like it was going to be sunny but bitter cold.  Oddly enough as we drove to the start and end points of this hike to drop off the cars, we encountered sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy weather all within a distance of approximately 26km!  We were originally intending on tackling only 19km but when one of the part time hikerswasn’t able to make — the three of us decided to try and make more distance.

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Starting off where we ended last time!  These fences make you squeeze through.

Following last week’s rather wet and cold experience with the partial rain and snow, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate but the weather seemed like it was going to be sunny but bitter cold.  Oddly enough as we drove to the start and end points of this hike to drop off the cars, we encountered sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy weather all within a distance of approximately 26km!  We were originally intending on tackling only 19km but when one of the part time hikers  wasn’t able to make — the three of us decided to try and make more distance.

The beautiful snow-covered fields.

We had initially thought that this section of the Bruce Trail was going to be pretty bland with most of it following a road but we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves off the road for a fairly sizable chunk of the hike and even when we were on the road, there was almost always something interesting to see.

Passing by a grand looking tree along the early part of the hike.Just as the trail was beginning to get interesting, we spotted fox chilling out next to a golf course we were passing by.

As we were trekking by a local golf course along the road and just about to turn into a wooded area, we spotted a fox just relaxing on the side! It was the first time I got to see a fox that close and one that didn’t run off.  We just stood there while the fox exchanged glances with us.  The hike was certainly off to a great start!

It was not too early in the day but the muted and soft morning light made the bare forest with the light snow covering the ground seem so tranquil and peaceful.

Beautiful lighting that morning as we hiked through a snowed-in section of a wooded section of the trail.Along Escarpment side road, finally getting some sun and blue skies on a bitter cold day.

Eventually, we made our way back on to the road and despite the bitter cold with the wind chill, we were happy to see the sun come out and it helped warm us up a bit.  It was feeling definitely colder than usual because even my hands were feeling pretty chilly and we had hiked in the middle of winter — this wasn’t supposed to be winter yet!

On the road, there isn’t much to look at other than the fields, the skies, and the homes of other people.  In some cases, we found it rather bizarre what other people had built as part of their home.  Sometimes one just has to wonder why someone would choose to build something in a particular manner in the middle of no where?

This is a gatehouse?  It looks like a water tower!Can you spot the horses in the distance?

Through out the Bruce Trail so far, we’ve encountered the odd rusted vehicle or car part lying around.  As we passed a field and a couple of horses in the distance, we found ourselves intrigued with what looked like a vehicle from the 70s sitting on the side.  Without a clue on how the car got there in the first place, we were immediately drawn to it.  The car was not in such great shape but it was very cool to see the interior and what remained of the car.  The car itself had sunken into the ground over time and I wonder how long it will take before it really immerses itself.  The story is always such a fascinating aspect of what we encounter.

Always love encountering abandoned vehicles along the trail.  This car was in the best condition I've seen yet and its already sunk into the mud.Passing by a field of corn.  We figured that the farmers found it too costly to harvest this field.One of the best things about a bare forest.  You can see right through!On the road again ... and again...

Around this point on the trail, the sun began to fade and it got windier.  We began to feel the wind chill.  It definitely didn’t help that we had to walk along the road so often because there was no cover from the wind whatsoever.

We spotted a lot of frozen bodies of water as we hiked this portion of the trail — most of them frozen on the surface.  I wonder if at a certain point into the winter, these ponds and lakes will be frozen enough that we’d be able to start ice skating on them!  To our surprise, not all the parts of the trail were frozen solid — there were quite a few places on the way that were quite muddy.

Despite the very cold temperature, it was surprisingly muddy at certain places.You can barely see where the trail is with all the fallen leaves.Hiker Crossing!

Earlier in the Burlington part of the trail, we had to cross a busy highway and this time we found ourselves in that predicament once again.  Fortunately, this time there was a hiker crossing sign to at least inform drivers and we stood on the side of the road until we could pounce on an opportunity to rush across.  I guess there simply isn’t enough foot traffic to warrant building a bridge or something but I figure that eventually traffic volume in certain areas or along certain roads will be too busy for hikers to cross safely.

As we made our way through the remainder of this hike, part of me wished that it were still autumn time, we encountered a few beautiful areas and lookout points where the colourful vistas would have been stunning to see with autumn foilage.  I think I might return one day in the fall next year just to check out certain points of the trail.

A nice lookout point.  It would've been very colourful in the autumn.Looking out towards where we parked the car and the end of this hike.This is where we'll continue next time!

It was pretty neat to see the house in the middle of the field as we hiked back to the car.  I have to wonder what it’s like to live in such a remote place.  One of my friends pointed out that the house even had fences specifically geared to block the drifting snow from being blown and reaching the house.  This is actually quite fascinating because I would’ve thought the guy could’ve simply grown more hedges or something rather than using fences.

We’ll be skipping a couple of weeks of hiking the trail thanks to some freezing rain and the Black Friday madness (I have to play chauffeur to drive family for their cross-border shopping needs).  In the meanwhile, check out this hike’s full gallery — there were some pretty nifty photos taken along this hike!

After the hike, we made a short trip to the Mono Mills Inn to try out Peter Cellar’s Pub for some post-hike nourishment.  It was a friend’s recommendation for us to check out and it was totally worth it.  Excellent food and worth the trip if you have the opportunity.

Author: Ehren Cheung

An explorer of life and data. Reluctantly philosophical. A seeker of the ultimate cookie. Another tree-friendly soul with an affinity for hiking and sketching.

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