Starting where we left off on the last trail, we had initially thought that it’d be a warmer day but it turned out to be quite chilly with the wind. I decided to experiment with carrying less water today to see if it’d help with my sore knee. As with the backpacking light methodology, the idea is the less weight one carries — the longer the distance one can tackle.
We soon found out that one friend had hiking boots that required replacement because she was slipping and sliding quite often. Unfortunately there were more ups and downs on this hike than we had anticipated — and we were not sure whether we would finish this hike in time before dark.
We had originally thought that this hike would be relatively easy but was surprised by the steepness of the hills. Fortunately, I had brought my hiking poles and reduced the weight of my pack. This reminded me of a 27km hike along the Kumano Kodo in Japan just this past summer. It was exhausting but rewarding considering we were pushing 26km according to our maps.
It was neat to encounter the junction of the Bruce Trail and Oak Ridges Moraine Trail along the way. Every time I find out about a new trail to hike, I feel as if I have barely scratched the surface in terms of exploring this province — let alone the world. So much to see yet so little time, and still so much left of the Bruce Trail to do!
Every so often, I find a parallel between nature and what we as human kind enjoy on a regular basis. In this case, the light snow covering everything reminded me of ice sugar lightly dusted on baked goods. If only we were hiking on cake — that’d make snacking pretty easy.
We came across a section of a wooded area where there were trees fallen everywhere. I suspect that this must have been associated to the ice storm earlier this year. It is still astonishing to see how much damage that storm did to the forest and even cities.
We eventually found ourselves hiking through the Hockley Valley Resort and made a little friend along the way. This little friend kept following us until we had made our way past the ski hills. It was bizarre walking through so much snow and then having that abruptly stop once we had gotten past the black diamond hill.
As much as I love mountains, I admire how beautiful these hills are throughout this part of Ontario just an hour or so north of Toronto.
After passing through Hockley Valley Resort, we made our way through the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve. We found that this section of the trail was made a friendship trail to the Jeju Olle. I think it is a really beautiful part of the Bruce Trail to be marked as the friendship trail. Good choice!
As we made our way deeper into the nature reserve, we were beginning to get concerned with the amount of daylight we had left and began to pick up our pace. It didn’t help that there were even more ups and downs through this area and it was beginning to get colder for my friends.
Alas, at this point, I was no longer able to take proper photographs as the amount of daylight available was becoming nominal and any photo I would have taken would likely be blurry. Fortunately, we did have our headlamps and I had an excellent opportunity to try out my new Petzl Tikka RXP which had adaptive lighting capabilities. It turned out to perform very well and fortunately so because just when we thought the hike would get easier — the route became the most challenging we’ve encountered so far with a some boulders and rocky terrain to scramble over… and it was dark. It was a challenging climb and descent but we made it. Quite tired and cold, we made our way along a dark road towards the car.
Afterwards, we proceeded to make our way to the Mono Mills Inn for a hot dinner. This hike was a good opportunity to test our abilities in the cold and made us realize that some of our gear needed to be upgraded. Looking forward to the next hike and challenge and you can take a look at the full gallery from this hike.