Just when I thought the weather would get warmer, winter decided to send us a reminder with a really chilly but sunny day. This hike would be the first time we would hike 20km since some time in November or December of last year. We had been gradually working back up to our regular distance and this would be a good test of how well-prepared we were to return to our original pace on the Bruce Trail. The core group (three of us) have been discussing how we can complete the Bruce Trail before the end of the year. This is still to be determined.
We started off the hike this morning hiking in the wrong direction. After hiking up an icy hill and nearly flipping on my backside, we realized we were hiking backwards on the trail and promptly turned around.
I was quite happy to encounter the stiles once again that marked the transition on the trail on to private property. They always represented milestones to me during a hike. Every time I step over one, it feels like we’ve just accomplished something significant.
With the cold back in full effect, we wasted no time and hiked briskly. Fortunately, wearing multiple layers worked out but the face is always the toughest to keep warm — particularly if you have glasses like I do — and every breath I took just kept fogging them up.
Despite the cold, it was good to see that there were still signs of early spring. The rivers were flowing and we could hear some birds, including the odd woodpecker. Sometimes the trails that tread a little too close to the rivers make me a little nervous. With the trails being slippery from the constant temperature fluctuations over the past couple of weeks have left some areas a little icy. I don’t really feel like slipping and sliding into a river or stream on a cold day like this.
Every so often, I find myself caught without the right camera. Today was probably one of those days. With the weather being so cold and me focusing on knee recovery — I set aside the Fuji X100 and simply bring along the Canon D20 waterproof point and shoot camera. It’s easier to take photos with the point and shoot when your hands are full with two gloves on each hand (plus hiking poles) and I don’t have to worry about slipping and damaging my camera.
Fortunately it was sunny day and so even the worst point and shoot camera could take a great photograph of some really beautiful settings and scenes. Eventually when hiking through the open fields, I was quite content with simply taking out the point and shoot rather than pulling out the X100 and fiddling around with it.
The funny thing about this hike is that when we were driving up, one of the first things we observed was that there were so many wind generators. We also noted — rather gleefully — that none of them (except one) were moving meaning that there was very little wind so it would be warmer for us despite the cold temperature. By the time we got to the open fields, all of them were spinning at full speed. Go figure.
We were confronted with fierce winds any time we stepped into the open. The winds were so cold I put two hoods over my head in addition to my toque. Despite this, we were really enjoying the setting. I’ve hiked many different types of terrains but there is something very unique about hiking across an open field with a big blue sky right above you. It’s almost like a dream state.
Along the way, we started noticing buckets collecting maple sap from the surrounding trees. I wasn’t sure if this was maple syrup season but I did confirm (thank you Google) that it is indeed that time of year. I wasn’t sure if the sap in some situations were frozen but that would have made a tasty icicle! I was definitely in the mood for maple candy and maple syrup with fresh snow. Actually I always am.
Further along this section of the trail as we were passing by a farm, my friends waved to me quietly as they noticed deer (I thought they were llamas) in the field. Unfortunately, they ran off into the distance and you can see them in the top right corner of the photo above. We were speculating whether they were playing Duck, Duck, Goose or Cops and Robbers. What do you think?
During the winter we don’t see many people along the trail — particularly as we have been getting further north. When we do, they are usually dog owners. There was a stretch of trail where we came across a woman with two very protective dogs. She pointed out to us that the dogs never seen anyone else on their trail. Their trail? I think this illustrates how many people actually hike through this part.
As the sun begins to fade, we really begin to feel the cold. We try to quicken our pace a little but this being our first 20km hike for quite some time, we’re still working on our endurance and stamina — not to mention our knees and such. There were some parts of the trail we encountered that were very pretty (frozen and all) but so icy that we would just decide to create our own path.
Eventually we made our way on to the country side roads and trudged along against the fierce winds until we arrived at Lavender Cemetery which seems to have quite the history. It was a long day for us and after some debate, we settled on rewarding ourselves with a meal at the nearby (sort of) Swiss Chalet on the way back to Toronto. We were successful in resuming our 20km distance although how frequently we’ll be able to continue to do day hikes on the Bruce Trail is still in question. The drives are getting a bit long for us but I guess we will persevere!
For now, check out the full gallery for this hike!