Bruce Trail Part 28 – Eugenia Falls to Concession 12A

Last time, it was very hot and humid and our water shortage left us needing to take a short cut to the parking lot so we made our way back to the waterfalls, climbed over the wall and hopped across the water and got back on the trail.  I was quite happy that we were going to finish the part of the Bruce Trail that was leading us south so that we’d be heading in the right direction once again — north!

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It’s been a while since I’ve had time to post about our hikes but don’t worry, they’re coming fast and furious soon.  With the big site migration, I’ve had little chance to focus on writing but that’s for another post so here we are during the last week of August with the intention of making some major distance on the Bruce Trail.  We managed to get a week off work to make this happen.

After a very very very very long drive up to the vicinty of Eugenia Falls, we resumed where we left off.  Last time, it was very hot and humid and our water shortage left us needing to take a short cut to the parking lot so we made our way back to the waterfalls, climbed over the wall and hopped across the water and got back on the trail.  I was quite happy that we were going to finish the part of the Bruce Trail that was leading us south so that we’d be heading in the right direction once again — north!

Hiking on the Bruce TrailHiking on the Bruce Trail

The funny part about this bit of the trail is that it really just takes us in this loop around the river that becomes Eugenia Falls.  It was a pretty area and with the relatively cool temperature and lack of bugs, the hike was off to a pretty decent start.

We even ran across some nice graffiti as we passed by what looked to be an old shelter or building.  It definitely looked like it was being used as a shelter nowadays.

Hiking on the Bruce TrailHiking on the Bruce Trail

Once we got around the loop, we were provided with some glimpses of Eugenia Falls from a distance.  Not very impressive during the summer time but I can imagine it’d be quite a sight in the wetter months with water levels significantly higher.

As we progressed along the trail, we found ourselves with some pretty lookout areas.  While we were all grumbling about the fact that over the past few hikes, we’d be trekking in the wrong direction (i.e. Tobermory is north, not south) — it can’t be denied that the Beaver Valley section is a beautiful and lesser trekked portion of the trail.  There are places that I’d imagine would be stunning during the autumn time.  I still don’t like the amount of overgrowth on the trail — drives me nuts.

Hiking on the Bruce Trail
Hiking on the Bruce Trail

Speaking of overgrowth along the trail, we got to wade through a whole lot more tall grass.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a problem with it — it’s just not that much fun when everything is triggering your allergies.  My friends were even commenting on how strong of a scent the flowers and tall grass pollen gave off.

I should stop dwelling on and on about tall grass but it is a recurring issue from my perspective.  Regardless, I was always happy once we entered the woods.  This section of the trail has always provided some really great portions of challenging descents and ascents in the woods because of the valley and the ups and downs of the escarpment.

Hiking on the Bruce Trail
Hiking on the Bruce Trail
Hiking on the Bruce Trail

Eventually we reached the beautiful Hoggs Falls that the Boyne River ran through.  There were actually quite a few people either passing through or just stopping by (there was a parking lot very close by).  We sat down along the side of the river for lunch and just enjoyed the sounds of the river and the falls.

I love moments like these on hikes.  Nothing but you, your friends, and the waterfall … and may be the occasional stranger or fellow hiker.

Hiking on the Bruce Trail
Hiking on the Bruce Trail

Another really neat feature along the hike that we stumbled upon was a stream with incredibly smooth rocks.  Waterfalls are almost always quite a sight (even the dry ones), but streams always intrigue me because I just have to wonder how long they’ve been running that way and how did it begin?

Hiking on the Bruce Trail
Hiking on the Bruce Trail

Soon we made our way past another lookout point although it wasn’t as impressive as the other ones we encountered along the way.  It seemed like this was the point where we were finally leaving the actual valley.  The terrain seemed to be flattening out a little with fewer lookout areas and cliffsides.

Eventually the trail led us to more fields to cross and we even encountered someone’s treehouse! A little creepy though to have one right next to the trail. Perhaps there should be treehouses sparsely set up along the whole Bruce Trail — that’d make for a very unique experience, wouldn’t it?

Hiking on the Bruce TrailHiking on the Bruce Trail
Hiking on the Bruce Trail

As we got further along the trail, despite the cool temperature it felt quite humid so we were happy to stay at the Eugenia Falls Bed and Breakfast for our first night.  We stopped at the road and head off to get some dinner and prepare for the next day.

>> View the full gallery from this part of the Bruce Trail.

Bruce Trail Part 27 – 9th Sideroad to Eugenia Falls

Walking further down the road, we walked through Duncan, what seemed to be a very small village.  If this was main street, it definitely didn’t feel like it because all we encountered was an old refitted schoolhouse and a couple of houses.  A couple of residents enjoying the morning on their porch waved to us.

After the last hike’s rather wet experience, I had my fingers crossed for a drier day and perhaps less tall grass to deal with.  The weather seemed to be going our way but it definitely felt hot and humid as soon as we started the this trek. This part of the Bruce Trail kept us on a small country road for a while but we were amused as we passed by a yard sale.  It was a pretty elaborate and diverse sale and there was very little traffic on the road but I do hope there are more prospective customers in the latter part of the day!

Passing by a yard sale.  A very quiet yard sale.Entering the hamlet or village of Duncan. Seemed pretty quaint but really interesting.

Walking further down the road, we walked through Duncan, what seemed to be a very small village.  If this was main street, it definitely didn’t feel like it because all we encountered was an old refitted schoolhouse and a couple of houses.  A couple of residents enjoying the morning on their porch waved to us.

A beautiful yellow-green green crop field we passed.Bumped into some fellow hikers who were trekking for a cause.  A Walk of Kindness to fundraise for ALS.

As we weaved in and out of the woods and back on to another country side road, we noticed some folks on the road and a woman approached us and explained that they’ve been hiking the Bruce Trail since July 4th raising money for ALS and for the Brain Injury Association as a Walk of Kindness.  Visit the link to read about Marie’s very inspirational story and her effort to walk the Bruce Trail for her sister.  She provided us with a card which I took a picture of above.

It's a steep hike down parts of the escarpment.... and a steep hike up the escarpment through a large crevice.

There a number of sections that were quite steep and after some climbs and descents, this hike took us further up the escarpment that led us through a hauntingly beautiful crevice section.  I wondered what it’d be like a night but this eventually took us into the Grey County Conservation Area where lookout points were quite plentiful.  We encountered quite a few young Mennonites who were enjoying the view as we hiked further up past where they were taking a break.  It’s interesting to see them dressed so formally on a rather hot day and hiking.  We would later see a number of them speeding by along the road on their bicycles.

A great little lookout area with a bench.Hiking through another field of tall grass filled with flowers.Along the hike further up the escarpment.

As we hiked up and down along the escarpment, we began to encounter small groups fellow hikers, as well as one large group — particularly where there were major lookouts.  The lookout points were fantastic places for lunch but unfortunately my friends weren’t really in lunching mood so we pushed onwards.  We would end up lunching in a rather plain area on a dirt path.

The grand view of the valley from a high lookout point on the escarpment.

There were a number of road sections along this hike and thought we initially were quite cheerful about the lack of bugs, we eventually found ourselves hounded by flying pests who refused to leave us alone.  There were as many bugs as there was plenty of blazing sun that day.  We either had to endure the thirsty bugs or the crazy hot sun.

It was rather surprising given that areas were so dry even some of the streams we passed over were completely dried out.  One crossing point that would made for a very pretty little waterfall.

On a bridge with no stream running beneath it.Looking at the stream from the bridge, it's completely dry.So many ferns...The remnant of an old bridge.

Unfortunately for my friends and myself, we were running low on water.  One of my friends had been experiencing a leaky water bladder but the hot day and tough climbs meant our water consumption rate was higher than normal so as we got to the last two kilometres of our hike, everyone was pretty much out of water.

We kept pushing forward until we got to Eugenia Falls at which we made the call to cross over to the other side of the Falls (since the water level was really low) and call it a day.  At least we had the opportunity to take a few neat photographs of the waterfall, albeit we’ll be back.

Looking down from the top of Eugenia Falls, there are a few guys starting up a campfire.A view of Eugenia Falls from the side.We ran out of water for the day so we had to find a shortcut across the waterfall and back to the parking lot.

It was a long hard day on the Bruce Trail.  It was hot (and humid at times) with plenty of bugs bothering us.  Initially, we thought we might head back to my friend’s place for some barbeque but once we go to the highway 400 — there was some crazy cottage country traffic.  So after some discussion over the cell phone in bad traffic, we decided to stop in Barrie and visit a Montana’s.  I splurged on a taco salad and poutine, which was very satisfying after such a tiring day.

We’ve got plans to hit up the Bruce Trail for a full 5 days later in August, but in the meantime, take a look at the full gallery from this hike.

Bruce Trail Part 26 – 18th Sideroad to 9th Sideroad

After another long drive up to the Collingwood area again, we were well received by a very foggy and misty morning.  This wasn’t a bad start because I actually wasn’t looking forward to a hot and gnarly summer day.  Surprisingly, it was a decently cool morning — enough that we made use of our rain jackets as an outer shell and windbreaker.

It started with a foggy morning.

After another long drive up to the Collingwood area again [check out our previous hike a couple of weeks earlier], we were well received by a very foggy and misty morning.  This wasn’t a bad start because I actually wasn’t looking forward to a hot and gnarly summer day.  Surprisingly, it was a decently cool morning — enough that we made use of our rain jackets as an outer shell and windbreaker.

The fog got thicker as we hiked through the woods and into an open field.  Someone lost their boot.

With the fog getting thicker as we trekked along the Bruce Trail, there was a feel or atmosphere of mystery surrounding our day hike.  Some say mystical forest, others who saw the photo after the hike thought it reminded them of the forbidden forest in Harry Potter.

Either way, I just enjoyed the opportunity it provided for some really great photos.  Mother nature’s fog machine does it best!

Walking into a mystical forest.  Some suggest it is almost like a forest from Harry Potter.A really neat place to sit down right next to the stream.

The drawback to wading into the mist or fog is how damp everything gets.  Sure, it keeps you cool but once you begin walking into fields of tall grass — you realize you are getting wet from your boots all the way up.  The damp grass — sometimes with mildew — that brush up  against our knees as we hiked through the field would eventually soak our pants.  The gaiters didn’t help much because the grass were practically elbow high.  Why are fields of tall grass such a pain to hike through?

Finding ourselves back on the road in even thicker fog.This part of the trail has a lot of openings in the bush like these.

Fortunately, not all of the trail took us through fields.  We encountered really awesome crevices to peer down along the way and the odd house with “real looking” animal sculptures sitting on their lawn.

A pretty amazing crevice opening along the trail.What we thought were quite obese geese, were merely fakes.For the first time, we actually had to cross paths through a field of cows.  They were quite curious.

What really made my day was the fact we crossed paths with a field full of cows.  I’ve never encountered a part of the Bruce Trail that took us through a field with livestock actually present before but it was pretty entertaining looking at the cows and having them look at us while we took photographs of them and with them.

One friend noticed the bull walking over and we decided to get moving after that.  Alas, we had to wade through more fields of tall grass afterwards.  The most ironic aspect of this was that as soon as our pants would dry off, we would end up getting them wet again.

More tall and wet grass to wade through.

I am always impressed when the Bruce Trail takes us through what I feel is a “magical” or majestic-looking scene.  These are just areas where I would love to have a bench to sit on and appreciate the environment.

Speaking of benches, we encountered a bench in memory of someone who loved the Bruce Trail.  To think of how people have been transformed by the Bruce Trail and all the many tales that could be shared.  I think it’s a really great way to remember someone.

A memorial bench remembering a woman who loved the Bruce Trail. Very thoughtful.Friends enjoying this fascinating rocky part of the escarpment.

Eventually we found ourselves hiking down a part of the escarpment composed of a lot of rocky terrain.  The photograph doesn’t really do much justice to the surroundings but it is definitely a place to take a step back and admire.  A lot of people including myself often comment on how Ontario does not have any mountains to enjoy and from that aspect — and it is something I usually grumble about when I have the urge to hike above the alpine tree line — but getting to enjoy such a vast escarpment is a totally different experience.

Passing through (right next to) an extremely green crop field.I believe this was built by a combat engineer battalion -- one of the finest bridges I've had the opportunity to cross along this trail.

I love the bridges that I encounter along the trail and by far, the one I encountered this time around was just plain impressive.  I just wonder how many people and how long it took to build it.  It had some style to it as well and just looked elegant in the middle of the woods over a noisy river.

Similar to my encounters with abandoned cars or merchandise on the Bruce Trail, I found myself scratching my head when we spotted a mannequin pointing the way on the trail.  For humour sake?  Perhaps.

Just in case the trail markers weren't enough, a random mannequin jockey points the way. Spotted lawn chairs along the way that led us to a waterfall.

There are occasions when I wonder where do the long-distance trekkers camp along the Bruce Trail.  Then I receive an answer as I encounter a batch of lawn chairs next to a beautiful waterfall.  Camping in style and thank you to whomever decided to donate those red lawn chairs (not that we camped there)!

The waterfall near the campsite that the lawn chairs revealed.

At this point, the temperature was getting rather warm but it was feeling pretty damp.  Fortunately we were getting close to our destination point for the day — and just as I thought we had seen a lot — the trail led us through the Pinnacle Rock Farm. Definitely a beautiful part of the trail and from what I’ve read, was a donation by the Richardson Family and I appreciate them sharing it with us all!  Similar to the rocky escarpment we descended from earlier, this was a part of the trail where I could just sit there and contemplate life.

Passing through the Pinnacle Rock Farm. Passing through another tall field of grass and eventually entering the last bit of forest before completing this hike.

Of course these days it doesn’t seem like I can end the hike without wading through more fields of tall grass — and we do.  Thankfully, it is drier at this point in the day.  After we reach the car, we decide we needed some comfort food so we find ourselves enjoying some Swiss Chalet.  Another hiker’s staple?  Maybe!

Next hike is coming up, in the meanwhile check out the full gallery here.

Bruce Trail Part 25 – Line 3 to 18th Sideroad

After enduring another very slow and long drive up to the Collingwood area, we continued from where we left off in our last hike at the parking spot on Line 3.  I’m beginning to tire of the long drive up and to make things more challenging, I forgot to bring along some water for the drive so I was starting off a little parched.  Nonetheless, the hike — once it started — was off to a brilliant to start.  It was very decent weather — not too hot and the bugs weren’t bothering us.

Starting off on the sideroad on a beautiful day.

After enduring another very slow and long drive up to the Collingwood area, we continued from where we left off in our last hike at the parking spot on Line 3.  I’m beginning to tire of the long drive up and to make things more challenging, I forgot to bring along some water for the drive so I was starting off a little parched.  Nonetheless, the hike — once it started — was off to a brilliant to start.  It was very decent weather — not too hot and the bugs weren’t bothering us.

Walking down the road with a scenic view in the horizon.  We were passed by lots of cyclists.

Since the trail took us immediately on to the road, we had the opportunity pass by a lot of friendly road cyclists who were all pedaling up (we were descending).  What really made the descent enjoyable was the brilliant horizon and scenic view.  We could see the escarpment and the vibrant blue of Georgian Bay.

Eventually, we were stumped by a trail closure sign.  Apparently, there was a bridge that was heavily damaged and was unsafe to cross.  We decided to check it out and if need be, we would simply take our boots off and cross the river.  I wasn’t exactly keen on doing so but given that it would beat hiking the lengthy detour — I went along with the plan.  To our surprise, not only was the water level very low — the bridge was actually in decent shape.  Okay, not the safest to cross if you are carrying something heavy but we just crossed the bridge one at a time and we survived.  I’m not condoning crossing unsafe bridges so I’ll leave it to one’s own discretion.

This part of the trail was marked closed because of a bridge that was damaged and unsafe to cross, however we decided to investigate and ended up crossing the bridge.Passing over a lovely stream.

I expected that there would be hills to climb since we were in the Blue Mountain area but I didn’t anticipate the climb to be so lengthy.  It felt good to tackle challenges like these in preparation of our hike up Kilimanjaro this coming December.  The conditions were far better than what I experienced in mid-summer Japan tackling the Kumano Kodo when the humidity was crazy.

Initially the hike up was primarily made up of exposed tree roots and eventually evolved to large rocks that one would tip toe or scramble over.

This begins a very lengthy climb up hill.More rocky parts of the climb up.

We soon ended up in big fields of grass.  I am always wary of tall grass (I have allergies) so I simply plowed through as quickly as I could.  The really odd aspect of this situation is that someone had mowed certain parts of this field for pedestrian traffic for other nature trails — why not for the Bruce Trail?

The sun was pretty harsh and once we entered the forest, it was immediately a few degrees cooler.

Hiking through ridiculously long and tall grass to get into the forest.I really enjoy this forest's canopy.

I often love walking through the forest but what really enjoyed this time was a brilliantly-lit tree canopy.  The trees were so tall and thin creating this tall ceiling of vibrant green.  We followed the trail through the forest that took us past a decent lookout point (we saw lots of turkey vultures) and eventually into Blue Mountain’s main tourist area (i.e. their ‘hiking’ trails) and quite a volume of mountain bikers.

The great thing about Blue Mountain’s trails was that they were so very landscaped — I referred to them as luxury trails.  In addition, we had the opportunity to enjoy grand views of Georgian Bay.  The drawback was that we needed to pass through tourist central.

A grand view of Georgian Bay from Blue Mountain.Crossing another bridge -- but this one was actually safe to cross.Where we decided to sit under the shade and enjoy lunch with a grand view of Georgian Bay.

Once we got through ‘tourist central’ and descended down from Blue Mountain’s luxurious hiking trails, we made our way through more of the main Bruce Trail and encountered a nice shady area next to someone’s fenced home.  This turned out to be one of the best lunch stops we’ve had for a while.  It was breezy, shady, and we had a great view!

After a nice lunch break, we continued onwards and found ourselves trying to figure out which ski slope we were passing.  I’m not sure where we were exactly but it was interesting to observe how the ski hills are treated in their off season.  Surprisingly, some ski hills are composed of a lot of rock.  I guess there must be a lot of snow that layers over this during the winter.

Seeing where we are on the ski slopes.Returning to the main trail after checking out a nearby lookout point.  We also just finished a lengthy climb.

This soon took us up a second lengthy climb after which we found ourselves enjoying another nice lookout point with a makeshift bench made out of two stumps and a wooden board.  There wasn’t a whole lot of shade here but it was quite a tranquil area.

The trail then took us back into the forest and eventually led to us encountering a family mountain biking.  I was impressed with the kid’s enthusiasm and politeness.  He was yelling, “excuse me!” from a quite afar.

Trudging through a multi-purpose path, and were passed by a nice family enjoying a bicycle ride.A field of green.The grass keeps getting taller and my allergies keep getting worse.

Throughout this hike, the grass was consistently very tall and unfortunately, they were pollinating.  There would be times when we would be crossing huge fields of tall grass — practically shoulder height — and I found myself sneezing uncontrollably.  I certainly didn’t enjoy that section of this hike but I gradually recovered after obtaining the post-hike dinner.

While sneezing frequently, I found myself tackling the final major climb uphill.  As much as I enjoy the challenge, I would have preferred not to have been dealing with a running nose and frequent sneezing fits.

Another very lengthy climb up hill.  A good challenge!The hike evolves into a scenic stroll along rolling hills and fields.

Once we made it up that last hill, I was rewarded with more tall grass.  Fortunately, I had some more space to stay away from this major allergen.  More importantly, the view was very scenic with lush green rolling hills and vast fields amidst a wide blue sky.  I love landscapes such as these — they always appear so tranquil.

We walked up to the end of the dirt road to a big ‘Stop’ sign and began leisurely strolling down the nice shady side road — a nice change from the sunny green fields that I just passed by.  Some dirt bikers roared past us as we gradually made our way to the car.

Enjoying the nice shaded walk down 18 Sideroad back to the car.

This was an excellent hike and aside form my allergies, it was a beautiful day.  After a bit of deliberation between ‘country kitchen’ or ‘Caribbean’ food — we decided to head over to Mylar and Loreta’s Restaurant.  A wonderful old restaurant in the town of Stayner which made for delicious end to the hike.

Check out the full gallery of this hike.

Bruce Trail Part 24 – Duntroon Highway 91 to Line 3

We took a short break from hiking because of vacation time and the Ride for Heart but on our return just a few weeks later — everything was so much greener and in some cases, taller!  It’s now the first weekend in June and we were anticipating lots of mosquitoes and black flies.  Even the bug reports from the Weather Network were reporting high levels of these pests.

We stopped hiking for a few weeks and the grass has grown dramatically!

We took a short break from hiking because of vacation time and the Ride for Heart but on our return just a few weeks later — everything was so much greener and in some cases, taller!  It’s now the first weekend in June and we were anticipating lots of mosquitoes and black flies.  Even the bug reports from the Weather Network were reporting high levels of these pests.  Fortunately, luck has been on our side again and there were very few mosquitoes and black flies.

This is one of my favourite photos from this hike.  Taken while crossing an expansive field.

Soon after we started hiking, there were great encounters.  Beautiful photo opportunities and mysterious crevices presented themselves.  My friends and I agreed that it was unfortunate that time didn’t allow us to explore these crevices — I guess it will have to be a different adventure.

The trail crosses paths with a lot of crevices.  It's too bad that the trail doesn't actually take us through part of the crevice network but I guess the traffic would damage this sensitive area.The trail was actually pretty dry this time around.Look out into the valley.

It was a pretty comfortable hike so far — not too hot and not cold either.  What I really enjoyed most was the part this hike that took us through a narrow piece of land where electrical poles were set up.  It’s sort of off the beaten path.  Who goes around following the hydro poles and where the electrical lines lead?  I assume that aside from hydro workers, there are very few that do, so this gives a small glimpse into their world.

One of my favourite parts of this hike. We hiked along a sliver of land that was cleared for hydro poles.There were caterpillars everywhere!  Many of them clumped together on trees.

A really peculiar thing that was occurring during the hike was our constant encounter with caterpillars — in fact a few of them fell on me.  It must be that time of year but these critters were on every tree and leaf — some of them even hitched a ride on our pants.  We found quite a few of them clumped together on trees too.  I’m not sure why this was the case but I’m sure birds and other animals would see this as if it were an all-you-can-eat buffet!

We’ve been talking about tackling the Bruce Trail with an overnight or multi-day trek — but I’ve rarely seen a decent campsite — until this hike.  Actually this hike had one of the most appealing campsites I’ve encountered on the trail.  River running along the side with lots of shade and quite spacious too.  The green ferns on the ground made the area feel quite tranquil.

A really pretty area along the trail.  We passed by a campsite here that would be quite nice to stay overnight at.  It was right next to a small river.Lots of uphill this time around.Coming across more crevice areas.

Similar to our previous hike, there was a lot of uphill climbing and crevices.  In fact, we were stopped by some fellow hikers who suggested we venture into some of them.

Long parts of this section involved trekking through these peculiar bare wooded areas.Passing by lush green crop fields.  Not sure what they were growing.Enjoying a nice lookout area.

We also noticed along this part of the trail as we cut through Pretty River Provincial Park, that there were quite a few people mountain biking.  It’s a pretty tough section of the trail to mountain bike on so I was pretty impressed but sometimes it is startling to suddenly have cyclists rushing downhill with their dogs running after them.

As we were nearing the last few kilometres of our hike, this last bit was actually quite rocky and challenging.  This was actually quite fun although due to the characteristics of this natural environment — it felt quite damp and humid.  My friend commented that this may have been a newer section of the trail but either way, the best way to describe it would be that it’s a bit of “rock scrambling”.

As we got closer to the end of our hike, there was a particularly rocky section.  Challenging at times because of the mossy rocks but fortunately it wasn't a wet day.Hiking past a marsh-like or swampy area towards the car.  The end of another hike!

I enjoyed this hike despite the slightly muggy weather and we had the good fortune of experiencing very few mosquitoes and black flies.  I hope the next hike will be just as bug free!  We were also lucky in that it only started raining when we were heading back to Toronto — after stopping by Barrie for some Thai food.  The Thai food there was so-so.  Unfortunately, we were having some problems finding places to eat so note to self:  plan out the post-hike restaurant before hand!

Check out the full gallery from this hike here.

Bruce Trail Part 23 – Nottawasaga to Duntroon Highway 91

We even encountered trilliums blooming everywhere.  The funny story about this flower is that aside from it being Ontario’s official flower and it being a part of the province of Ontario logo — I actually rare ever saw a trillium until I started hiking the Bruce Trail.

After a brief hiatus from hiking in late April, we continued from where we left off. At this point, it is mid-May and we were definitely anticipating lots of bugs. Surprisingly and thankfully, we were wrong … yet again.  We were puzzled. The 2 hour drive up from Toronto to tackle the hike has been taking its toll but at least gas prices were a little lower at this point making it a bit less painful.  As soon as we started, we encountered a man who was preparing for the End-to-End event for Blue Mountains section of the Bruce Trail — he encouraged us to tackle it but unfortunately we already had our weekend booked up and were on a tight schedule.

Enjoying the mid-late May green along the trail.Great lookout spot. It's pretty amazing that only a handful of weeks ago, this would have been a pretty bare landscape.

One of the things I enjoy most about springtime on the Bruce Trail are the light and vibrant greens.  The leaves haven’t fully developed yet so they’ve yet to mature into the darker shades of green so the wooded areas are often filled with light.

Spring time still allows for sunlight to shine through much of the woods, providing some really nice backlighting for individual leaves.The trilliums are in full bloom.  They were all over the trail.

We even encountered trilliums blooming everywhere.  The funny story about this flower is that aside from it being Ontario’s official flower and it being a part of the province of Ontario logo — I actually rare ever saw a trillium until I started hiking the Bruce Trail.

Sometimes while hiking along in silence with my friends, I let my mind drift.  It is during these moments that I’ll abruptly check back into reality and onto the Bruce Trail to observe beauty on the trail.  It’s like an odd surprise that just keeps recurring.

I'm not sure what it is about this shot but there is something about it that draws me in.Just as we were about to walk out into an empty crop field, we noticed a lookout spot.  Not quite sure for what though.

Speaking of surprises, just as we were passing through a small wooded area and into an empty crop field — we stumbled upon peculiar objects.  There was an lookout without any ladder (I wondered if people simply clamored up the tree) and then we came across some Christmas decorations abandoned along the trail.  I’m so curious about their stories.

Remnants of Christmas decorations along the trail.The trail takes us along the edge of the empty crop field.I'm not sure who laid down all those planks and logs but they were helpful against the mud!

We kept trying to determine how the muddy the trail would be and this time we took a gamble on not using gators.  Oops, that was a mistake!  There were large sections of muddy trail that we had to tip toe or navigate through.  It was pretty warm that day so gators would have made it feel warmer but it would have saved my hiking pants from getting covered with mud!

Not all of the trail was muddy though.  This was the good thing about hiking through this section of the Bruce Trail.  The “mountains” in the area meant that there would often be large sections of dry trail after passing through a valley.  It also meant for some steep climbs in certain parts of this hike.

I didn’t mind given that we’re training to tackle Kilimanjaro later in the year but it certainly reminded me of a number of sections along the Kumano Kodo in Japan!  A steep and continuous climb.  The reward would be signage at the very top to take a breather and read.

A long and steep climb up Devil's GlenThe sign at the top of the climb up Devil's Glen.Passing by a funky looking rickety carport-like structure.

Once the trail took us out of Devil’s Glen Provincial Park, we found ourselves on an odd path that would lead us to passing through places with ‘character’.  Sometimes, I don’t know what to make of certain things but I simply enjoy and appreciate them.  Without them, I’m confident the Bruce Trail just wouldn’t be the same.

Some places seem like they have a mysterious history while other places just makes you want to sit and ponder how wonderful it’d be to rest or live there (or at least close by).  Then there are places that simply make you scratch or shake your head.

This looked like a scene out of a fairytale.A rather odd section of the trail that was parallel and right next to the road.Passing through another field.

Passing through farms or crop fields are some of the moments I really enjoy along the trail.  Living in Toronto, it’s not as if I step across farms very often nor do I pay close attention to agriculture — but being on the Bruce Trail at least sheds some light on the state of agriculture in Ontario as I walk through a fraction of the farmland in this province and have a tiny glimpse into the agricultural landscape.

Times when I really want to scratch my head are when bits of the trail lead on and off the road again with a few metres.  I simply wonder — what’s the point?  Other than having a slightly better workout that is.

Sometimes, the trail is rather peculiar.  We walked off the road and into this tiny forested section that lasted a mere 2 or 3 minutes before we were back on the same road we were originally on.The end of this hike!

It was a muddy hike but an amazing day with great weather.  After the hike, we ended up driving back to Toronto and enjoying barbeque!  A rare treat after a hike.  You can check out the full gallery from this hike here.

Bruce Trail Part 22 – Lavender Rd to Nottawasaga

Given the ultra cold experience we encountered last time, we were all smiles as soon as we continued along the trail.  There were some quirky characteristics about a number of the houses in Lavender — I won’t point them out here but see if you notice them if you ever pass through. Nothing bad, just neat!

Continuing where we left off but with more sun and warmth!

Following the past couple of hikes, we were ready for the cold this time around but the weather turned out to be surprisingly pleasant.  Starting off where we left off last time near Lavender Cemetery — we set out along the road.  I was a happy camper because the cold weather and freezing temperatures had me relying on insulated water bottles rather than a water bladder until today.  Life is made so much more convenient when using a water bladder.  Unfortunately the warmer temperatures also meant that I was more prone to allergies — I anticipated those pollen attacks.

Given the ultra cold experience we encountered last time, we were all smiles as soon as we continued along the trail.  There were some quirky characteristics about a number of the houses in Lavender — I won’t point them out here but see if you notice them if you ever pass through. Nothing bad, just neat!

The trail continues along the road until we turn into the forest and find ourselves hiking over some really scenic crevices.  With much of the snow receding, I’m enjoying the diversity in terrain once again.

More interesting terrain to tackle this time along the trail.The view from a spectacular lookout point we stumbled upon.

As we hiked further up along what I figured to be the escarpment, I noticed a very small clearing hidden in the trees and poked my head through.  I’m so glad I stopped to take a look because we almost missed out on a very nice lookout point. Talk about hidden treasure.  It was too early for lunch but I always wish lunch time would coincide with these lookout points — there’s nothing quite like enjoying your lunch while staring out into the distance and the horizon.

We eventually came into a pretty wet area (read: mud!) but fortunately someone had been working on a number of boardwalks — or so we think.  There seemed to be someone’s belongings scattered along the boardwalk’s vicinity.  We even noticed that they brought a leveler to help with building the boardwalk.

I think someone was working on the boardwalks and was taking a lunch break.  Their belongings were all over the place.Passing by a lake still frozen over.

The weather may have been warm enough that we were in t-shirts (we were shedding layers as soon as we began the hike), but we passed a number of bodies of water that were still covered with ice.  I would have liked to skate over this during the winter but I never really thought of bringing a pair skates on a hike before.

We soon found ourselves back on a long stretch of road.  There was something serene about trekking along the side of this road.  Despite the vehicles driving past us, hiking along the road can be entertaining at times.  Some cyclists were flying past us at such a high speed that we could even hear a high-pitched whirl from their wheels.

Walking along a road section of the trail.  I don't think I've ever seen a sign like that before.An old schoolhouse. We weren't able to discern what year it is from but the glass seemed pretty new.Where we eventually stopped for lunch after searching for a dry patch along the trail to sit down. Thanks to the folks who built the boardwalks!

I often tell people that there is always something interesting to see or encounter along the Bruce Trail.  This time we passed by an old schoolhouse with a bell and all.  We weren’t able to discern what year this was built but someone must have been doing some upkeep.  The windows did not appear old and seemed to be in decent condition.  I remember reading about schoolhouses like these when I was young and seeing them in dramatized reenactments at places like Pioneer Village or on television.  I wonder how long schoolhouses such as these continued serving the role of providing a roof for the purpose of educating Canadians.

Just as we thought life was getting easier with all the receding snow — we got routed right through a large field full of it.  Crunchy snow is one thing but melting and mushy snow makes for a tough trek across the field.  It was a beautiful sight to take in despite the challenge that it posed.

We came across areas still covered with plenty of snow.As much as the snow may not be so appealing, it made for a nice landscape photograph.

If big blue skies and clouds are two things in nature I love dearly, then vast open fields and rolling hills must be next on my list.  I’m sure I’ve stated it before but I can’t really get enough of it.  Don’t let these soft rolling hills fool you though, they are still a challenge to hike — particularly when muddy or covered with snow.  I think I could sit down and spend an afternoon just staring out at a scene like this.

After trudging through more mud (yes, we got past the snow for now) — we passed through a large farm with a vast field of unharvested corn from the past season.  I guess they were preparing the land for the upcoming planting season because we saw the harvester busy at work.  I was hoping it would come closer to us so I could get a better photograph of it but I also didn’t want it to stir up all the dust and spray corn at us.

Passing by a harvester in action out in the corn field.A beautiful road section of the trail where we passed by a nice-looking reservoir or two.

Stepping onto the last stretch of road for this hike, there were a couple of bodies of water we spotted along the road.  With the cloud-less blue sky, the water sparkled and appeared perfect for a swim.  Of course, it was probably too cold and the water was likely meant for other purposes.

Speaking of cold, as soon as we reached the end of the stretch of road, we found ourselves trekking on snow.  This time it was very wet and slushy and to make things worse, there was a pretty high chance of plunging your foot into deep cold and slushy water too.  When we reached the end of the road, we also passed by a group of people who seemed to be intent on camping.  They were only wearing running shoes.  We could hear shrieks and laughter as we made our way down the trail so I imagine they probably took a nice foot bath as they made their way down the trail.  Hope they had a few spare socks!

The toughest areas of this hike to contend with were the ones with half-frozen and half-melting snow that was still quite deep.Lots of water passing under this bridge/boardwalk from all the melting snow.

It was pretty amazing to see all the snow remain in certain sections of the trail and one could actually feel why if you stepped into the trail at that point.  Some parts of the trail felt really warm while other areas — despite being sunny — received a lot of cold drafts or breezes of air.  I figure this might be why certain sections are so slow to melt away.

The last bit was pretty tiring — particularly since our feet at that point were pretty soaking wet, or at least feeling damp.  The inconsistency of the snow made it additionally challenging for us to maintain balance on the trail.  Once we spotted the car, we quickly made our way towards it and started drying our feet!  I didn’t have spare socks so I ended up driving barefoot home.

Made it to the end -- with slightly damp socks.

After a hike like this, we were contemplating places to enjoy dinner.  Fortunately, the town of Creemore was close by and its main claim to fame is its Creemore Springs brewery (one of my favourite brews).  Alas, the brewery was closed already when we arrived in town but they did have an excellent pub across the street and it was the happening place in town.  Busy place with great food, I recommend their chicken pot pie which was excellent.  I only wish they had better desserts to offer, which I skipped this time around!

The next hike will be interesting — I only hope that it isn’t full on mosquito season yet!

Take a look at the full gallery from this hike.