Bruce Trail Part 7 – Woolverton to Felker’s Falls

It’s going to be a while before we continue on the Bruce Trail so my friends and I wanted to hit the trail one more time before a few of us are away.  We had anticipated a hot and humid day but mother nature had something different in mind for us.  We also didn’t anticipate so many cyclists on the road but they were all riding for a great cause to conquer cancer.  This slowed us down a little so we started the hike a little late.

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The start of the trail was overgrown but quite beautiful.  Wildflowers were numerous throughout this section of the trail.

It’s going to be a while before we continue on the Bruce Trail so my friends and I wanted to hit the trail one more time before a few of us are away.  We had anticipated a hot and humid day but mother nature had something different in mind for us.  We also didn’t anticipate so many cyclists on the road but they were all riding for a great cause to conquer cancer.  This slowed us down a little so we started the hike a little late.

Immediately I was impressed by the scenic environment as we hiked along the escarpment from Woolverton Road.  Everything was so lush and green and reminded me of worlds I’ve read of in fantasy fiction novels.  We simply stopped and took it all in.

Descending into a valleyThis section of the Bruce Trail had some stunningly lush and green.  Some parts reminded me of backdrops I had imagined from reading fantasy novels.

Along the way we encountered an incredibly large tree trunk — no roots or stump.  We’re not sure how it got there but we hypothesized that it could have rolled down the hill.  This tree must have had quite the stories to share in a manner of speaking.

We found an enormous tree trunk.  Where it came from we are not sure.  It appears to have rolled down the hill?A vibrant and green canopy

Much of this section of the trail we hiked this time were covered with a carpet of green.  I was surprised how it spread or at least grew so rapidly that it easily covered so much ground.  It does bring a sense of ‘magic’ to the trail though.

Checking the map.  Once we got into Hamilton, we were crossing a lot of these roads.Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Along the way, I spotted some peculiarities on this section of the trail.  I often wonder how people hike through entire sections of the trail — on occasion, I’ve noticed campfires.  Not sure if these are often permitted but this section had an awesome campsite.  That said, I don’t know how I feel about it being right next to the trail.

A great campsite location along the way.  I wonder how often this is used.

We had our own happy moment when we realized we had passed the 100km mark of the whole Bruce Trail since starting from Queenston.  What we were surprised to encounter as we trekked into Hamilton were fences set up right next to the trail.  I realize the property owners may be concerned about trespassers but it seems a bit extreme.  I have my doubts whether there are (or would be) trespassers but I admit anything is possible and am actually curious if these folks actually have had thru-hikers trespass deep into their properties.

After entering the Hamilton section of the trail, we began noticing a lot of fences.  I'm guessing a lot of folks are concerned with hikers trespassing into their backyard? A 1970s or 1980s vehicle remains.  Still puzzled how it made its way here.

Right before we got into the vicinity of the Devil’s Punchbowl, we encountered another old car wreck.  One day, it would be awesome to hear about the stories behind these car wrecks along the trail.  Perhaps they also served as a small home for animals at some point.

The stream running downwards is from the Devils Punchbowl waterfall.

It happened to start raining pretty hard but thankfully the tree canopy kept us pretty dry for the most part.  We took a little side trip to the Devil’s Punchbowl but there wasn’t really a lot of water coming down the falls.  It was getting pretty wet so we only spent a little time there and moved on.  Unfortunately despite us moving pretty quickly, my allergies were driving me nuts and I ended up getting separated from my friends.  Ended up walking up a steep hill twice trying to find my way back on to the right trail!

Interesting residential train crossing.Enjoying the graffiti along the tracks while passing under a bridge.

Passing through a section of the trail along the tracks — there was a lot of interesting graffiti.  More elaborate than the typical graffiti tags that I have encountered along the trail next to bridges or the random wall.  I realize there is a downside to graffiti but one has to acknowledge good artwork despite the medium that may on occasion be considered inappropriate.

Everything looks so different from the time we hiked in the spring.  Less muddy and darker greens.The final hike up hill is steep but a nice last real challenge (aside from the rain).

This section of the hike had some pretty steep climbs to tackle but the cool temperature that day made it a little easier.  We were really pushing the distance achieved this time around (20km rather than the average 15 to 18km) and not everyone had a good night of sleep (i.e. late night party) but everyone ultimately survived!

Passed by a treehouse in progress.  This looked pretty sophisticated.The final highlight, Felkner's Falls.

Near the end of the hike, we ended up finding an awesome treehouse in-progress.  It reminded me of Calvin and Hobbes — and how I often wished I had grown up with a cool treehouse.  It’s weird how no one I knew in Toronto actually had a treehouse.  Maybe it’s an urban neighbourhood thing.

We also enjoyed viewing Felkner’s Falls briefly but we ended up rushing to the car because the rain was really beginning to come down — and it was no longer too much fun to be a little ‘moist’.

At last!  Arrived at the Felkner's Falls Conservation Area parking lot in the rain.

This is the last Bruce Trail hike for some time as there are a number of travel plans in place so the core Bruce Trail hiking group won’t be around to make any progress.  Check out the full gallery from this hike but in the meantime, I’ll be training for Japan.

Bruce Trail Part 6 – Mountainview to Woolverton

It was pretty astonishing how much damage was done by the ice storm this past winter.  So many trees had fallen.  It was quite the beautiful sight to some extent because it dramatically changed how nature adapted and how everything was growing over the fallen.  In addition, it was also nice to return to Ontario and see the trilliums in full bloom.  Many of them white, or a blend of white and purple.

It is stunning how much damage the recent ice storm this past winter has done to the forest.

Between other road trips and the Ride for Heart event in Toronto, it’s been a while since our last Bruce Trail hike. We didn’t have enough time to hike more mountains while we were in the Adirondacks so we drove overnight back to my friend’s place, and then went straight for the next section of the Bruce Trail the next morning!

As soon as we started, we immediately noticed an escalated level of flying bugs around us.  It was that time of year … they just kept hovering around our faces, buzzing around our ears — pure annoyance!  Not many mosquitoes surprisingly but quite a few black flies.  I did try a new insect repellent that was based on oil of lemon and eucalyptus and while it seems to have helped against the black flies, I’m going to test it again on the next hike.

Even with the damage we can see done by the ice storm, it was a beautiful sight to see all the green in this valley.

It was pretty astonishing how much damage was done by the ice storm this past winter.  So many trees had fallen.  It was quite the beautiful sight to some extent because it dramatically changed how nature adapted and how everything was growing over the fallen.  In addition, it was also nice to return to Ontario and see the trilliums in full bloom.  Many of them white, or a blend of white and purple.

Trilliums were out in full bloom.Amusing signs along the Bruce Trail

Every so often, we get to stumble across an amusing sign, and sometimes peculiar scenes as well.  Of course, I’m looking at all of these from a hiker/passerby perspective.  I’m guessing that this guy got lots of lumber from all the trees that fell during the winter.

How much timber does one need?  Answer:  A lotThe trail in late spring is surprisingly pretty.  The various shades of green are so vibrant.

A part of the section of the trail involved a peculiar detour.  We were walking in the forest and then suddenly had to re-route out and on to a small road with lots of houses.  We had fun with it nonetheless and ended up discovering why the trail had to detour.  Apparently an estate was being sold off and I am guessing that the Bruce Trail Association no longer had an agreement to have hikers pass through a part of that property that was purely forest.  Unfortunate but we got to see some other interesting or peculiar things along the way.

Unfortunately, this estate has been listed for sale which meant that Bruce Trail had to be re-routed.  The trail had originally passed through a section of forest that is part of this property.Lots of creeks and waterfalls along this section of the Bruce Trail

Once we passed some really nice looking properties, we descended from the escarpment and into a valley where we encountered quite a few beautiful creeks and waterfalls.  We all typically agreed that the location of the bridges for most of the trail seemed counterproductive.  We would see a creek or waterfall like the one above but the bridge always was built above the waterfall rather than below where folks would be able to view the waterfall nicely.  Perhaps there are good reasons for this but it is unfortunate.

Didn't know that people would start naming bridges...A little waterfall running under the bridge.

It briefly started raining but it was nothing major that got in our way aside from temporarily hiding my camera from the rain.  Even other people we came across were too cheerful to be put off by the rain.  As we got into the area around Grimsby mountain and Beamer Conservation area, we found a lot of people enjoying the day off on the long weekend.  It appeared to be a pretty popular area for quick hikes to enjoy a view looking out over the city.  There were some nice looking streams that side trails would lead to but we were eager to keep going.

A view from Grimsby MountainNeat to see rows of dandelions in this vinyard.

Once we left the Beamer Conservation area, we found ourselves walking past many vinyards again.  In fact, the walk on the road was a pretty long one — and of all places, I got bitten by a black fly while walking on the road.  Go figure.

Random mailbox

Although not most scenic of routes and pretty bland to be honest, these small rural roads that the Bruce Trail takes us through can sometimes lead us to some curious findings.  You just have to wonder what the story is behind some of these things.

Dangling trunk by power line?The last portion of the trail was mostly road but there were some interesting things to see.

Out of this section, I really enjoyed Mountainview Conservation area the most (despite the obnoxious black flies) and the recent winter definitely made quite the impactful change on the environment.  I knew a lot of trees had fallen due to the storm but it’s very different to actually walk through and see the damage.

The end -- and the beginning of the next section of the trail

The awesome news is that the end of this section of the trail means we’ve also completed the Niagara section of the Bruce Trail! We’ll see if there’s another opportunity to tackle the next section of the Bruce Trail before other travels takeover. In the meantime, check out the full gallery from this hike.

Bruce Trail Part 5 – Ball’s Falls to Mountainview

We’ve passed a lot of farms over the past few treks but this is the first time we encountered a friendly farm dog with lots of little goats eager for anyone passing by to feed them something.  It was funny seeing all of these animals chasing after us as we walked past them.

A rainbow next to Ball's Falls

Continuing where we left off at Ball’s Falls, our hiking group decided to start off by visiting Ball’s Falls again under better weather and we were in luck — in time to enjoy a rainbow or two!  We anticipated some rain but nothing too significant.

We’ve passed a lot of farms over the past few treks but this is the first time we encountered a friendly farm dog with lots of little goats eager for anyone passing by to feed them something.  It was funny seeing all of these animals chasing after us as we walked past them.

Passing by a farm with some little friends.

It continues to impress and amaze me as I hike through the trail during the spring time.  The relatively bare trees and early-spring green sprouting and blooming creates such a beautiful contrast of life.

Enjoying the green floor

I could not be more in-awe when the sun came out and made the whole landscape change.  The carpet of goldish-white fallen leaves simply made the whole scene glow.  We all generally agreed that this was a stunning area to sit down and to even sketch.

One of my favourite areas of this section of the hike.

We finally pried ourselves away from these amazing areas and pushed ourselves up the escarpment until we got to the top.  It was a steep hike but it was worth it.  Some good lunch spots once we got to the top of the escarpment where we were able to enjoy lunch while birdwatching.  We saw a number of blue jays and turkey vultures playing hide and seek.

A pretty steep hill up to a great lunch spot

The turkey vultures were an interesting bunch.  They would often just hover and glide over the trees — going around and around in circles in the air.  However once it began raining, they all stopped and would just perch on the tree branches.  The escarpment made for a great opportunity to observe these turkey vultures because we were practically on the same elevation as the birds themselves!

Turkey vultures along the escarpment.  They stopped flying as soon as it rained.Enjoying views near the top of the escarpment.

I began raining harder than we anticipated so we quickly pulled out the rain jackets and the pack rain covers.  I didn’t have a rain cover for my 30L pack yet so I borrowed the one from my 85L pack.  From certain angles, it looked as if I had a parachute behind me.

We rather enjoyed this section of the trail.  Some of the hiking group thought that it was reminiscent of landscape in the Hobbit?A really pretty stream along the way.

Fortunately, the rain didn’t go on for too long and I was able to switch back from my waterproof camera to the Fuji X100 which I have been using regularly for all the photos that I am taking.  We came across some really pretty areas as we got closer to the end of this hike.

Almost like a lagoon but right next to a vinyard.  Very peaceful.There are a lot of peculiar vinyard names.

We did come across Mike Weir’s winery but the most bizarre winery we stumbled across was the Organized Crime winery.  Is this supposed to be a reference to the prohibition era?  Or were people supposed to dress up as gangsters when they visited for wine tasting?  Bizarre.

Arriving at Mountainview.  Very small parking lot.A little flower shop.  A bit informal.

The end of this hike wasn’t necessarily exciting but there was this little flower stand or booth right across from Mountainview’s tiny parking lot.  I’m curious how much in sales this booth receives but my friends weren’t impressed with the offerings when they checked it out.

We’ll be taking a short break from the Bruce Trail to hit up the Adirondacks so check out photo album for part 5 of the trek in the meantime!

Bruce Trail Part 4 – Short Hills to Ball’s Falls

This time I was prepared for the mud now that I found my gaiters, but the moment we stepped into Short Hills Provincial Park, we rejoiced that the muddiness had greatly subsided.  No longer were we struggling with quickmud (like quicksand?).  It was easy to make our way to Swayze Falls and even step foot on to the edge of the falls like my friend did.

Taking advantage of the drier weather by enjoying a different vantage point from the waterfalls itself.

Starting where we left off at Short Hills, we passed by Swayze Falls again. This time since it wasn’t as crazy muddy, we were able to explore the waterfall from much greater vantage points.  We also had another friend (and part time hiker)  join in on the fun and making the trek even more interesting with our hiking group growing temporarily to party of five.

This time I was prepared for the mud now that I found my gaiters, but the moment we stepped into Short Hills Provincial Park, we rejoiced that the muddiness had greatly subsided.  No longer were we struggling with quickmud (like quicksand?).  It was easy to make our way to Swayze Falls and even step foot on to the edge of the falls like my friend did.

And of course we started off with a muddy encounter.  My friends trying to step around it.

Alas, we celebrated a little too soon because some parts were still pretty muddy.  Those who didn’t have gaiters got their pants dirty pretty quickly.  This situation repeated itself numerous times that day.

Passed by a lot of nice views of farms.

Hiking along the Bruce Trail and escarpment is becoming quite fascinating.  We never know what we’ll end up seeing next.  I do enjoy the rustic old wire fences and farms in the distance but it makes me wonder how this land really appeared before it was settled.

Signs of spring on the ground.

Despite the trees being bare and the relatively cool temperature, you could easily see that signs of spring were everywhere to be found.  In fact, one of our friends was on a mission to photograph all the signs of spring.  I’d say it was mission easily accomplished!  Lots of flowers in the early stages of blooming and numerous patches of muted green found sporadically wherever you looked.

We encountered a nest of garter snakes while walking down this part of the trail.

The dry (and dead) leaves with their near-white, light brown, and beige colours blanketed the bare forest with a very nice and tranquil earthy atmosphere.  It doesn’t always provide for an interesting view but sometimes you can find an unexpected surprise along the way — like snakes.  Other times, rusty old machinery or equipment and even the odd concentrated patch of daffodils ready to bloom.  My only concern here is that the rust may be toxic to the vegetation.

Spotted rusty farm equipment sporadically along the trail.First green patch of daffodils along the trail.

Breaks can often be one of the most peculiar and interesting moments during the trek.  People seek out the local “restroom” (i.e. behind the bush, boulder, etc.) while others look over what others are snacking on or have brought along.  Usually I’m a little lazy when it comes to snacks so I pack a ton of energy and granola bars.  I think I might change that up a little in the future.

Took a break right about here next to the road.The vivid spring green all over.Having fun crossing the brook.  I took the opportunity to wash off some mud from my boots.

Streams and brooks are ideal for washing off some of the mud accumulated from the hike.  The trail passes through (or over) a number of these.  We like to observe one another attempt to find a way to get across without getting wet.  Me?  I just wade right through to wash off the mud on my boots (thank you waterproof boots).

Thought this was one of the prettiest streams and waterfalls we came across.

This section of the trail was actually very pretty.  We saw numerous streams and small waterways with many leading towards some beautiful waterfalls.  The geological formation in some areas like the photograph above is simply stunning on its own even without the greenery that we expect from the vegetation surrounding it.

Hiking with a larger group can slow you down but for what it takes away, you get in return lots of laughs and chuckles.  The many personalities shine through, and things you never thought of or noticed are brought to light thanks to the folks who join in on the fun.

Noticed this guy along the wayNo Trespassing! Hiking past a rifle firing range area. Yikes.

As we progressed through this section of the trail, we came across a rifle firing range.  We had initially thought we were hearing fireworks but we came to the realization that it was a firing range when we saw a large set of trucks parked in the distance — not to mention large signs warning us not to trespass.

Bewildered by all these rusty vehicle parts laying around.

When we arrived at one of the steepest hills that the group had to climb, I noticed a fair amount of “junk” laying around at the base of the valley.  I am still puzzled how all these pieces of a vehicle or machine managed to find their way here.

Probably one of the steepest climbs uphill for this section of the trail.

The groups toughest challenge was likely this steep hill and a large staircase later in the section of the trail.  We did however encounter a volunteer who was clearing out some branches and taking care of the trail.  I’m thankful for all the people who sacrifice their time to help make this trail accessible to folks like myself.

Hiking past a local vineyard.

You just can’t continue through the Niagara section of the Bruce Trail without passing by vineyards over and over again.  I think at some point some members of the hiking group have begun contemplating acquiring their own vineyard as part of their retirement strategy.

Stopping next to a stream to enjoy lunch.

As always, lunch on a hike is fantastic.  We parked ourselves next to a stream and even had a friendly toad that hung around us until we finished eating.  So far my lunch has always been a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and an apple.  Suggestions for changing it up are welcome!

Louth Falls, probably the prettiest waterfall of this section of the trail.

Briefly hiking further after lunch, we encountered what we should have chosen as our lunch spot.  Louth Falls was a beautiful waterfall that we were completely not expecting during our hike. I highly recommending stopping by and taking in the surrounding area around Louth Falls.

Some interesting rocky terrain to hike over.

The terrain that we’ve begun noticing as we are trekking along the escarpment is the rocky formation that you see in the photograph above.  It’s tricky for less experienced hikers to watch over because you can trip easily but as long as one paces themselves and is careful, it shouldn’t be a major issue.  It is a very nice change in scenery and footwork.  Of course, that was only a short run until we returned to looking at vineyards again.  I wonder if the plan is to try and get Bruce Trail hikers to stop for wine tasting.

More vineyards that we crossed paths with along the way.A very peaceful babbling brook that we crossed over.A few daffodils had bloomed.A view of the residential area we were passing by.

Surprisingly enough we passed by very few residential areas during this section of the trail.  From the escarpment we did notice some very nice houses.  I don’t know if I would want my home at the base of the escarpment though.

Amusement is seeing other people hiking through mud.

It never ceases to amuse me how everyone finds amusement in others crossing through mud.  I guess it’s the fact that it simply is so messy that most would try to find any way to avoid it.  There was a time when I even lost my boot in the mud.  Left standing with one foot, I had to call out to my friends to retrieve my boot so that I could that make my way out of the muddy patch.

A serious set of stairs!

As we progressed through the remaining section of the trail, which might I add is another very pretty section but I have to limit the number of photos somehow — the major challenge left right before the finale is a giant staircase.  Unfortunately for those who have weak knees or knee issues, this does pose an issue as it did for a couple of our hiking group members.  It simply takes a little more time with a gradual ascent.

Finally, we arrived at Ball's Falls

After climbing that giant set of stairs, we made our way through a historical “pioneer village” of sorts and arrived at the lookout point for Ball’s Falls.  Not exactly the nicest looking waterfall but it was a nice way to end the hike.

We then continued back to the Ball’s Falls conservation area parking lot (they have a nice LEEDs building there), and encountered a family rolling Easter eggs down a hill.  I’ve heard about people doing this but this was the first time I’ve seen it in action.  Pretty cool but funny to see 🙂

Take a look through the full gallery for part 4 while we set off for part 5 of the Bruce Trail trek!

Bruce Trail Part 3 – Glenridge to Short Hills

Finally a little warmer and sunnier, we returned to Glenridge to continue our Bruce Trail hike from where we left off.  Our hiking party grew by one!  Starting off a little earlier that day, we found ourselves passing through Brock University in the earlier section of the trail.

Passing by Brock University early in the trail

Finally a little warmer and sunnier, we returned to Glenridge to continue our Bruce Trail hike from where we left off.  Our hiking party grew by one!  Starting off a little earlier that day, we found ourselves passing through Brock University in the earlier section of the trail.

It was interesting how the Bruce Trail took us past a part of the Brock University campus.  I think we even saw some rock climbing walls gated away.  After passing by a university student centre and some interesting architecture, we finally moved on into a forested area where we got to enjoy the beginning of a muddy journey.

Enjoying the surroundings along a trail bridge.

After some initial muddy areas, we arrived at a clearing with a small bridge.  Had a great view of the surrounding reeds and wetlands.  Spring is finally showing itself but then, so is the mud.  As we progressed, the muddier the trail got.  We didn’t even realize how bad it would get.

Pretty muddy today...

We stopped for a quick snack break after trudging through some serious mud.  Thankfully, we got a break once we got to sunnier and higher ground.

Enjoying the view while passing by a reservoir.Enjoyed lunch next to a nice waterfall and old mill.

As always, I enjoy the places we stop off for lunch.  They always have unique character or stories.  In this case, we were halfway through the section of the trail we planned to the complete when we came across Ecew Falls and the mill.  There were a couple of picnic tables nearby so this was perfect for a lunch spot.

Looking for directions?  A misplaced signs.

The trail gets more interesting.  Oddly enough, the trail weaves around some buildings just metres away from the old mill and Ecew Falls.  I wonder the handful of metres we walk on the trail are sometimes a bit arbitrary.

We crossed many muddy areas and streams, trying not to slip and fall.

I really enjoyed the latter part of the trail but we were all getting a bit weary of the mud.  In fact, we all took fewer photographs due to the amount of mud we had to trek through.  Not too much fun when your boot is about to get stuck in the mud every few steps and alas, I couldn’t find my gaiters my time.

The trail just got muddier.  Almost quicksand-like.

We eventually got to a point in the trail where the conditions were extremely muddy.  Almost like wading through a shallow swamp in some places.  Eventually we discovered signs indicating that over a hundred soldiers had apparently marched through the trail churning up the mud.  I’m surprised that they were allowed to hold such an event.  The trail must’ve widened significantly due to all that foot traffic.

Escaping the muddiness, we find ourselves walking down a gravel path.Always interesting to hike past the power lines.

Eventually once we made it past the muddiest section of the trail, we enjoyed a section of gravel path as a break from the mud and made our way to a field.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been here before during the autumn time quite a few years ago.

A pretty muddy part of the trail.  I slipped on the way down.

After enjoying the view of the field and power lines, we descended down this muddy hill.  While attempting to side step some serious mud, I slid on to my side.  Fortunately I didn’t get mud all over myself thanks to my backpack.

Our last stop -- Swayze Falls.  Too bad we weren't able to reach the bottom of the falls.

Finally after trudging through the mud madness.  We finally arrived at our destination, Swazye Falls.  It was a bit of a disappointment because the surroundings were too muddy to safely get closer to the waterfalls, but it was still a beautiful sight.  A little bit of reward after taking a few dunks in the mud.  In fact, only one of us managed to avoid falling.

Can’t wait for the next section of the Bruce Trail — hopefully with less mud! For now, you can view the full gallery for Glendridge to Short Hills.

http://triptrack.org/3507/embed

Bruce Trail Part 2 – Woodends to Glenridge

Following our last trek on the first part of the Bruce Trail, there was a slight delay for a few weeks in tackling the next part because my friends were either busy or I was sick (caught the flu two times, not fun).  We nevertheless finally found a good day to the Niagara region and continue our trek.  I tried to carry a heavier pack this time as part of my training.

The initial part of the trek from Woodends

Following our last trek on the first part of the Bruce Trail, there was a slight delay for a few weeks in tackling the next part because my friends were either busy or I was sick (caught the flu two times, not fun).  We nevertheless finally found a good day to the Niagara region and continue our trek.  I tried to carry a heavier pack this time as part of my training.

Continuing where we left off at Woodends Conservation Area, we immediately noticed how wet it had gotten.  No longer were we faced with icy conditions — it was all slush!  This made for splashy and slippery situations.

Thirty folks part of a Bruce Trail Chapter hiking the opposite direction

Along the way we did encounter a 30-person group which was a first.  I never thought I’d see so many people together on a trail before in the winter.  Lots of nice people from the local chapter of the Bruce Trail Association (I think).  The closest situation I’ve encountered was a Chinese tour group taking a rather large group of folks hiking in the early sections of Bon Echo’s Abes and Essens Trail.

Some scenery along the way

As typical of a Bruce Trail experience, we always end up walking by some interesting places.  I wasn’t sure if this has historical significance but the house looked quite nice and had a nice view positioned along the escarpment ridge.

The common permitted use property ladderPassing through a golf course

Somehow we end up hiking through and past parts of a golf course.  It was seriously wet and slushy in these areas.  While stomping through the slush, my entire foot took a dunk in water that was quite a few inches higher than my ankle.  Thank goodness for waterproof pants and wool socks because there was some water that definitely seeped through into my hiking boots.

Remnants of an old mill?

We finally get past the golf course and end up finding ourselves passing by remnants of an old mill perhaps?

Rusty remains of a car

Looking ahead, we noticed a rusty frame of a car sitting on the side of the stream.  You have to begin to wonder why someone decided to push or drive that car there or rather, how it got there in the first place.

Taking a look back at the mill or canal along the trail

It was a relatively pleasant day although it seemed to get windier (and thus colder) as we progressed on the trail due to the gradually decline in the number of trees surrounding the trail.  We also ended up walking on the side of small highways which made for some interesting photographs but it’s not what I’d consider ideal if you want to feel closer to nature!

Hiking down a local roadWe were inclined to stop by for some brunch, it was tempting but we pushed on.

Eventually we found ourselves on a local road and even passed by a diner.  We were pretty tempted to pick something up or even stop for a nice hot brunch!  Nonetheless we pushed on despite some pretty serious wind chill until we found a great spot for lunch.

Crossed a nifty bridge. I think these are vertical-lift bridges.

Last time we stopped for lunch near the train tracks, but this time we stopped right next to a vertical lift bridge along a canal water route!  Can’t wait to see where we end up next time for lunch!

Snowmobiling upside down is not allowed!

It’s always fun to observe the local surroundings for peculiarities or just things that you just rarely notice on daily basis.  This is what I appreciate most about doing the Bruce Trail hike … it provides that opportunity to hike a long distance but also forces us to focus let go of expecting the sexiness of really stunning views we see in travel magazines and focus more on the local surroundings and just ponder about it.

Spotted our first lock but not much water

We continue hiking on pavement for a while until we encounter a lock, but that’s when we take a turn and head back into more wooded area.  A nice mix of technological wonder and nature perhaps?

The trail was pretty wet and in some parts really slushy and icy.Always interesting to see how the Bruce Trail passed by a factory.

We would walk by a lot of suburban houses and sometimes they would be very close to these industrial or commercial areas.  It really triggers you to think about how that ended up to be.  “No trespassing signs” are probably the most frequent sign you encounter along the Bruce Trail.

The trek takes us through a residential neighbourhood.

It wouldn’t be the Bruce Trail if we weren’t to end up on a residential street.  The interesting thing about it is that as we were walking down a residential street, we could hear a stream rushing through even though it was underground.  We suspected that there used to be an old mill built along the right side of the street you see in the photograph above but the land has now been converted.

Somehow the trail takes us on to a busy street with big boxes.

I had anticipated suburban streets but never did I think we would be walking down main street where all the malls and plazas were.  We were amusingly so out of place, I wasn’t sure who was laughing at the situation more.  Us or the folks driving by.

Might as well photograph the moment in suburbia.

We knew that there would be a large hill to hike near the end of this section of the trail we wanted to complete.  Originally thinking that it would be slushy and wet, we weren’t sure how that would work out but it turns out we didn’t even need to worry because the trail took us up the large hill (dare I say mountain?) via the classic suburban residential route.

Trying not to slip and slide down the muddy and slushy conditions.

Of course once we got to the end of the street (seriously, the very end), we found ourselves slipping and sliding down this slushy and partially icy hill.  We were trying to find all sorts of alternative ways to get down the hill — sometimes snow is better than no snow!  Even when trekking up hill.

Quite a number of muddy and slushy hills to climb!Hiking up the last bit of this section of the trail on the sidewalk.

The last chunk of the trail leading to the next section was just sidewalk.  Not exciting but I can’t say I expect anything less (or more) from the Bruce Trail!

And we're done!  Here's where we'll start next time.

While there were some interesting parts to the trail, I didn’t like this section as much as the first.  There wasn’t as much to enjoy and the trek through a commercial strip wasn’t ideal although it made for lots of wisecracks and funny moments.  Nonetheless it is still something that we need to work through to tackle the full Bruce Trail.  Hopefully next time, I’ll be able to bring more people along.

While waiting for the next section of the Bruce Trail, you can take a look at the full gallery for the Woodends to Glendridge section.

Bruce Trail Part 1 – Queenston Heights to Woodends

We started the trek on a pretty darn cold winter day but it turned out to be quite sunny so that made up for the chilly temperature. Once we got into a more wooded area, it helped shelter us from the wind.

Back in November 2013, as my friends and I discussed the possibility of hiking Kilimanjaro, we decided that as part of an on-going training routine, we’d work away at completing the entire Bruce Trail. It is approximately 890km (885km according to wikipedia) so it’ll take a while given that we intend on completing the entire trail in parts. I figured we’d begin in January but there have been some delays with myself getting the flu twice and other things in life that keep us busy. My optimistic self thought we might be able to tackle this in a year if we divided up the complete length of the trail into 52 weeks allowing us to tackle about 17km each week. Given that we’ve missed a number of weeks and we’re not tackling 17km just yet, I’ll aim for 2 years to complete this journey 🙂

The trail goes from Queenston in the Niagara region all the way up to Tobermory. I’d highly recommend purchasing a Bruce Trail membership and map because it isn’t the most straight forward trail with a lot of side trails and sections that pass through shared pieces of private property. I doubt we’d be able to find the trailhead in Queenston without the trail map!

We started the trek on a pretty darn cold winter day but it turned out to be quite sunny so that made up for the chilly temperature. Once we got into a more wooded area, it helped shelter us from the wind.

Starting off at the Bruce Trail Cairn in Queenston

Locating the cairn was pretty amusing.  We drove around and around this restaurant and Queenston Heights park until we finally spotted it.   Made for a great group photograph with some sort of government building in the backdrop.

Icy conditions on the trail, it was an interesting downhill slide

While the beginning of the trail was a walk through part of parking lot, it eventually transitioned into a more wooded area.  The trail began to get more interesting as we got closer to the sections of the trail that covered parts of the escarpment.  Some areas due to the conditions of the trail and the weather we were having in Ontario were pretty icy.  To avoid the really icy areas, we sometimes had to improvise and find a different route to get down hill.  I guess we could have tried some bum sliding!

Heading down some well maintained steps along the trail

I am pretty accustomed to actually hiking trails that are quite isolated from urban environments so it was a different experience to be walking through the wooded area and see that the road was just next to us.  I understood why — it was just … different, but I appreciated it because it made for an interesting juxtaposition and perspective of urban development and growth in these areas against the conservation efforts of many organizations and individuals.

Sections of complete layers of ice on the trail made for a longer trek

Along the way, there were sections of the trail involved walking down small gravel roads meant for vehicles.  Unfortunately these had turned into one long skating rink.  This meant a lot of shuffling on our hiking boots.  Fun for the inner kid, but made for a longer trek.  We came across other hikers who were shuffling along as well and were mutually amused by our situation.

Trekking past a nice partially frozen pond or reservoir

Once we got past the “treacherous” skating rink, we came across a beautiful pond or reservoir near some undeveloped land.  I’m guessing the land was cleared but it just wasn’t put into use … yet.

Tranquil wooded area and stream along the way on the Bruce Trail

There were a lot of sections of the Bruce Trail that were just plain road or in some cases crossing through a part of the backyards of suburban areas.  We’d joke about how we’d probably end up hiking past a Walmart at some point but thankfully, we enjoyed sections of the trail where it was more tranquil.  We also stopped on a part of the trail near the railroad tracks to enjoy lunch.

We were supposed to cross through this tunnel but due to water levels, we went another route

Further into the trail, we had to cross bridges and some pretty deep streams (only because of the weather).  This meant a lot of stone hopping or creative bridgework.  At one point, the trail map had indicated we were supposed to walk down this tunnel below the railroad tracks but the water level was too high for our boots so we climbed up and over the railroad tracks over to the other side.

Dirt road section of the Bruce Trail

Eventually after making our way past some more suburban backyards, we found ourselves on this dirt road.  Heading down this road, there are some side trails that you can take so keep your eyes peeled.

Finishing off the first part of the Bruce Trail - note the mall in the distance

There are some more interesting sections of the escarpment to see along the way and we finally ended the hike at Woodend Conservation Area.  Not too far away from the conveniences of civilization too.  While it wasn’t the most exciting hike I have been on, the trail has been interesting — especially in the way that it winds through neighbourhoods and some areas with historical significance — like Laura Secord’s route to warn the British of an American attack.

Looking forward to tackling the next part of the Bruce Trail!  In the meantime, take a look at the full gallery from this trek.