Bruce Trail Part 15 – Creditview to Willoughby

After a break from the Bruce Trail hike, my friends resumed where we left off!  We had a friend re-join us after a long hiatus since the latewinter.  It’s too bad she joined us just as winter was returning! Starting where we ended in early October it was quite astonishing to see how significant of a change it was.  Colours were muted and we encountered snow and frost!

After a break from the Bruce Trail hike, my friends resumed where we left off!  We had a friend re-join us after a long hiatus since the latewinter.  It’s too bad she joined us just as winter was returning!
Starting where we ended in early October it was quite astonishing to see how significant of a change it was.  Colours were muted and we encountered snow and frost!

Starting off where we left off in October on Creditview.Starting off on a fancy-looking trail.

After experiencing so much of the Bruce Trail that had been relatively unmaintained, I was pleasantly surprised to find the trail so nicely set up.  Trail borders and the boardwalk!

Leading into a premium boardwalk.One of the highlights of this hike.  Frost-covered Cheltenham Badlands.

One of the awesome highlights of this hike was having the opportunity to stop by the Cheltenham Badlands.  I’ve been fortunate to encounter a variety of badlands in my travels but this is the first one I’ve personally stepped into within Ontario.  Some light frost covered the terrain muting the rust coloured soil and as much as we all would have loved to take a mountain bike on to this rugged terrain, the delicate nature of the badlands and conserving them prohibits us from doing so.

After staying briefly in the badlands, we continued on the trail.  It was a little sad to some extent seeing all the trees bare and the ground covered by leaves.  Doesn’t help when the weather can’t decide between snowing or raining!

Fallen leaves cover the entire trail along the way.It was an astonishing and epic descent along this part of the trail.  Lots of fun!

Further into this section of the trail, we passed a rather large group of hikers sitting around and into a rather spectacular encounter.  The trail made this dramatic descent (or ascent if you were coming from the opposite direction).  There were some makeshift stairs but for safety and stability, a cable was run all the way down for people to hold on to.  The view down was definitely one of the highlights of this hike.

Looking back up the way we descended.  It is quite steep, hence the cable for holding on to.The trail then continues to descend down a very rocky section.

After the steep descent, we descend into this almost-temperate like environment with lots of green moss and foilage surrounding us.  The rain made for somewhat slippery conditions in addition to the mossy rocks so we took this section slower than normal.

Eventually we make our way through to a small residential area and I was pleasantly surprised to see Movember being promoted!

It's neat to see worthwhile causes being promoted along the trail.  Movember!Just discussion and commentary on how cool this house we passed by was.

A part of the Bruce Trail experience is hiking past a lot of homes, houses, and farms; and as a result we often find ourselves commenting on how we’d enjoy living or not living in such and such of a place.  Sometimes we find ourselves discussing the architecture or end up on tangential conversations such as urban living.  I myself find my thoughts drifting to and fro around how I might enjoy living so close to the Bruce Trail but then my mind shifts to thinking about public transportation sets in and snaps me back to reality!

During a further descent along the trail, we crossed the railroad.Descending even further...

This section of the trail definitely feels as if we took a significant descent.  It’s a little weird because I often think of Ontario as hilly and relatively flat but the surprise is always enjoyable.  After passing by the railroad tracks and tackling more steep descents, we find ourselves entering Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.

The only place with enough tree cover from the rain and wet snow.The trail in Fork of the Credit Provincial Park

After stopping for lunch briefly under some tree cover that was thick enough, we made our way further into the provincial park.  By then, we find ourselves dealing with a damp cold feeling although we were still dry, or at least most of us.  One of our friends was dealing with a rain jacket that was a little too antiquated to do much good.

One of the highlights and features of Forks of the Credit Provincial Park is the Cataract and waterfall as well as the Credit river that runs through the park.  This apparently was a part of what used to be an old power station that generated electricity.

Spotting the waterfall in Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.A closer look at the waterfall.A fork in the river!

Having hiked through this park over the summer as part of training for my trip to Japan, it never ceased to amaze me how different everything looked.  Everything seemed so bare and in some sense desolate and quiet.  No one else was around!

The final stretch of this hike was pretty hilly.Arriving at Escarpment Sideroad where we parked.  It was surprisingly busy with many other cars parked on the side.

Unfortunately, the rain on this hike made taking photographs a little challenging.  My lens kept getting water on it so you may notice some photos in the full gallery of this hike a bit blurry or foggy at times.  To make things worse, I found out that my GPS wasn’t tracking the hike properly.  Oh well, at least we completed the hike faster than anticipated!  We started at around 9:30 in the morning and finished around 2:30 in the afternoon.

Bruce Trail Part 14 – Limehouse to Creditview Road

Starting off where we ended last week near Limehouse Conservation Area, we immediately noticed that autumn certainly was making an entrance on certain parts of the trail.  This certainly made the anticipated-lengthy hike more enjoyable.

We’ve had some part timers unable to join us and with Nuit Blanche fast approaching, my friends and I decided to push to hike a greater distance than normal, and complete the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.
Starting off where we ended last week near Limehouse Conservation Area, we immediately noticed that autumn certainly was making an entrance on certain parts of the trail.  This certainly made the anticipated-lengthy hike more enjoyable.

Where we ended our hike last week.  The tree is now practically fully orange red!The real hike began along this escarpment wall.

After walking on a side road for a while, the trail takes us along the escarpment wall and deeper into the forest.  Eventually, we make our way past some farmland and some beautiful grass fields — where we encountered some beautiful and vibrant autumn colours, primarily golds and oranges.  During the past few hikes, I’ve noticed quite a few tunnels formed by trees and bush.  With the autumn colours coming through, these tunnels look that much more appealing.

Signs and Natural TunnelsEnjoying time in the tall fields.

During this section of the hike, we were surprised to find out that lengthy parts of this hike involved boardwalks.  I’m guessing that these areas required more protection (or there were too many wet areas).  We were expecting a rough hike but we didn’t mind.  This made a for a pretty glamourous and comfortable hike and it definitely helped us speed up our overall pace.

On the boardwalk ... lots of boardwalks...A grand autumn view of a farm.And more boardwalk...Trekking through a well-lit forest.

Once we made our way through one-third of the hike today, we found ourselves hiking against the direction of much traffic.  Apparently there was a Toronto Bruce Trail Club End-to-End event this weekend.  Everyone we encountered seemed to think we were hiking the wrong way!  I think I even came across a couple of folks I’ve seen on twitter.

The rocky terrain was pretty challenging this time around and although those parts of this hike weren’t too lengthy, it could pose a pretty major challenge for anyone not accustomed to this type of terrain — particularly if there is a lot of trail traffic.  It definitely seemed like a very busy day on the trail with so many folks enjoying time outdoors.  We even noticed a large group of Korean hikers sitting around enjoying lunch who had some sort of group sing-a-long.  That said, I didn’t really understand what they were singing other than the fact that it seemed opera-related.

Hiking along this rocky terrain, we kept encountering the Toronto Bruce Trail End-to-End event hikers.Spontaneous photo shoot in a beautiful valley.

There were definitely some stunning and beautiful landscapes that we passed during this hike.  Autumn may have been showing itself through the colours but the temperature and weather sure didn’t seem like it — felt more like summer!

The Bruce Trail running through Terra Cotta was a little disappointing.  My friends were all joking about how I would be taking lots of photographs and slowing down the hike once we got to Terra Cotta Conservation Area, but I only ended up with a few photos.  This part of the hike simply ran through a pretty bland forested area of the conservation area.  Wish they had routed the Bruce Trail through the more interesting parts of the park.

Hiking through part of Terra Cotta.Not quite sure what is going on here...

There were definitely some big surprises along the way.  One of the best ones was stumbling upon an apple orchard and bakery as we hiked along the last part of this section along the road.  I kept noticing a lot of city slickers driving by looking at us oddly (was it our gear?), and when I saw the busy parking lot at the Spirit Tree Cidery, it all made sense.  We were tempted to stop in for some cider and apples but none of us really felt like carrying everything to the end of the hike.

After some debate and pondering, we ended up returning to the Spirit Tree — perfect opportunity to pick up some pie and cider as a treat to take home.  Unfortunately they seemed to have run out of apple pie, so we picked up some blueberry and pumpkin pie.

Passing by a apple orchard, bakery, and cider operation.  Picked up some pie and cider (after the hike of course).Admiring the golden fields, and rustic (or rusty) signage.The end of this 28km hike and the completion of the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail!

After trudging along slowly on the last bit of this hike (it was surprisingly hot at the time), we finally arrived at the end of the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail and the beginning of the Caledon section.  The Toronto section is surprisingly short but it provided a very nice variety of scenery and had some pretty challenging technical sections.

We’ll be on a bit of hiatus for the month of October with the core group taking off on some autumn road trips or spending time with family.  I anticipate we’ll resume sometime in November — I think it’ll be quite a bit colder then!

For now, check out the full gallery of this hike.

Bruce Trail Part 13 – Hilton Falls to Limehouse

Starting off the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail was quite exciting.  I was looking forward to seeing what this part of the trail had in store for us.  Although some of the trail did seem a bit bland earlier on, it was technically challenging and we were eventually rewarded with some pretty cool and interesting things to see and experience in the latter part of this hike.

The rain gear everyone was wearing initially was short-lived.  We shed that layer rather soon after starting the hike.

We had thought it would rain all day and taking that into consideration, I decided to bring out my waterproof Canon D20 for use on this hike. Fortunately it stopped raining but I decided to use this small compact handheld camera for the whole hike rather than use my typical camera to see how I felt about it.

Starting off the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail was quite exciting.  I was looking forward to seeing what this part of the trail had in store for us.  Although some of the trail did seem a bit bland earlier on, it was technically challenging and we were eventually rewarded with some pretty cool and interesting things to see and experience in the latter part of this hike.

Getting a nice view of the escarpment, and the rain stopped just in time for us to shed the rain gear.

When we started the hike, it was pouring rain but we soon found that we didn’t need the rain gear and it was significantly warmer than we anticipated so off went the rain gear.  Of course, throw in some sunshine after the rain and you get some pretty warm and humid climate.

Three words:  Perfect mosquito conditions.

We ended up squeezing in between these columns.The view from the road of the escarpment was rather pretty.

After taking us through a small chunk of forest and through some stone formations, we found ourselves on a bridge overlooking a large quarry.  What is fascinating about this is the fact that we drove by the escarpment later and saw the bridge from a distant country side road.  If we hadn’t hiked across that bridge, we would never have known it even existed.

After a bit of climbing we found ourselves on a bridge with a view looking at a rather large quarry.This part of the hike takes us through some marsh areas, and of course the mosquitoes were out in force.

This hike like the previous hike had a lot of overgrowth with less maintained parts of the trail.  As much as I enjoy the wildflowers and all, walking through tall and vast fields of them and into lots of shrubbery isn’t that pleasant and there isn’t much to look around at either other than your footwork — ensuring you don’t trip on a root or stone.

In the latter part of this hike, we began encountering entire chunks of the trail that were all uneven rock or stone.  This slowed us down greatly but we got accustomed to it after some practice.  It didn’t help that the rain over the past week made everything moist and muddy, making navigating over the not-so-flat or stable rocks and moss-covered stones more challenging.  It was a nice technical challenge for us but it would get tiring for anyone who isn’t accustomed to hiking or haven’t strengthened their leg and ankle muscles.

The hike gets challenging from a technical perspective because of all the uneven rocks and mossy rocks that served as the trail path.A brief break from hiking on the rocks.  A random lawn chair?If only we had cash on us.  We could have enjoyed some poutine along this hike!

Eventually, we made our way on to the road and ended up passing by an interesting little food joint.  We were hoping to try out the poutine but unfortunately we used up all our cash available to us in order to pay for parking at these Conservation areas.  There’s a bit of irony there.

The next part of this hike was by far one of my favourite encounters.  We ended up hiking through a small strip of land in between two large corn fields.  Aside from wondering if this corn was meant for humans or for animal feed, we traversed through some very interesting terrain.  The trail weaved between and around trees or vines with so much character and colour — then ended up finding ourselves forced to hike through columns of corn, with husks and leaves constantly flapping into our face.  Annoying but fun for a brief amount of time.

It's amazing to think that this is a mere thin strip of land between two fields of harvest and crops.  Practically a tunnel made up of all sorts of trees and brush.A view of what's outside the natural tunnel.  Notice the corn fields on both sides.Enjoying the rather colourful experience whilst walking through this path.Passing through more farmland.

Eventually, after making our way through some large acres of farmland, we find ourselves in Limehouse Conservation Area.  There we make our way through the “Hole in the Wall”, a fun section of the trail in this park.  We tried to hang around here for a while to take some photos but it seemed like a pretty busy part of the trail so we had to depart to let some other folks have some fun.

The Limehouse Conservation Area also contains some pretty nifty historical remnants of the old industry from the 1800s.  My inner historian would love to spend hours comparing photos of then and now.

The remnants of the Lime industry of the 1800s.Autumn has been revealing its splendid colours.

The latter part of this hike was by far one of the most interesting bits of the Bruce Trail.  It was tiny but thoroughly enjoyable.  The funny thing about the Bruce Trail that I’ve discovered thus far is that it takes you through large number of beautiful areas but it doesn’t necessarily take you through the best parts of these areas nor does it force you to spend more time in these areas.  It sort of forces you to choose distance vs. depth.  At the end of the day, we were surprised to see a beautiful multi-coloured tree.  We had parked on the side of the road earlier in the morning when it was pouring rain — with the sun out, everything looked completely different.

Check out the full gallery from this hike.  As much as I liked the fact that I was better able to respond to situations with the Canon D20 camera, and that it was waterproof — I still preferred using my go-to Fuji X100.  That said, I didn’t mind that with the Canon D20, the amount of time spent dealing with post-processing RAW files and uploading large image files was reduced dramatically!

Bruce Trail Part 12 – Twiss Road to Hilton Falls

Although we wanted to push for a 25km hike after our 23km hike last weekend, the distance between a number of parking lots were rather limited in choice so we had to reduce our hike to only 21km. We were surprised to find that parking is actually pretty expensive on the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.

Although we wanted to push for a 25km hike after our 23km hike last weekend, the distance between a number of parking lots were rather limited in choice so we had to reduce our hike to only 21km. We were surprised to find that parking is actually pretty expensive on the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.
We were rather eager to tackle this final section of the Iroquois section of the Bruce Trail and the hike started with some amusement when we realized one of our part-time hikers was a little under prepared for the hike.  After poking some fun at the “tourist”, we went on our way.

The first part of this section of the trail soon after Twiss Road.

The trail was relatively flat although surprisingly unmaintained.  There were areas with significant overgrowth and anyone wearing shorts might find this section of the trail pretty  uncomfortable at times.  The early part of this section was also a bit stinky.  The bogs in the area end up producing quite a bit of sulphur-like aroma.

We did make it to certain parts of the escarpment — particularly as we were passing through the major conservation areas such as Rattlesnake point.  There were a number of lookouts and we had once again more opportunities to see turkey vultures.

A turkey vulture about to fly.

There were some points of the trail that were not only unmaintained but also pretty challenging for folks who aren’t accustomed to hiking.  This part of the trail was completely made up of medium-sized uneven stones.  We’ve encountered some sections of the Bruce Trail like this as well and usually people find it is easier to navigate with trekking or hiking poles.

Descending on boulders is pretty tough when the stones are a little wet.We kept seeing fields of these wildflowers.

Similar to our recent hikes, we’ve been noticing a large number of wildflowers — having encounters with many vast and beautiful fields full of them.  Aside from noticing the typical landscaped gardens in the city, it is always so much more pleasing to see what mother nature has in store for us as we pass through these different areas.

Surprisingly, as we hiked through certain parts of this hike — we found ourselves encountering a large number of other hikers and mountain bikers.  We had merely sat down to enjoy a snack and within minutes had large numbers of people pass by us in all directions.  Must’ve been an excellent day to get out and about!  It wasn’t hot nor too cold.

Hiking into Rattlesnake Point Conservation AreaA great lookout point but it's unfortunate we have to look out towards warehouses and big box chains.

This part of the hike is rather fascinating from a personal standpoint.  There were a lot of opportunities to enjoy and take in great views from the escarpment.  For years, I have travelled back and forth on the 401 west of Toronto and on each of those trips, I had passed by these escarpments — curious as to whether it were possible to stand and hike along these tall cliffs.  This hike served as a fulfilling answer as I stood on the escarpment looking out to the highway.  I wonder how many people pass by on the 401 with the same idea or thought.

Looking out over Lake Kelso from the escarpment along Kelso Conservation Area.Awaiting the weekly glamour photo shoot.We often see exits/entrances into certain conservation parks.Passing by a building with a giant pigeon?

Every so often on these hikes, I encounter the most out of context peculiarities.  I’m never sure what to think but I do enjoy these random encounters.  I’m a bit puzzled though about giant pigeon on that visitor centre building.  We also encountered a lot of funny names for mountain bike trails like “Gateway to Heaven”.  A little over-the-top?

After passing under this bridge that the 401 runs over, we will have completed the Iroquois section of the Bruce Trail!

Given the length of the Bruce Trail, it’s always exciting to complete a section of it.  It is important recognize and photograph the milestone.  In this case, it was the bridge that 401 traffic was passing over.

Another really awesome encounter was a commemorative plaque marking an approximate location where the first trailer blaze marker for the Bruce Trail was painted.  Pretty amazing to think that people have been hiking this trail for so many decades. 

This apparently was near the spot where the first ever Bruce Trail marker was painted.The autumn colours are beginning to show!

Through out the hike there were early signs of autumn.  Some friends and I will be heading to the Adirondacks soon so hopefully we’ll catch some more autumn colours!  This hike wasn’t bad but I was hoping for some more interesting scenery.  Still, I loved the vast fields of wildflowers and having the opportunity to stand on the edge of the escarpment was brilliant and reminded me of my years past.

Hopefully the next hike will be even more interesting as we begin a full part of the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.  The full gallery from this hike is available here.

Bruce Trail Part 11 – Fisher Access to Twiss Road

This time we were a full crew with 5 people, or at least this is the maximum number of people we could accommodate on the hike with only two cars available. I was aware of the fact that this section of the trek was going to involve a lot of road so I was quietly hoping that the trail would have some fun surprises for us this time.

We started off the day at a local Tim Horton’s thinking that it would rain — and it would, but by the time we arrived where we last ended our previous hike near the Fisher Access, it was merely a little bit of overcast sky.  This time we were a full crew with 5 people, or at least this is the maximum number of people we could accommodate on the hike with only two cars available.
I was aware of the fact that this section of the trek was going to involve a lot of road so I was quietly hoping that the trail would have some fun surprises for us this time.  At the same time, I was thinking that we should all begin picking out trail names — either for ourselves or for one another.  I was thinking of “Tumbleweed” for myself, but it seemed to have gotten a little out of hand when hilarious trail names like, Water Boy, Mud Girl, Smokey Owl, and Mosquito Magneto start appearing.

From out of the woods and back into the next forest.Overgrown trail with boardwalk along the hike

The section of the trail this time around was not very well maintained.  I felt like we should have been equipped with machetes and I would recommend wearing hiking pants rather than shorts.  That said, it was pretty cool and jungle-esque.

One of the part timers who hadn’t joined our Bruce Trail hike since the spring had returned and we all joked — much to her chagrin — that it seemed to be an odd coincidence how both she and the mud returned at the same time.  It’s always fun to hike with different people and personalities — makes life on the trail more interesting.  Of course this is assuming that these people are actually interested in hiking and are up for the challenge in the first place.

Due to the past week of rain, the trail was muddy.  Not as muddy as the spring time though.Beautiful and vast fields and sky to take in.Trekking past a ranch that was probably for horses.

It wasn’t too long until we ended up along country roads for long stretches.  The roads were rather straight and not necessarily too interesting so I spent most of my time chatting with friends and observing the quirkiness of things and places we passed by.  From long stretches of private ranches where horses were being raised all the way to places where big sky and vast fields would meet, these were elements that reminded me of those long road trips — except for the fact that we weren’t really on a road trip.

Wagon wheel gates?  Just one of many peculiarities along the country road.The last bit of the hike up to Mount Nemo

Fortunately, the hike on the road didn’t last too long because we then began the trek up Mount Nemo.  It was about a 90 metre hike up — not too strenuous for the experienced hiker but it may be a challenge for the average or casual hiker.  Near the top of Mount Nemo is a neat little ladder and crevice that will only fit an individual.  Once at the top, the trail is pretty flat and has plenty of lookout points to enjoy.  It was particularly spectacular to have been able to spot the CN Tower.

It was relatively flat on top of Mount Nemo.Enjoying the view from a great vantage point on Mount Nemo.

We’ve experienced some pretty amazing views along the Bruce Trail but Mount Nemo is by far one of the best ones.  The lookout point above is one we all wished we had sat down and enjoyed lunch.  We had ended up enjoying lunch in the middle of nowhere along the trail.  It is somewhat ironic that if we had continued along the trail, we would have found these perfect lookout points.  I couldn’t help but grab a photosphere here, it would have been a missed opportunity to take in just a great view.  Note:  Be sure to check out the photosphere to really see what it looks like from Mount Nemo.

Rock climbers at the bottom of the cliff.It really says Rest House.Instead of simply trekking on the road, the Bruce Trail had us walking through a tiny sliver of trail next to the road.

You can’t help but end up goofing around with friends and fellow hikers when you’re on a boring part of the trail.  Seriously, having us walk along the side of the road through a strip of grass in single file is rather boring. We might as well just walk on the road itself!

Thankfully, it doesn’t last too long and before we know it, we’re back on the road — passing by random places of interest with fun photo opportunities.  It’s also amusing to see what diverse interests the hiking group has.  Some of us were excited to say rolls of hay in the field while others were curious why anyone would be interested in something so ordinary.

Just goofing around with the camera along the road.It's always fun playing with hay rolls.Another boardwalk through some really interesting flora.

As we got closer to crossing over to Milton, one of the significant landmarks along the trail was a school in Kilbride.  We got a bit lost trying to look for the trail markers but fortunately someone driving by noticed us and pointed us in the right direction.  Thank you random stranger!

Growing up in Toronto, many schools that I attended as a part of growing up, summer camp or activity programs, or those that I merely passed by — often reminded me of the 60s and 70s.  I imagine that many of these schools were built at that time.  I was surprised to see that this school had more than one playground.  Population growth?

Passing by Kilbride's public school. It had numbers like this all along the side of the building.A slow trudge near the end as some folks were pretty tired but we made it!

This was a longer hike than usual with us pushing 23 kilometres.  Not everyone was pleased about it but with encouragement and some nudging, we achieved the longest hike yet on the Bruce Trail.  We anticipate striving for 25 kilometres in the near future.  In the meanwhile, feel free to check out the full gallery for this section here.