Aaannd we’re back! There was a hiatus on hiking the Bruce Trail for a bit because one of my friends was out of commission (in a manner of speaking) for a couple of months, but now we’re ready to tackle more of the trail. Because we’re all a little out of practice, we’re gradually ramping up to our regular distance. It was a brilliant day for a hike — particularly after the extreme cold spell we’ve been having in Ontario (albeit I don’t think it’s limited to us).
My knee has been a bit out of sorts since hiking 30km and I’ve been attending physiotherapy to look at what the matter was. Apparently, the way I walk has been an issue and it has just been building up as I increased the distance that I’ve been attempting to hike. I can definitely see how the past year has potentially contributed to the problem. So now begins the rehabilitation of how I walk!
As soon as we started, we noted how it was beginning to take us a long time to get on to the trail. It was quite a drive from Toronto and probably takes us about 2 hours. Seeing as this is getting to be a longer trek, I anticipate that we will likely only be doing a few more day hikes on the Bruce Trail before it no longer just isn’t practical. Sadly, this means fewer updates, but my friends and I are hoping to spend longer and tackle more multi-day hikes on the Bruce Trail so hopefully I’ll be able to provide some substantial news then.
My friends had forgotten their snowshoes (again) but I had brought mine. Fortunately, we didn’t really need them (although the snow was still quite deep that day. We immediately noticed that the snow along the trail seemed to be quite packed making it for a pretty firm path, but if any of us were to step off what appeared to be the trail, we’d find ourselves in above-knee high snow. There were a number times where we found ourselves testing the snow before stepping forward!
As we make our way out and across open fields. It impressed me to see how much snow there has been over this past winter. Despite the fact that we experienced the ice storm last winter, this year has definitely been a much colder and snowy winter than most. Guess it may have been good fortune to some extent that we weren’t hiking in January and February! Of course no hike is without some fun and games. We encountered hay bales on these rolling hills covered deep snow so my friends challenged me to hike off the trail and into above-knee high snow. Wasn’t too bad but I was definitely submerged.
Given a lot of the trail involved packed snow, we had a relatively decent time hiking through this section of the trail. That said, there were times when we would be hiking up or downhill and find ourselves falling over after unexpectedly finding ourselves with one leg submerged. This would normally be fun but my recovering knee didn’t appreciate it too much.
Even though it was a very sunny day with blue skies and all, we were confronted with harsh and bitter cold winds as we made our way through open fields. There was a sense of gratefulness every time we crossed over from open fields and into a thick wooded forested area. A couple of us would end up walking backwards or sideways against the wind to avoid getting blasted by the cold. Thank goodness I was wearing snow pants and all those layers.
The forested areas along the way fascinated me. I never imagined that there would be so much snow on the ground even in the forest since I had always figured the thick forest would keep out much of the snow from hitting the ground. Instead, I found myself trudging through very deep snow under the cover of tall trees and thick branches.
Sometimes we encounter the most unexpected yet wonderful of rewards for grueling challenges. Uphill climbs in deep snow with a knee that is still recovering is quite a challenge. We happened upon a pretty spiffy looking abandoned truck and you could tell it has been sitting outside for a while. Perfectly timed, it made for a nice break to to catch our breath before moving on.
The one challenge with snow that never gets old is simply not being able to see where the trail really is. Sometimes we would get lost and have to backtrack while other times we would try to carefully tread our way forward without stepping on to snow that would give in and have us fall forward with one leg submerged into the deep snow. I guess that is one drawback to the winter time (aside from the bitter cold) but in some way, it still beats the insane hoards of mosquitoes that I anticipate in the coming spring. Had to deal with that last spring and it wasn’t too much fun.
After this hike, we decided to celebrate our return to the Bruce Trail with a visit to Superburger in Primrose, Ontario. It has a vintage TTC streetcar attached to the building but it was closed off likely due to the winter season when it’s probably difficult to keep the streetcar heated. For fun the group decided to compare it with its neighbouring competitor across the street, Champ Burger, after our next hike.
Take a look through the full gallery from this hike.