Following the previous weekend’s Bruce Trail hike, we decided push to officially complete the Caledon section of the trail and into the Dufferin Hi-land section. Due to the distance between all the available parking lots in this section of the trail, we had to reduce the length of our hike. I was pretty excited to also have the opportunity to try out my new mid-layer, a Nano-Air hoody from Patagonia.
The past week experienced a significant amount of snowfall and unfortunately, we had left our snowshoes at home! This made for a challenging (and slightly painful) hike so it was a good thing we reduced our hike to 18km. We immediately felt the difficulty of the trek as soon as we took the first step on to the trail and had our leg submerge into knee-high snow. Out came the trekking poles as well!
Eventually we made our way deeper into Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. The trail took us through some pretty diverse wooded area. Aside from being pretty tired already, what amazed us most is that even in areas where trees were thick, the snow was still knee high.
Mono Cliffs is home to some very pretty lookout points and it would have been awesome to make a visit to the lookout sidetrail that I had an opportunity to drop by during my endurance training earlier this year in the spring, however the Bruce Trail did not take us in that direction.
We did however make a quick visit to the canyon/gorge area which looked quite impressive with the snow cover.
Eventually we made our way out of Mono Cliffs and on to the road. We all saw the irony (and joked about) in the fact that we were so relieved to have road to trek on — a nice break from the knee-high snow. Typically, we would groan that the trail would lead us back on to a road too often.
Throughout the hike, there was an almost constant drizzle. Fortunately, with my rain jacket and mid-layer I was feeling pretty toasty and I was not feeling wet at all. Alas, there was never any moment where my camera would be dry so I ended up using my Canon D20 waterproof camera.
There were numerous occasions where the winter backdrop was so stunningly beautiful that I often stopped to debate with myself whether I should take a photograph or not. The funny thing is how desolate the landscape appeared but we often encountered other people hiking through this trail and on the road, just like ourselves.
After we took a couple more breaks on the road, we soon found ourselves hiking through Boyne Valley Provincial Park. I had never heard of this park before but the trails were surprisingly beautiful and in some cases, a lot of fun to trek through. We crossed many streams, bridges, and boardwalks and some parts of this section of the trail even resembled ski slopes or rather ideal slopes for a sled or toboggan. I wonder if there’s a lightweight magic carpet that I can stuff into my day pack?
As we got closer to the end of this hike, we were all definitely struggling with us all experiencing aches and soreness. We paused a little for a quick snack and pushed forward. This hike definitely taught us not to leave our snowshoes behind again but it also gave us an opportunity to recognize our weaknesses in the way we hiked. I really began noticing how different my right leg and left leg tackled inclines.
My friends soon spotted the car in the distance and the mood of the group improved immensely and with relief. I think we were all not really ready to tackle such a distance in such deep snow without snowshoes. This was nonetheless a truly challenging hike — and fortunately, the reward was a return home to an excellent dinner and a wonderful dessert, blueberry-lemon cheesecake.
I did not take as many photographs as is standard but you should check out the full gallery.