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.

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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.

Bruce Trail Part 10 – Sydenham to Fisher Access Trail

I often am asked what it’s like on the Bruce Trail.  The only answer I have for those who ask me is that I really never know what to expect.  Sometimes you find yourself in a middle of a quiet and tranquil forest, other times you’re walking down an empty country road next to fields of harvest, and then suddenly you find yourself in the hustle and bustle of city life. 

A great view as we started this section of the trail.

After our rather exciting last hike through Hamilton, I was looking forward to this upcoming section of the Bruce Trail.  Starting where we left off on Sydenham, we immediately stepped into the forested escarpment overlooking the city.

I often am asked what it’s like on the Bruce Trail.  The only answer I have for those who ask me is that I really never know what to expect.  Sometimes you find yourself in a middle of a quiet and tranquil forest, other times you’re walking down an empty country road next to fields of harvest, and then suddenly you find yourself in the hustle and bustle of city life.  It’s rather odd but I think it’s one of the things I enjoy most about this extensively long trail.  Still so much to go.

Stumbling upon random buildings. Is this for holding a party on the trail?Always enjoy vibrant landscapes where a blue sky meets a vibrant yellow-green field

It’s pretty bizarre how often we hike from one landscape to a completely different one.  I often wish I had more time to sit down and watercolour sketch some of the things I’ve seen.  The diversity I see makes me feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to tackle such a tremendous challenge.  It isn’t easy to find friends who have common goals and similar interests and for that I’m grateful.  I doubt I’d be able to do this on my own.

Just a neat part of the trailAbout to walk under the highway 403.

As I had mentioned earlier in this post, one of the unique things about the Bruce Trail is where you will find yourself.  Here we end up hiking under Highway 403 where a tunnel is completely covered in graffiti, although I am curious if some of these guys will end up tagging the ceiling.  I figure it’s a bit more challenging to carry a ladder around!

It seems graffiti artists spend a lot of time under the 403.More peaceful forested areas once we pass the highway.Lunch on a bridge!

I have to give a lot of kudos to the Bruce Trail Association and the volunteers.  It must be a ton of work to lug all the material to the site and build a very nice bridge over a river.  Not only is it well built but it’s got some conveniently-located seating too.  Perfect for lunch!  We had initially stopped at a nearby pond with swans and geese but we caught a whiff of sewage and that wasn’t too appetizing.

A nice valley-like area with a stream running through.

After lunch we push forward and find ourselves hiking up a section of the escarpment leading us to an area called Smokey Hollow and in the park area we found Grindstone Falls (aka. Great Falls, but what a bland name).  We were only looking over the falls but there seemed to be a lot of youth enjoying their remaining days of summer vacation at the base of the waterfall.  I envy them to some extent, to have such an awesome natural wonder in their neighbourhood.  Didn’t really have that when I was growing up in a suburb of Toronto, and the Don River doesn’t count!

Enjoying the remaining days of summer next to a waterfall.To our right, we had a nice view of the city.

After some more ascents, passing through residential areas, and enjoying some decent views of the city of Burlington (we could see the Skyway bridge), we found ourselves in a bizarre predicament.  We had to cross Highway 5 (or now called Dundas Street).  This was a pretty hazardous and difficult task considering how much traffic there was in the early afternoon.  Unless the Bruce Trail Association is planning to build a bridge or tunnel soon, I would recommend tackling this part as early as possible in the morning when there is less traffic.  We fortunately found a gap in traffic to run through.

Running across busy traffic on Highway 5 / Dundas StreetChecking out an uprooted tree

Sometimes it’s amazing what you find in nature.  The opportunities for juxtaposition are quite common.  Also brings to mind how powerful of a force nature.

Few things bring so much awe as a large tree uprooted by a storm, few things bring such a unique form of joy that comes from seeing a tree with so much character and history.  Of course my friends and I ended up spending time walking around it and taking photos with it.  This was another place I wish I could sit down and sketch.  It seemed so magical and it was in the middle of nowhere (in a manner of speaking).  I wonder if this tree receives a lot of visitors.

Myself with the now glorified treeA final descent before we ascend to the Fisher Access point.

We made some major progress on this section of the hike — finally crossing into Burlington.  Not as exciting as our previous hike but we had the opportunity to enjoy streams, waterfalls, and some pretty good views.  As the weather gets cooler and we make our way further and further away from the city, my friends and I have been discussing how to manage the future hikes because we will likely need to tackle a few days worth of hiking at a time rather than the approximate 20km or so that we’ve been working on.  Will post on that later.

You can find the full gallery from this hike here.  Stay tuned for the next section!