Bruce Trail Part 18 – 3 Line E to Centre Rd

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.

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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!

Starting the hike by taking a step into knee-high snow!It was a challenge to as soon as we got on to the trail.  Without snowshoes, hiking up and down steep hills in deep snow tired us all rather quickly.

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.

Passing through a part of Mono Cliffs Provincial Park.A view from the lookout point in Mono Cliffs Provincial Park.

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.

Visiting the canyon in Mono Cliffs.Back on the road after passing through Mono Cliffs Provincial Park.

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.

After a break and an easier hike along the road, we resumed stomping in deep snow.Hiking through vast and wide farmlands was exhausting and the cold drizzle was constant.  It was an amazing view nonetheless.

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.

Looking ahead to major snow drifts.Finally making it to a sideroad for a break.A rather leisurely stroll through not-so-great weather.

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?

It would have been awesome to take a 'magic carpet' or toboggan down this winding path. Getting closer to the end of this hike, we passed through Boyne Valley Provincial Park where there were numerous streams and bridges to cross over.

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.

Finally completing the hike and making our way to where the car was parked.

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.

Bruce Trail Part 17 – 7th Line to 3 Line E

We soon found out that one friend had hiking boots that required replacement because she was slipping and sliding quite often.  Unfortunately there were more ups and downs on this hike than we had anticipated — and we were not sure whether we would finish this hike in time before dark.

Starting where we left off on the last trail, we had initially thought that it’d be a warmer day but it turned out to be quite chilly with the wind. I decided to experiment with carrying less water today to see if it’d help with my sore knee. As with the backpacking light methodology, the idea is the less weight one carries — the longer the distance one can tackle.
We soon found out that one friend had hiking boots that required replacement because she was slipping and sliding quite often.  Unfortunately there were more ups and downs on this hike than we had anticipated — and we were not sure whether we would finish this hike in time before dark.

Starting where we left off.This hike was more challenging than we anticipated with it immediately taking us up and down steep hills.

We had originally thought that this hike would be relatively easy but was surprised by the steepness of the hills.  Fortunately, I had brought my hiking poles and reduced the weight of my pack.  This reminded me of a 27km hike along the Kumano Kodo in Japan just this past summer.  It was exhausting but rewarding considering we were pushing 26km according to our maps.

A steep climb up.Checking out where the Bruce Trail and the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail connect.

It was neat to encounter the junction of the Bruce Trail and Oak Ridges Moraine Trail along the way.  Every time I find out about a new trail to hike, I feel as if I have barely scratched the surface in terms of exploring this province — let alone the world.  So much to see yet so little time, and still so much left of the Bruce Trail to do!

A really pretty part of the hike that took us into a small valley.It looks like icing sugar on everything!

Every so often, I find a parallel between nature and what we as human kind enjoy on a regular basis.  In this case, the light snow covering everything reminded me of ice sugar lightly dusted on baked goods.  If only we were hiking on cake — that’d make snacking pretty easy.

We came across a section of a wooded area where there were trees fallen everywhere.  I suspect that this must have been associated to the ice storm earlier this year.  It is still astonishing to see how much damage that storm did to the forest and even cities.

A storm must have caused the tremendous damage to this part of the forest.  Tree trunks and branches were everywhere.The trail took us past the Hockley Valley Resort.  They had a single hill running for skiing and snowboarding.  We met a little friend too!

We eventually found ourselves hiking through the Hockley Valley Resort and made a little friend along the way.  This little friend kept following us until we had made our way past the ski hills.  It was bizarre walking through so much snow and then having that abruptly stop once we had gotten past the black diamond hill.

As much as I love mountains, I admire how beautiful these hills are throughout this part of Ontario just an hour or so north of Toronto.

Looking out to the surrounding landscape from a black diamond ski hill at Hockley Valley.Arriving in to the Jeju Ole Friendship trail

After passing through Hockley Valley Resort, we made our way through the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve. We found that this section of the trail was made a friendship trail to the Jeju Olle.  I think it is a really beautiful part of the Bruce Trail to be marked as the friendship trail.  Good choice!

As we made our way deeper into the nature reserve, we were beginning to get concerned with the amount of daylight we had left and began to pick up our pace.  It didn’t help that there were even more ups and downs through this area and it was beginning to get colder for my friends.

Walking into a dark wooded area.There were a lot of stairs -- up and down -- the through Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve.  We encountered some fellow hikers who got lost here too.As the day passed, it darker and darker and eventually I was no longer able to take photos.

Alas, at this point, I was no longer able to take proper photographs as the amount of daylight available was becoming nominal and any photo I would have taken would likely be blurry.  Fortunately, we did have our headlamps and I had an excellent opportunity to try out my new Petzl Tikka RXP which had adaptive lighting capabilities.  It turned out to perform very well and fortunately so because just when we thought the hike would get easier — the route became the most challenging we’ve encountered so far with a some boulders and rocky terrain to scramble over… and it was dark.  It was a challenging climb and descent but we made it.  Quite tired and cold, we made our way along a dark road towards the car.

Afterwards, we proceeded to make our way to the Mono Mills Inn for a hot dinner.  This hike was a good opportunity to test our abilities in the cold and made us realize that some of our gear needed to be upgraded.  Looking forward to the next hike and challenge and you can take a look at the full gallery from this hike.

Bruce Trail Part 16 – Willoughby to 7th Line

Following last week’s rather wet and cold experience with the partial rain and snow, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate but the weather seemed like it was going to be sunny but bitter cold.  Oddly enough as we drove to the start and end points of this hike to drop off the cars, we encountered sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy weather all within a distance of approximately 26km!  We were originally intending on tackling only 19km but when one of the part time hikerswasn’t able to make — the three of us decided to try and make more distance.

Starting off where we ended last time!  These fences make you squeeze through.

Following last week’s rather wet and cold experience with the partial rain and snow, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate but the weather seemed like it was going to be sunny but bitter cold.  Oddly enough as we drove to the start and end points of this hike to drop off the cars, we encountered sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy weather all within a distance of approximately 26km!  We were originally intending on tackling only 19km but when one of the part time hikers  wasn’t able to make — the three of us decided to try and make more distance.

The beautiful snow-covered fields.

We had initially thought that this section of the Bruce Trail was going to be pretty bland with most of it following a road but we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves off the road for a fairly sizable chunk of the hike and even when we were on the road, there was almost always something interesting to see.

Passing by a grand looking tree along the early part of the hike.Just as the trail was beginning to get interesting, we spotted fox chilling out next to a golf course we were passing by.

As we were trekking by a local golf course along the road and just about to turn into a wooded area, we spotted a fox just relaxing on the side! It was the first time I got to see a fox that close and one that didn’t run off.  We just stood there while the fox exchanged glances with us.  The hike was certainly off to a great start!

It was not too early in the day but the muted and soft morning light made the bare forest with the light snow covering the ground seem so tranquil and peaceful.

Beautiful lighting that morning as we hiked through a snowed-in section of a wooded section of the trail.Along Escarpment side road, finally getting some sun and blue skies on a bitter cold day.

Eventually, we made our way back on to the road and despite the bitter cold with the wind chill, we were happy to see the sun come out and it helped warm us up a bit.  It was feeling definitely colder than usual because even my hands were feeling pretty chilly and we had hiked in the middle of winter — this wasn’t supposed to be winter yet!

On the road, there isn’t much to look at other than the fields, the skies, and the homes of other people.  In some cases, we found it rather bizarre what other people had built as part of their home.  Sometimes one just has to wonder why someone would choose to build something in a particular manner in the middle of no where?

This is a gatehouse?  It looks like a water tower!Can you spot the horses in the distance?

Through out the Bruce Trail so far, we’ve encountered the odd rusted vehicle or car part lying around.  As we passed a field and a couple of horses in the distance, we found ourselves intrigued with what looked like a vehicle from the 70s sitting on the side.  Without a clue on how the car got there in the first place, we were immediately drawn to it.  The car was not in such great shape but it was very cool to see the interior and what remained of the car.  The car itself had sunken into the ground over time and I wonder how long it will take before it really immerses itself.  The story is always such a fascinating aspect of what we encounter.

Always love encountering abandoned vehicles along the trail.  This car was in the best condition I've seen yet and its already sunk into the mud.Passing by a field of corn.  We figured that the farmers found it too costly to harvest this field.One of the best things about a bare forest.  You can see right through!On the road again ... and again...

Around this point on the trail, the sun began to fade and it got windier.  We began to feel the wind chill.  It definitely didn’t help that we had to walk along the road so often because there was no cover from the wind whatsoever.

We spotted a lot of frozen bodies of water as we hiked this portion of the trail — most of them frozen on the surface.  I wonder if at a certain point into the winter, these ponds and lakes will be frozen enough that we’d be able to start ice skating on them!  To our surprise, not all the parts of the trail were frozen solid — there were quite a few places on the way that were quite muddy.

Despite the very cold temperature, it was surprisingly muddy at certain places.You can barely see where the trail is with all the fallen leaves.Hiker Crossing!

Earlier in the Burlington part of the trail, we had to cross a busy highway and this time we found ourselves in that predicament once again.  Fortunately, this time there was a hiker crossing sign to at least inform drivers and we stood on the side of the road until we could pounce on an opportunity to rush across.  I guess there simply isn’t enough foot traffic to warrant building a bridge or something but I figure that eventually traffic volume in certain areas or along certain roads will be too busy for hikers to cross safely.

As we made our way through the remainder of this hike, part of me wished that it were still autumn time, we encountered a few beautiful areas and lookout points where the colourful vistas would have been stunning to see with autumn foilage.  I think I might return one day in the fall next year just to check out certain points of the trail.

A nice lookout point.  It would've been very colourful in the autumn.Looking out towards where we parked the car and the end of this hike.This is where we'll continue next time!

It was pretty neat to see the house in the middle of the field as we hiked back to the car.  I have to wonder what it’s like to live in such a remote place.  One of my friends pointed out that the house even had fences specifically geared to block the drifting snow from being blown and reaching the house.  This is actually quite fascinating because I would’ve thought the guy could’ve simply grown more hedges or something rather than using fences.

We’ll be skipping a couple of weeks of hiking the trail thanks to some freezing rain and the Black Friday madness (I have to play chauffeur to drive family for their cross-border shopping needs).  In the meanwhile, check out this hike’s full gallery — there were some pretty nifty photos taken along this hike!

After the hike, we made a short trip to the Mono Mills Inn to try out Peter Cellar’s Pub for some post-hike nourishment.  It was a friend’s recommendation for us to check out and it was totally worth it.  Excellent food and worth the trip if you have the opportunity.

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.