Bruce Trail Part 26 – 18th Sideroad to 9th Sideroad

After another long drive up to the Collingwood area again, we were well received by a very foggy and misty morning.  This wasn’t a bad start because I actually wasn’t looking forward to a hot and gnarly summer day.  Surprisingly, it was a decently cool morning — enough that we made use of our rain jackets as an outer shell and windbreaker.

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It started with a foggy morning.

After another long drive up to the Collingwood area again [check out our previous hike a couple of weeks earlier], we were well received by a very foggy and misty morning.  This wasn’t a bad start because I actually wasn’t looking forward to a hot and gnarly summer day.  Surprisingly, it was a decently cool morning — enough that we made use of our rain jackets as an outer shell and windbreaker.

The fog got thicker as we hiked through the woods and into an open field.  Someone lost their boot.

With the fog getting thicker as we trekked along the Bruce Trail, there was a feel or atmosphere of mystery surrounding our day hike.  Some say mystical forest, others who saw the photo after the hike thought it reminded them of the forbidden forest in Harry Potter.

Either way, I just enjoyed the opportunity it provided for some really great photos.  Mother nature’s fog machine does it best!

Walking into a mystical forest.  Some suggest it is almost like a forest from Harry Potter.A really neat place to sit down right next to the stream.

The drawback to wading into the mist or fog is how damp everything gets.  Sure, it keeps you cool but once you begin walking into fields of tall grass — you realize you are getting wet from your boots all the way up.  The damp grass — sometimes with mildew — that brush up  against our knees as we hiked through the field would eventually soak our pants.  The gaiters didn’t help much because the grass were practically elbow high.  Why are fields of tall grass such a pain to hike through?

Finding ourselves back on the road in even thicker fog.This part of the trail has a lot of openings in the bush like these.

Fortunately, not all of the trail took us through fields.  We encountered really awesome crevices to peer down along the way and the odd house with “real looking” animal sculptures sitting on their lawn.

A pretty amazing crevice opening along the trail.What we thought were quite obese geese, were merely fakes.For the first time, we actually had to cross paths through a field of cows.  They were quite curious.

What really made my day was the fact we crossed paths with a field full of cows.  I’ve never encountered a part of the Bruce Trail that took us through a field with livestock actually present before but it was pretty entertaining looking at the cows and having them look at us while we took photographs of them and with them.

One friend noticed the bull walking over and we decided to get moving after that.  Alas, we had to wade through more fields of tall grass afterwards.  The most ironic aspect of this was that as soon as our pants would dry off, we would end up getting them wet again.

More tall and wet grass to wade through.

I am always impressed when the Bruce Trail takes us through what I feel is a “magical” or majestic-looking scene.  These are just areas where I would love to have a bench to sit on and appreciate the environment.

Speaking of benches, we encountered a bench in memory of someone who loved the Bruce Trail.  To think of how people have been transformed by the Bruce Trail and all the many tales that could be shared.  I think it’s a really great way to remember someone.

A memorial bench remembering a woman who loved the Bruce Trail. Very thoughtful.Friends enjoying this fascinating rocky part of the escarpment.

Eventually we found ourselves hiking down a part of the escarpment composed of a lot of rocky terrain.  The photograph doesn’t really do much justice to the surroundings but it is definitely a place to take a step back and admire.  A lot of people including myself often comment on how Ontario does not have any mountains to enjoy and from that aspect — and it is something I usually grumble about when I have the urge to hike above the alpine tree line — but getting to enjoy such a vast escarpment is a totally different experience.

Passing through (right next to) an extremely green crop field.I believe this was built by a combat engineer battalion -- one of the finest bridges I've had the opportunity to cross along this trail.

I love the bridges that I encounter along the trail and by far, the one I encountered this time around was just plain impressive.  I just wonder how many people and how long it took to build it.  It had some style to it as well and just looked elegant in the middle of the woods over a noisy river.

Similar to my encounters with abandoned cars or merchandise on the Bruce Trail, I found myself scratching my head when we spotted a mannequin pointing the way on the trail.  For humour sake?  Perhaps.

Just in case the trail markers weren't enough, a random mannequin jockey points the way. Spotted lawn chairs along the way that led us to a waterfall.

There are occasions when I wonder where do the long-distance trekkers camp along the Bruce Trail.  Then I receive an answer as I encounter a batch of lawn chairs next to a beautiful waterfall.  Camping in style and thank you to whomever decided to donate those red lawn chairs (not that we camped there)!

The waterfall near the campsite that the lawn chairs revealed.

At this point, the temperature was getting rather warm but it was feeling pretty damp.  Fortunately we were getting close to our destination point for the day — and just as I thought we had seen a lot — the trail led us through the Pinnacle Rock Farm. Definitely a beautiful part of the trail and from what I’ve read, was a donation by the Richardson Family and I appreciate them sharing it with us all!  Similar to the rocky escarpment we descended from earlier, this was a part of the trail where I could just sit there and contemplate life.

Passing through the Pinnacle Rock Farm. Passing through another tall field of grass and eventually entering the last bit of forest before completing this hike.

Of course these days it doesn’t seem like I can end the hike without wading through more fields of tall grass — and we do.  Thankfully, it is drier at this point in the day.  After we reach the car, we decide we needed some comfort food so we find ourselves enjoying some Swiss Chalet.  Another hiker’s staple?  Maybe!

Next hike is coming up, in the meanwhile check out the full gallery here.

Bruce Trail Part 25 – Line 3 to 18th Sideroad

After enduring another very slow and long drive up to the Collingwood area, we continued from where we left off in our last hike at the parking spot on Line 3.  I’m beginning to tire of the long drive up and to make things more challenging, I forgot to bring along some water for the drive so I was starting off a little parched.  Nonetheless, the hike — once it started — was off to a brilliant to start.  It was very decent weather — not too hot and the bugs weren’t bothering us.

Starting off on the sideroad on a beautiful day.

After enduring another very slow and long drive up to the Collingwood area, we continued from where we left off in our last hike at the parking spot on Line 3.  I’m beginning to tire of the long drive up and to make things more challenging, I forgot to bring along some water for the drive so I was starting off a little parched.  Nonetheless, the hike — once it started — was off to a brilliant to start.  It was very decent weather — not too hot and the bugs weren’t bothering us.

Walking down the road with a scenic view in the horizon.  We were passed by lots of cyclists.

Since the trail took us immediately on to the road, we had the opportunity pass by a lot of friendly road cyclists who were all pedaling up (we were descending).  What really made the descent enjoyable was the brilliant horizon and scenic view.  We could see the escarpment and the vibrant blue of Georgian Bay.

Eventually, we were stumped by a trail closure sign.  Apparently, there was a bridge that was heavily damaged and was unsafe to cross.  We decided to check it out and if need be, we would simply take our boots off and cross the river.  I wasn’t exactly keen on doing so but given that it would beat hiking the lengthy detour — I went along with the plan.  To our surprise, not only was the water level very low — the bridge was actually in decent shape.  Okay, not the safest to cross if you are carrying something heavy but we just crossed the bridge one at a time and we survived.  I’m not condoning crossing unsafe bridges so I’ll leave it to one’s own discretion.

This part of the trail was marked closed because of a bridge that was damaged and unsafe to cross, however we decided to investigate and ended up crossing the bridge.Passing over a lovely stream.

I expected that there would be hills to climb since we were in the Blue Mountain area but I didn’t anticipate the climb to be so lengthy.  It felt good to tackle challenges like these in preparation of our hike up Kilimanjaro this coming December.  The conditions were far better than what I experienced in mid-summer Japan tackling the Kumano Kodo when the humidity was crazy.

Initially the hike up was primarily made up of exposed tree roots and eventually evolved to large rocks that one would tip toe or scramble over.

This begins a very lengthy climb up hill.More rocky parts of the climb up.

We soon ended up in big fields of grass.  I am always wary of tall grass (I have allergies) so I simply plowed through as quickly as I could.  The really odd aspect of this situation is that someone had mowed certain parts of this field for pedestrian traffic for other nature trails — why not for the Bruce Trail?

The sun was pretty harsh and once we entered the forest, it was immediately a few degrees cooler.

Hiking through ridiculously long and tall grass to get into the forest.I really enjoy this forest's canopy.

I often love walking through the forest but what really enjoyed this time was a brilliantly-lit tree canopy.  The trees were so tall and thin creating this tall ceiling of vibrant green.  We followed the trail through the forest that took us past a decent lookout point (we saw lots of turkey vultures) and eventually into Blue Mountain’s main tourist area (i.e. their ‘hiking’ trails) and quite a volume of mountain bikers.

The great thing about Blue Mountain’s trails was that they were so very landscaped — I referred to them as luxury trails.  In addition, we had the opportunity to enjoy grand views of Georgian Bay.  The drawback was that we needed to pass through tourist central.

A grand view of Georgian Bay from Blue Mountain.Crossing another bridge -- but this one was actually safe to cross.Where we decided to sit under the shade and enjoy lunch with a grand view of Georgian Bay.

Once we got through ‘tourist central’ and descended down from Blue Mountain’s luxurious hiking trails, we made our way through more of the main Bruce Trail and encountered a nice shady area next to someone’s fenced home.  This turned out to be one of the best lunch stops we’ve had for a while.  It was breezy, shady, and we had a great view!

After a nice lunch break, we continued onwards and found ourselves trying to figure out which ski slope we were passing.  I’m not sure where we were exactly but it was interesting to observe how the ski hills are treated in their off season.  Surprisingly, some ski hills are composed of a lot of rock.  I guess there must be a lot of snow that layers over this during the winter.

Seeing where we are on the ski slopes.Returning to the main trail after checking out a nearby lookout point.  We also just finished a lengthy climb.

This soon took us up a second lengthy climb after which we found ourselves enjoying another nice lookout point with a makeshift bench made out of two stumps and a wooden board.  There wasn’t a whole lot of shade here but it was quite a tranquil area.

The trail then took us back into the forest and eventually led to us encountering a family mountain biking.  I was impressed with the kid’s enthusiasm and politeness.  He was yelling, “excuse me!” from a quite afar.

Trudging through a multi-purpose path, and were passed by a nice family enjoying a bicycle ride.A field of green.The grass keeps getting taller and my allergies keep getting worse.

Throughout this hike, the grass was consistently very tall and unfortunately, they were pollinating.  There would be times when we would be crossing huge fields of tall grass — practically shoulder height — and I found myself sneezing uncontrollably.  I certainly didn’t enjoy that section of this hike but I gradually recovered after obtaining the post-hike dinner.

While sneezing frequently, I found myself tackling the final major climb uphill.  As much as I enjoy the challenge, I would have preferred not to have been dealing with a running nose and frequent sneezing fits.

Another very lengthy climb up hill.  A good challenge!The hike evolves into a scenic stroll along rolling hills and fields.

Once we made it up that last hill, I was rewarded with more tall grass.  Fortunately, I had some more space to stay away from this major allergen.  More importantly, the view was very scenic with lush green rolling hills and vast fields amidst a wide blue sky.  I love landscapes such as these — they always appear so tranquil.

We walked up to the end of the dirt road to a big ‘Stop’ sign and began leisurely strolling down the nice shady side road — a nice change from the sunny green fields that I just passed by.  Some dirt bikers roared past us as we gradually made our way to the car.

Enjoying the nice shaded walk down 18 Sideroad back to the car.

This was an excellent hike and aside form my allergies, it was a beautiful day.  After a bit of deliberation between ‘country kitchen’ or ‘Caribbean’ food — we decided to head over to Mylar and Loreta’s Restaurant.  A wonderful old restaurant in the town of Stayner which made for delicious end to the hike.

Check out the full gallery of this hike.