Bruce Trail Part 23 – Nottawasaga to Duntroon Highway 91

We even encountered trilliums blooming everywhere.  The funny story about this flower is that aside from it being Ontario’s official flower and it being a part of the province of Ontario logo — I actually rare ever saw a trillium until I started hiking the Bruce Trail.

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After a brief hiatus from hiking in late April, we continued from where we left off. At this point, it is mid-May and we were definitely anticipating lots of bugs. Surprisingly and thankfully, we were wrong … yet again.  We were puzzled. The 2 hour drive up from Toronto to tackle the hike has been taking its toll but at least gas prices were a little lower at this point making it a bit less painful.  As soon as we started, we encountered a man who was preparing for the End-to-End event for Blue Mountains section of the Bruce Trail — he encouraged us to tackle it but unfortunately we already had our weekend booked up and were on a tight schedule.

Enjoying the mid-late May green along the trail.Great lookout spot. It's pretty amazing that only a handful of weeks ago, this would have been a pretty bare landscape.

One of the things I enjoy most about springtime on the Bruce Trail are the light and vibrant greens.  The leaves haven’t fully developed yet so they’ve yet to mature into the darker shades of green so the wooded areas are often filled with light.

Spring time still allows for sunlight to shine through much of the woods, providing some really nice backlighting for individual leaves.The trilliums are in full bloom.  They were all over the trail.

We even encountered trilliums blooming everywhere.  The funny story about this flower is that aside from it being Ontario’s official flower and it being a part of the province of Ontario logo — I actually rare ever saw a trillium until I started hiking the Bruce Trail.

Sometimes while hiking along in silence with my friends, I let my mind drift.  It is during these moments that I’ll abruptly check back into reality and onto the Bruce Trail to observe beauty on the trail.  It’s like an odd surprise that just keeps recurring.

I'm not sure what it is about this shot but there is something about it that draws me in.Just as we were about to walk out into an empty crop field, we noticed a lookout spot.  Not quite sure for what though.

Speaking of surprises, just as we were passing through a small wooded area and into an empty crop field — we stumbled upon peculiar objects.  There was an lookout without any ladder (I wondered if people simply clamored up the tree) and then we came across some Christmas decorations abandoned along the trail.  I’m so curious about their stories.

Remnants of Christmas decorations along the trail.The trail takes us along the edge of the empty crop field.I'm not sure who laid down all those planks and logs but they were helpful against the mud!

We kept trying to determine how the muddy the trail would be and this time we took a gamble on not using gators.  Oops, that was a mistake!  There were large sections of muddy trail that we had to tip toe or navigate through.  It was pretty warm that day so gators would have made it feel warmer but it would have saved my hiking pants from getting covered with mud!

Not all of the trail was muddy though.  This was the good thing about hiking through this section of the Bruce Trail.  The “mountains” in the area meant that there would often be large sections of dry trail after passing through a valley.  It also meant for some steep climbs in certain parts of this hike.

I didn’t mind given that we’re training to tackle Kilimanjaro later in the year but it certainly reminded me of a number of sections along the Kumano Kodo in Japan!  A steep and continuous climb.  The reward would be signage at the very top to take a breather and read.

A long and steep climb up Devil's GlenThe sign at the top of the climb up Devil's Glen.Passing by a funky looking rickety carport-like structure.

Once the trail took us out of Devil’s Glen Provincial Park, we found ourselves on an odd path that would lead us to passing through places with ‘character’.  Sometimes, I don’t know what to make of certain things but I simply enjoy and appreciate them.  Without them, I’m confident the Bruce Trail just wouldn’t be the same.

Some places seem like they have a mysterious history while other places just makes you want to sit and ponder how wonderful it’d be to rest or live there (or at least close by).  Then there are places that simply make you scratch or shake your head.

This looked like a scene out of a fairytale.A rather odd section of the trail that was parallel and right next to the road.Passing through another field.

Passing through farms or crop fields are some of the moments I really enjoy along the trail.  Living in Toronto, it’s not as if I step across farms very often nor do I pay close attention to agriculture — but being on the Bruce Trail at least sheds some light on the state of agriculture in Ontario as I walk through a fraction of the farmland in this province and have a tiny glimpse into the agricultural landscape.

Times when I really want to scratch my head are when bits of the trail lead on and off the road again with a few metres.  I simply wonder — what’s the point?  Other than having a slightly better workout that is.

Sometimes, the trail is rather peculiar.  We walked off the road and into this tiny forested section that lasted a mere 2 or 3 minutes before we were back on the same road we were originally on.The end of this hike!

It was a muddy hike but an amazing day with great weather.  After the hike, we ended up driving back to Toronto and enjoying barbeque!  A rare treat after a hike.  You can check out the full gallery from this hike here.

Bruce Trail Part 22 – Lavender Rd to Nottawasaga

Given the ultra cold experience we encountered last time, we were all smiles as soon as we continued along the trail.  There were some quirky characteristics about a number of the houses in Lavender — I won’t point them out here but see if you notice them if you ever pass through. Nothing bad, just neat!

Continuing where we left off but with more sun and warmth!

Following the past couple of hikes, we were ready for the cold this time around but the weather turned out to be surprisingly pleasant.  Starting off where we left off last time near Lavender Cemetery — we set out along the road.  I was a happy camper because the cold weather and freezing temperatures had me relying on insulated water bottles rather than a water bladder until today.  Life is made so much more convenient when using a water bladder.  Unfortunately the warmer temperatures also meant that I was more prone to allergies — I anticipated those pollen attacks.

Given the ultra cold experience we encountered last time, we were all smiles as soon as we continued along the trail.  There were some quirky characteristics about a number of the houses in Lavender — I won’t point them out here but see if you notice them if you ever pass through. Nothing bad, just neat!

The trail continues along the road until we turn into the forest and find ourselves hiking over some really scenic crevices.  With much of the snow receding, I’m enjoying the diversity in terrain once again.

More interesting terrain to tackle this time along the trail.The view from a spectacular lookout point we stumbled upon.

As we hiked further up along what I figured to be the escarpment, I noticed a very small clearing hidden in the trees and poked my head through.  I’m so glad I stopped to take a look because we almost missed out on a very nice lookout point. Talk about hidden treasure.  It was too early for lunch but I always wish lunch time would coincide with these lookout points — there’s nothing quite like enjoying your lunch while staring out into the distance and the horizon.

We eventually came into a pretty wet area (read: mud!) but fortunately someone had been working on a number of boardwalks — or so we think.  There seemed to be someone’s belongings scattered along the boardwalk’s vicinity.  We even noticed that they brought a leveler to help with building the boardwalk.

I think someone was working on the boardwalks and was taking a lunch break.  Their belongings were all over the place.Passing by a lake still frozen over.

The weather may have been warm enough that we were in t-shirts (we were shedding layers as soon as we began the hike), but we passed a number of bodies of water that were still covered with ice.  I would have liked to skate over this during the winter but I never really thought of bringing a pair skates on a hike before.

We soon found ourselves back on a long stretch of road.  There was something serene about trekking along the side of this road.  Despite the vehicles driving past us, hiking along the road can be entertaining at times.  Some cyclists were flying past us at such a high speed that we could even hear a high-pitched whirl from their wheels.

Walking along a road section of the trail.  I don't think I've ever seen a sign like that before.An old schoolhouse. We weren't able to discern what year it is from but the glass seemed pretty new.Where we eventually stopped for lunch after searching for a dry patch along the trail to sit down. Thanks to the folks who built the boardwalks!

I often tell people that there is always something interesting to see or encounter along the Bruce Trail.  This time we passed by an old schoolhouse with a bell and all.  We weren’t able to discern what year this was built but someone must have been doing some upkeep.  The windows did not appear old and seemed to be in decent condition.  I remember reading about schoolhouses like these when I was young and seeing them in dramatized reenactments at places like Pioneer Village or on television.  I wonder how long schoolhouses such as these continued serving the role of providing a roof for the purpose of educating Canadians.

Just as we thought life was getting easier with all the receding snow — we got routed right through a large field full of it.  Crunchy snow is one thing but melting and mushy snow makes for a tough trek across the field.  It was a beautiful sight to take in despite the challenge that it posed.

We came across areas still covered with plenty of snow.As much as the snow may not be so appealing, it made for a nice landscape photograph.

If big blue skies and clouds are two things in nature I love dearly, then vast open fields and rolling hills must be next on my list.  I’m sure I’ve stated it before but I can’t really get enough of it.  Don’t let these soft rolling hills fool you though, they are still a challenge to hike — particularly when muddy or covered with snow.  I think I could sit down and spend an afternoon just staring out at a scene like this.

After trudging through more mud (yes, we got past the snow for now) — we passed through a large farm with a vast field of unharvested corn from the past season.  I guess they were preparing the land for the upcoming planting season because we saw the harvester busy at work.  I was hoping it would come closer to us so I could get a better photograph of it but I also didn’t want it to stir up all the dust and spray corn at us.

Passing by a harvester in action out in the corn field.A beautiful road section of the trail where we passed by a nice-looking reservoir or two.

Stepping onto the last stretch of road for this hike, there were a couple of bodies of water we spotted along the road.  With the cloud-less blue sky, the water sparkled and appeared perfect for a swim.  Of course, it was probably too cold and the water was likely meant for other purposes.

Speaking of cold, as soon as we reached the end of the stretch of road, we found ourselves trekking on snow.  This time it was very wet and slushy and to make things worse, there was a pretty high chance of plunging your foot into deep cold and slushy water too.  When we reached the end of the road, we also passed by a group of people who seemed to be intent on camping.  They were only wearing running shoes.  We could hear shrieks and laughter as we made our way down the trail so I imagine they probably took a nice foot bath as they made their way down the trail.  Hope they had a few spare socks!

The toughest areas of this hike to contend with were the ones with half-frozen and half-melting snow that was still quite deep.Lots of water passing under this bridge/boardwalk from all the melting snow.

It was pretty amazing to see all the snow remain in certain sections of the trail and one could actually feel why if you stepped into the trail at that point.  Some parts of the trail felt really warm while other areas — despite being sunny — received a lot of cold drafts or breezes of air.  I figure this might be why certain sections are so slow to melt away.

The last bit was pretty tiring — particularly since our feet at that point were pretty soaking wet, or at least feeling damp.  The inconsistency of the snow made it additionally challenging for us to maintain balance on the trail.  Once we spotted the car, we quickly made our way towards it and started drying our feet!  I didn’t have spare socks so I ended up driving barefoot home.

Made it to the end -- with slightly damp socks.

After a hike like this, we were contemplating places to enjoy dinner.  Fortunately, the town of Creemore was close by and its main claim to fame is its Creemore Springs brewery (one of my favourite brews).  Alas, the brewery was closed already when we arrived in town but they did have an excellent pub across the street and it was the happening place in town.  Busy place with great food, I recommend their chicken pot pie which was excellent.  I only wish they had better desserts to offer, which I skipped this time around!

The next hike will be interesting — I only hope that it isn’t full on mosquito season yet!

Take a look at the full gallery from this hike.