Bruce Trail Part 13 – Hilton Falls to Limehouse

Starting off the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail was quite exciting.  I was looking forward to seeing what this part of the trail had in store for us.  Although some of the trail did seem a bit bland earlier on, it was technically challenging and we were eventually rewarded with some pretty cool and interesting things to see and experience in the latter part of this hike.

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The rain gear everyone was wearing initially was short-lived.  We shed that layer rather soon after starting the hike.

We had thought it would rain all day and taking that into consideration, I decided to bring out my waterproof Canon D20 for use on this hike. Fortunately it stopped raining but I decided to use this small compact handheld camera for the whole hike rather than use my typical camera to see how I felt about it.

Starting off the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail was quite exciting.  I was looking forward to seeing what this part of the trail had in store for us.  Although some of the trail did seem a bit bland earlier on, it was technically challenging and we were eventually rewarded with some pretty cool and interesting things to see and experience in the latter part of this hike.

Getting a nice view of the escarpment, and the rain stopped just in time for us to shed the rain gear.

When we started the hike, it was pouring rain but we soon found that we didn’t need the rain gear and it was significantly warmer than we anticipated so off went the rain gear.  Of course, throw in some sunshine after the rain and you get some pretty warm and humid climate.

Three words:  Perfect mosquito conditions.

We ended up squeezing in between these columns.The view from the road of the escarpment was rather pretty.

After taking us through a small chunk of forest and through some stone formations, we found ourselves on a bridge overlooking a large quarry.  What is fascinating about this is the fact that we drove by the escarpment later and saw the bridge from a distant country side road.  If we hadn’t hiked across that bridge, we would never have known it even existed.

After a bit of climbing we found ourselves on a bridge with a view looking at a rather large quarry.This part of the hike takes us through some marsh areas, and of course the mosquitoes were out in force.

This hike like the previous hike had a lot of overgrowth with less maintained parts of the trail.  As much as I enjoy the wildflowers and all, walking through tall and vast fields of them and into lots of shrubbery isn’t that pleasant and there isn’t much to look around at either other than your footwork — ensuring you don’t trip on a root or stone.

In the latter part of this hike, we began encountering entire chunks of the trail that were all uneven rock or stone.  This slowed us down greatly but we got accustomed to it after some practice.  It didn’t help that the rain over the past week made everything moist and muddy, making navigating over the not-so-flat or stable rocks and moss-covered stones more challenging.  It was a nice technical challenge for us but it would get tiring for anyone who isn’t accustomed to hiking or haven’t strengthened their leg and ankle muscles.

The hike gets challenging from a technical perspective because of all the uneven rocks and mossy rocks that served as the trail path.A brief break from hiking on the rocks.  A random lawn chair?If only we had cash on us.  We could have enjoyed some poutine along this hike!

Eventually, we made our way on to the road and ended up passing by an interesting little food joint.  We were hoping to try out the poutine but unfortunately we used up all our cash available to us in order to pay for parking at these Conservation areas.  There’s a bit of irony there.

The next part of this hike was by far one of my favourite encounters.  We ended up hiking through a small strip of land in between two large corn fields.  Aside from wondering if this corn was meant for humans or for animal feed, we traversed through some very interesting terrain.  The trail weaved between and around trees or vines with so much character and colour — then ended up finding ourselves forced to hike through columns of corn, with husks and leaves constantly flapping into our face.  Annoying but fun for a brief amount of time.

It's amazing to think that this is a mere thin strip of land between two fields of harvest and crops.  Practically a tunnel made up of all sorts of trees and brush.A view of what's outside the natural tunnel.  Notice the corn fields on both sides.Enjoying the rather colourful experience whilst walking through this path.Passing through more farmland.

Eventually, after making our way through some large acres of farmland, we find ourselves in Limehouse Conservation Area.  There we make our way through the “Hole in the Wall”, a fun section of the trail in this park.  We tried to hang around here for a while to take some photos but it seemed like a pretty busy part of the trail so we had to depart to let some other folks have some fun.

The Limehouse Conservation Area also contains some pretty nifty historical remnants of the old industry from the 1800s.  My inner historian would love to spend hours comparing photos of then and now.

The remnants of the Lime industry of the 1800s.Autumn has been revealing its splendid colours.

The latter part of this hike was by far one of the most interesting bits of the Bruce Trail.  It was tiny but thoroughly enjoyable.  The funny thing about the Bruce Trail that I’ve discovered thus far is that it takes you through large number of beautiful areas but it doesn’t necessarily take you through the best parts of these areas nor does it force you to spend more time in these areas.  It sort of forces you to choose distance vs. depth.  At the end of the day, we were surprised to see a beautiful multi-coloured tree.  We had parked on the side of the road earlier in the morning when it was pouring rain — with the sun out, everything looked completely different.

Check out the full gallery from this hike.  As much as I liked the fact that I was better able to respond to situations with the Canon D20 camera, and that it was waterproof — I still preferred using my go-to Fuji X100.  That said, I didn’t mind that with the Canon D20, the amount of time spent dealing with post-processing RAW files and uploading large image files was reduced dramatically!

Bruce Trail Part 12 – Twiss Road to Hilton Falls

Although we wanted to push for a 25km hike after our 23km hike last weekend, the distance between a number of parking lots were rather limited in choice so we had to reduce our hike to only 21km. We were surprised to find that parking is actually pretty expensive on the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.

Although we wanted to push for a 25km hike after our 23km hike last weekend, the distance between a number of parking lots were rather limited in choice so we had to reduce our hike to only 21km. We were surprised to find that parking is actually pretty expensive on the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.
We were rather eager to tackle this final section of the Iroquois section of the Bruce Trail and the hike started with some amusement when we realized one of our part-time hikers was a little under prepared for the hike.  After poking some fun at the “tourist”, we went on our way.

The first part of this section of the trail soon after Twiss Road.

The trail was relatively flat although surprisingly unmaintained.  There were areas with significant overgrowth and anyone wearing shorts might find this section of the trail pretty  uncomfortable at times.  The early part of this section was also a bit stinky.  The bogs in the area end up producing quite a bit of sulphur-like aroma.

We did make it to certain parts of the escarpment — particularly as we were passing through the major conservation areas such as Rattlesnake point.  There were a number of lookouts and we had once again more opportunities to see turkey vultures.

A turkey vulture about to fly.

There were some points of the trail that were not only unmaintained but also pretty challenging for folks who aren’t accustomed to hiking.  This part of the trail was completely made up of medium-sized uneven stones.  We’ve encountered some sections of the Bruce Trail like this as well and usually people find it is easier to navigate with trekking or hiking poles.

Descending on boulders is pretty tough when the stones are a little wet.We kept seeing fields of these wildflowers.

Similar to our recent hikes, we’ve been noticing a large number of wildflowers — having encounters with many vast and beautiful fields full of them.  Aside from noticing the typical landscaped gardens in the city, it is always so much more pleasing to see what mother nature has in store for us as we pass through these different areas.

Surprisingly, as we hiked through certain parts of this hike — we found ourselves encountering a large number of other hikers and mountain bikers.  We had merely sat down to enjoy a snack and within minutes had large numbers of people pass by us in all directions.  Must’ve been an excellent day to get out and about!  It wasn’t hot nor too cold.

Hiking into Rattlesnake Point Conservation AreaA great lookout point but it's unfortunate we have to look out towards warehouses and big box chains.

This part of the hike is rather fascinating from a personal standpoint.  There were a lot of opportunities to enjoy and take in great views from the escarpment.  For years, I have travelled back and forth on the 401 west of Toronto and on each of those trips, I had passed by these escarpments — curious as to whether it were possible to stand and hike along these tall cliffs.  This hike served as a fulfilling answer as I stood on the escarpment looking out to the highway.  I wonder how many people pass by on the 401 with the same idea or thought.

Looking out over Lake Kelso from the escarpment along Kelso Conservation Area.Awaiting the weekly glamour photo shoot.We often see exits/entrances into certain conservation parks.Passing by a building with a giant pigeon?

Every so often on these hikes, I encounter the most out of context peculiarities.  I’m never sure what to think but I do enjoy these random encounters.  I’m a bit puzzled though about giant pigeon on that visitor centre building.  We also encountered a lot of funny names for mountain bike trails like “Gateway to Heaven”.  A little over-the-top?

After passing under this bridge that the 401 runs over, we will have completed the Iroquois section of the Bruce Trail!

Given the length of the Bruce Trail, it’s always exciting to complete a section of it.  It is important recognize and photograph the milestone.  In this case, it was the bridge that 401 traffic was passing over.

Another really awesome encounter was a commemorative plaque marking an approximate location where the first trailer blaze marker for the Bruce Trail was painted.  Pretty amazing to think that people have been hiking this trail for so many decades. 

This apparently was near the spot where the first ever Bruce Trail marker was painted.The autumn colours are beginning to show!

Through out the hike there were early signs of autumn.  Some friends and I will be heading to the Adirondacks soon so hopefully we’ll catch some more autumn colours!  This hike wasn’t bad but I was hoping for some more interesting scenery.  Still, I loved the vast fields of wildflowers and having the opportunity to stand on the edge of the escarpment was brilliant and reminded me of my years past.

Hopefully the next hike will be even more interesting as we begin a full part of the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail.  The full gallery from this hike is available here.

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.

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.