Bruce Trail Part 33 – 3 Sideroad to Woodford

The day started off pretty chilly and windy but it got really warm fast as the trail had us ascending pretty quickly.  Despite there being very little reds and oranges, I really enjoyed the range of colours I was seeing.  There is something about autumn time that turns a rather homogeneous-looking green environment into an explosion of diverse colours, shades, and gradients.

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After a hearty continental breakfast at the local motel, we got the cars set up and continued from where we left off yesterday.  It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day for hiking and was surprisingly warm considering the chilly weather we had been experiencing for the past week — even as south as Toronto which was 3 to 4 hours away.

I felt pretty excited to be out on a great autumn day — hoping for more colours!

Starting where we left off...
Starting where we left off…
Sign says we can hike, cross-country, or walk... ?
Sign says we can hike, cross-country, or walk… ?

The day started off pretty chilly and windy but it got really warm fast as the trail had us ascending pretty quickly.  Despite there being very little reds and oranges, I really enjoyed the range of colours I was seeing.  There is something about autumn time that turns a rather homogeneous-looking green environment into an explosion of diverse colours, shades, and gradients.

A look up at the tree canopy we were passing under. Some beautiful yellows and golds.
A look up at the tree canopy we were passing under. Some beautiful yellows and golds.
The trail just got fancier ... and muddier.
The trail just got fancier … and muddier.

Along the way, we found ourselves treated to some muddy areas complemented with some really nice boardwalks.  Sometimes I wonder if there are times where there just isn’t enough treated materials to build a longer boardwalk so a guy just decides to toss some long and fallen tree trunks to fill up the gap (see above photo).

Eventually we found ourselves hiking into a really magical area.  The shadows and light in combination with the light-yellowish-greens and the deep dark evergreen pine needles made for quite a scene out of a fantasy movie.

Stepping into a magical place.
Stepping into a magical place.
It is funny how often we end up hiking next to fences or boundary lines.
It is funny how often we end up hiking next to fences or boundary lines.

I can’t even count the number of times that we have hiked next to a boundary line, barbed wire, electrical wire, plain wire, string, wooden fences, or some form or manner of indicating a property line.  One could propose dubbing the Bruce Trail as the boundary trail.  In that sense, I guess we could also think of sidewalks as such a trail too…

My day was really made when we were just a little bored of hiking on a long stretch of road and I looked over and saw what reminded me of that classic Bliss desktop wallpaper from Windows XP.  There are plenty of differences of course — I like the sole (soul) tree addition here.

This reminded me of the Bliss wallpaper from Windows XP
This reminded me of the Bliss wallpaper from Windows XP
Leisurely hiking alongside rolling hills and fields.
Leisurely hiking alongside rolling hills and fields.

As we continued strolling past field after field, we tried getting reservations at the Flying Chestnut restaurant again.  Surprisingly we were able to get a table that evening but our hope went down the drains when they told us that they were only serving their Thanksgiving dinner and that it’d cost us at least $45 per person.  We wanted to try their standard fare so we tossed that idea out the window and began contemplating other options.

Passing by what looked like a church but I didn't see any signs.  Very nice exterior though!
Passing by what looked like a church but I didn’t see any signs.  Very nice exterior though!
Taking a snack break after running across a busy country road.
Taking a snack break after running across a busy country road.
Arriving in the beautiful Bognar marsh area. My favourite part of today's hike.
Arriving in the beautiful Bognar marsh area. My favourite part of today’s hike.
Just about to have some fun crossing the floating boardwalk.  Jumping is always good fun.
Just about to have some fun crossing the floating boardwalk.  Jumping is always good fun.

One of the most pleasant surprises along this hike was the Bognar Marsh area.  It was quite busy there because of the weather and the long weekend but the marsh was more than worth the extra bit of foot traffic.

I wouldn’t want to hang around here during the spring time (hello mosquitoes!) but this was perfect.  Kids were running around trying to catch dragon flies with their nets and adults seemed to be looking for birds.  We happened to find some guppies in the marsh and a rather camera-shy preying mantis hiding in the tall grass!

A lookout point for the marsh that is tucked away next to the trail.
A lookout point for the marsh that is tucked away next to the trail.
More tall grass to wade through.
More tall grass to wade through.

The day got warmer and the trail from the Bognar marsh eventually led us into some really overgrown areas.  Of course this just led to lots of sneezing on my part.  I cursed the tall grass and just made my best effort to get by as fast as possible.

It’s odd how the forest would get significantly darker as we made our way around the marsh to begin our ascent back up the escarpment.  Along the way, we encountered a couple of rather large groups of hikers — mostly families — trudging along without carrying much.  They didn’t even have hiking boots on so their jeans and running shoes were soaked with mud.  I feel their pain as I was once just like them.  Knowing what I know now, I feel pretty silly!

There was no straight forward way to get back on to the escarpment so we had to circle around the marsh and through some dark wooded area.
There was no straight forward way to get back on to the escarpment so we had to circle around the marsh and through some dark wooded area.
Some beautifully-lit forest.
Some beautifully-lit forest.

Eventually we got out of the dark woods and into some gorgeous areas where the leaves were lit-up by the sun.  I often just want to stop, sit down, and paint scenes like these. All of this is so temporary and will be completely different in the next hour, let alone the next day or the next year.  I figure one day I’ll take on a project like that.

After some significant ascents and enjoying lunch in the middle of the woods on the escarpment — we finally encountered some lookout points.  It’s bizarre how we rarely ever stop at the lookout points for lunch or at least it’s never timed right.

Finally, a few lookout areas along the escarpment!
Finally, a few lookout areas along the escarpment!
This part of the trail contained a lot of rocky ascents and descents.
This part of the trail contained a lot of rocky ascents and descents.

Another really fun aspect of this hike was the opportunity to hike into the crevices.  The trail took us deep into some rocky sections.  We actually had a hard time finding the Bruce Trail markers and ended up climbing up and down the crevice looking for a marker.  Eventually we figured that it didn’t make sense that the trail would become that challenging and backtracked a little, which led us into an even deeper crevice that would lead us back out and into the forest.

We found ourselves descending even deeper into a crevice and getting lost...
We found ourselves descending even deeper into a crevice and getting lost…
Yes, we found our way out by walking deeper through a crevice.
Yes, we found our way out by walking deeper through a crevice.

Have you ever thought of how and why trees always fall in the most intriguing positions?  Sometimes it looks as if it was all intentional!  Of course, we humans will always find meaning in everything or anything.  That said, these are pretty much nature’s own pieces of art with recycled materials in some sense… but I digress.  We found a small milk snake.  This was actually the third or fourth snake we encountered on the trail today.  Must’ve been the warm weather.

Funny how trees sometime fall.
Funny how trees sometime fall.
One of a few bridges that take us over a crevice gap.
One of a few bridges that take us over a crevice gap.

After tackling some more challenging rocky parts along the trail and passing over a number of nifty-looking crevices, we made our way out of the woods and on to the road.  At this point, we were a bit tired and really hungry.  All set for dinner!

Stepping out of the woods and on to the road. Very little traffic at this point luckily!
Stepping out of the woods and on to the road. Very little traffic at this point luckily!
Arriving at our destination point at the Woodford Community Centre where we parked the little red rocket.
Arriving at our destination point at the Woodford Community Centre where we parked the little red rocket.

We wrapped up our long-weekend hike at the small community of Woodford.  Thanks to them, we get to park our car at their community centre.  Once we packed up, my friends had trouble deciding on what to eat for dinner so we decided to start driving to Toronto and check out whatever cool diner that popped up.  Unfortunately too many places were packed and my friends didn’t want to wait.  Funny enough we ended up stopping at the Steven’s BBQ near Superburger!  That intersection is becoming quite the popular stop-off point.

I don’t know when we’ll have the opportunity to hike the Bruce Trail some more.  I will be off to Tanzania in late December and into January of next year so stay tuned!

Want a look at this full hike?  Here’s the full gallery.

http://triptrack.org/3970/embed

Bruce Trail Part 31 – Euphrasia to Grey 12

Once we finally got the cars back in position at the destination point, we got to the trailhead and set off.  The air was cool and damp from the really rainy and wet week in the Grey County area.  The running joke was that they called it “Grey” County for a reason.

The final day of our multi-day trek along the Bruce Trail for most of the week. After some discussion, we decided that since we were not in the condition to push forward after today, we’d just head home and rest up.  After some oatmeal breakfast, we initially tried to set out for Walter’s Falls.  Unfortunately, as soon as we parked the cars, my friend found that her blisters were really hurting so we had to scale back the distance to a very short trek.

Once we finally got the cars back in position at the destination point, we got to the trailhead and set off.  The air was cool and damp from the really rainy and wet week in the Grey County area.  The running joke was that they called it “Grey” County for a reason.

Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail

I don’t know why but I could sense a difference in this portion of the trail.  It felt different and perhaps it is because it was purely through farm area.  What is really quite extraordinary about the Bruce Trail is that some times you are hiking through such a small sliver of property that feels so wild and out of place.  As soon as you step out off the trail, you find yourself in an agricultural area, and urban road, or even a large suburban zone.

In this case, we were walking in between crop fields but the sliver of wooded area we were passing through was vast in contrast to what we had experienced in the past so it made it feel so much more like wilderness when we were in the woods.

Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail

In other sections, it was simply ridiculous.  The amount of overgrowth was just annoying and frustrating at times.  To make it worse and somewhat dangerous — some parts were covering up very rocky sections.  I highly recommend that anyone trekking through these parts bring a machete or be very careful when making your way through.  It isn’t obvious that there are some unstable rocks and the overgrowth on the trail can make the general experience quite challenging.

Of course after a section like that, we’re always happy to see a road and one with a nice view is a bonus.

Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail

It’s ironic that on the last day of our multi-day hike on the Bruce Trail, we would encounter some of the most beautiful areas.  I’m always experiencing joy when I step through paths with trees arching just enough to create a sense of a hallway passing through tall fields of crops on both sides.

Other stunning areas incorporated more dramatic or exposed rock from the escarpment along side the trail.  A part of me would love to spend time exploring more of these exposed areas of the escarpment but we were on a mission!

Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail

There were riverbeds that had very little water and we’d just be stepping on what almost seemed like a stone floor.  With the vibrant green moss, the whole area felt very serene.

To form a sort of juxtaposition to the giant mushroom we encountered yesterday, we stumbled upon thousands of mini mushrooms at the base of a tree we were passing by.  It had even spread on to the trail.  The diversity we’ve encountered has been so amazing.

Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail

Sometimes you can’t help but admire the human influenced paths like the nearly-rectangular hallway in the photo above.  Did someone cut it this way?

Other times, there are more amusing moments like the two bridges that were built in parallel to one another.  One of course is meant to replace the other — which my friend is photographing in the picture below.

Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail
Hiking the Bruce Trail

After trekking through more wooded area, we made our way past more crop fields and to what looked like an abandoned stone building where we had parked.  This was the end of our attempt to hike the Bruce Trail for a week.  It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to but it was a lot of fun — we got to complete the Beaver Valley section — and on a personal level, I was happy to have the opportunity to get out of the city and have time to think and ponder the time away.

Before heading back to Toronto, we decided to stop by and try out the Flying Spatula Diner and ended up enjoying a great brunch there.  Highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the area!

>> View the full gallery of this hike on the Bruce Trail.