Hike #25 – Bruce Trail/Dufferin Quarry

Hike #25
Bruce Trail/Dufferin Quarry Bridge
Milton, Ontario
28-February-2016

I woke up today with my leg still aching, but a few quick stretches later I was ready to get going. The weather was unbelieveable: 14 degrees Celsius in FEBRUARY?! I couldn’t resist.

I picked up my Bruce Trail guidebook and planned out where to go.

There’s a gap in the escarpment in Milton, and I wanted to explore it. Turns out there’s a quarry in there, with a bridge that keeps the Bruce Trail connected.

I headed out with all my gear and found parking along Dublin Road. The trailhead was where it seemed like private property, but all the trails online showed this to be an entrance, so away I went.

I’m glad I had my icers on, as it was uphill for almost a kilometre until I reached the white blazes of the Bruce Trail. At the top I met a couple coming from the direction I was heading into, and asked if there was ice along the trail. They said no, but I quickly realized that was not the case. Back on the icers went; there were a few crevices with ice around them that I didn’t want to risk anything preventable happening. I don’t want to be “that hiker” in the next news article.

A majority of this hike I was alone with no one else in sight. I know, this is also a huge safety risk that I’m told over and over. I can’t help it. I like hiking alone, and generally just being alone. It’s nice to have company sometimes, but if your hike mates aren’t going the same pace it kind of defeats the purpose. Plus, I stop and just breathe it all in or take photos frequently. None of this is a race to me. I’m out there to be out there in nature. I don’t know how else to describe it. Thinking, appreciating, being.

I could smell skunks that I likely scared while trekking along that rocky, muddy trail. It was nearer the end when I passed more couples, and dogs, enjoying the unusual February warmth.

At the completion, I emerged from a hole in the wall -literally- onto a narrow shoulder along Sixth Line Nassagaweya, covered in mud and hungry for the barbecue we were going to afterwards!

Advertisements

Hike #23 – Crane Park

Hike #23

Crane Park

Guelph, Ontario

January 29, 2016

Sunny, sunny, sunny day… was incredibly deceiving! It was -10C but -17C with the windchill. Just have to dress warm and get out there, which I did.

I was actually looking for another trail when I found Crane Park. Parking for one of the entrances to the Niska Trail was signed β€œNO PARKING; Snowplow Turnaround” only; I guess I’ll have to try again in the spring πŸ™‚

The trees in the forested part I walked through… just cracked so loudly I was sure with just one gust they were going to collapse down onto me. In this video you can also hear the baby squirrels squawking πŸ™‚

Crane Park is a leash-free area, and it made me (again) wish I had a hiking dog. One day:)

 

Hike #22 – Natchez Woods

Hike #22
Otterbein/Walter Bean Trail/Natchez Hills
Kitchener, Ontario
January 28, 2016

It was late in the day when I set off on this trail. The sky was clouded over. I’d been on the trail for 10 minutes when the heavy snow started to fall.

This was one trail I’d never been on before. I’ve parked at this trailhead before many times… for geocaching and kayak launching. I headed down the obvious pathway, running parallel to the river, and up a steep hill. That’s where I grabbed the black & white Instagram photo. It was a nice view, and even nicer that there aren’t any houses in the frame! Buildings and houses and construction are just everywhere now… when I continued on this trail from this point, I could hear the sounds of a chainsaw and the smell of fresh-cut boards. Thankfully I couldn’t see it.
The trail eventually turned into a narrow path between cedars and it was almost like a fairy tale.

Out of the trees and following the trail back towards the trailhead, I rounded Natchez Hill and a new giant apartment building came into view, almost like something you would see in a movie. I didn’t approach it (because I wasn’t in a movie…) and kept going. The snow was still falling at a good pace and I was finally walking along the powerlines path. At one point I couldn’t help but take notice of a peculiar footprint pattern. It was two (human) feet, about shoulder-lenth apart, with a, *ahem*, yellowish hole into the snow, between the footprints. I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go! πŸ™‚

Hike #21 – Sandy Hills Trail

January 25, 2016
Hike #21
Sandy Hills Trail
Elmira, Ontario

My first night hike for my challenge! A friend of mine (who is also part of the 52 Hike Challenge) invited me along for this group event in Elmira, part of Woolwich Township. It was their first official night hike as well, and included a couple stops during the 2.5km hike through the woods. One of the stops was to be still, silent, flashlights off, and to hear nature at night. While I don’t mind listening to nature during daylight hikes, it’s a little more intense at night, in the dark. At least with a medium-sized group it wasn’t so bad.

Another stop introduced us to our sense of sight. Each person was given a recipe card and a crayon with the label removed. We had to guess what colour we had and write it on the card, again with all our lights out. I was sure mine was orange (it was black!)

The remainder of the hike was peaceful. It wasn’t too cold thankfully, and we were presented with hot apple cider back at the trailhead. My friend Kyle also received his hiking patch for completing 200km of trails in the Woolwich Township. I think he’s the first person to do it, too. Awesome!

Hike #17 Grand Valley Trail

Hike #17
Grand Valley Trail
Kitchener, Ontario

Awhile ago I joined an online group for hiking and discovered this trail group. About 15 people showed up for this 10km hike through the Homer Watson Park down through Doon and back. What a great hike!

I chatted with a few people, and the the hike leader. He told me about a good section of the trail that had to be re-routed several times because of new home construction. So many new houses.

The weather was cooperative today; when I woke up, it was supposed to be a high of 7C with light rain all day. We didn’t see a drop! It was still cool (hello, December) but very tolerble. I had on my thermal base layers and a sweater and I was good. The weather is sure keeping all the grass bright green!

I really started to feel it around kilometre 7… I need to hike more, and not just easy trails. We hiked up and down and through the bush and down city-paved trails. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish, to be honest. And this was only 10km! For shame.

But, I made it. I saw my car parked in the lot and kept moving forward. Success πŸ™‚

Hike #14 Cyprus Lake

Hike #14
Cyprus Lake Trail/Grotto/Indian Head Cove/Bruce Trail
Bruce Peninsula National Park (Tobermory, Ontario)
December 2, 2015

An adventurous day driving up to the Bruce Peninsula National Park!Β 

My boyfriend had never been up north that way, so we decided to take advantage of our previous plans and head up! (We were originally going to meet up with a walking group in Wiarton, but traffic on the 401WB expressway was backed up two hours… ugh!)Β 

The BPNP is one of my absolute favourite places to hike and to just be. The trails are clearly marked, the air is fresh, there are trees and trees and trees, and the views along the cliffs of Georgian Bay are just simply amazing. I could never get bored of this area.Β 

Being December, we didn’t have a whole lot of daylight to use, but we sure had almost the entire park to ourselves – at least, along where we hiked.

I kept my bear bell on most of the time we were on the trails. You just never know, especially when I saw quite large tracks in the mud. (They turned out to belong to a Beethoven dog – that was a relief! I’m going to look into learning more about what tracks belong to what animals now…) πŸ™‚