Monthly Archives: July 2011

Summer hiking is… hot and tiring

July 30, 2011.  Mount Nemo to Waterdown.

It was our hottest day so far, and also the day we hiked the furthest, plus we had a significant unplanned detour (see below).  Temperatures were up in the low 30’s, with bright sun all day.  Luckily most of the route was shaded but even so it was definitely a tiring day.

The day had only minor misadventures.  Finding the main trail from Mount Nemo Conservation parking lot was challenging – poorly marked, even the blue Bruce Trail side trail markers were not consistent.  We did visit the abandoned quarry as a result – a small bonus.  And later as we hiked the escarpment edge we completely missed the turning point where the trail made a sharp descent down the cliff.

Off the trail, but here's the view we got to enjoy

The trail that continued along the edge was so well-worn and seemed so logical neither of us observed the fact that we hadn’t seen any blazes for well over 15 minutes.  We lost at least half an hour with this detour, between discovering we were on the wrong trail and then wandering about to find the right one.  Good thing the view was amazing, and thus the experience earned its place as an auspicious moment.

As it happened, the trail down the cliff that we initially missed turned out to be one of the magnificent experiences of the expedition to date.  The cliffs seemed sheer and impassable – it was an unexpected surprise to find a route forged down the crevice and among the boulders.

The rest of the day’s hike was mostly uneventful.  Lots of climbing up and down the escarpment, stretches along roads, through farmers’ fields, traffic noises from Hwy 5 contrasting with the peace of the forest.  The heat definitely sapped our strength, and a lunch break offered a needed opportunity for a bit of shuteye.

I’m proud to say we made it to Waterdown.  Another good day of hiking. I’m feeling a growing sense of accomplishment.

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We’ve been outed!

Kudos to BT volunteers!

We’re new members of the Bruce Trail Association, and proud to be so.  Happy to pay a nominal amount of $50 to show our appreciation for the club and what it’s accomplished.  It’s an amazing resource and we love all the volunteers who have made it possible. And we’re really looking forward to that end to end badge when we complete this goal.

But there are lots of ways to be a member of a club.  I like to think of ourselves as lurkers, kind of living under the BTC radar. A frequent trail conversation is about whether to join one of the organized hikes posted in Footnotes.  Maybe one day, we say.  Maybe.  But right now, we kind of like doing it our own way. It’s not as if we’re looking for new friends or company.  Hard enough to keep up the ones we have.

So what happened?  Well, our last hike was on Friday, followed by beer on the patio at Kelsey’s in Milton.  And wouldn’t you know it, turns out we were sharing the patio with Charlie Atkinson of the Toronto Club and his fellow Friday hikers.  Who are now on a campaign to recruit us.

What a hoot! I’d like to say we’re too young to join them, but the truth is, we’re not fit enough.  They average 22 km per trip – we’ve been quite happy at 18.

Stay tuned – we may be warming to the idea and to the challenge…. magdalena

The art of stupidity

Day 4; I felt as though we were becoming pros-we knew the drill-what to pack; where to go.  We met at Crawford Lake, where I parked my car and then we drove together in Magdalena’s car to Mount Nemo, where we would start our hike. It was hot and muggy already at 9am and promising to be even hotter.  My shoulder was bothering me so I wanted to carry as little as possible and in an effort to reduce weight in my carrying pack I told Magdalena I was leaving my keys in her car. Neither of us thought twice about the absurdity of this and off we went for our hike back to Crawford Lake; about 18 kms.

Other than the mosquitos, which were very persistent and seemed to follow us in clouds, it was a pleasant walk; through a variety of backdrops, some steep rocky inclines, a few breathtaking views from the escarpment edge, lots of pleasant fields with high grasses and colourful wildflowers which reminded me of my childhood; a few sections along country roads and then again into the tranquil, cooler woods with dappled sunlight and across several burbling streams on boardwalks and bridges. We met several hikers along the way – some traveling with dogs which made me reminisce about Molly who would have loved this experience.

One interesting person we stopped to chat with for a bit was an Iranian man travelling with a huge rucksack and his dog- a collie. He told us he’d started in Niagara 11 days ago and was hoping to reach Tobermory in about 55 days, camping along the way wherever he found a suitable location.  He told us he’d done a 1200km trek in Iran which was not nearly as enjoyable and shared some of his life experiences and comparisons between Iran and Canada. After we said our goodbyes we wondered about some of the practicalities of his adventure and envied him the freedom to be able to do it.

We finished in about 5 hours and were walking across the parking lots to my car looking forward to a nice cool beer, when it suddenly hit me what I had done. My keys were 18 kms back in Magdalena’s car!!! Now what? We tried calling Makudu but no answer and so decided to hitchhike. We walked back towards the entrance of the park and told the girl in the booth about our predicament. She offered to call a cab- noting lots of hikers did that. What a novel idea! It hadn’t occurred to us but a good idea for future hikes- we could then save on gas of taking 2 cars and be more flexible in how far we walked. The cab driver was another interesting fellow – he told us he came from the northern part of India in the foothills of the Himalayans where there were lots of hiking trails-a place that’s always been on my bucket list.

And so we realized yet again the auspiciousness of the moment. Instead of getting upset about the stupidity of my action, which I won’t deny was extremely stupid- we were able to laugh about it and find a solution that would serve us well in the future…marian