Day 10, October 27, 2011. Grimsby to Beamsville.
It seems like a long time since the last hike, having had the very exciting interlude of the filming. In fact, though, this is still October, and we are within our conceptual goal of going twice per month. What made this day and the next different was that we were taking a mini-vacation from work, we were going overnight (staying with Marian’s mom Freddie and her husband Ralph), and we were in “Marian’s country” – where she’d grown up.
We hiked a total of 18.5 km on this first of our two back-to-back days. We didn’t reach the 20 we had hoped for, because the trail was challenging and progress was slow.
Much of the time the trail was either rocky and uneven, or it was mucky and steep. We had streams to cross on foot, having to step carefully across the exposed stones.
On the hills it was hard to find footholds or handholds to help us with the slippery mud, either going up or down, and we found ourselves slip-sliding on our boots.
This was our first full day on the Niagara section, and we observed that the markings appeared to favour the opposite direction. More than once we found ourselves lost, having to backtrack because we missed a turn; or we were looking somewhat anxiously for a blaze to confirm that we were still moving along the right path. We do realize we are the contrarians – hiking back to the beginning of this trail, on this first section of the entire route. And of course we were not helped by the carpet of freshly fallen leaves that obscured the path. Good thing we are seasoned hikers by now, and that our bodies are strong and in good health.
On a different note, Niagara of course means vineyards, and wineries! Around 1 o’clock we passed by our first winery. Hmmm. Tempting. But we have miles to go, we said; we need sober heads and steady limbs. So forward we went. Well, that resolve weakened very quickly. The next winery, we determined, would become our lunch break. Alas, it was not to be. The trail never again came so close to a winery for the rest of the day. We did however sample the grapes on the vine. Very sweet and delicious! And at the end of the day we had Freddie pick us up at the Megalomaniac winery sign. That, it turns out, is as close to wine as we got on this day, but, there are more Niagara days to come!
We also crossed paths today with a big group of hikers from the Grand Valley Trail Club, and we met one of the really great landowners who allow hikers like ourselves to pass through their properties. A big thank you to all of you escarpment landowners.