Monthly Archives: April 2012

Trilliums

Day 17, April 21, 2012.  Scotsdale Farm to Terra Cotta.

This was a day to celebrate trilliums.  Gracious and elegant in their simplicity and in the purity of the white petals and the green leaves, Ontario’s official flower of Ontario blooms in early spring.  Today, April 21, 2012, they were at their peak.  In places they carpeted the entire forest floor, while in other places we spotted a single flowering plant tucked prettily at the base of a giant tree.

The day was cold and overcast – I was glad for my extra turtleneck but sorry I hadn’t brought warmer gloves or a wool hat.  Still, the day suited my mood.  There’s something about a cloudy day that is more subdued and therefore more contemplative.   It helps me steady my spirit as I walk through the day.  Step after step, I grow more quiet and tranquil, and allow the rhythm to slow my thoughts as I reconnect with my centre.

The section of the trail that we covered today was magnificently beautiful.  All fifteen km. were on forested trails through cedars and hardwoods, and much of it followed along Silver Creek.  We send a particular shoutout to the Toronto Club for the great many boardwalks through swampy sections. We know it represents a lot of volunteer hours to keep it in such good shape.  Thank you!

We had lots of company on the trail.  Once again, we met large groups of Chinese hikers, the high energy boisterous men in front, gradually winding down to the stragglers at the end panting as they climbed the rises with their walking sticks.  We also saw lots of dog walkers, in pairs or alone.

You try to find cover here!

This was the day I was almost caught with my pants down!  We’ve never really mentioned pee breaks before but they are a given – there are no facilities along the trail.  We’ve become quite blasé, nature trumping modesty, a quick check to see if there are others around and then down come the pants.  I was already squatting when Marian called out, “I hear voices!”  She hurried ahead to ask the couple to wait until I announced myself decent once more.  We had a good chuckle but the man was not amused – neither of them were – he advised me to move away from the trail next time.  Easier said than done, the woods in the spring offer limited cover.

The day ended with our usual beer and this time we went to the picturesque Terra Cotta Inn.  Upstairs we would definitely have been out of place with our hiking boots, muddied pants and windblown hair, but the downstairs pub was perfect: a fire blazing in the hearth, a pub fare menu, tables covered with flannel-back plastic table cloths, a stone floor.  The only thing missing was the wellies. magdalena

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Easter Renewal

Day 16, April 7, 2012.  Speyside to Scotsdale Farm.

Today’s hike was – dare I say it – kind of dull in comparison to previous hikes.  We were glad it wasn’t our first.  We had easy walking with no steep climbs, we traveled along the edges of many farmers’ fields and walked on quite a few roads.  It felt more like a walk in the country than one of our typical rugged hikes on the Bruce Trail.

On the other hand, who can complain about cloudless and brilliant sunshine, with hardly a breeze in the air, and temperatures were in the low teens.

Spring was announcing itself with buds on trees, trilliums pushing their way up through the leaf cover, butterflies flitting about, and early blossoms on trees.

It was a perfect day for walking, and because it was Easter weekend we had lots of company on the trail.

note the blaze above the "hole in the wall" - yes, you need to pass through this

The highlight of the hike was definitely the enchanting Hole in the Wall area.  The section has amazing rock formations, with deep fissures and promontories, all within a fragrant cedar forest.   The trail actually passes through the biggest fissure by means of two ladders – hence the name, Hole in the Wall.

The worst part of the hike?  The 3/4 km section along Highway 7 with heavy traffic roaring by.  Arrgghhh.  What a relief it was to drop back into the forest after that.

We ended the day in Georgetown where, before beer, we stopped in at The White Rabbit.  This is a used bookstore run by Marian’s old college friends, Tom and Marilyn, which bills itself as the go-to bookstore for Georgetown and we are recommending it as the go-to place for BT hikers who need something to curl up with as they rest up after a day’s hike .  It’s  bright and cheerful, and is spilling over with a fantastic selection of contemporary books in mint condition.  I immediately spotted titles like Paul Coehlo’s The Witch of Portobello  and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, just 2 of many familiar and wonderful titles on the shelves.  Tom had a number of copies of  Steve Hainsworth’s  Adventures with Bruce, about the author’s 30 day hike along the Bruce Trail in 2010 – we each bought a copy of course!

I’m very excited about our next two hikes.  We’re heading into Terra Cotta, and then after that we’re on to the Forks of the Credit.  magdalena

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First hike of 2012

Day 15, March 25, 2012.  Hilton Falls Conservation Area to Speyside.

For weeks, months even, I’ve been itching to get back on the trail, and at long last, here we are!  We’re starting a new section, the Toronto section, and we are heading north.  Every hike will now take us farther from home, which will mean greater travel.

Clearly, we never managed the winter hikes we’d talked about.  In the end, they just never worked out – which was unfortunate as the winter itself hardly materialized this year.  Hiking conditions would have been ideal.  But as they say, life’s complications intervened, so for us winter hiking will need to wait for another year.

Still, it’s only March, and it’s 3 months earlier than we started last year.  As beginnings go, today feels very different than those first days last year when we initially started out.  We’re veterans now.  We’ve got most of the gear figured out, the snacks, the distances.

All the same, we are rusty after more than 4 months away and it shows before we even hit the trail.  The logistics – they’re trickier than I once imagined.  First I “kinda forgot” about saying I’d call before I left, so when Marian finally calls me on my cell (twice – first I wouldn’t answer because I was on the road and I didn’t recognize the number…) I’m almost at my destination and we’d lost about a half hour at the start.  Then there’s the problem of where to meet – in my head I thought we would meet at the beginning of the day’s hike, drive together in one car to the end point, walk to the beginning, and then drive back to the other car.  It works, but Marian’s plan was better – to meet at the end point, drive to the beginning, and walk in the direction of the trail maps.  Then there are the cameras.  Marian has camera problems – the advanced functions broke during her trip to Morocco – and I have a new camera I am still learning to use, so even that part, always an important one to us both, needs getting used to.

On the other hand, our feet know exactly what to do. It feels great to be back on the trail for a day’s hike.  The day is warm and sunny, following a cold wet Saturday, and the signs of spring are everywhere.  We see early wild flowers, buds on trees, green shoots of plants poking up through the marshes.  And, like a gift to our out-of-practice bodies, the trail today stays mostly on top of the ridge and we have very few climbs or descents.

It’s a day of conversation.  There’s so much to catch up on, not least of which is Marian’s trip to Morocco, the people she met, the places she saw.  But we also catch up on all the people in each other’s lives.  We’ve gotten to know each other’s stories intimately as we hiked together, and today we need to reconnect on them all.

We’re also full of dreams and plans.  Together we speculate on how much of the trail we can complete this year.  We talk about other hikes we want to do – Camino, Nepal.

We end the day with our requisite beer on the patio at the Halton Country Inn and golf course, with a toast to our first hike of the year.  It’s been a great start, to what we hope will be a great year on the trail. magdalena

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