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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.