For the past couple of weeks, Lynn was taken out by one of the worst sinus colds/flu/massive headache bouts that I can ever remember her suffering through. Several nights of hot and feverish, followed by cold and one memorable night of being almost incoherent took its toll on her. Those two weeks left her mostly on the couch with intermittent trips to see the Doctor.
So, taking a chance last week I said, “you sleep – I’m going out.”
Not wanting to be gone 8 or 9 hours with her so sick, I decided to head back over to the Beaver Valley and hike along the Bruce Trail to the north of Old Baldy.
I parked at the end of Fox Ridge Road in Grey Highlands. This is relatively easy area to get to. If you’re coming from the Collingwood area, Scenic Caves Road turns into Grey County Road 119. Take that west until you come to The Blue Mountains-Euphrasia Townline. Turn left and continue south until you see Fox Ridge Road; turn right and continue along to the end. See, easy!
There is parking available along the road allowance at the end of Fox Ridge Road, but don’t block the private driveway located there.
And with a quick look down, I was ready to go!
After heading from the car, the trail follows this road allowance/driveway for several hundred metres.
Once you get to the end, the trail turns left and skirts the bottom of the escarpment face.
The trail climbs a short hill and then through a rock crevice and flattens out along the top of the escarpment through a lovely birch forest. The day was just about perfect for an adventure. The temperature was about 8 to 10 degrees Celsius, which meant you didn’t need a coat once you got moving along.
The trail along the top of the escarpment was a pleasant section to hike. It actually provided, at least for me, the opportunity to kind of get lost in the moment, It went through gentle slopes, flat sections and open areas. Really easy terrain, where one could either walk along and clear your mind, or simply find a place to sit and let nature soak into your soul.
It would be a good place to go head back to again to find some peace and solace.
After about a kilometre or so, the trail wound its way down the escarpment face to the valley bottom.
See those green moss-covered boulders and leaf covered trail?
And here again?
And look, one more time again!
This is where trekking poles would have paid their price in usefulness.
Through the valley bottom, the trail had slight undulations which under most circumstances aren’t much of an issue. Here though, the trail was over the slickest moss-covered rocks and boulders; intermixed with wet leaves, small scrambling sections and wet areas.
Trekking poles through this section would have been great in order to give some stability when stepping on the slippery rocks; reaching around deadfall, or on the very short up and down “hands and knees” sections. I kind of had this feeling that at any moment, one foot would slip in between two rocks or into a crack and the next sound would be of my ankle twisting or snapping. Which would then be followed by me making sounds or uttering words best not described here!
Having a general understanding of physics and such from my teaching days, I do know that once you, “head down a slope and with all things being equal, you will have to head back up said slope.”
So, after carefully picking my way through the moss-covered boulder trail of potential disaster, I started up and up a series of switchbacks to be presented with this fella.
So, let’s review:
- down/up escarpment face – slippery
- moss-covered rocks – slippery
- everything – slippery
- makes going much tougher and harder
- switchbacks(to this point) – steep, and slippery
- the trail through rock crack(above) – combines all of above bullet points
- conclusion – needs motivation
The picture really doesn’t tell how steep it was. But, undaunted and after a quick water break, I pushed up on through.
You did read – “needs motivation” above right? I did also mention that Lynn wasn’t with me – right?
Good. The trail up through the rock opening does call out for further exploration so to speak. So, normally with Lynn around to ring up 911 if necessary, I might climb around; scramble a bit to see what “there might be to see.” That would normally provide the motivation to slip and slide my way through to the top.
Lynn, however, made it fairly clear before I headed out, not to do any rock climbing/scrambling without her around. She indicated she wasn’t going to be happy if she received a phone call and then needed to figure out a way to get to the hospital over in Grey County someplace. Point taken!
The next three pictures are views from the top of the rock-cut/opening looking back down.
Once back along the top of the escarpment, there were plenty of great views across the Beaver Valley.
The trail came back down the escarpment into private property that was being logged. Unfortunate that such heavy machinery was used because it made huge ruts along the trail.
The trial continued along eventually meeting up with the Ken Young Side Trail located very close to this small stream.
From this point the trail gently rose and fell; following along the contour of ground through mostly a birch and maple forest, eventually coming at:
From here it was about a 300-metre walk along the roadway to the Old Baldy Conservation Area parking lot where Lynn and I had previously hiked to the Old Baldy Lookout.
At the parking lot, I took a short water and snack break and then headed back retracing the same path.
Altogether the hike was between 9.5 to 10 kilometres in length; taking just under 3 hours round trip.
Despite, all my complaining about mossy rocks, steep slopes and such, it was a great hike to do. Would have been better with Lynn along with me though,
I love the Niagara Escarpment, especially through this area. There are so many crags and crevices to explore. Rocks and ravines to scramble up and down on. It never fails to deliver an exciting day!
On a very positive side note, we usually take one or two plastic shopping bags with us to pick up trash along the way. I am greatly relieved to report, that over the nine to ten kilometres, I didn’t see and therefore need to pick up any trash; plastic bottles; cans or anything! Way to go people!
Hope you enjoyed having a read.
This area of Ontario – the Beaver Valley and Grey County is a hot spot to explore. I suggest get online and search out an adventure that suits your needs. Failing that, just get in your car; head on over and start exploring yourself. You never know what you’ll find unless you go “justabitfurther.”