I must readily admit, it has been a while. In fact, a long while since I’ve posted anything much along the lines of a trip report.
Perhaps you’re expecting the next sentence to read, “and for that I’m sorry” but, in all honesty, I’m not really sorry at all.
Life does and will get in the way of doing what we may want to do at times. That’s just the way things tumble and roll. Life and wellness or lack thereof seemed to race out to the forefront since about the second week of July.
As many of you may know or perhaps you are just finding out for the first time, I’ve been dealing with some mental wellness issues, primarily surrounding anxiety since returning from our trip out east back in July. That was a fun, yet whirlwind 3-day adventure to Halifax to the east coast of Canada in the second week of July to deliver a kitten our daughter had purchased back here in Ontario.
Here’s a post about that tornado speed-like adventure to Halifax in July. Soft Kitty – Warm Kitty (Update)
Notwithstanding that, I had noted in several posts throughout the summer and into early September of what has been occurring in my life with regards to my own mental wellness. Feel free to search through and read about them if you feel like it, but I’m trying to march forward here and keep the focus at least at this juncture on a more positive note.
So, with that in mind, let’s leave all that there and move right along.
Back in early September(Saturday of the long weekend), Lynn and I headed up towards the Owen Sound area for a day of hiking and exploring the Bruce Trail as it traverses across the Niagara Escarpment in this area of south Georgian Bay.
After much research(well, not that much research), we settled upon the “Silent Valley Nature Reserve” and the “Crevice Springs Side Trail”.
Both locations are just a short jaunt from the City of Owen Sound.
Silent Valley Nature Reserve
If one is looking for a hike that combines a little bit of everything you could want in an adventure, then the Silent Valley Nature Reserve has to be on that list.
- flat sections
- fossil site
- steep slopes
- a pioneer homestead
- a plane crash site with wreckage
- ….to name a few things
After leaving the old homestead and our ritual stop in Collingwood for the required snacks(okay – mostly junk food) for the day at…
….we continued west towards Silent Valley.
The trailhead for the Silent Valley Nature Reserve is at the north end of Concession Road 2. There is parking for three or four cars, but be sure not to block the private driveway located here as well.
The following is a screenshot with more detail of the various trails throughout the reserve.
Heading north from our car and hiking several hundred metres on the road allowance, we came to a wonderful and very useful information board, detailing the history of the Silent Valley Nature Reserve.
Our general route for the day was north on the Silent Valley Side Trail; followed by a left turn to the Wilson Homestead Side Trail; a steep hike up the escarpment face and a right turn to connect with the main Bruce Trail; a right turn onto the Avalanche Pass Side Trail; re-connecting with the Silent Valley Side Trail and back to our car.
The total distance was approximately six kilometres
The Silent Valley Side Trail is generally flat, passing through a wonderful meadow before entering a mixed forest, but predominately cedar forest.
After making the right turn onto the Wilson Homestead Side Trail, all four of the major historical elements are located relatively close together.
The first historical site was a fossil interpretation information board. It detailed the types of fossils that have been found on and in the rocks in this area. Unfortunately, and for some unknown reason, we didn’t take any pictures of this. Interesting nonetheless.
The next two elements focus on the Wilson Homestead.
(1) – the dug well and dry stone masonry sides.
(2) – the barn walls and discarded machine parts.
The final historical location was an infamous 1970 plane crash site, found just south of the homestead location.
A short video clip.
We continued the adventure on the Wilson Homestead Side Trail as it meandered through meadows and a mixed cedar forest until we started the arduous climb up the escarpment face to connect with the main Bruce Trail. An interesting fact, that just after connecting with the main trail, you will pass the deepest crevice in the Sydenham section of the Bruce Trail.
This one-kilometre section of the trail through this area is littered with deep crevices and such. Many of them are covered with leaf and forest debris, thus concealing what could very well end up being a quick fall into a situation you don’t want to find yourself in.
After about a kilometre or thereabouts, we made a right turn to the Avalanche Pass Side Trail.
This section of the trail makes a steep downclimb from the main Bruce Trail to the valley bottom. It is as the picture above indicates, the trail weaves through a steep talus slope of large rocks and boulders that have separated from the escarpment face and over the millennia tumbled and crashed to the slope bottom.
We only have one picture from our trek down the escarpment face along the Avalanche Pass Side Trail.
One of my trekking poles got caught in a deep crevice opening. As I was walking, it pulled out of my hand and slipped down into the crevice, apparently never to be seen again.
The Avalanche Pass Side Trail, once it gets to the talus slope bottom, traverses through another meadow and forested area, before connecting again with the Silent Valley Side Trail and the return to where we parked our car at the end of Concession Rd. 2
When I had been planning for us to head over to hike here, I thought it would be very busy or at least have people hiking through here, given it was the Saturday of the Labour Day long weekend and it’s relative closeness to Owen Sound.
Nope, that wasn’t the case at all.
For the three hours or so we were there we didn’t come across anyone else out enjoying the day. I did read after that even with the variety of hiking terrain and things to check out, that the Silent Valley Nature Reserve remains a bit of a hidden gem.
Regardless of whether it is a hidden gem or not, we thoroughly enjoyed it. It seemed every kilometre or so along the trail, either the terrain changed or there was a new site to see and explore further.
If you happen to be in the area or are looking for a bit of variety in hiking for a few hours, be sure to check out the “Silent Valley Nature Reserve.”
It was mid to late afternoon by the time we left Silent Valley. We then headed on over into Owen Sound for a bit of a tour through town and some refreshments.
After a quick stop at a local LCBO for some “adult beverages” to consume later that evening, we headed west along Highway 26 to the hamlet of Woodford and the Crevice Springs Side Trail.
Crevice Springs Side Trail
The Crevice Springs Side Trail forms a short loop off the main Bruce Trail, immediately south of Highway 26 in the tiny hamlet of Woodford located about 15 kilometres east of Owen Sound.
Parking for here is across Highway 26 on Woodford Cres. There is a widening of the shoulder of Woodford Cres., just after turning from Highway 26. The Bruce Trail guide also suggests you can park at the Woodford Community Hall which is right off the highway as well.
It traverses through many crevices and rock openings before climbing from the bottom of yet another talus slope to rejoin the main Bruce Trail.
Follow the blue blazes….
All in all, hiking at these two locations made for a wonderful afternoon.
We really hadn’t done much hiking or adventuring since hiking a fair bit in Algonquin Park in late June and into the first week of July.
We both remarked, that although we love to hike and explore new areas, at times hiking for hours on end through what is a seemingly endless forest all looking the same can get a tad boring.
The Silent Valley Nature Reserve and the Crevice Springs Side Trail delivered a kaleidoscope of challenging terrain and historic locations to check out.
These are only two hikes of many in this area that are more than well worth checking out.
One suggestion would be hiking to Inglis Falls, located on the south boundary of Owen Sound. A great little excursion is to park and leave from Harrison Park and hike the Bruce Trail south to Inglis Falls and then return via the same route. It makes a round trip of somewhere between 5 to 6-kilometres.
We did that particular route back in 2016(before justabitfurther came into existence).
Another great hike is to head just outside of Owen Sound to Indian Falls. This is our most recent adventure there.
A third one to check out is Jones Falls, located on the west limits of Owen Sound. Take a look at our 2017 adventure to Jones Falls here.
Thanks for taking the time to “hike” along with us.
The changing of seasons into fall is in full swing in our area of the country. Nevertheless, regardless of where you may be hiding out or when you might be reading this little entry, be sure to take some time for yourself and get outside to recharge.
Time spent wandering around in a park close to your home will provide benefits beyond measure. So, put down whatever you’re doing right now; lace up your shoes or boots and head on outside.
You deserve it.