Hogg’s and Eugenia Falls – Grey County

On one of the Tuesday’s during my recent vacation, we did a late afternoon trip out to Hogg’s Falls and Eugenia Falls in Grey Highlands/Beaver Valley area.

Both are located a short drive from the Village of Flesherton.

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If you follow along with us, you’ll have read that we’ve been to both locations on many occasions.

Not sure why we decided to head out this way that particular Tuesday.

As I’ve written in a couple of recent posts, it seemed that the days simply blended together from one day to the next. As well, I can’t for the life of me remember if one of us had an appointment earlier on that day.

Nevertheless, in the long run, it doesn’t matter. The world continued to spin throughout the universe and will continue to spin regardless if we can remember what we did that day or not.

Here are a few pictures from the afternoon.

Hogg’s Falls

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Hogg’s Falls is located on Lower Valley Road. If you are westbound on County Road 4 approaching the Village of Flesherton, you’ll see a sign indicating where to turn to get to the falls. The is a small parking lot and a couple of information boards there that give some background to the history of the area. The falls themselves form part of the Bruce Trail, so this is always a great location to park if you plan on hiking the trail in this vicinity. In addition, parking is free.

Eugenia Falls

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Remnants of the old power station. Now, only the walls remain, covered in graffiti.

 

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If you could see what I see.

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Eugenia Falls is located in the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area within the Hamlet of Eugenia. As with Higg’s Falls, if you are westbound on County Road 4 heading towards Flesherton, you’ll see signs indicating to turn onto County Road13(Beaver Valley Road). Simply follow the signs once you enter the Hamlet of Eugenia.

There is a parking area, portable toilets and the local cenotaph located with the conservation area. This location does get very busy on weekends, as it is a popular attraction in the area. Please note, the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority charges for parking at this location.

A great late afternoon out at both locations.

If waterfalls are your thing, be sure to check both these locations out.

Located not far off the beaten path, they would certainly form part of a day spent cruising through the Beaver Valley and Grey Highlands area. With plenty of villages and hamlets scattered throughout, many of which have lovely quaint restaurants and stores, it would make for a great day trip.

The following link on waterfalling in Grey County gives you a ton of information of both Hogg’s Falls and Eugenia Falls, as well the falls located throughout Grey County.

Remember…

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

 

 

 

Owen Sound – Indian Falls

Over the long weekend here in Ontario, we took the Sunday to head over to the Owen Sound area to check out Indian Falls, located just north and west of the community.

We had been here twice before. Once in the fall several years ago and once this past winter.

In the past, we always thought that it would be interesting to hike along the bottom of the ravine in which the Indian River flows to get to the falls from the bottom.

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Leaving mid-morning from the “old homestead” we arrived in the parking lot at the Indian Falls Conservation Area close to noon. Sort of forgetting it was the long weekend, I had made the assumption that it wouldn’t be that busy with people hiking out to see the falls.

Wrong!

It was plenty busy.

Nevertheless, we packed up Lynn’s camera equipment and trotted off down the trail.

When we were here back in 2017, the trail at the beginning followed the river bed over a rock-strewn trail to reach a short set of stairs and then continuing on towards the actual falls. In 2017, we found it, not that difficult as we had our dog Katie with us.

I’m assuming that high water levels over the past while have caused people to by-pass the rocky and now water covered trail and to create a new path along the slope of the river bank.

Now it as a challenging path slick with mud and difficult to navigate.

So, if you visit be prepared for a challenging go of it prior to reaching the stairs that traverse up the slope to the top of the ravine.

After watching several families with small children slip, trip and slide along this slick new path, Lynn and I scrambled along the river bottom to get to the base of Indian Falls.

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We have had a fair amount of rain throughout the spring and combined with snowmelt that would still be moving along in watersheds and river systems, there was still a significant amount of water flowing over the falls. In the summer, that falls can be reduced to a mere trickle.

We made our way out into the middle of the river to set up on a flat rock.

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DSC_0084-EditDSC_0084-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditWhile we were there, I kept hearing this chirping sound that seemed close to us. It was coming from this little fella.

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He had obviously become separated from his mom and siblings and was desperately swimming around and scrambling along the river bank calling and searching for them. For the time we were there, unfortunately, we didn’t see any other duck or ducklings that might have been his family.

Hope things turned out all right for him.

What started as a glorious and sunny afternoon, soon however turned into an afternoon of thunderstorms and rain.

And with the start of rain and cracks of thunder, we started to make the trek back to the car.

Not wanting to take the muddy and now even muddier and slicker route back, we found a scrambling route up through some rocks to the main trail at the top of the ravine. We followed the trail to the steps down to the bottom of the ravine.

At this point, we sort of looked at each other and decided, “we’re wet now, so let’s hop and jump along the “old river bottom path” and avoid that sketchy new path.”

By the time we had got back to the parking lot, the rain had stopped(sort of). As a side note, Lynn and I both wear a brand of quick dry outdoor clothing and using just our own body heat, our pants and shirts were dry in less than an hour.

As I knew that thunderstorms and bad weather would be with us for the rest of the day, we decided to head over to Harrison Park located on the south edge of Owen Sound.

Again, with it being the long weekend, Harrison Park was very busy with families enjoying the sights and sounds of the park.

A few pictures from there.

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As Lynn had been recovering from an abdominal and upper leg muscle injury, plus just getting over a touch of the flu we decided to go on the side of caution and call it a day.

Good thing too.

Not long after leaving Harrison Park, the heavens opened up once again with heavy rain and high winds.

Nevertheless, even though Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating the best, it still made for a wonderful day out.

Owen Sound and this area of Bruce and Grey counties is one spot to put on your “to do/must visit list” for the summer. Great hiking opportunities, shopping, restaurants and parks all provide the basis to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

Beaver Valley – Continuing Along The West Side and April Mud

It grieves me to even write this, but the last time Lynn and I hiked the west side of the Beaver Valley along the Bruce Trail to any great extent, was back in the summer of 2017.

With this unfortunate revelation having reared a disappointing head, we felt it was outstanding, and I must say, a brilliant idea on my part to head back out to where we had left off back in 2017.

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So, with the goal in mind to pick up where we left off in 2017, we exited the “old homestead” last week and west towards the Beaver Valley.

If you are a regular follower, you often find a “Google Map” screen capture like the one above, giving a reasonable, albeit not a complete detailed representation of how we arrived at our destination to begin our day’s adventure.

The area in the yellow circle was more or less our target for the afternoon. It’s not the exact location, but close enough that you get the idea of where we were headed to.

If you are at this moment wondering “why the yellow circle – that’s not very accurate,” I’ll explain all of this and my reasons behind it in a future post I’m working on.

Leaving all this mystery and intrigue behind us for the moment, I need to point out that in our area of the country, it has for the most part been a wet spring, as they usually are.  Notwithstanding that, we have had some wonderfully warm and sunny days, but not enough to dry things up, especially the mud!!

We pulled into the trailhead, I’m guessing about 12:15 pm. Getting ourselves organized, we loaded our stuff up and headed off down the trail.

After only a few steps, we soon came to this remarkable or perhaps unremarkable conclusion. Our afternoon would be spent gingerly stepping around the low areas in some misguided thought that doing so, we would avoid the muddy terrain now attaching itself to the soles of our hiking boots, thus making them weigh 5.2 kilograms each.

We soon found this to be a battle we were losing and ultimately a war we could not win.

So, with that devastatingly foregone conclusion, the afternoon became a slugfest of  “when, the hiking boots and the steps became heavy and slower – stop and scrape.”

We didn’t go too far along the trail before all I could hear was the sound of running water. In fact, it was the sound of a significant flow of running water. With that, we soon found what was generating all that noise.

Now, Lynn and I have a sort of mantra we often recite when outdoors. It goes like this, “if a difficult way to get to something is right in front of us, we’ll take it.” Another way of stating it is, “why attempt to do something the easy way, when doing it a more difficult way is a heck of a lot more fun and exciting.”

After several repetitions of the aforementioned or similar mantra, we scrambled down a steep, muddy and tree-strewn slope to the bottom of a stream bed.

The first picture was one I took on my phone. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t adequately capture the height of the waterfall. As Lynn so expertly said, “there needs to be something of scale in the picture to help provide an idea of the height.”

That one large ice formation in the centre of the picture would be about twice my height. I’m just over six feet tall. That should give an idea of the height we’re talking about here. Perhaps, forty to fifty feet to the top of the waterfall.

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A quick video from the stream bottom. Sorry for the poor quality. But you get the idea.

I’m thinking we spent an hour down here, with Lynn happily snapping away taking pictures and myself climbing over rocks and fallen trees, to see if there was anything else to see that I hadn’t looked at over our time there.

I can say, I pretty much saw it all.

A few more of Lynn’s pictures.

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Upstream from the top of the falls, was in Lynn’s words a photographers dream. I referred to it as the “stream that just keeps on giving.” It was simply a series of small rapids and tiny waterfalls as it progressed and flowed down the escarpment face.

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The trail eventually crossed the stream and lead us to a magnificent lookout, east over the Beaver Valley towards Eugenia Falls.

 

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After a few minutes spent on the lookout, we reluctantly decided to start back to the car. Lynn had been experiencing a few upper leg muscle issues in the days prior, so we opted on the side of caution and not to push or overextend things.

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A few final pictures from the trek on the return.

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My favourite picture of the afternoon.

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All in all, it was a great outing.

Despite the mud and overcast skies, any time spent outdoors is a good time and time well spent in my opinion.

We didn’t cover as much distance as I had hoped, but as I said to Lynn, it is just another reason to get back there and “knock that remaining bit off.”

Now, there is just a small section to complete from where we left off on this outing to connect with an adventure from last summer near Hogg’s Falls. Once we’ve done those few outstanding kilometres, that will have completed the west side of the Bruce Trail through the extensive Beaver Valley section.

Thanks for taking the time to trudge along with us

Epilogue:

Since we have been home from this outing, Lynn has been sidelined and out of commission with an excruciatingly painful muscle pull and spasm on her upper leg which radiates out across the lower back.

Unfortunately, this has all the appearance of keeping Lynn on the injured list for the foreseeable future.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Georgian Trail – Collingwood

One place or trail that we’ve talked about getting to over the years, is “The Georgian Trail” along the pristine shores of Georgian Bay. The trail runs approximately 34 kilometres between Collingwood and Meaford.

The trail as we experience it today was originally The Northern Railway Line that connected Collingwood and Meaford. It was constructed in 1872 and used extensively hauling rail goods until the line was deemed unnecessary and abandoned by the Canadian National Railway(CNR) in 1984.

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In 1988, a feasibility study recommended keeping the abandoned rail corridor in public hands and to be developed as a recreational trail. In October 1989, The Georgian Trail officially opened to the public.

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Leaving the “old homestead” mid-morning, it was a leisurely drive over to Collingwood with us arriving close to noon. We parked our car at the south-west corner of a large commercial plaza putting us pretty much adjacent to an entry point for the trail.

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Collecting our gear, we headed off for another afternoon of discovery and yes – fun.

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As the name suggests, it was originally a railway corridor. As we all know, railway lines are generally flat and run for the most part in a straight line. The Georgian Trail is no different. One of the neat aspects of the trail, however, is it connects with other trails within the Town of Collingwood and other communities along the way, creating a myriad of options for a day’s adventure.

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There had been a fairly significant spring snowfall a couple of days before we headed over to Collingwood. Although the trail was well packed-down, the snow and ice started to turn to slush as the afternoon wore on. In addition, with it being spring and that ever welcoming rise in temperatures, there was significant standing water in the low areas adjacent to the trail.

The following was the route we took for the afternoon. In the top part of the photo above the yellow line, is one of the many resort developments in the area. This one is the Living Stone Golf Resort, formally known as Cranberry Village and one of the original resort developments in the Collingwood area.

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To the south, there is some industrial development. Noise from heavy machinery and trucks was quite loud at times. The potential for noise in a semi-urban/rural environment should be anticipated. Although loud, making the choice to ignore it and enjoy being outdoors, maybe the best and only option available along this part of the trail.

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We kept trucking along, with Lynn madly taking pictures at every available moment and of every object worth capturing with her camera.

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As I mentioned, a tad wet in some areas.

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Trying to look regal and dignified. Not sure if I achieved it or not.

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Along the length of the trail we covered, there are numerous signboards with information regarding the trail and as well benches to stop and have a rest if you need to.

I think this is the best picture of the day.

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At one or two points along the trail, you can connect to other trail options. This one took you up and through the Living Stone Resort golf course.

DSC_0066-EditAfter 2 or 3 kilometres along The Georgian Trail, we came across the “George Christie Nature Trails.” It is a series of trails looping through a mixed forest of hardwood and cedar and appears to be a favourite go-to spot for cross-country skiers, snowshoers and hikers.

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We did about a 3-kilometre loop through this part. There were many low areas that were flooded or at least heavily saturated with water as we found out. So did our boots and socks, unfortunately.

Even the woods were smiling at us today. Made the day all that much more enjoyable. We all need a happy and cheerful log.

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The trails starting to melt and get sloppy as the afternoon wore on.DSC_0110-Edit

Lots of texture and opportunities to compose some interesting and effective shots.

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Woodpeckers have had quite the go on this tree.

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Spring hiking does have its drawbacks. Water and wet boots are certainly one of the somewhat negative results.

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After coming out of the forest portion, the trail followed this fenceline before turning right at the trees in the background of the picture. It all seemed simple enough, other than the field was flooded and flooded for several hundred metres to the right of what is in the picture.

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We actually had to gingerly maneuver several hundred metres down the field to find a slightly higher location that wasn’t quite so wet as everything other spot in the field.

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Slowly and carefully working our way across. Not that it mattered much, as our boots were pretty much soaked by this point.

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An abandoned jeep just before we turned right onto the 11th Line to head the 1.5 kilometres north to eventually re-connect with the Georgian Trail.

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Wet and still wet areas.

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The story of my life…just a blur in someone else’s existence.

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While heading back along the rail trail, Lynn became obsessed with taking pictures bulrushes or cattails.

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We spent 3 to 4 hours out and covered approximately 8 kilometres in total.

Although the day was dull and gloomy, it was still a great afternoon outside. As Lynn often says, it is our attitude that will determine how the day goes. You can get all pouty and miserable because of the weather, or be thankful that you’re outside, while others may not have this opportunity.

If you’re in the area, make a point of checking out some of the trails in the Collingwood area, especially The Georgian Trail. As it is also a bike trail, one could make a wonderful day trip from Collingwood all the way to Meaford or any location along the way.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Parry Sound – A Sunday Afternoon

I need to state categorically and with the strongest emphasis possible, we have absolutely nothing against Parry Sound.

In fact, we LOVE Parry Sound. Love the trails, the Town, the views and the food. Oh, and the Trestle Brewing Company (at least I do. Lynn isn’t a beer aficionado – her loss)

But, last Sunday the plan was to trek out to another location. Unfortunately, or fortunately, in this case for Parry Sound, a load of wet clothes that somehow missed the dryer the night before, thus delaying our departure from the old homestead until later in the morning.

Seeing as the time needed to head to that “other location” had ticked by, I said to Lynn, “Let’s hit up Parry Sound and the trail system. We love it there!”

With great anticipation, we spun the car north onto Highway 400 at Highway 12 and off we went.

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All kidding and joking aside, we head north to Parry Sound on a pretty frequent basis. Being just about an hour from our base in Midland, it makes for a quick and scenic drive throughout that whole stretch of Highway 400.

Our plan, albeit a somewhat fluid plan at best, was to park adjacent to The Stockey Centre, hike along the waterfront on the Rotary and Algonquin Regiment Waterfront Fitness Trail(Waterfront Fitness Trail) and then see what the rest of the afternoon offered up.

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Arriving in Parry Sound in the early afternoon, we parked in the Stockey Centre parking lot and headed out along the Waterfront Fitness Trail.DSC_0313_HDR-Edit

The Rotary and Algonquin Regiment Waterfront Fitness Trail(Waterfront Fitness Trail) follows as the name suggests  – along the waterfront. I remarked to Lynn, that at times it felt like you weren’t in the Town at all. There were portions of the trail like in the picture above, where the granite of the Canadian Shield rose on both sides, giving the trail a very wilderness setting.

The trail passes behind the Parry Sound Coastguard Base adjacent to Waubuno Park. We first visited Waubuno Park last September to capture the sun setting over the water of Parry Sound. You can visit that September trip here.

We continued along, completely raptured by the warm temperatures and sunshine as it radiated down from the heavens, warming not only our bodies but our minds and souls as well.

We eventually left the Waterfront Fitness Trail at The Smelter Wharf(Salt Docks) at the north-east end of Town.

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The large paved area in the photo is referred to as The Smelter Wharf or the Salt Docks by local townsfolk. It is a large salt storage depot for Sifto Salts. The salt that is stored here during the summer months is used on roads throughout areas of northern Ontario and into the province of Quebec during the winter.

At the far end of the Smelter Wharf, the Waterfront Fitness Trail connects to the North Shore Rugged Hiking Trail.

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The North Shore Rugged Hiking Trail is approximately a 3-kilometre out and back trail that hugs the rugged and rocky shoreline of Parry Sound.

We didn’t continue any further along the North Shore Trail other than an about 100 metres or so as time was catching up with us. On our next trip to Parry Sound, the North Shore Rugged Trail will be on the agenda for sure.

We hiked back more or less following the same way, admiring the view across the water and enjoying the late afternoon sun.

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Taken on the Silbow Rock promenade at Wambuno Beach Park. This is the location that we took the sunset shots back in September 2018.

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September 2018

As we rambled along the waterfront, both Lynn and I remarked that almost by default, a number of outstanding locations to shoot those magnificent Parry Sounds sunsets, had just fallen into our laps. And thinking about it, this isn’t such an onerous dilemma to be saddled with.

Getting back in the car and with our “limited snacks” in hand, we drove up to the Fire Tower Lookout to check the view out across the own and water from there. And yes, the view is still great. Unfortunately though, and somewhat sadly, after looking at the clock on the dash of the car, we needed to start the one-hour trip back home.

All in all, it was a wonderful late morning and afternoon adventure. Any time spent outdoors is time well spent, regardless of location. Time after time, Parry Sound always delivers the required dosage of outdoor fun and adventure and it didn’t take us long to plan our next adventure hike and thus another trip back to Parry Sound.

We’re thinking of parking at the Fire Tower Lookout and starting the Tower Hill Trail down from that point; connecting at Great North Road with the Waterfront Fitness Trail at and hiking it through Town and out along the waterfront to connect with the North Shore Rugged Trail to hike that and then turning around and making return trek to our car. It would result in a 10 to 12-kilometre urban/wilderness out and back trip.

Not bad; not bad at all.

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Pretty sure Lynn is already salivating with the unlimited potential photo opportunities along here that she has been scoping out over the past year or so. Given that, it may make more sense for me, to just park myself on the patio at The Trestle Brewing Company, order a bite to eat along with one of their smooth craft beers(or two) and let Lynn happily snap away.

I’m starting to like THAT PLAN!

If you’re in the area, make sure to get off Highway 400 and come on into Parry Sound and take a look around. There is plenty to do; plenty to see; plenty of scrumptious spots to eat and drink.

Here’s a great link to give you all the information about visiting the area you’ll need – Parry Sound Tourism.

Thanks for visiting and hanging around to have a look.

 

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Pretty River Valley Provincial Park – A Pretty Spring Hike – 2016

Updated:

Yes, spring can’t come fast enough for 2019.

For those chomping at the bit for spring to finally show up or at least make an appearance for a short time, here is a trip report from the April 2016. It was one of those fantastic days to wake up to, given the previous day was typical cool spring weather.

With temperatures pushing 20 degrees Celsius, Lynn and I as well as countless others, were drawn out somewhere, anywhere across the province to soak up the sun and the start of spring and new growth for the year.

Enjoy!

_DSC1040-Edit.jpgWhen spring arrives after a long and cold winter, it’s that first warm day that starts your blood to flow again. The forest wakes up and things start to grow and bloom one more time and you get that itch to be on a trail somewhere; someplace. April 16th, 2016 turned out to be that day. That Sunday dawned a warm 20 degrees C; igniting that spark to get back out on a hike.

This day, we drove about an hour from our home to The Pretty River Valley Provincial Park located south of Collingwood. It’s a non-operating park; therefore no facilities. The Bruce Trail passes through the park, as well as a couple of side trails providing the opportunity for a loop circuit versus a linear hike. It’s a fairly popular location for the mountain biking crowd as well.

There is parking available at a couple of locations on Pretty River Road (Side Road 33/34 Nottawasaga). The first is a parking area used by snowmobilers, located west of the Collingwood/Clearview Township Line, the second is a Bruce Trail parking area (2 or 3 cars only) located a couple of hundred metres west of the first location. We parked at this location and accessed the trail at this point.

Let me say that this is a beautiful, but a challenging area to hike given the very HILLY TERRAIN.

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Waiting for Lynn to head down yet more hill.
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Hilly, but beautiful

Our goal was to hike to the highest point on the Bruce Trail and return… a distance of about 8 km.

 

We hiked up through a meadow and entered the forest to start on a 2-kilometre trek down to the Pretty River.

 

On our way to the bottom of the valley, we encountered dry sections of trail, very muddy sections, as well as snow and ice-covered parts of the trail as well. Come on, who doesn’t like temps in the 20 degrees C range, while hiking in shorts and surrounded by snow and ice?

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Ice and snow in the bush
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Icy trail = challenging steps!

The trail passes through a number of different tree canopies and crosses the Pretty River several times. At this time of year, it was fast-moving and very clear. There was no sediment or water discolouration that you find in many streams in this area. Any spot along the river would make a nice place to sit and enjoy the solitude.

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Pretty River
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Pretty River

The trail makes two crossings of the Pretty River. One on a man-made bridge; the other – well, let’s say “get across any way you can.” Once you cross the river for the second time, a strenuous 2 kilometre uphill slog lies in front of you… to get to the location of the highest point of the Bruce Trail. The high point is located on the John Haig Side Trail.

You’ll see signage indicating the intersection of this trail and the main Bruce Trail.

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Upon arriving at the high point (see pic above) we had a bit of a rest and a bite to eat (fuel for the return trip). Coming the other way was a mountain biker who we found out had already biked about 20 or more kilometres just to get to this point. Yikes! After chatting for a bit, I gave him a bottle of water, which he graciously accepted and he was on his way.

Having been re-fuelled and to get going again, we returned via the main Bruce Trail and the Pretty River Side Trail in order to create a loop trip. This proved to be a great choice because we happened upon this stunning pond.

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Although these pics might not illustrate it perfectly, the water had a very turquoise colour, reminiscent of the glacial lakes found in the Rockies.

The sun was out, and everything and everybody seemed to be coming out of hibernation. It was the type of day we all long for – that perfect spring day.

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New life starting to poke through
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A little creative license

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As an added bonus, there were some great views to be had of the valley and hills to the south.

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We had driven through this area several times in the past, always thinking that it would be a good place to hike. We were glad we made to the Pretty River Valley. Located not far from any location in Simcoe County, it would make a great choice to head out for the day.

I think it would really make a great spot to hike for a couple of hours, then head into Collingwood for lunch or maybe an early dinner.

I’d recommend checking the Pretty River Provincial Park out. It’s a can’t miss location.

There are tremendous hiking opportunities to be found in every area of the province. Most municipalities, counties, provincial and national parks to name a few, have extensive trail systems. Everything is available from urban hikes right at your back door or maybe a short drive of an hour or two for something a little different.

There is a hiking trail out there, not far away, that has your name on it.

I encourage you to get out there and find it. You won’t be disappointed.

See ya out there!

 

Bugs, Bugs and Oh Yes – More Bugs (Talisman Resort to Beaver Valley Ski Club) – 2017

How many of you wish that the winter would end and that spring would finally start to make it’s long waited for appearance?

Well, many of you would, but depending on where you call home on the planet, freezing cold temperatures and snow isn’t that of an issue at all.

Nevertheless, this report was from a spring 2017 hike along the west side of the Beaver Valley on the Bruce Trail in Ontario. In fact, was the third section and next section of the Bruce Trail we hiked through here that spring.

So, sit back and grab another coffee and enjoy our trek accompanied by black flies and bugs.

DSC_0873I finally had a long May 24th long weekend off. It has been so long since having a long weekend, that I’m almost speechless. But, I am definitely not complaining one tiny bit.

Not the traditional Saturday, Sunday and Monday, nor was I one of the fortunate ones that could sneak away from work on Friday to make it a REALLY long weekend, but the holiday Monday, followed by Tuesday and Wednesday was going to work for me.

Saying I was happy to have three days off in a row was a bit of an understatement.

This time, Lynn was joining in the fun. As you may have read in a couple of my previous posts, Lynn has had a tough time this spring with a severe sinus thing, plus some back issues.

Today, our adventure continued on the west side of the Beaver Valley along the Bruce Trail. We started at the top of the abandoned Talisman Ski Resort, where I had ended my previous trip. You can check-out that report here Beaver Valley – Part 2.

Parking is provided in a small lot at the top of the old resort located on Grey SideRoad 7A.

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From this point, you head DOWNHILL on Grey SideRoad 7A, until the trail enters the bush at a steep and tight curve.

These pictures make the gravel road look like a gentle walk in the countryside. But, it was very steep. Not, so bad when starting out, more of a slug on the return though.

Did I mention bugs? Oh yes…..the dreaded and always anticipated friend of outdoors in the springtime…black flies. They certainly were a pain, but overall not really biting. I won’t however, need to eat much protein for the next little while.

For those wondering, black flies don’t have a lot of flavour!

One of the really neat things about the Bruce Trail, at least through this area, is its ever-changing landscape. A kilometre or two north of here, the trail follows the base of the escarpment through a sea of rock and boulders.

Today, the trail meandered through a beautiful hardwood forest.

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About a kilometre or so into the forest, I could hear the sound of running water. In fact, even at some distance, it was quite loud. We came across this raging torrent of a stream.

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Unfortunately, neither the pictures or the video really capture the steepness of the river nor the velocity of the water moving through it. It was loud and fast!

The trail continued to wander through the forest, including an exceedingly long and bug filled uphill portion that took us up to the top of the escarpment; out of the bush and a slight breeze….no bugs.

Trees budding nicely.

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This eventually brought us out to the Beaver Valley Ski Club.

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When the trail entered the ski resort, Lynn started to head downslope towards the lift towers. She suggested, climbing up one would give a great location to shoot pictures of the resort and across the Beaver Valley.

Surprisingly, I thought about it for a minute or so.

That didn’t happen!

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How great would this be to open your back door and be right on the ski hill?

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The only way to make this sign better, would have been a Canadian flag on it and having the sign say something like, “brought to you by Tim Horton’s coffee.”

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We made the ski resort our turn around point.

The trail continues to the south down one of the ski slopes. Lynn at this point didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for going down the hill and having to walk back up it again.

We returned back the same way we came.

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Lynn managed to find this little stream area to stop and snap a few pics at.

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Seems like every bridge we come across in the bush is in desperate need of repair.

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This is upstream from the earlier pictures of the rapids

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A few more pictures of interesting things Lynn managed to find.

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Despite the black flies, it was a great day out. The round trip totalled about 8 kilometres which I thought was pretty good for Lynn given the challenges she has had this spring.

We didn’t go very fast and spent considerable time around the streams and faster moving water shooting pictures.

Take the opportunity and head over toward the Beaver Valley and Grey County for a hiking adventure. Give a click here to head over to Grey County Tourism and check out the wealth of info on trails and other activities in the area.

Thanks for reading!

Epping Lookout and Beaver Valley(west side) Part 2 – 2017

Seeing as it is still early on a cold Family Day Holiday Monday morning(2019), I’ve edited and updated Part 2 of our time hiking the Bruce Trail on the west side of the Beaver Valley from the spring of 2017.

As before, I hope you enjoy reading and following along with us as much as we did hiking it.

If you read Part 1 of our hiking on the west side of the Beaver Valley, you know we stopped at the end of Grey Highlands SideRoad 16C.

This is where I started my adventure for Part 2.

But, if for some unexplainable reason you haven’t read Part 1, by golly you should and you can right here, Part 1 – Beaver Valley west.

This time, Lynn was on the disabled list this time with a sore back and a general achy feeling. She had been very sick through the end of March and into the first few weeks of April, so neither of us didn’t want to chance an injury or her getting that sick again.

So, between 7:00 and 7:15am, I set off by myself with another coffee in my hand for a day of adventure.

As you can see, traffic was an issue along the way!

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This may be my favourite picture of all time. Okay, not really! Stuck behind a manure spreader. Thinking about it, that is likely an object lesson about living and life in general. I see it now, “My Life-Stuck Behind a Manure Spreader” coming to a bookstore near you. Also available on Amazon!

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Undaunted, by the horrendous traffic snarl and the whole “manure is life” issue, I finally arrived at the starting point for the day.

Now, in Ontario throughout April and into May, we have received way more rain than usual. In fact, just before heading out on this adventure, it had rained more or less consistently for several days causing major flooding and damage in many areas of Ontario and Quebec.

Now, there is a general rule that accompanies rain as it relates to gravity. This is it: “Rain generally flows downhill and will seek each and every low spot to settle into. This includes the Bruce Trail.”

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Off I went starting out through a wonderful hay-field, that surprisingly…. was wet. I did mention above about the rain – right?

At this point, I had yet to clue into the whole rain downhill concept.

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The trail entered into a grand hardwood forest, and that gently undulated up and down through small ravines. It included a lovely bench built by supporters of the Bruce Trail. In fact, these benches and other structures including platforms and lookouts are often found at strategic viewing locations along the trail.

A big shout-out to the members of the various Bruce Trail section groups that work tirelessly to build, maintain and look after this magnificent hiking trail.

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As I continued along the trail I could hear the sound of running water. Nothing draws me in more to get off the trail and explore, than the sound of running water. That sound is so addictive, that I always need to search to find out where it’s coming from.

This was taken from the base of a small rock face about twenty metres off the trail. There was no obvious creek at the top. My only conclusion was that there was an underground stream someplace and this is where the stream spilled into the open at the based of this rock face. Very cool indeed!

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Did I mention the wet thing yet?

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The trail eventually worked its way out to the edge of the escarpment face, providing some sweet views across the Beaver Valley to the east.

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And a bit of a drop from the top to the bottom.

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Did manage to take a shot of my Vasque boots and new trail/hiking pants.

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I particularly like trail pants that zipper-off at the knees to become shorts. And look at what they did for me. They came with little instructions attached to the zippers so I wouldn’t spend hours trying to figure out which was the right and left parts when re-attaching them.

I also figured this would reduce the amount of laughter from Lynn that I might be subjected too when trying to re-attach the bottom parts in her presence.

But, moving from this point onward, the trail descended down the escarpment face into the valley for several kilometres before climbing out of the valley at the rear of the former Talisman Ski Resort.

The following are a few shots descending down the escarpment face and along the valley floor. The trail from this point really changed from the gentle hardwood forest setting to a more rugged rock-cut; boulder field look. I personally love this type of hike where you have to climb over rocks; are surrounded by rocks, and generally look at rocks and rock faces. I like rocks!

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Although this picture might not show it, this steep hill started the slow and arduous climb from the bottom of the valley floor.

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Eventually, I came across a ladder/stair combination that brought the trail to the top of the escarpment and the rear of the old Talisman ski resort.

I did a bit of research about Talisman and I guess it had been abandoned several years ago due to excessive debts and essentially left to rot.

From what I’ve able to read, it was purchased a few years ago with the intent of turning it into a spa and golf course.

These are a few pictures taken from the back of the old resort.

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The village of Kimberly and Old Baldy off in the distance from the top of the old resort.

I eventually stopped at the rear of the resort where the trail crosses Grey Highlands SideRoad 7A.

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I spent a few minutes taking a break and pounding the mud from the treads of my boots and me before heading back. The one-way distance to this point was about 7 km.

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In addition, a good adventure should always include having new learning experiences. So, during the break, I was having…..I learned that when you text someone and say “merci” as a joke, you receive a text back in French that keeps you occupied for the rest of the afternoon working on the translation.

I hadn’t mentioned it yet, but the trip to this point was a challenge, to say the least. All that rain we had experienced turned much of the trail and especially in the low points into a sea of unescapable mud and wet. The only way to describe it is “think dry-wall mud” when doing dry-wall. Thick; sticky and slick.

Each foot placement down the escarpment face, and along the valley floor and back up the escarpment was an exercise in caution and frustration. It generally went something like:

  • take a step
  • slip
  • recover(maybe)
  • take a step
  • slip
  • grab a sapling to keep from falling
  • repeat and repeat
  • for the next several kilometres

And the beauty of it was, I got to do it again for most of the 7-kilometre return trip.

I sort of make light of it now, but at the time it was a painful “pain in the a$$.”

Why you might ask?

On the return trip, each step resulted in the muscles in my calves and upper thighs getting tighter and sorer due to all the unnatural movements caused by the mud(slip, slide, stretch). These unnatural steps, led to a lot of severe muscle cramping when heading back down the escarpment face; across the valley floor and back up the escarpment again to were my car was parked.

But, slow and steady prevailed in the end.

No harm was done and other than being a bit muddy; we survived to tell the tale.

The total distance was about 14 kilometres. Taking about 5 hours in total. Not a fast pace, but just the right speed to make sure I stopped to “smell the roses.”

It was all in all a perfect day. The temperature hovered around 9 to 10 degrees C all day long

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we really like hiking the Bruce Trail throughout the Beaver Valley. So much history; scenic vistas and beautiful countryside to be found. An excellent go-to area of the province.

As I’m writing this, we’re coming up to the May long weekend here in Ontario.

What a perfect time to get out; dust the cob-webs away that have accumulated over the winter and get out for a hike or whatever outdoor activity “floats your boat” so to speak.

I know from chatting with many other bloggers and outdoor adventurers that’s exactly what they’re doing!

So….join them. They’d love to see you out there.

Thanks for reading. Be safe this long weekend!!

 

 

 

Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve

I can say without a doubt, that the hiking at Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve, while not the most strenuous, has one of the most unique landscapes that we’ve ever hiked on.

It’s a cold February Sunday morning(-20 degrees Celcius) and I’ve taken a few moments to re-edit this entry and to re-post it for others to enjoy.

This was from the fall of 2016, and just past the peak of the leaf colour in our area. Nevertheless, Torrance Barrens always is a “will not disappoint” destination.

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Typical landscape at Torrance Barrens

One of the perks of living in central Ontario, specifically north Simcoe County, is it’s only a short drive from an abundance of great hiking trails. Torrance Barrens Sky Preserve between Bala and Gravenhurst is one of our “need to get to spots” each year.

After hiking the Pine Ridge Loop and Barrens Extension last summer(2015), we’ve always wanted to go back and view the dramatic landscape during the fall colours. With Lynn’s back issues over the past month, this has been the first time she’s felt well enough to head out. Although the maples and such had peaked, we found that there was still lots of colour be found.

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One of the main reasons we love to go there is the landscape. It’s so much different from what might be considered a “normal” forested hiking trail. Torrance Barrens isn’t better or worse than other locations, in our opinion it is just different.

Kind of a breath of fresh air.

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One thing we did find was that the boardwalks on the Pine Ridge loop, require a significant amount of repair. There is a location within the trail system where the various trails meet. It was here we noticed a sign saying that the Pine Ridge Loop was closed. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any signage or there were no signs at the beginning of the Pine Ridge Loop. Oh well!

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We found a multitude of locations, where Lynn’s favourite tree, “the tamarack” where turning a brilliant yellow before they dropped their needles.

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The trails are very well-marked with white blazes on trees and rocks and with some plastic flagging tied to branches.

At the trailhead, there is parking for maybe 8 cars, as well as a portable toilet – bonus!

The trailhead is a pretty easy spot to get to. Take Muskoka Road 169 north from Gravenhurst or south from Bala. Turn south of Southwood Road(Muskoka Road 13) and go about 7 km to the Torrance Barrens sign.

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All in all, it was a great late fall afternoon. The sun was shining; the weather was cool but pleasant and the company was top-notch. We’re not big on hiking the same trails multiple times.

We do, however, make an exception for Torrance Barrens. It’s one of those locations that never fails to deliver a great hike.

Take the opportunity to head up that area. Honesty, you won’t be disappointed. Besides Torrance Barrens, there are a number of great trails in the area to spend some time on. Click here for great info on trails in the Muskoka Lakes area.

This link will take you the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and some info on Torrance Barrens as a Dark Sky Preserve.

Both Bala and Gravenhurst are close by and offer great spots to head for a bite to eat or to grab a coffee for the trip home.

Torrance Barrens – give it a go!

Chat later.

 

Bruce Trail – Lions Head Provincial Nature Reserve

Although we hiked here in June 2016 on a warm and sunny summer’s day, I thought I would re-post it seeing as it is -20 degrees Celcius on a rather cold and bleak Sunday morning in mid-February.

A bit of warmth and fun to take the chill out of the morning.

Enjoy.

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I’m the luckiest guy in the world.

How you ask? Cause, last week I just finished holidays. Well, one week of them. Believe me, these holidays were a long time coming. In fact, it was almost exactly 15 months since my last set.

So, what do excited hikers do? Drive to Lions Head Provincial Nature Reserve and hike a section of the Bruce Trail!

For us, this is a 3 hour plus drive from home, including 4 muffins and 2 large coffees between us, and a necessary pit stop in Springmount to deal with the result of drinking said large coffee.

Our trip took us across Highway 26 through Collingwood, Thornbury, Meaford to Owen Sound. Exiting Owen Sound, we took Highway 6 north, passing through Springmount (note pit stop above), Shallow Lake, Hepworth, Wiarton to Ferndale. When you reach Ferndale, turn right onto County Road 9, drive a kilometre or two(maybe); then turn left at Liquor Store(way to go – you made it Lions Head). Drive a bit further, turn right onto Moore Street, go past the school, hospital, a bunch of homes on the left that I can’t afford and watch for the Bruce Trail parking lot on your right. See… you made it!

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The parking lot would hold 10-15 cars(I guess). In addition, there is a well-developed trail map billboard, the parking is free(we like free); plus a port-a-potty – bonus!

There are two options for hiking that leave from the parking lot. We started our hike, hoofing it down Moore Street to enter the Bruce Trail via the Moore Street Side Trail. Alternatively, you could also start on the main Bruce Trail from the parking area as well. I think this routing might make the hike to the cliffs a bit longer.

Our choice made it a short 3 or 4 km hike from the parking lot to the Lions Head Lookout point on the main Bruce Trail. Note the map I mentioned above; go back and look it again! Either route would provide a sweet outing!

The Moore Street Side Trail is flat and an easy hike. Once you reach the end of it and link up with the main Bruce Trail, the hiking becomes just a bit more challenging. The hills are not steep or long, but there are plenty of tree roots, rocks and rocky steps to negotiate. Nevertheless, the payoff is worth the effort.

Let me say that the hiking at Lions Head provides some of the most spectacular views from the Bruce Trail across Georgian Bay.

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You know what THE BONUS IS – there are multiple scenic vistas before you even get to the Lions Head Lookout. Note – those cute boots and feet do not belong to me.

In addition, there are two short side trails along the way that lead to glacial pothole formations. The second one is VERY VERY COOL!!

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A word of caution. The lookout areas are not protected!! No railings or fences. A trip or stumble over the edge at these locations would result at best in severe or fatal injuries. So, if you suffer from vertigo or fear of heights, enjoy the view but stay clear of the edge. Also, you might want to keep a grip on small children.

Enough of the fear mongering. You came for the views and hiking. Both are outstanding.

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The water is crystal clear and with colours that make you believe you’re in the Caribbean. (though if you dip your toe in, you’ll realize you’re nowhere near the Caribbean. lol)

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If you look closely, you may see bolts anchored into the rock faces that rock climbers use. We spoke to one young fellow we watched climbing a rock face. He indicated that climbing in this area is not for beginners.

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If you want, you can keep going along the main Bruce Trail to make a longer out and back trip. This would be my choice if time isn’t a big concern. Even if it is a concern, don’t worry about it. Believe me, once you get going, you’ll want to keep going!! You’ll likely have a conversation like this, “Maybe if we just go a bit further, I’ll bet there’s an even better view. Don’t worry, we’ve got lots of time.”

Hiking in Lions Head is a sure hit experience. It is well worth the drive from wherever you’re coming from. In addition, there are many other access points to the Bruce Trail in this area. It’s just a matter of picking one and hitting the trail.

PACK LIST

  • great attitude
  • hiking boots
  • backpack
  • snack
  • water
  • camera

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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