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!
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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!
Did I mention the wet thing yet?
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.
And a bit of a drop from the top to the bottom.
Did manage to take a shot of my Vasque boots and new trail/hiking pants.
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!
Although this picture might not show it, this steep hill started the slow and arduous climb from the bottom of the valley floor.
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.
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.
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.
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
- take a step
- 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!!