Bruce Trail Day
October 4, 2020
It is raining. We have had plenty of rain this week after a very dry summer. We have not travelled in more than six months. I have not even gone to town for groceries except on three occasions with Brian. He has been our grocery supplier and made all trips to town. COVID has changed our travel patterns but has not changed our daily living all that much. We are so fortunate to live in a beautiful rural area with outdoor pursuits within walking and cycling distances.
Our biggest trip before Friday was to Sauble Beach (34 kilometres from here) at the end of July to visit with friends for the first time since January. We did not even walk on the beach or go for a swim. Highly irregular for me but it was raining when we left home and cooler than previous days!
On Friday, it was Adrian’s birthday and I had told him I would take him on a special hike. Lion’s Head (60 kilometres away) seemed like a good place to go. The Bruce Trail presents wonderful hiking opportunities along any of its almost 900 kilometre length but I especially like the north part of the trail where we live and north onto the Bruce Peninsula. I have been going on weekly Bruce Trail hikes again since the end of August with a few Cobble friends. We only do circular hikes or out and back hikes and we stay close to home to avoid using more vehicles and to keep physically distant. I used to organize cars for folks but now everyone figures out their own car transportation.
On October 2nd, six of us arrived at the parking lot just east of the village of Lion’s Head near Moore Street at 9:30 AM. I was surprised to see two cars already there. We have often been able to hike in our twin counties of Bruce and Grey and not even see other hikers. We only saw four hikers on our way out to the Head but as we started back Brian started counting the oncoming hikers. He reached forty by the time we were back at our car four hours and forty-seven minutes later. In the parking lot there were a dozen more hikers about to begin the trail. The lot was full with more than thirty cars. There were drivers waiting for us to leave so that they could take our parking spot. I am guessing that this influx of hikers, which was probably even greater in the summer, is why the Moore Street Sidetrail, which is private property, was closed in July and remains closed.
I expect many of the hikers starting out and others we saw on the trail did not do the Cotswold Friendship Trail or the Warder Sidetrail. Their out-and-back would have been shorter than our 13.1 kilometres. We had a delightful hike on a day which was perfect hiking weather with 8-10C, only a sprinkling of rain, a sun and cloud day, not at all the rainy forecast from earlier in the week. Although the 20 kilometre hour winds were from the northeast, for the most part we were protected on the forested trail: ancient cedars along the cliffs, open deciduous forests of maple, birch, beech and ash. We found a good spot on birch logs on the Donna Baker Sidetrail for lunch.
There are beautiful vistas of Georgian Bay’s magnificently coloured waters: layers of turquoise and marine blue, vistas looking back to Lion’s Head village and across Isthmus Bay and Whippoorwill Bay to white cliffs. We could see north to Cabot Head. For those with vertigo, as one of our group has, you do not have to go right to the edge of the cliffs. There is always room to stand back and admire. No balcony trails here!
On the cobble shore near McKay’s Harbour, the wind gusted, white caps rolled in and rain made me don my jacket. A few minutes later, back in the forest, the rain had stopped and I packed my jacket away. It was my first day using my Osprey Hydraulics pack. I liked it, much easier to sip as I needed water than to haul out a water bottle.
Today is Bruce Trail Day. We did not go on the Bruce Trail, but walked almost eight kilometres here at Cobble Beach. After fifteen minutes of drizzle, the rain stopped. We were comfortable with rain pants and hooded jackets.
Support the Bruce Trail at www.brucetrail.org Help preserve this ribbon of wilderness, for everyone, forever. We are so fortunate to have this gem in southern Ontario. Take the #BRUCETRAILPLEDGE.