A writer's journal and photography blog documenting 900km of hiking End-to-End on the Bruce Trail from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Tobermory, Canada
On Saturday night we checked the weather and decided to start out early the next day for the sake of the dog. We were glad we did. We left home just before 7:00am Sunday morning and by the time we had positioned the cars at the trail access point at Mountain View Conservation Area and at Moyer Road, the temperature was on the rise. Although there was a refreshing southerly breeze blowing across the escarpment, the humidity was oppressive. The first hour or so of our hike was uncomfortable as we followed the trail along the lower part of the escarpment, flapping our way through clouds of mosquitoes. I spent most of the day with my clothing soaked through with sweat and smelling like DEET, but it was definitely NOT a day to be out on the trail without insect repellent …. or drinking water. We came prepared.
We expected the forest canopy to be full and the ground cover lush and green. Although it wasn’t cool, it was shady. We pushed on through the bugs, and eventually up to fresher, drier ground, but even there, the bare escarpment rock along the path was sweaty with condensation. We paid extra attention to the ground in front of us, and were rewarded by the sight of hundreds of tiny frogs hopping too and fro in the underbrush and along the trails. Ian wasn’t expecting to take many pictures, but the views from the escarpment over the orchards, farms and vineyards of Jordan and pretty Beamsville heritage homes proved him wrong. This part of the Bruce Trail has the best views of Niagara wine country.
Fewer wildflowers offered themselves up to the camera, but there were so many shades of green I kept turning back to ask Ian to take a photo. Sometimes he did, but often he’d say “Yes it’s nice” and keep walking. He prefers to photograph in sunlight for contrast, and depth of field. I love the soft edges and velvety hues of colour that only light shade or a cloudy day reflect. When he decides not to shoot, I wrestle with the inevitable frustration of having an eye for the ‘perfect shot’ but neither the equipment nor the talent to take it. My usual reaction is to pull out my iPhone, and snap a pic myself in mock protest; sometimes I’m lucky and it will be in focus and worth keeping!
But on this hike, I had a realization as I walked along. I was thinking about a book review I read earlier in the week of Alexandra Horowitz’s New York Times bestseller On looking: a walker’s guide to the art of observation (public library), in which she encourages readers to overcome their attentive bias and consider what they are seeing from multiple perspectives: look through the child’s eye, through the geologist’s eye, the naturalist’s eye, the dog’s eye, the photographer’s eye. Of course! Ian wasn’t seeing what I see; he sees all this through his own lens. Now I just have to figure out how to get him to see it my way. I should be good at that; I’m his wife.
The last part of our hike followed the road so we were out in the hot, hazy open again. Kelso decided more than once that lying down in the grass would be a better idea than going that last few hundred meters to the car. We watered him and coaxed him on and he made it, no worse for wear. We’ll be starting off bright and early again on Canada Day, when we’ll cover 10 more kilometers and bid Niagara Section a fond farewell. Iroquoia here we come!
Louise & Ian