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
This was a no-nonsense hike. I had planned to celebrate our first steps into the Iroquoia Section of the Bruce Trail at 40 Mile Creek, with a visit to 40 Creek Distillery, named after the Lake Ontario tributary around which the Town of Grimsby is settled. I thought it would be a fine bit of tourism to start the day — John Hall’s signature brands of Canadian Whisky are world-renowned — but other more prosaic things got in the way this Sunday — like the spring cleaning we had managed to put off until summer but could no longer ignore. After a long and busy day emptying closets, reorganizing kitchen cupboards and cleaning out the garage, we had cabin fever. It was 5:30pm; whisky tours would have to wait. We had exactly 3 hours before sunset, and we were determined to put some kilometres under our boots. We arrived in Grimsby and set a brisk pace, climbing quickly through Beamer Memorial Conservation Area to the escarpment’s ridge, leaving Grimsby below us among the trees. With the spring hawk migration over, and the falls no longer at their peak, we settled for photos of the highway snaking off toward Niagara.
We weren’t far into our hike when the forest spit us out onto the road for quite a stretch. It was a long, fast walk along Ridge Road as we raced the sun to bed. We had a strong headwind, but it was dry and pleasant. We passed lingering vineyards — probably the last few we’ll see of the region — an orchard or two, and a Friesian horse barn that left enough of an impression on Ian to create some spectacular dreams later that night. We were quite disappointed by the amount of asphalt we had to cover by the time we reached Woolverton Road. We headed towards the escarpment, grumbling about the estate owners blocking access to the ridge, when we came across this terrific juxtaposition of signs. It’s the first time anyone has offered to sell us a crumbling rock cliff, but I almost pulled out my phone right there to ask George how much. If I owned that bit of the escarpment, I’d proudly post white blazes across the back of my land, and keep it open to all those who wish to walk through and enjoy.
An early summer evening is a delight for hiking. There may not be many wildflowers visible, but the forest carpet is a wonder in and of itself. So many shades of green everywhere up to your hips, and the various stages of life in the forest that create light and shadow are legion. As the sun sets, things change quickly. The colours start out bright, almost translucent, with the low angle of light, then cascade quickly through the spectrum of greens to blues to greys and blacks as the sun fades.
Just before the trail dips down into the woods below the escarpment, we stopped for one last picture over Winona. I remember this area as the “Pick Your Own” mecca of my childhood, and it’s pretty much the same as ever. Greenhouses and Pick Your Own farms are everywhere, proving we haven’t quite left the banana belt of Ontario behind. Our next hike should do it though. We’ll be crossing into the Municipality of Hamilton Wentworth. If you only know it as a Steel Town, stick with me. I’ll teach you a few things.
Until next time, Happy Trails!
Louise & Ian