Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Bruce Trail has begun

It's official. We started the Bruce trail this weekend. We were going to drive down (it starts about a 2 hour drive from our house) Friday night and start hiking Saturday morning, but the weather forecast convinced us to wait. So we saved 2 nights in a hotel, and drove down bright and early Sunday morning. We arrived at the park where the trail starts at about 10:30 or so, and proceeded to look for the beginning of the trail. We knew it was marked with a cairn. According to the map (it is important to note this is the official trail map put out by the Bruce Trail Association), the trail was north of the Brock monument, so we started at the monument, and went to where we thought it should be, based on the map. It wasn't there. We went back to the monument. We considered our options. At 11, the restaurant opened for brunch, so we went in and asked for directions. The two waitresses had no idea. We went back out and kept looking. We found a trail, but it wasn't marked as being the Bruce trail. Feeling we were out of options, we decided to hike on it and see what happened. After a short distance it ended at a road. Hmm, we said. This doesn't seem right. We decided to go back to the car and look in our map book (a driving map book, not an official trail map), because it also had the Bruce trail marked on it. When we arrived back at the car, we saw a cairn-looking thing, across the parking lot. Kenneth went to go see, and I looked at the map book. It turned out to be the Southern Terminus Cairn. We'd literally parked IN THE MIDDLE of the Bruce trail. On the line leading from the cairn to the first marked tree. Yet it took us over an hour to find it. Talk about an inauspicious start to the day!

Anyways, we hiked the first leg of the trail, a 7.2 km section, without too much incident, once we actually managed to find it. We considered going further, but decided we probably shouldn't push it on our first day. We called a cab to bring us back to our car. According to the map (official trail map, of course) we were at Firemen's Park. Well, little did we know, that about 400 metres down the road was a parking lot with a big sign saying "Firemen's Park". Where we were, there was no sign. After waiting for a long time we set off down the road and discovered this parking lot. Doh! We called the cab company again and explained our mishap, and they said the cab would try again to pick us up. After waiting for a long time, we decided to walk a little further down the road, until there was a fork, where we stopped in case the cab came along the other road. We waited there for a long time. Eventually, the cab arrived. It turns out that where we were was actually "Old Firemen's Park", and the cab had been down the road at the new "Firemen's Park". At this point we were none too pleased with the map.

Day 2 went a little better. We went back to the cairn and took our picture, because we'd forgotten to do it the day before, and we wanted photographic evidence. Then we drove back up to Old Firemen's Park and parked the car, and started hiking. The hike was quite nice, except that there was a group of 50 hard core hikers, all hiking the opposite direction to us. We know there were 50 because we asked one of them how many of them there were. The path is quite narrow so every time we ran into one of this group either we or they had to stand aside to let the other pass (normally we did, because they were all hiking very quickly and with sticks - while we were unarmed ;) ).

We learned that chipmunks can climb trees, really well! We watched one chipmunk climb a 40 foot tree, then launch himself off the top and fall straight down to the forest floor. I hope he meant to do that!

I hurt my foot part way through Day 2, while we were walking through a weedy field which had uneven ground. Because I couldn't see the ground through the weeds, I stepped funny. I managed to make it to the first planned stopping point, but we were both disappointed we couldn't go further because of my foot. Near the end of our walk on Day 2 we saw this sign. It made us laugh, because it looks like "Business People Crossing". Our theory is it was the closest they could find to "Watch for Hikers", but seriously. Business people crossing?

Things we learned on our first Bruce trail outing:

  1. Chipmunks can climb trees.
  2. Bring wet-naps.
  3. Cabs don't seem to know where anything is.
  4. Don't trust the official trail guide maps.
  5. Even though your "compass/whistle/thermometer" seems dorky, it will come in handy.

1 comment:

beverlyrevelry said...

OMG, that sign is too hilarious!