Tag Archives: End to End

From Grimsby to Dundas: End to End with the Bruce Trail Iroquoia Club (Day 4)

This was the fourth and final day of the hike. We woke up with a mixed feeling of excitement and wariness.We had come a long way and we should be completing our first End to End hike of the Bruce Trail. At the same time, we did not want a repeat of yesterday’s soaking wet hike. To our relief, it was not raining when we drove to Mountain Brow Blvd. in Hamilton, near the arena to park our cars.

Day 4

The bus took us  to Grimsby to enter the starting point of Bruce Trail that was managed by the Iroquoia club. It was relatively dark still. We heard the leaves shuffling under our feet and the sound of the water rushing down Forty Mile Creek as we climbed up Grimsby Mountain. It was quite an incline, but once we were on top, and dawn had broken through, the hike became more relaxing. The first check point at Fifty Road emerged after an uneventful 9 Km hike.

We heard occasionally the sound of traffic and trains passing, which suggested that we were close to the rail track and the main road. The narrow trail surface was very muddy,  and often slippery. It started to rain too, although not as relentlessly as the day before.  It demanded full concentration on where we landed our feet with each step.

The check point at New Mountain Road was right beside the rail track. We quickly devoured our sandwiches with their water and hot cider. We only had one-third of the day’s journey to go–move on!

As if nature (or the hike planners) wanted to reward us for our effort, a waterfall came in sight. We did not have any sign to tell us what its name was.

When we went further downstream and captured a better view of the landscape, this was very well the Devil’s Punch Bowl, another punch bowl waterfall like the Borer’s Fall we saw on Day 3.  I was hiking near here in the summer but it was dry then.

Since this section of the trail was very popular with visitors who would come only to look at the falls, the surface was paved, and there were railings keeping people away from the precipice. Felkers Falls came into view next.

We made another turn to go around the gorge.

This creek further down probably fed into the Red Hill Creek,

which we crossed over a big metal bridge. These were the views upstream and downstream. The water level was high with all the rain in the past week.

We turned into the Red Hill Creek Side Trail uphill (left side of photo above). We came down here on Day 3 and hiked towards Dundas in the opposite direction on the Main Trail. Now we were finally out of the woods on Mountain Brow Boulevard. We climbed over the guard rails to cross the road to report to the finish check- point. We forgot that we were soaked through and proudly received our hard-earned badge that was awarded for the completion of the Bruce Trail Iroquoia Club End to End—a four-day hike of almost 130 Km.

Reference:  The Bruce Trail REference Maps and Trail Guide Edition 27 (2012). Maps 5, 6 and 7.

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From Hamilton to Dundas: End to End with the Bruce Trail Iroquoia Club (Day 3)

We had five days to rest after Day 2. Came Saturday the following week, we were up again to meet outside Dundas Golf Club at 6:30 a.m. for Day 3. It had been raining the past few days, and it was still raining when we headed out. We had to wear our ponchos, which despite keeping us somewhat drier, also made climbing uphill more dangerous.

We had done almost 70 Km so far walking from north to south on the Bruce Trail. The organizers planned it such that the hike was in a south to north direction this weekend.

Day 3

The bus took us to Mountain Brow Blvd. on Hamilton Mountain. We entered the trail by the Red Hill Creek Side Trail (following blue blazers) and joined the Main Bruce Trail (following white blazers) at the bottom of the hill. The hike today was to walk across Hamilton Mountain, enter Dundas Valley Conservation Area to return to the golf club. We were hiking on the same elevation in the beginning, but because of the rain, footing was slippery, and we had to be extremely careful not to  step on the moss.

We hiked through King’s Forest and soon found ourselves on the Escarpment Rail Trail. The rail line was below us and Sherman Access, a thoroughfare, was above us. We heard the sound of trains and traffic, and this was a different experience from just hearing the sound of wind and rain splashing in the forest. On a day like this, I much preferred the feeling that I was close to civilization. The first check-point was at Beckett Drive.

The next lag was on the Chedoke Radial Trail and the paved surface was a reprieve in the rainy weather. Soon after passing the car park of the Chedoke Golf Course, we saw water rushing down from the mountain above. The rain had brought the waterways and waterfalls to life. However, it had also caused flooding. There was an area where we had to wade through a rushing torrent and our shoes and socks were all soaked. Fortunately, we had hiked on this section of the trail before, and the knowledge that after crossing the bridge over Hwy 403 we should be arriving at the second check point at Filman Road motivated us on.

The next section of the trail should also the most scenic. First we passed Tiffany Fall and its bridge.

Then there was Sherman Fall and we had entered the Dundas Valley Conservation Area.

Canterbury Falls soon appeared.

Then we crossed the Sulphur Creek.

Had it been a sunnier day, the Dundas Conservation Area would have been ideal for photography. Meanwhile, we focused on our hike and what a wonderful feeling it was to arrive at the third check-point at the Dundas Valley Trail Centre, where bagels with cream cheese were waiting for us.

We had less than 5 Km to go, and we knew that the end would soon be in sight when we were hiking along the perimeter of the Dundas Golf Club.

We were very wet and soaked at the end of the hike. It was a relief nevertheless that we had completed almost 30 Km on this third day. The feeling was more of anticipation than fatigue, because we only had one more day to go. We must rest well this night.

Reference: The Bruce Trail Reference Maps and Trail Guide, Edition 27 (2010). Maps 7 and 8.

From Burlington to Dundas: End to End with the Bruce Trail Iroquoia Club (Day 2)

After Day 1 and the Epsom salt bath when we got home, there was little time for recovery, because Day 2 followed immediately the next day, Sunday.

Day 2

The meeting place was at the entrance of Dundas Golf Club at 6:30 a.m. and the bus took us to where we finished the hike the day before on Guelph Line and No.1 Side Road in Burlington to begin the hike. No sooner had we entered the trail, we had to climb over a stile which demarcated private property line, and because the Bruce Trail was passing private property  the Bruce Trail Conservancy had an agreement with the owners for hikers to walk on their land. In fact, we climbed over several stiles on this day’s walk.

The sky was clear and the sun has come out.

It was a pleasant hike through open fields and farmland and we were hiking south-west passing Kerncliff Park and City View Park Side Trail (one of the newest Bruce Trail side trails). We reported to the first check-point on King Road and we continued on through Waterdown Woods. It was mid-morning and what a glorious day! The most spectacular sight came into view at the Great Falls of Smokey Hollow.

However, we had to slow down, partly to enjoy the scenery, but more so, to avoid colliding with the numerous photographers who had set up their tripods to capture the beauty of the falls. There was only a very narrow footpath to get by. We were essentially squeezing by with a  hanging cliff on our left and a ravine on our right. One faulty step and one could fall off the ravine.

The trails eased off along the banks of Grindstone Creek.

When we came out of Clappison Wood, there was a tunnel to cross under Hwy 6 to avoid the heavy traffic, and we arrived at the second check-point. Time for a quick lunch which went down well with hot apple cider, and up the hill we climbed again. We entered the grounds managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens.

A creek flew serenely on the lower grounds and on the higher grounds, the lookout onto the city was equally peaceful.

I was excited to see Borer’s Fall, one of the “punchbowl falls” on the Bruce Trail. The name “punchbowl” came from its semi-circular shape, which was formed by the erosive turbulence of the whirlpool of melting ice when it came downstream many years ago.

From the escarpment here, we looked out to the city near the horizon.

The Bruce Trail continued on Sydenham Road and we were walking on paved road again, down the city streets of Dundas, into its residential area and uphill to King’s Street West to our cars outside the golf club.

It was a day blessed with nice weather, breath-taking scenery, and great comradeship walking with other hikers. We looked forward to resting our feet in the next five days before Day 3. We did almost 70 Km so far in two days.

Reference: The Bruce Trail Reference Mpas and Trail Guide Edition 27 (2012). Maps 8 and 9.

From Kelso to Burlington: End to End with the Bruce Trail Iroquoia Club (Day 1)

The Bruce Trail (Ontario) runs a total of 885 Km along the Niagara Escarpment from Queenston in the south to Tobermory in the north. It is divided into nine sections, each managed by a local Bruce Trail club. The Iroquoia Club takes care of the section of the trail that runs between Grimsby and Kelso, and it is my home club. Every year at late Fall, the Iroquoia Club organizes an End to End hike which spans four days over two consecutive weekends. The total distance is about 130 Km. A badge is awarded at the end of the four-day hike. My husband and I were first-time participants in this year’s event.

Day 1

The first day started at 7 a.m. and we parked our cars on the shoulder of Guelph Line, Burlington, just north of Hwy 5. It was still dark. The morning air was cold. However it could not chill the excitement of the hikers who were in full gear for a one-day hike of about 40 Km. We were taken by two school buses and were dropped off at the northern-most point of the trail in Kelso near Hwy 401 for the start.

The organizers had planned out check-points en route. This was to make sure that everybody who signed up reported there and to get some refreshments,or other assistance. The volunteers who came out brought juices, water and hot cider, as well as cookies, muffins, granola bars and cheeses.

Dawn had just broken as we set foot on the Bruce Trail in the Kelso Conservation Area. We hiked through the Glen Eden ski area and got to the top. Here the ski lifts looked forlorn while they waited for their time to wake up with the winter skiers.

The trail was covered by fallen leaves. It had rained the night before, and we had to watch our steps, because there were often slippery rocks under the wet leaves.

Even so, we took time to take in the view of the Carolinian Forest at this time of Fall.

After the first check-point at Appleby Line and Steele Avenue, the trail entered the Crawford Lake/Rattle Point Conservation Areas. This was a very rocky section which involved climbing up rocks faces and this brought us to the Nassagaweya Canyon. The view was spectacular once on top of the gorge.

Although the elevation flattened out slightly, the trail was rugged and footing was poor, and then there was a rocky downhill, reaching the second check-point at Twiss Road.

We crossed  a couple of creeks, up and down hill again, before reaching the third check-point at Blind Line and Britannia Road. The feeling that we were over half the day’s designated distance was very encouraging.

Mixed in with the rugged trail were a few paved road surfaces which also formed part of the Bruce Trail. Given the long distance of the day, it was nice walking on flatter surfaces but extra care was necessary because there was passing traffic. The flat stretch of Collin Road led us to the entrance of Mount Nemo Conservation Area. My heart leapt, because the city of Burlington was in sight. The Brock Harris Lookout provided a panoramic view of the city.

A steep climb down from Mount Nemo took us to the fourth and final check-point at No. 2 Side Road and Walkers Line. We felt re-energized after drinking the hot cider served by the volunteers. There was a long stretch of paved road along Walkers Line, and turning into No.1 Side Road, but we still had to follow the white blazers (for the Main Trail) of the Bruce Trail. It started to rain, and we picked up our pace. We turned into the unpaved trail again and soon emerged into an open field. We followed the path which took us to where we parked our car in the morning on Guelph Line. We checked off our names and enjoyed the cheeses and the drinks before heading home for the day.

Our legs were tired, but we were very happy that the longest lag of the four-day hike was done. Day 2 would be a shorter day.

Reference: The Bruce Trail Reference: Maps and Trail Guide, Edition 27, (2012).  Maps 9, 10 and 11.