by George Lennon
Join Michael Humpage and me this coming September 9th for the first five of the six bus hikes we are planning. We hope to take in the entire 70km Blue Mountains section of the Bruce Trail. Each hike will be about 12km, and these will not be fast hikes. They are designed so that anyone of reasonable fitness can complete the end-to-end and obtain a badge. There will be time at the end of each hike and on the way home to socialize in the pubs, coffee houses, and ice cream parlors in towns like Creemore, Shelburne, and Collingwood.
We will have beautiful views of Nottawasaga Bay from the top of the Niagara Escarpment as we depart from Collingwood. There we will pass near Ontario’s best-known ski resorts, set among high bluffs interspersed with deep, wide valleys. As our series of hikes continue into October and November, our views of the rolling countryside will become especially stunning with the fall colours on full display. We will walk over open escarpment, through deep coniferous forest and thick meadows, and encounter numerous lakes and rivers.
We’ll see the farms that the European settlers established in the 19th century and the huge field stones they cleared from their fields. Or we might catch a glimpse of the Osler ruins, a 15-room castle built by the man behind the Osler name of one of the largest firms in Canadian law. As we enter the Conservation Area named after this Indigenous people, imagine the world of the Petun Nation. Where open meadows now stand below the Escarpment, the Petun once lived with their longhouses and their fields, their hunting grounds within the forest along the Escarpment above. Passing though Pretty River Valley Provincial Park, we find, just west off the main trail, the highest point along the Bruce Trail at 540m above sea level.
We will have to make the last of our hikes in the spring of 2024 to avoid the snows of late fall. If our scheduled bus hike dates don’t all work for you, you can arrange for yourself other ways to make up the distances you have missed. Keep note in your own hiking log of the dates and the km you will have covered on your own and on our bus. You can then submit your hiking log directly to the Blue Mountains Club to obtain your independent end-to-end badge.
Here are Saturday dates for this fall’s bus hikes to the Blue Mountains section: September 9, October 14 and 28, November 11 and 25. Mark them into your calendars, and Michael and I will look forward to seeing you.