Just a month away from our Morocco hiking holiday, our wonderful group of wayfaring women chose a hilly training hike – in fact one of the hilliest we could find within easy striking distance of Toronto!
It was a gorgeous autumn day, the filtered sunlight through golden beech trees evoking the forest of Lothlorien or some other enchanted world.
Oatie was so well camouflaged in the fallen leaves that she was hard to spot. The trail led us passed a sugar shack, several trail junctions along the ravine edge, a boardwalk lookout over a pond with some ducks, an avenue of cedars, abandoned orchards, wooden bridges across fast-flowing creeks, and several series of log berm steps up and down. In keeping with our tradition we played Pooh Sticks on the bridge. Anyone who thinks this sounds crude has evidently not read Winnie The Pooh!
We found some fallen tree trunks for our snack break, and to allow a curious and well-behaved school group to pass by. We could see and hear the roar of the water flowing in a branch of the Nottawasaga River in the ravine as wooden board walks led to a peaceful look-out spot. After many undulations, there was mercifully one long straight pathway along a wooden farm fence, and then a couple of stile into and out of farmer’s fields and past the old orchard trees. Another long hill climb towards the end before the trail descends through fields, with great views across the valley before arriving back at the main Bruce Trail.
The great thing about this hike is that the parking lot is directly across the road from the Black Birch Restaurant. When we realized we were pushing the 2 pm lunch closing time, we called ahead and they kindly waited for us – we got there at 2:15, more than ready to replace the calories burned on the hills. We all had great meals but also agreed that the quiche was the best ever!
Date: October 5, 2015
Trail Guide: https://www.torontohiking.com/tohi/hockley-valley.html
Distance: 13.7 kms, intermediate
Who: Mary, Anne, Nancy, Sari, Fran, Liz, Charlotte and Oatie