January 19, 2014: Northwest Passage

The Limestone Ladies are a hardy bunch and they continue to prove it!

Despite the fact that the Toronto Club trails are closed due to damage from the ice storm, we were determined to stick to our hiking schedule.  Since we couldn’t pick up where we left off in November, we headed north to the beauty of the Dufferin-Hi-Land trails.

Here we are, getting ready to plunge into the woods at Km 0.0 of the Dufferin Hi-Land section.

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Is she a Limestone Lady? Or is she in the Witness Protection Program?

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Getting ready to scale the first stile of the day.

The snow was fluffy and the weather was crisp and energizing.  Snowshoes helped to pack down the deep drifts.

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Members of the Limestone Ladies First Polar Brigade.

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Not deterred by wind, nor snow, nor freezing temperatures.

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Here are the lovely Limestone Ladies enjoying a day of winter fun!

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A new hiker joined the group today. She seemed to intuitively grasp the spirit of the hike.

Initially, the traveling was easy and we soon warmed up from the exertion.

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Happy snow-shoer in action!

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There was a big, bad troll under this bridge, but fortunately, he was frozen!

As the morning wore on, the wind picked up and snow began to fall. By the time we reached the look-out, there wasn’t much to see.  The distant Mono Hills were veiled in blowing snow.

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A muted, misty landscape

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Limestone Ladies at the look-out.

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A spectacular view, sheathed in clouds

I should point out that, despite the extreme weather, the LLs maintain a rigorous fashion  code.  Never less than exquisitely dressed , the LLs are the envy of other hikers for their trend-setting trail style.

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Rocking the Limestone Ladies’ unique fashion sense, also known as:  “Franklin Expedition meets Downton Abbey!”

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A Limestone Lady is not dressed until she is accessorized with a scarf!

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Note how the belt of the backpack co-ordinates with the snowpants. Not just an accident!

We went uphill:

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Trekking up through the snowy forest

And we went downhill:

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The soft snow provided secure footing.

But it continued to snow:

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Still cheerful despite the blizzard

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Only 5,000 more km to the North Pole!

Although we were a group of 18, we were separated by the storm.  It kept each of us isolated in a personal world of raging wind and blinding snow .

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A lone hiker disappears into the mist.

The area we hiked through is a mature hardwood forest, filled with gnarled giants.  In winter, the trees appear lonely and barren, which lends a haunting beauty to the landscape.

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Branches bared to the furies of winter.

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An ancient tree. It has felt the wrath of myriad storms, has seen multitudes of  hikers pass by, has watched countless seasons come and go. Now it is worn out, ready to return to the forest floor.

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Beauty amongst the harshness. Coppery beech leaves against white linen snow.

As always, we found a convenient fallen tree or two for lunch.  Out came the Thermoses and we gave thanks for hot drinks.

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Reservations at the Blizzard Cafe. A log for seven!

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Delicious and nutritious!

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Shaken, not stirred!  And hold the olive!

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Another of our new hikers. Very hardy (no hat!)

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There’s always someone who gets naughty with a banana.

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There’s nothing more comfortable than a snowdrift on a wintery day.

The Forest Symphony:  The wind roared its melody in a minor key, telling tales of  barren tundra, ice floes, and polar seas.  Around and above us, trees groaned and creaked in random percussion.  Underfoot, the snow crunched with every step.  We were immersed in a live performance of a chorus that only the chosen few get to hear.

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Forging ahead into the relentless wind.

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Framed by the beauty of the frozen forest.

As we emerged onto First Line, the wind tripled its efforts.

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Trekking into the polar vortex.

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The windswept road

It became obvious that we should cut short our hike due to increasingly adverse conditions, so we stopped on First Line at the 10 km mark.

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Auntie Em!  Auntie Em!

All things considered, it was a great day and an excellent hike.  The Limestone Ladies proved, once again, that they are hardy, strong and brave.  And fun!

We hope to be back to our regular agenda in March.   See you all then!

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Lots of love on every hike!

About idreamoftobermory

Hiker, kayaker, canoeist, cross-country skier, cyclist, wanderer, adventurer.
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3 Responses to January 19, 2014: Northwest Passage

  1. Deb says:

    It was a lovely day hiking the Bruce. We were hardier than the wildlife. This is the first time that I didn’t see a bird, animal or insect. The most treacherous part was driving through the snowdrifts on the back roads after the hike. Thanks, Limestone Ladies for another lovely day!

  2. cass says:

    Wow. Thank you ladies for letting me join you for that amazing walk. When I closed my eyes I saw the woods and blowing snow …the best brain screen saver ever.

  3. Marg murray says:

    What a wonderful way to spend a day. you all looked so happy. It is good that there are many of you. It helps to keep all safe. I wish I was 40 years younger.
    marg

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