March 2, 2014: Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland

Those zany weather people!  They had predicted a high of minus 7 for the day of our hike and we were excited at the prospect of a balmy day (after the wicked cold we’ve been experiencing).  Turns out those crazy pranksters were just kidding!  It was minus 15 when we set off from the Halton Country Inn so we had to huddle inside our layers to stay warm until we got into full stride.

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Exotic, mysterious, veiled women of the Bruce.

But the Limestone Ladies are game for any frigid, frozen, frostbitten adventure.  First we warmed up with some polkas and the chicken dance in the driveway of the Halton Country Inn (sadly, the Irish Pub is closed).  Then we set off in good spirits to discover the delights of our beloved Bruce Trail in March.

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Striking a pose at Halton Country Inn

The trail passes through a rock crevice and then travels along the edge of the escarpment, offering us scenic views for the next 5 kilometres.

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Up we go through the crevice

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Beautiful scenery in the foreground and background! You can see Kelso in the distance.

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Just making sure that we are, in fact, on the correct trail.

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Peeking through a tree-framed gap from the cliff-top

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Looking east across the flatlands of southern Ontario

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Like Hansel & Gretel, we followed the path deep into the forest

The next interesting landmark was the Dufferin Quarry Bridge.  The quarry stands in sharp contrast to the natural beauty of the woods and rock formations.

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Dufferin Quarry. This giant structure has a Dr Seuss-like appearance. A whatchamacallit machine!

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Limestone Ladies on the Dufferin Quarry Bridge

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The red-crested hiker is an uncommon winter sighting

The woods are lovely, silent and deep, but there are dangers lurking.  The happy hiker must be vigilant!

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A bottomless crevice yawns in front of us. Don’t be fooled by the snow-bridge. It will collapse with the first footstep.

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A fearless leap to safety on the other side

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Everyone safely crossed the perilous gap.

Although the Toronto Club had done an impressive job of cleaning the trail following the ice storm, there were still a few downed trees to deal with.  Everyone had their own method of getting past these obstacles.

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Do the limbo!

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Running the obstacle course

Sometimes we get too focused on looking down at our feet. It’s important to stop every so often to appreciate the natural beauty.

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No shortage of scenery here!

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A snow-maiden in her natural habitat

And then there is the most important moment of every hike: lunch!  Due to the cold, we didn’t linger.

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What do Limestone Ladies eat for lunch?

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Everything tastes better in the open air.

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Some folks like to thoughtfully ponder their food.

After lunch, something magical happened.  The sun came out!  We were treated to a sky of pure, faultless blue.  Since we have been deprived of sunlight for many months, this was a joyous occasion.  And the beauty of the woods glittered in all its glory.

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Look at that sky!

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Beautiful snowy woods, enchanting trail, gleaming sun, and beaming hiker!

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A little bridge at Pear Tree Park

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Soaking up the rays at Pear Tree Park. Who needs a tropical vacation?

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Tramping along the road at Speyside

The last section of our hike, from Speyside to Third Line was definitely the prettiest.  The trail was narrow and curved and wound through the forest like a child’s scribble.  A winding path is always more interesting than a straight road.  It forces you to focus on the journey, as the  destination is obscured.

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Who could resist the lure of this meandering trail?

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The trail continued to twist through the silent forest

There were other hikers in the forest this day.  Although we didn’t see them, we knew they had been there from their prints.

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This delicate creature walked a perfectly straight line and didn’t sink into the snow at all.

We were also continuously reminded of the devastation of the ice storm.  All around us, the trees bore witness to the power of nature.  We saw countless ripped, torn and mangled trees.  It will take many years to recover.

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A stand of battered trees

We had a little difficulty finding the Third Line Side Trail as it was not marked with the usual blue sign & blue blazes.

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Heading into the home stretch

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Third Line: End of the hike!

Once again the Limestone Ladies proved their fine qualities of strength, fortitude and optimism.  On a day when most people would not have ventured outside, we had a wonderful adventure in the woods!  Thanks, ladies.  We should do it again!

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Keep smiling!

About idreamoftobermory

Hiker, kayaker, canoeist, cross-country skier, cyclist, wanderer, adventurer.
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3 Responses to March 2, 2014: Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland

  1. scouterdeb says:

    Dare I say that I am looking forward to another winter hike. I’m so happy that we have a real winter this year. Snow is so much nicer than mud! Then again, I am looking forward to the spring ephemerals. What a dilemma!

  2. offthebeatenpath says:

    Another great evocative blog! Even though I wasn’t there, I could almost experience the hike. I too experienced the “sky of pure, faultless blue” that afternoon, and I loved your description of the narrow and curved trail, “winding through the forest like a child’s scribble”. And, as much as I like straight lines, I agree that “A winding path is always more interesting than a straight road. It forces you to focus on the journey, as the destination is obscured”. Glad you “enjoyed the journey” this day!

  3. This looks like the BEST HIKE EVER! I can relate to the picture with the trail sigh… how many times I have been almost sure I was lost and off trail. Wish I was there.

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