“It would be terrible if we just stepped from September to November wouldn’t it?” * Lucy Maude Montgomery
Sunday marked a major transition in stepping from September to November. An overnight windstorm had transformed the area, sweeping the leaves off the trees and creating a multi-coloured carpet for our hike. Undeterred by the drop in temperature, sixteen of us picked up the trail the next morning to start our third year of hiking the Bruce Trail.
Revelling in scuffing and shuffling through the shin-high leaves, we crunched and rustled our way through the newly naked trees.
At 41.5 km. we passed the Tweedybrook Cottage. Mrs. Tweedy was the president of the Dufferin Hi-Land Club for years. In 1980, Mr. Tweedy put a notebook on a covered shelf alongside the trail. People from around the world have filled books with their signatures and comments. We were proud to sign on behalf of the Limestone Ladies.
After traversing a mixed forest, we travelled for several kilometres along side roads. Being on the relatively smooth surface of a dirt road helped us conquer some steep, long climbs.
Throughout the day, the sun peeked in and out of the clouds. As we trekked up and down the escarpment, the temperature and weather conditions changed dramatically. We’d strip off our warm clothes only to pile them back on upon reaching the top.
Then we came to a spot where we could see and experience the Bruce Trail in startling contrasts. Four views from virtually the same spot on the Bruce Trail. To the left, a windswept ridge with bare sentinels heralding the coming of winter.
Immediately below the ridge, cattle sheltered in the autumn sun.
And looking out, a magnificent view of the Ontario landscape in all its autumn glory.
Some farmers are very generous in allowing the Bruce Trail to cross their land. Thank you to all of them!
Trivia factoid: soy was the biggest crop this year in Ontario with 3 million acres sowed in soybeans. The long winter played havoc with traditional planting patterns. We walked along this farmer’s fields – soy beans to the left, cattle below and to the right.
While the leaves looked wonderful, they did obscure the path beneath our feet. At times mossy rocks and root systems kept us on our toes.
There’s always at least one section where we have to inch our way down, mindful of the imagined or real potential of losing our footing. While certainly young in spirit, our collective experience and wisdom dictates that we be extra careful in these sections.
Given our relatively long hike (18.6 km), we wanted to be at least over half way before stopping for lunch. As luck would have it, we chanced upon the most ideal spot of the day, with downed logs to sit on while being sheltered in a small dip.
Soon after lunch we happened upon a large owl camouflaged in a tree. As each of us came up we were shhhussed to be quiet and were able to admire the owl in its habitat. Finally, after several minutes, it spread its wings and disappeared into the forest. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to snap a shot of this beauty.
After a never-ending landscape of fallen orange, crimson and russet leaves, we walked along a lovely little babbling brook. The sound of water rushing over the rocks was a stark contrast to the crackle and crunching of leaves that had dominated our day.
Trivia Factoid #2: Cattails can supply 8 different food products, 3 medicinals and have at least 12 other functional uses.http://cattails.wordpress.com/facts/
Martha is our youngest hiker. Not quite sure we’ll all be able to take her class in trail stretches, but we sure admired her ability to do so.
Scrambling up to a small waterfall, we admired the view as well as the tenacity of the trees as their roots cascaded alongside the water
Nearing the end of our happy trails, we finished hiking through the woods and followed a path to the main road. Hiking up the last hill of the day, we reached the Lavender Cemetery as well as the end of the Dufferin Hi-Land Club portion of the Bruce Trail. One more badge to add to our collection!