Forget the runways of New York! Ignore the salons of Milan! Never mind Paris Couture! The Limestone ladies debuted their smash-hit fashion sensation on this hike: The Dolly Hiking Hat! (Named after our benefactor and hat creator, Dolly E.!)
We debated how best to express the true character of our group through clothing. Matching T-shirts? Bah! It’s been done. Ball caps? Too souvenir-ish. We wanted something as unique as our ladies, each with our own personalities, quirks and character.
And so, may we present our hats to the world. They represent us because NO TWO ARE THE SAME!
And speaking of no two the same – it holds true for hikes as well. You just never know what you’ll get when you step out onto the trail. On this particular day, starting just north of Devil’s Glen, we found….. deep, untracked snow! It was beautiful to behold, but a b**ch to walk through. Many times people stepped into deep, bottomless drifts and toppled over. It was not easy to get up as there was nothing to stand on nor push against.
We struggled on, taking turns breaking trail. Being the lead hiker was slow, sweaty, exhausting work. But, by the end of the line, there was a nice, firm, easy trail to skim along, thanks to the efforts of our trail-breakers.
The most challenging situations were going up hills. Stepping up into deep, loose snow would get you almost nowhere because your foot would slide back down, even in snowshoes.
It soon became apparent that we were not going to be able to make our target of 16 km. The traveling was just too slow. Fortunately, the group is flexible and we quickly came up with a new plan.
We hiked a long section of Concession 10, past Highlands Nordic ski centre. The wind blew fiercely along the road and we had to keep our heads down. We also met one of our non-hiking Limestone Ladies, driving along this road. She was headed for a ski!
We were getting very hungry, but there was one more feat to be completed before we could eat. A very steep hill appeared and required climbing. then we could look for a lunch spot!
Out of the wind, it was a spectacular day, and we found a secluded, warm, sunny nook for our lunch. It was warm enough to relax and enjoy our own lunches and also the treats on offer:
The next section of the trail once again featured very deep snow drifts. We encountered a few trail markers, which normally stand at about waist height. We were walking on snow mounded above them!
We reached an area where the trail followed the top of the escarpment, with expansive views out over Georgian Bay (frozen, of course. ) It is exciting to see the Bay, as it makes us think we may actually, some day, reach Tobermory!
The last section of the trail, before we stopped at Eagle Crescent, was the prettiest. Huge gnarly trees inhabit these forests, their branches laden with snow.
As we reached the end of the hike, we stopped to acknowledge our warm and fashionable heads. The era of the Dolly Hiking Hat is born!
We have a wise and talented friend named Dolly, who hand-knit all of our hats so we could be both warm and beautiful on the trail. We are grateful for her generosity and her inspiring colour combinations! If we had met anyone else on the trail today, I’m sure they would have been jealous of our stunning headwear!
10.8 km of hard-won trail today, ladies. We should be proud!