April 26, 2015: Things That Grow On Rocks

There is nothing quite as invigorating as doing a long strenuous hike and then getting up the very next day and… doing it again!   After a delicious breakfast at our Lake Eugenia hideaway, the group set out for another intimate session with Bruce.  After some confusion about the actual starting point (two groups of hikers went to two different starting spots), we finally figured it out and set out under a cerulean sky.


Happy, well-fed and well-rested. We should do this every weekend!


You just can’t beat the intoxicating combination of  blue sky, spring-scented breeze and the fabulous scenery of the Bruce Trail. No wonder she looks so happy.

But actually, the topic of today’s post is:  Things that grow on rocks!  As we walked through the escarpment ecosystem, I was struck by how many plants have adapted to grow in cracks in rocks.  As you will see, on today’s hike there were many rocks and many cracks in rocks, so what’s a plant to do?   Sometimes I think that plants don’t get enough credit for the amazing things they figure out.  For example:


Here is a healthy and delicious crop of wild leeks (or “ramps” as they are called in high-end restaurants). What are they growing in? A rock!


We had a little game of hide ‘n seek, but unfortunately it was not a success, as all the ladies hid in the exact same spot. They chose a nice tree, though.


Another delicious-smelling cedar forest.

Along the trail, there are often remnants of bygone eras.  Here we found an old stone wall, obviously built by some long-ago hard-working farmer who was trying to scratch a living out of 2 inches of topsoil  This wall, and others in the same area,  went on for several kilometres.  Back-breaking toil, indeed!


The old, moss-covered stone wall

As we approached Metcalfe Rock, the geography became very crevice-y.  Everywhere you looked, there was another crack, crevice, fissure, split…..


Looking across at Metcalfe Rock


Entering the world of crevices


Crevice and crevice aficionado.  Note all the trees growing out of…. rocks!



We met a group of dads and kids and dogs climbing together up the rock face. Very cool.


Lunch with Metcalfe Rock in the background.


Such a pretty lunch spot – beside a babbling stream.

A few hikers went to explore the Metcalfe Crevice side trail.  This crevice is exactly what you would want in a crevice:  deep, dark, mossy and damp.  It was also filled with ice and quite treacherous footing!


Venturing into the crevice.


Look up, look way, way up!



It was here that we encountered some impressive examples of Really Big Things That Grow On Rocks.


Need I say more? Growing on rocks!


The impressive Mill Creek bridge.

We enjoyed a beautiful hike through Mill Creek Valley:


Trekking the valley floor



A mini flowerpot!

I was excited to find a little colony of very healthy Hart’s Tongue ferns.  I understand that these ferns are globally quite rare and so it was gratifying to find not one but many, growing right beside the trail.

The rare and exotic Hart's Tongue Fern

The rare and exotic Hart’s Tongue Fern

And then, nearby, a less exotic but quite lovely fern growing on, you guessed it: a rock!


I tried to identify this fern but was not successful. If anyone knows what it is, please let me know.

As the day wore on, we just kept discovering more beautiful places.


Here we are, climbing up beside Pinnacle Rock



Looking back at Pinnacle Rock

Like all good things, this hike eventually came to an end.   A successful weekend of hiking, ladies!  We covered 31 kilometres and gazed in wonder upon many beautiful sights.


The end of the weekend.

Fear not, we will be reunited again with Bruce in May!


About idreamoftobermory

Hiker, kayaker, canoeist, cross-country skier, cyclist, wanderer, adventurer.
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1 Response to April 26, 2015: Things That Grow On Rocks

  1. A Fun Guy says:

    “Rock” on, ladies!

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