May 31, 2015: The Tangled Roots We Weave

Today’s post is about roots: both literal and figurative.   The inspiration comes from the writhing, tortuous roots we encountered along the trail on today’s hike.   Seeing how these roots have grown, spread, and connected over years of surviving and thriving in a harsh environment gives us cause to reflect on the roots we grow in our own lives.

Two trees that will never be separate

Two trees entwined forever.

This was the much-anticipated Second Annual Bring-A-Friend hike.  So it is fitting that we are discussing roots, because the roots of our lives are the friends and family who support and nourish us.   By sharing meaningful events, such as this hike, with our special people, we  strengthen our roots.   It is also important to recognize that, as a group, we have become roots for each other.

Here we are, the Limestone Lads and Lassies, starting out from Duncan Crevice

Here we are, the Limestone Lads and Lassies, starting out from Duncan Crevice

Despite the brooding weather, we managed to dodge the torrential rain that plagued other parts of Ontario.  And we found some bright splashes of spring along the trail:

Beautiful yellow iris growing wild by the trailside (obviously escaped from someone's garden...)

Beautiful yellow iris growing wild along the trail (obviously escaped from someone’s garden…)

This portion of the trail, through the Beaver Valley, is proof that the Bruce Trail is all about the journey.  We are currently heading south down the east side of the valley.  If it was all about going north to Tobermory in the most efficient way possible, no one in their right mind would take a 90 kilometre detour!  But the Beaver Valley is so beautiful that we are content to forget about Tobermory and enjoy our meandering path.

Roots and branches: mother and son

Root and branch: mother and son

Roots that run deep: friends for many years

Deep roots: friends for 43 years!

Family roots: sisters!

Family roots: sisters!

 

Community roots: friends and colleagues

Community roots: friends and colleagues (note the roots in the background!)

The big sturdy trees are not the only notable plants along this trail.  We encountered some delicate yellow lady’s slipper orchids, another sign of spring:

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The exquisite lady’s slipper orchid

And, it wouldn’t be a day on the trail without some treacherous downhill clambering.  It was even more fun than usual because the earth was wet and slippery.

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Note everyone’s intense concentration on the ground

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When hiking beside a dolostone outcrop like this, you know you are on the Bruce Trail!

Happiness is: getting safely down the slippery slope!

Happiness is: getting safely down the slippery slope!

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The couple that hikes together, enjoys life together!

Sometimes you see a really gutsy thing that nature has done and you are just so impressed with the force of Life.  This fern grew up right through a thick slab of birch bark!

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Which came first? The bark or the fern?

Extended family roots: sisters-in-law

Extended family roots: sisters-in-law

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Our youngest hiker was very popular with the ladies.

One of my very favourite places on this hike was a spectacular natural passage through steep rock walls.  It was a good workout for those urban muscles that sit all day!

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They look happy because they are still at the bottom of this climb!

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Nothing but fun!

Since our theme is roots, I wanted to share this photo of the trees growing along the edge of this crevice.  I am filled with admiration for any organism that can grow and thrive while clinging by its roots to rocky walls.

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Seeing the forest from a different point of view.

Soon enough, it was time for lunch.  Because the Limestone Ladies know that one must nourish one’s roots with excellent food, a delicious buffet lunch appeared as if by magic.  It helped to find a handy picnic table sitting in a clearing!

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All this beautiful food emerged from the depths of backpacks: Shrimp!  Smoked salmon!  Grape leaves stuffed with lamb! Homemade guacamole!  Exquisite cheeses!  Decadent desserts!

The hikers were hungry!

Hikers always have a good appetite.

More roots: brother and sister.

More roots: brother and sister.

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Lovely Limestone Ladies: hungry no more!

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Always carry your lucky fork!

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After lunch, our path was marked by….roots

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The path forever beckons us deeper into the woods

Eventually we reached a lookout where we enjoyed views of the Beaver Valley.  We could gaze west at the slopes of the former Talisman Ski Resort and further south to Beaver Valley Ski Club.

Talisman

Talisman

Enjoying the bird's eye view

Enjoying the bird’s eye view

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The view we have grown to love: the iconic cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment.

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When life gets tough, hold tight your family and friends. They will keep you safe and secure, despite the howl of the wind or the fact that the ground beneath you seems to be nothing but rocks.

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Matrimonial roots: married for 33 years!

Trees, like people, live in community.  Their roots are intertwined.  Their branches weave together.   They sway and bend in harmony.  Living together keeps each individual tree healthier and allows the elders to nurture the young.

A community of trees

A community of trees

We stopped for a snack and everyone seemed happy.

A community of hikers

Some people are just so chill!

Some people are just so chill!

The long and winding road, that leads to..... more Bruce Trail!

The long and winding road, that leads to….. more Bruce Trail!

The last segment of the trail was inhabited by some of the best roots of the day.

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Imagine the power of roots that can split rocks apart. And support a towering trunk leaning into space. They flow along the cliff base like Rapunzel’s tresses.

We all have roots, mostly unseen.  Today’s hike put those roots on display, to remind us that we don’t just skim over the surface of the earth.  We weave a web of connections and mutual dependence that anchors us and keeps us strong through hard times and keeps us company in good times.  The trees know to seek sustenance for their roots.

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No caption necessary.

I think we did a pretty good job of nurturing and strengthening our roots today.

Thanks, everyone.

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Hi Marg!

 

 

 

 

 

 

About idreamoftobermory

Hiker, kayaker, canoeist, cross-country skier, cyclist, wanderer, adventurer.
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3 Responses to May 31, 2015: The Tangled Roots We Weave

  1. offthebeatenpath says:

    I loved this blog post!
    You have captured so many of the essential lessons that we can learn from the natural world when we take the time to slow down, be “in the moment” and notice the wonders small and large around us – from roots to treetops.
    I especially enjoyed your poetic moments – images to treasure:
    “When life gets tough, hold tight your family and friends. They will keep you safe and secure, despite the howl of the wind or the fact that the ground beneath you seems to be nothing but rocks.”
    and
    “Trees, like people, live in community. Their roots are intertwined. Their branches weave together. They sway and bend in harmony. Living together keeps each individual tree healthier and allows the elders to nurture the young.”
    I think about the cedars on the Bruce Peninsula living in mutual interdependence – holding each other up against the constant buffeting of the Great Lakes winds.
    And I’m happy to part of your network of roots!

  2. Wow! These are awesome photos. And, I really like the way you wove in the metaphor into everyone’s roots. Great stuff every time a get a chance to read.

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