April 09, 2017: Overcoming Obstacles

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it likely doesn’t lead anywhere very interesting.

With those words in mind, we set out from Halfway Log Dump towards Cyprus Lake, one of the most technically challenging and visually stunning sections of the Bruce Trail.  It was not an easy hike, with many obstacles to be met and overcome during the course of the day.

One of the less obvious obstacles we had to overcome was logistical: how to get 14 hikers into the National Park at Cyprus Lake.  We knew that in July and August, they turn away about 2,000 cars per day from the Cyprus Lake park gates (source: The Bruce Peninsula Press).  Thus, we decided to hike this section in April, before the park opens, so we wouldn’t risk being refused entry.   In May, we will return to where we left off last fall, at Cape Croker.   This turned out to be a good decision, as we were surprised by the number of people at Cyprus Lake, even this early in the year.

On the trail again: setting out from the parking lot at Halfway Log Dump

And here we are: overcoming our first obstacle of the day!

Some people see obstacles as a reason to turn back.  We prefer to see the obstacles as part of the path forward.

The trail is a series of rugged ups and downs, with seldom a sure place for the foot!

Some part of our spirit enters into every hike, as a result of the effort and attention we spend on the trail.  And a part of the trail enters into us and changes us, for the better, I believe.  We carry within us the knowledge that we have been on a meaningful journey, we have met and surmounted obstacles and we have become intimate with the great life force around us.  We do not conquer this trail; the trail allows us to journey with it.

This particular spot was a charming combination of smooth ice, slippery rocks,  and downward scrambling.

We were rewarded for our exertions with a series of spectacular views. Note “Neptune’s Mattress” in the water below.

Everyone needs beauty, peace, and a place where one can experience a sense of awe!  We found that place today.

Risking her life to get the perfect shot!

My sister and I have been hiking this section of the trail since we were little girls. The trail feels like home to us. We are excited to share it with the Limestone Ladies.

Twenty years from now, we will still remember the exhilaration of this place and this moment!

Great things happen when women and trails meet.


“These are islands in time — with nothing to date them on the calendar of mankind. In these areas it is as though a person were looking backward into the ages and forward untold years. Here are bits of eternity, which have a preciousness beyond all accounting.”
– Harvey Broome

We ate our lunch at the Best Lunch Spot Ever! on the beach at Storm Haven. Natural park benches formed by cleaved dolostone provided a luxurious place to lounge and feast.  Due to the early April date, we had Storm Haven all to ourselves.

After lunch, we enjoyed portions of the trail that wound along the shoreline.  The air was alive with the soft rush of waves on stone,  the murmur of wind through cedar fronds, and the happy chatter of birds welcoming spring.

The bay was deceptively calm today. We hiked beside quiet, friendly waters of Caribbean blue.

There are two types of hikers: those who hike for the unbridled joy of it, and all the rest.

Then it was back into the woods for some more gnarly, treacherous hiking.

Getting close to Cyprus Lake!

When we emerged from the woods at Cyprus Lake, we were met by the stunning scenery for which it is famous.

The sparkling turquoise water and craggy cliffs draw thousands of visitors every year.

In summer, people swim in the shallow waters of Indian Head Cove. We declined a swim today, not fooled by lure of that Caribbean blue.

Since we are speaking of overcoming obstacles, I was most impressed by this small cedar tree, clinging to life on a rock at the cliff edge. This tree is many decades old and has faced the toughest of conditions every day.

Just north of the Grotto, we found sculpted crusts of snow clinging to the cliff face. A reminder that winter has only recently left.

We thought we had left all the obstacles behind, but we were mistaken:  the trail to Marr Lake was washed out by spring melt, so we experienced the joy of leaping from rock to rock!

Solving the “which rocks are stable to step on?” puzzle!

One hiker felt the need to cool her feet before finishing the hike!

Here is a classic example of “bait-and-switch.” Only 17.5 km to Tobermory!!! Except that it’s not true, as we will be returning to Cape Croker to resume our hike in May. So close, and yet so far!

We had one last obstacle to overcome before reaching the cars.  A cold and merciless wind sprang up and tore our hats from our heads.  We leaned into the wind as we turned away from the shore and made our way up the Marr Lake trail to the cars.   So sad to leave such a beautiful place.  We’ll be back in May to continue the journey!

Leaning into the wind for the final leg of the hike. It was hard to say good bye to the glory of Georgian Bay on a clear sunny day. Our consolation is: there will be more!

“Men, like rivers, become crooked by following the line of least resistance,”  (Edvard Raasted).    Bring on the obstacles!

About idreamoftobermory

Hiker, kayaker, canoeist, cross-country skier, cyclist, wanderer, adventurer.
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