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!

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April 8, 2017: Reflections on Water

Water covers 71% of the earth’s surface.  This fact was certainly true on today’s hike!  As you will see, we encountered  water in its many unpredictable forms throughout the day.

The first indication of our watery fate was on the drive to the start of the hike.  Crane Lake Road was, to put it mildly, under water!  You know you are in trouble when  a muskrat is swimming across the road you are about to drive down!

Here is what we discovered when approached Crane Lake Road

I would like to point out that the Limestone Ladies are not easily deterred and we bravely decided to see if our vehicles were amphibious.

You could have water-skied behind this car!

All  vehicles safely surfed Crane lake Road to the trailhead. The morning air was crisp and bright – a perfect day!

Almost immediately, we encountered water in another of its forms: snow.  Being hardy Canadians, this was hardly worth mentioning.

We laugh at snow!

The first part of the trail was flooded in many places.  Reflections in the water provided glimpses into deep, still, and unattainable worlds…….

The worlds contained within the water can be as beautiful as the worlds above.

We came upon a beaver dam which was overflowing and flooding the trail below.  The dam itself was a marvel.  How these industrious rodents build a dam out of sticks, that is capable of creating a lake and holding back tonnes of water,  is quite remarkable.

Here is the beaver dam. All that water was running directly onto the trail, which created a trail-maintenance nightmare! I suggest appointing a few beavers to the Bruce Trail Board of Directors to advise on civil engineering intricacies.

The swampy lake created by the beaver industry  was really quite beautiful, although perhaps not by standard interpretations of what is beautiful.  “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it,” said Confucius, no doubt in reference to the beaver ponds of the Bruce Trail.

The dead trees in the beaver swamp were beautiful in their starkness.

We continued along the trail, which in places resembled an obstacle course more than a walk in the woods:

To be a successful Bruce Trail hiker, one needs a good sense of balance, a love of adventure, and waterproof boots!

We finally reached High Dump, where a side trail drops over the edge of the escarpment to the water’s edge.  This side trail was extremely challenging, not just for the first steep drop, which required ropes to help one rappel down, but because of the ice which filled every nook and cranny of the path.  There was no sure footing!  I don’t have any good photos of this, as I needed both hands to hold onto the rope.

Here we are, clambering down towards High Dump.  You can see the rope strung along the first descent.  The icy ground doesn’t show in the photo, but we were all very aware of it!

High Dump is an unfortunate name which refers to the logging of the Bruce Peninsula in the 19th century.  Logs were “dumped” over the cliff edge and stored on the shore until ice break-up in the spring, then rafted up and floated  down Georgian Bay to sawmills further south.  It was a treacherous climb down, but the beach at High Dump is jaw-droppingly beautiful and well worth the arduous trek.

The serenity of a spring morning at High Dump. We were well rewarded for our perseverance.

Georgian Bay is renowned for its crystalline transparency and the unique turquoise-blue colour of the water

There was time for some stone-skipping, although choosing the perfect stone can be quite time-consuming! The waters of Georgian Bay were crystal-clear, as usual.

After lunch, the group felt quite frisky!

We encountered more snow and ice, as the trail was not yet done with water hazards for the day.

Happy to be tramping through snow on an April afternoon.

You can’t appreciate the trickiness of these icy patches from a photograph. The potential for slipping or twisting an ankle was always there and all hikers needed to be attentive!

But the rewards were great.  We would emerge from the woods and be treated to a vista over the icy blue expanse of Georgian Bay.  In a moment like this, one’s spirit soars!

Beauty x4: Beautiful lake, beautiful sky, beautiful trail, beautiful hiker!

There is always something to climb down, or over, or up!

We finally reached the cars at Halfway Log Dump and were surprised with some home-baked goodies!  Everything tastes so much more delicious when the appetite has been sharpened by a day spent out-of-doors.

Thank you, Madame Baker!

But of course, there was the car shuttle still to be completed, which meant one more trip down the Crane Lake Road!

Bye-bye, Crane Lake!

We then moved on to the next phase of the hiking weekend, which also involved water, this time in the less hazardous form of broccoli-cheddar soup and fermented grape juice!

A fine end to a successful day!

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October 23, 2016: How to take a Forest Bath

After four years of hiking, the Limestone Ladies intuitively know the healing power of being in nature.  We simply feel better, more alive, and more connected to each other and the natural world around us when we are on the trail.

Recently, “forest bathing” or  “shinrin-yoku” as it is known in Japan, has become popular for its health benefits.   Among the various healing benefits claimed by shinrin-yoku are:  improved energy, sleep and mood,  increased attention and focus, lower blood pressure, enhanced immunity, and overall increase in sense of happiness.   Who wouldn’t want this?

So, the Limestone Ladies are pleased to present to you:  “How to take a Forest Bath.”  This is based on our own experiences over the past four years, with photos from today’s glorious hike.

Step One:  Find a Path Leading into a Forest.  Follow it.

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The path should beckon you on… and the destination should not be clear. Life is about moving forward into the unknown. The forest bath is a perfect metaphor for the mystery of life.

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As Henry David Thoreau said, ” Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”   If your path happens to be the Bruce Trail, you will have friendly white blazes to guide you!

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“In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks” John Muir

Step Two:  Look around slowly and carefully.  Look down and look up.  Look into the distance.   Do not look at electronic devices.

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Identify as many colours as you can.   Name them.

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Let the colours saturate your eyes, leaving no spot unfilled.

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Look for patterns of colour, shape, light and dark. There are patterns throughout all of nature and these patterns are also imprinted within us. The soul thinks in symbols.

Step Three:  Fill your gaze with beauty.  Imagine the view as a feast for your eyes and a balm for your brain.  So often, we think we are looking, but our minds are elsewhere.  Bring your mind to the present moment and pay attention to the festival of life in front of you.

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Let the beautiful view calm and rejuvenate your frazzled mind.   Your soul craves beauty.

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Natural environments generate strong emotional reactions because for millenia, close observation of nature was crucial for human survival. We may have forgotten this with our logical minds, but our deep brains still respond to nature.

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We are also programmed to respond to light.  Here the early morning light shimmers on Colpoy’s Bay at the start of our hike.  We were all struck by the beauty of the complex interplay of light & water.

Step Four:  Find something powerful and allow yourself to experience awe.

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Being humbled by the awe-inspiring power of nature reminds us of our place in the natural order. (Hint: we’re not as powerful as we think)

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I’m sure a geologist could give a very scientific and rational explanation for this huge rock and its cleavage planes. I prefer just to look at it and think “Wow!”

Step Five:  Listen to the sounds around you. (Earbuds not required!)

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Enjoy the scuffling crunch of leaves under your boots.

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Pay attention to the many different melodies of the wind. And to the response of the trees, shrubs and grasses as the wind passes over them.

Step Six: Get to know a tree, as closely as you can.  Feel free to hug the tree, as long as the tree gives consent!

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A happy girl and her tree.

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Getting comfortable with a tree!

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Different humans are attracted to different trees. You might appreciate twisted gnarly branches  while another prefers shaggy bark.  It’s much like choosing a romantic partner. (except that trees don’t go on eharmony!)

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A double date!

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Although we can’t hear them, the trees are constantly communicating with each other through their roots. You could be standing on top of a tree conversation!

Step Seven: Smile!

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Forests make you happy!

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Happy!

Step Eight:  Take time to pause and reflect on where you are and what you are experiencing.

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Remember that we are human beings, not human doings. Stop all the doing and allow yourself to be!

Step Nine:  Open your mind and connect with the natural world.

Notice the smells of damp leaves and sun-warmed cedar.  Listen to the twitter of little birds or the raucous croak of a crow.  See if you can synchronize yourself with “forest time.”

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Experience unforgettable moments of well-being  Revel in the energy of the forest.

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And when you think you are done, wander some more. The forest is has more delights to show you.

 

Step Ten:  Share the experience with a friend, if possible.

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The heart naturally opens to friendship when in nature.

 

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Share the joy of being here!

 

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A special moment. 

After a day in the woods, we are happy but tired.  It’s always sad when a great hike ends, but then we have the pleasure of looking forward to the next one!

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Heading to the Cape Croker park and the end of the hike.

We would like to thank the Chippewas of Nawash for generously allowing the trail to pass through their land.  We are grateful to them for preserving and sharing the beauty of this area.

As this was our last hike of 2016, we will say good-bye and meet you back in this space next April.

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Goodbye until next spring!

 

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October 22, 2016: The Food Blog

I have been roaming the Web and note that food blogs are all the rage these days.  Numerous folks with formidable taste-buds, well-stocked pantries, top-notch thesauruses and  expensive cameras release their food explorations in blog form.  I note that grammar is out and random punctuation is in.  An example:  “Best.  fermented goat cheese.  and wild artichoke terrine. Ever!  served in:   Hollow Gourds! ”

It struck me that the Limestone Ladies are fantastic cooks,  we have highly evolved taste-buds and we could easily ignore grammar and punctuation.  So, the idea of a food blog was. Born.

In order to get to the food though, we still have to do the hike.  So bear with me as I chronicle the stunning scenery of the Peninsula section, and you will be rewarded with pictures of food!

We set out from Wiarton into blustery wind and a smattering of rain.  The grey skies could not mask the lovely setting:

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After so many windy, rainy hikes over the past four years, we barely notice the weather! Here we are, starting out from Wiarton’s Bluewater Park.

The trail winds along the waterfront past a very pretty park and playground, heading towards the Wiarton marina.

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A rainy day in Wiarton

This blog was to be about hiking and gorgeous food, but it very nearly became a romantic epic.  One of our hikers, having had surgery for a fractured patella only 4 weeks earlier, accompanied us for the first portion of the hike on her crutches.  ‘Twas there she spied the dashing, swashbuckling Wiarton Willie and her heart leaped.  Here was the giant plastic cartoon rodent she had been waiting for all her life!

You never know when nor where true love will strike!

You never know when nor where true love will strike!

The trail followed the shore of Colpoy’s Bay very closely.  We have not hiked so intimately with Georgian Bay before.  To be right beside the water was a unique feature of this hike.

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Such a beautiful setting. This peaceful calm could quickly transform into maritime fury on a wavy day!

The trail soon turned away from the shore and climbed steeply to the top of the escarpment.

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Watch your footing!

Thankfully there was a charming iron spiral staircase to aid the climb.

Thankfully there was a charming iron spiral staircase to aid the climb.

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One of the things I love about hiking on an overcast day is that colours are so vivid. The brilliance of these hikers stands out against the subdued palette of the trail.

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The Limestone Triplets with Colpoy’s Creek in the background.

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Heading towards Colpoy’s Bluff with Colpoy’s Bay in the background

There is no experience on earth that compares with the pleasure of hiking on a crisp fall day.  Brilliant colours all around,  air filled with the invigorating scent of damp leaves, wind swirling and surging with restless energy.  It is impossible not to feel happy!

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Immersed in the beauty that is autumn.

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This tree has a story to tell…. sometimes ya gotta do something crooked before you can go straight!

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Enjoying the beauty of the fall forest.

One hiker tried to force her way into the food blog early.  She thought her chunky cauliflower soup with homemade tea biscuit in a separate, but attached, container might allow her to jump the queue into food blogging fame!  Nice try!

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That tea biscuit does look toothsome!

When you’re a new grandmother, it is “de rigueur” to show photos of the new granddaughter.  Here we see the proud grandma sharing photos of sweet baby Nora.

Most beautiful. baby. Ever.

Most beautiful. baby. Ever.

After lunch, the trail continued along the edge of Colpoy’s Bluff, with endless, enticing views across the gleaming waters of Colpoy’s Bay.

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The scenery continued to enthrall.

Sometimes you take a photo, quite by accident, that just  captures the spirit of the day.  I love this picture of a vibrant woman in a vibrant landscape.  That’s just exactly how it was.

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Admiring the endlessly captivating view.

And here is what the vibrant woman was gazing at:

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Note the endlessly shifting wind patterns on the water surface. Can you imagine ever growing tired of this vista? 

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The Lovely Limeys stopped to enjoy the view. Thankfully, no one stepped backwards. It’s a very long way down!

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Last chance to admire the view before heading to the cars. White Cloud Island is in the background.

After a hardy hike, the Ladies were hungry.  But not for just any old food.  Oh no!  The Limestone Ladies accept no less than artisanal, free-range, artfully presented food.  Anything else would upset our finely tuned digestive systems.  So, we started with an appetizer or two:

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Here we see the handcrafted guacamole, constructed from avocados individually picked by descendants of Emperor Montezuma II,  and thoughtfully diced in order to preserve the molecular energy of the avocado. Seasoned with organic heirloom tomatoes , vital lime essence, and lovingly dusted with fleur de sel. Ignore the corn chips in the background. Of course we didn’t eat those!

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Next up was a blue pumpkin soup, scented with cumin, ginger and cinnamon and embellished with organic yogurt-lime drizzle.

Hungry hikers enjoying their soup.

Hungry hikers enjoying their soup.

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An exquisite chicken pot-pie, with hand-carved pearl onions and herbs flown from France on a private jet, to preserve freshness.

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A rich and fragrant tourtiere, bursting with hand-raised, pasture-fed meat and pure grass-fed butter crust sculpted by Italian stone-masons.

Can it get any better?  Stay tuned!  This ratatouille goes beyond merely organic. The vegetables embody the plasmic qualities of essential biotic plant orgo-chemistry in order to capture the. Crucial. Piquancy. of the dish.

This ratatouille goes beyond mere organic. The vegetables embody the plasmic qualities of essential biotic plant biochemistry in order to capture the. Crucial. Piquancy. of the dish.

And you thought it was just a ratatouille!

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Bulgur salad prepared with savoury herbage harvested by Druids under the full moon. And assembled in a yurt!

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The diners seemed to appreciate the food.

Of course there is no dinner without dessert!

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Organic apple upside-down cake made from hand-ground ancient grains and baked in a Paleolithic stone oven.  Sweetened with cold-pressed, fair-trade, eco-farmed sugar-cane nectar.

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Delicious! And nutritious!

Now, you may think that all this food blogging is just egocentric, new-age yuppie babble.  So, let me tell you what happened next.   After eating the meal of thoughtfully-prepared organic, wholesome foods, our injured hiker arose from the table, cast off her crutches, and …. danced!  Yes, it was a miracle!  The Limestone Ladies can heal the wounded!  And we have proof!

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Here she is! Healed! Boogeying to the Bee Gees!

It was a very full day and after the dancing ended, we made our way to bed.  Tired, happy, bellies full and muscles well-exercised.    We need to be ready for more tomorrow!

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And many thanks to our generous hostess.

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September 11, 2016: Move Over, Rio!

Rio de Janeiro, get over yourself!  Wiarton, Ontario has emerged as the hot new Olympic/Paralympic venue.  It’s where all the buff athletes of the International Trail Olympics go to strut their toned thighs and rippling abs.  And this blog was there to catch the live action!

I can’t possibly cover all the exciting sports, so I will limit myself to just a few of the most hotly contested .   There was fierce competition for the Random Chunk of Limestone Clean and Jerk, as evidenced by the following photos:

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Silver Medalist for the Limestone Clean and Jerk shows the strain of competition.

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Gold medalist effortlessly lifts a massive chunk of limestone

Bronze medalist shows her form

Bronze medalist shows her muscular form

Another exciting sport was the One-Legged Mossy-Rock-Balancing competition.  We had some serious contenders in this one:

International rock balancing athletes in dead heat for the medals.

International Mossy-Rock-Balancing athletes in dead heat for the medals.

The competition for the Poisonous Mushroom eating event was slim.  We don’t seem to get many repeat contenders for this event.   But we had one!

This athlete shows her months of training for the poisonous fungus-eating event.

This athlete shows off her months of training for the poisonous fungus-eating event.

Here is the mushroom eaten by the (late) medalist from last year’s competition.

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There’s no shortage of poisonous mushrooms to choose from for this event.

We had flag-bearers, of course.  This duo were the winners of the Dash-Across-The-Road- Without-Getting-Hit relay.

The flag beareres representing both Canada and the Limestone Ladies!

The flag bearers representing both Canada and the Limestone Ladies!

One of my personal favourite events is slower paced but still requires skill and intense training.  It’s the Posing-in-Front-Of-Gorgeous-Scenery-While-Looking-Outdoorsy event.  Here are the winners:

Winners are judged on their posing techniqe, outdoor apparel and the scenery they choose!

Winners are judged on their posing technique, outdoor attire, and the scenery they choose!

We had rhythmic gymnastics and stile-ballet:

This hiker had a leg up on the competition.

This hiker had a leg up on the competition.

Note the cleverly disguised pointe slippers.

Note the cleverly disguised pointe slippers.

There was an eerie moment during the hike when we came upon what appeared to be a stash of concrete coffins lying by the side of the trail.  Can you say weird and unexpected? But in the spirit of “work with what you’ve got,” they provided inspiration for a new sport:  Coffin-Top Push-Ups.

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Yes, those are coffin lids!

Here are some pictures of the thrilled medallists:

Happy medallists

Happy medallists

All her years of training paid off

All her years of training paid off

In addition to gold, silver and bronze, we also awarded the coveted Clay medal!

In addition to gold, silver and bronze, we also awarded the coveted Clay medal!

Athletes on the podium with their medals

Athletes on the podium with their medals

And here is a photo of Team Limestone, showing their exuberant Olympic spirit:

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The athletes, arriving at the Olympic stadium in Wiarton, Ontario.

But the athletes’ joy was short-lived.  An ugly rumour started to circulate that perhaps the judging was not impartial.  Medallists in the Crevice-Leap and the Throwing-Rocks-At-Other-Rocks were clearly not the best athletes.  Could there be corruption in the ranks?  Then we recalled the Maryhill judge, who was seen with a nefarious smile while  flashing a wad of cash the night before.  Questions were raised about her private jet and her yacht named The Malfeasance.  We were unable to catch up with this judge to question her, as her Rolls-Royce pulled away just as the throngs of reporters descended.   So… stay tuned for next year’s competition to see if the Trail Olympics will get cleaned up!

Wanted! On five continents for graft and corruption! If you spot this person, report her location to the International Trail Olympics anti-corruption squad. Do not approach her directly!

Wanted!  For graft and corruption! Interpol has issued an alert across six continents.  If you spot this person, report her location to the International Trail Olympics anti-corruption squad. Do not approach her directly!

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Sept. 10, 2016: A Few of My Favourite Things

With predictions of thunderstorms and wild wind and rain, the naysayers were out in fine form.  “You’re going out to hike in that?” they cried, from the depths of their La-z-boy recliners.   But when we heard today’s weather forecast, we basically shrugged and said “Meh!”  We’re seasoned hikers now, and all the things we love about the Bruce Trail are still there, even when wet.

To honour the attributes of a wet trail, I have borrowed from Rodgers and Hammerstein and composed this brief ditty.  Feel free to hum along!

Raindrops on noses, we’re all getting bitten,

Bright orange fungus, and boots that aren’t fitting,

Brown wooden boardwalks that make the trail sing,

These are a few of our favourite things.

Girls in wet Gore-tex with damp Tilley hatses,

Raindrops that drip from our hair and eyelashes,

Slippery brown mudslides that rain showers bring,

These are a few of our favourite things. 

When the foot slips,

When the ‘squito stings,

Why this hiking fad?

I simply remember my favourite things

And then I don’t feel so bad!

And now: here is photographic evidence that the favourite things are alive and thriving on the Bruce Trail:

First and most favouritest of all:  The Limestone Ladies themselves:

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The lovely Limestone Ladies heading towards a rainstorm.

Equally lovely: ladies once they are wet and slightly bedraggled.

Weathering the storm

Weathering the storm

 An adorable little bridge across a crevice, built by some handy volunteer:

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Saves us having to leap across!

A whimsical picture frame in the middle of nowhere…..

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A lesser known Renaissance masterpiece: The Madonnas of the Trail

People who aren’t afraid to be silly!

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A very unknown Renaissance masterpiece: The Madonna of the Raspberry

A mossy canyon:

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This crevice went on for several hundred metres.

A banquet for mosquitoes:

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The identity of this poor hiker shall remain hidden. She had to give up her lucrative career as a leg model as a result of this hike!

A handsome and muscular man!  Even better, he was bawling lustily for his women!

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Actually this massive beast was a bit scary. He has the crazy eye!

A beautiful view from the top of a hill:

img_0113Puddles!

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We never get tired of puddles!

And more puddles!

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Colpoy’s Range road – we were very glad not to have to drive this.

Smiles when the rain stops:

img_0124-2A delicious dinner at the end of the day:

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Yay! Green Door Cafe!

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They clean up well, don’t they?

And then there is this photo…  This scene was caught on camera at the end of the evening.  We didn’t know it at the time, but we were witnessing graft and corruption of an international scale.  What kind of high-stakes game is she playing?  Who slipped her this cash and what did they want?  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog and you will learn the sordid truth!

lynn

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June 12, 2016: Soxy Ladies

Good morning1

Good morning!

Another gorgeous day on the Bruce Trail! We set out from Inglis Falls, early enough to beat the tourist rush. We soon found ourselves in a green and leafy wood, enjoying the shade and the easy walking.

No shortage of trees here!

No shortage of trees here!

We have become hardened and hardy hikers over the past four years.  We believe in traveling light, focusing on eternal values of friendship and commitment, rather than the shallow vagaries of fashion.   And yet, a certain Bruce Trail style that has evolved.  The LLs like to look good, in their own way, and that involves paying attention to…..socks!

The choice of socks can make or break your day! Here we see the correct balance of comfort and style!

Choice of socks can make or break your day.  This hiker demonstrates the correct balance of comfort and style!

Here we see the "Pippi Longstocking" version of a trail sock. So charming and flattering!

Here we see the “Pippi Longstocking” version of a trail sock. So charming and flattering!

Here we have a conscientious objector with no socks! Didn't get the memo obviously. Or perhaps she is too sexy for socks?

Here we have a conscientious objector with no socks!  Didn’t get the memo, obviously. Or perhaps she is too sexy for her socks?

It’s funny how much the terrain can change in one day.  Yesterday we were in the land of crevices, but today we were mostly high up on top of the escarpment.  This meant lovely vistas, of course.

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Too bad the view doesn’t show in this photo. We gazed out over the forest canopy at Georgian Bay in the distance.

There were wild vistas....

There were wild vistas….

And urban vistas

And urban vistas.

We met up with a few crevices, but instead of being at the bottom, we were on top.  And we wanted to stay on top!  For some reason, this hike included a number of wide cracks, across which we had to leap.  This was fine as long as you didn’t look down at the deep  darkness waiting to engulf you if you slipped!

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Safe landing on the other side

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Some soxy lady just couldn’t resist flashing her irresistible socks, even when we were supposed to be focusing on safely leaping the crevasse. 

We traveled for about 2 km above and beside Highway 21.  Mostly we couldn’t see the road, although we could certainly hear the roar of trucks and Harleys.  When it came time to descend from our lofty heights, some kind folks had  thoughtfully provided a wobbly ladder.

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On our way back down to earth!

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Safely down the rickety ladder, never far from a towering cliff face!

We hiked a short segment along the shoulder of Highway 21 – even this managed to be scenic, thanks to the rocky escarpment looming above the road.

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The Bruce Trail takes many forms, including a highway!

After crossing Highway 21, we entered the Pottawatomi Conservation Area.  We found a scenic lunch spot overlooking Jones Fall.  This 12 metre cascade disappears  completely under the rocky riverbed once downstream.  It’s a bit unnerving to see the impressive waterfall and no river flowing away below it.

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We have lost count of the number of waterfalls we have passed on this journey.  Each one is spectacular, but after a while they do start to look the same.  This beauty is Jones Falls.

 

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It was a stunner of a lunch spot, with Jones Falls as our screen saver. 

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The ladies have a knack for  displaying themselves artfully, even when simply enjoying their lunches.

After lunch, we crossed a fairy tale bridge over the Pottawatomi River  – just made for trolls to lurk beneath.

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Last bridge of the day!  Troll not included.

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A rift developed in the group.  Fortunately not serious!

Thanks to an early start, we ended our day by 2:30.  Yay!  Home in time for dinner.  We are all looking forward to July as we begin the trek to the teeming metropolis of Wiarton.

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Some people just can’t stop being soxy!

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