Now that Helen and I are entrenched into our weekly hiking schedule on the Bruce Trail, I might be at risk of overloading my blog with posts about our hikes as we explore the many side trails.
I just can’t resist the temptation when some days stand out … like our most recent adventure. It had snowed overnight and there was a thin carpet of snow covering – well, everything.
This was our first hike in snow in a very long time and we had forgotten some important details … like our winter hiking boots. Neither of us were wearing them.
Quite frankly I just didn’t think it was cold enough to justify it … but I had failed to factor in how WET snow becomes. Before long, we both had soggy, wet feet.
The morning was quite chilly when we started out, with frost hanging in the air that created a fog-like haze, and all the tree branches were dusted with snow. It was so beautiful.
By mid-morning however, we were faced with another reality check. As the sun came out and the temperature started to climb, all the snow on the trees began to melt. Soon it felt like hiking in the rain as we were pelted by large wet drops dripping from the branches. Now, in addition to wet feet, I had wet hair and a jacket that was getting increasingly damp.
The side trail we decided to explore was through the Hilton Falls Conservation Area and we quickly discovered that the snow was not going to make this an easy hike.
There was not enough snow to cover the rocky terrain and soften out its sharp edges. On the flip side, there was enough snow to disguise the hazards and make them very slippery.
We picked our way up, down, over, and around miles and miles of rock. Our pace was excruciatingly slow, and ultimately we decided to turn around before we reached our intended halfway point.
I really like waterfalls and I was looking forward to seeing Hilton Falls on this hike.
I was surprised to discover that it’s only a modest little waterfall at the base of the Escarpment with the remnants of a former mill from the 1800s nearby.
The most surprising discovery however was a campfire still smoldering at the top of the Escarpment. We hadn’t encountered anyone in our travels and at 10 am it almost implied that someone had camped here overnight.
Poor Helen had decided to hike in spite of having a very bad cold and she finished the four and a half hour hike with a nose looking more like Rudolph.
Tired and wet, we dragged ourselves back to our waiting car and a thermos of hot chocolate. It was a challenging day, but I’ve come to appreciate that any day spent doing something outdoors is worth the effort. It is a delicious kind of tired.