Date – May 21, 2011
Location – Map 5, Grimsby to Map 6, Stoney Creek
Distance – 13.2 km
Total Trail Distance – 96.7 km (797.3 to go!)
Hikers – Steve, Elza, Simon, Dean, Marlene, Madeleine, Seth and Benjamin.
Start – 2.4 Iroquoia Club, Beamer Conservation Area
End – 15.6 McDui Road, Stoney Creek
Direction – West (North)
Weather – Warm and sunny, and we are soon hot!
Details – This was the weekend we had hoped to camp in Terra Cotta and get in two solid days of hiking. But we’ve had a week of rain and rain is in the forecast for most of the weekend, so we decide not to camp but to do a significant hike in Niagara instead. The size of the group is diminished and there is some reluctance to do 15 K, as planned, so Steve and Dean scale back the planned distance to 13. Since the first section is 2K on the road, Steve and Elza decide to skip that part and offer to move the vehicles. They seem to have difficulty getting from Tim Hortons to the rendezvous point and end up meeting us at Fifty Road, and hiking the last 7K.
On the topic of civilization vs nature, we meet another couple who are hiking and stop briefly to discuss their plans for the day. They say their strategy is to drop their car at their starting point and call a cab to take them back to their vehicle again. An interesting option.
Once again we encounter difficult terrain – this time because of the amount of mud and water on the trail. We hop from rock to rock, balance on logs and look for high ground, but it soon becomes clear that muddy soakers are inevitable. Once we’re resigned to having muddy feet we give up on some of the heroic evasion efforts, but much of the trail is still slow going.
We are grateful that many of the trees are now in leaf because it is HOT! For the first time since we began this adventure last fall we now encounter bugs, but once we get moving they don’t seem to bother us.
Spring is in full force and the forest, which was brown and grey on our last hike, is now green and bright. We see trilliums and toads and snakes and a frog. The forest is alive with bird song and blossoms.
Simon and Ben set off ahead of us, and, once again, stay out of sight for most of the hike. This time, they have a cell phone, so we can get in touch with them if we need to. They are tasked with choosing the spot for lunch, and they pick one of the many beautiful waterfalls which cascade down the escarpment. There are rocks and logs to sit on and Ben, Simon and Seth climb to the top of the falls. Ben and Seth cool off in the falling water.
It’s slow going. So far, we have averaged a hiking speed of about 3 km per hour, which is much slower than we thought we’d be going. Dean is amazed by the accomplishment of Ontario ultra-marathoner Charlotte Vasarhelyi, who, last year, just as we were beginning our trek, completed the fastest run of the Bruce Trail, going end to end from Tobermory to Queenston in 13 days, 10 hours and 51 minutes. She beat the previous record by 23 hours and 9 minutes, and would have done roughly 66 km per day!