Sunday, 23 October 2011

Hike # 16, October 23, 2011

Hike # 16
Date – October 23, 2011
Location – Map 14, Boston Mills
Distance – 14.7 km
Total Trail Distance – 150.8 (743.2 to go)
Hikers – Steve, Simon, Dean, Marlene and Benjamin (Annette and Sean join us for the first part – and Roxy)
Start – 38.4 Toronto Club - Walking Fern Side Trail, Terra Cotta
End – 3.2 Caledon Hills Club - Caledon Trailway Link Side Trail
Direction – North
Weather – Warm and bright.
Details – We sleep well, and wake up late. There is frost on the ground but the sun is shining. Ron comes to say good-bye before he leaves for work. We have bacon and pancakes for breakfast, and then join Annette and Sean at the house for coffee. Sean and Annette decide to accompany us for the first part of the hike.

According to the map, we expect to head north through the Terra Cotta Conservation Area, but a re-route means we end up heading in a more easterly direction along the Terra Cotta side trail on the converted rail line. At Brick Lane, near the abandoned brick works chimney, Annette and Sean realize their return vehicle is now a long ways away, so they decide to strike off for home along Brick Lane where they will use Sean’s motorcycle to retrieve Annette’s car. We munch on Chudleigh’s apples (thanks Ron!) and bid them a grateful farewell for their kind hospitality and good company.

The weather is warm, the terrain is easy, and we make good time for the rest of the hike. Ben and Simon find a fallen log that makes a perfect teeter totter. Steve and Dean try it out too – much to Ben and Simon’s delight.

Because it’s a beautiful weekend there are tons of people on the trail, and we are disappointed that a pair of re-routes to avoid a quarry mean that we don’t get to hike through the Cheltenham Badlands. Steve and Dean decide that they’re worth a stop when we next resume hiking in the area. Dean, who cares a lot about these things, says in the future he will always check for re-routes online – before we head out.

We arrive back at Leslie Hill and pack up the trailers to head for home. We are all glad that we can successfully manage 25 kilometres on back-to-back hikes, because if we are going to make it all the way to Tobermory by 2015, we still have a lot of ground to cover.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hike # 15, October 22, 2011

Hike # 15
Date – October 22, 2011
Location – Map 13, Credit Valley
Distance – 14.6 km (longest hike yet)
Total Trail Distance – 136.1 km (757.9 to go)
Hikers – Steve, Simon, Dean, Marlene, Benjamin and Madeleine
Start – 23.8 Fifth Line, Halton Hills
End – 38.4 Walking Fern Side Trail, Terra Cotta
Direction – North
Weather – Cool and grey.
Details – This is our first attempt at hiking two days back-to-back and at introducing camping into the adventure. However, it’s easy camping. We leave Niagara Saturday morning around 9 a.m. with the tent trailer in tow, and make our first stop at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Burlington to buy hiking socks. We’re prepared to spend about $20 a pair, but a chat with a very helpful and informative staff person reveals we can get equivalent socks for only $7! This is great!

We arrive at Leslie Hill around 11:30. Steve and Simon are already there. Simon has gone for a walk down to the Credit River and Steve is reading a novel in the van. We are also greeted by Sean and Roxy. Neal arrives with Madeleine, who has taken the train from Kitchener to Georgetown. In Georgetown, she walks to “The Way We Were” to visit Annette, and then Neal meets her and brings her to Leslie Hill.

We set up our tent trailers in the turn-around and run power via a series of extension cords from Pete and Pat’s house (thank you Pete and Pat, hope you enjoyed your vacation). We have lunch and then we’re ready to start.

Neal provides shuttle service to our start point, and on the way we are buzzed several times by a crazy man on a motorcycle – it’s Sean!

We have a wonderful hike – much of which is in low-lying land made dry and passable by extensive bridges and boardwalks (thank you Caledon Hills Club members!) The terrain is quite different here – less rocky, more farmland. We enjoy the stone fences and the last of the fall colours. Ben and Simon explore some of the crevasses and holes along the ridge in Silver Creek Conservation Area.

Madeleine thinks the hike is too long.

When we arrive back at Leslie Hill, Lori, Bruce, Nathan and Jonathan have arrived and Annette and Ron are home from work. We enjoy a delicious dinner of grilled chicken, corn on the cob and Chudleigh’s apple pie and apple blossoms (thank you Annette and Ron!) and a roaring bonfire in the back yard. After some good food and good company, we bid farewell to Madeleine, who is going back to Waterloo with Lori and Bruce. We head for the trailers, where the electric space heaters are making a valiant effort to keep us warm. The weather forecast is for overnight temperatures around zero.