Saturday, 22 September 2012

Hike #28, September 22, 2012 Beaver Valley

Hike # 28
Date – September 22, 2012
Location – Map 26, Kimberley
Distance – 21.2 km
Total Trail Distance – 305.7 (588.3 to go)
Hikers – Steve, Simon, Dean, Marlene, Madeleine, Benjamin, Harold and Janette
Start – 41.9, Old Baldy, Beaver Valley Section
End –  63.1, Hogg's Falls, Beaver Valley Section
Direction – North (but actually South, as we loop through the valley)
Weather – Cool and rainy, then sunny, then rain, then sun – all day long 

Details – This is hike No.1 of a two-day trip to hike the Beaver Valley Section, a loop which travels along the escarpment on one side of the Beaver River and then continues north on the other side. It's known as the Falling Waters section, which becomes true in more than one sense of the word. 

We are camping at LutheRanch (thanks to Annette and Ron), where we all arrived in the dark the night before, picking up Madeleine at the Aberfoyle GO station on our way. Although we have been planning this weekend of hiking for some time, the forecast is terrible and in the days leading up to our departure we dither about whether we will follow through. Early in the week, Janette says we're not real hikers unless we are prepared to hike rain or shine, but later in the week she says she doesn't want to be responsible for the misery if she makes us do it. In the end Dean says too much planning has gone into this and we should just carry on. So we do. 

Saturday morning we learn that Robyn has been sick through the night so Elza and Robyn are staying back at camp. The remaining hikers leave the camp shortly after 10 a.m. in two vehicles, dropping Harold and Janette's car at the end point and then taking our van to the start.

It starts to rain almost as soon as we leave the van, but the rain doesn't last. Then again, the sun doesn't last either, and over the course of the day we are drenched many times. It's also a gruelling hike, with many ascents and descents.  

There are hints of fall colour beginning to appear in the trees, and at times we have spectacular views across the valley. Other times, we are trudging along with our heads down, in wet misery. Mostly, though, we are surprised at how lush and green the forest vegetation still is. 

There are sections of the trail, especially in the area of the penstocks on the east side of the valley, that are very overgrown. We enjoy thinking that there aren't many people who are travelling this way, although late in the day we meet a group of three men who say they are hiking the entire Beaver Valley section (we think they must be taking one of the mid-valley cross-overs) in one day. We also meet a group of four women who are heading towards Hogg's Falls, relying only on a GPS. They are very confused about where they are and where they are headed. 

Early in the afternoon we catch up to Ben and Simon at Eugenia Falls, but only because they are finished a switchback section which we have yet to do. We enjoy the story about the fool's gold found in the stream, and think that maybe we have found some gold ourselves  – unless someone is playing a trick on us with a can of gold spraypaint! 

At the end of the day we are all very tired and our boots are caked with mud. Harold,  Janette and Dean leave to drop Dean off at the van while the rest of us wait on the side of the road. It's starting to rain again just as Dean returns, and on our trip back to camp we see a spectacular double rainbow. 

After supper, we enjoy a lovely campfire.

Madeleine thinks the hike is too long! (And we've just started.)






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