Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hike #34 April 14, 2013 Hockley Valley

Hike # 34
Date – April 14, 2013
Location – Map 18 Hockley Valley
Distance – 15.8 km   (GPS Distance 17.1 km)
Elapsed Time – 5.5 hours
Total Trail Distance – 392.6 km (501.4 to go)
Hikers – Steve, Simon, Dean, Marlene, Benjamin, Madeleine, Harold and Janette
Start – 50.9 Airport Road, Caledon Hills Section
End –  66.7 Dunby Road
Direction – North
Weather – 6 C. Mostly cloudy 

We wake up to glorious sunshine -- something we haven't seen for more than a week -- so we're very glad to be heading out for a hike. By the time we arrive at the trailhead it's overcast, but we don't care: at least it's not raining. 

We pick up Madeleine at Square One in Mississauga, and then meet at the end point at 11 a.m. where we drop Harold and Janette's car and then drive two vehicles to the start. With all the rain we've had the past week, we are expecting a fair bit of mud, but we are all surprised at how much snow remains.

After almost two years of very sore feet, I've got new hiking boots (thank you, Mountain Equipment Co-op) and I'm nervous about how they'll perform. Have I traded one set of pressure points and blisters for another?

We are all in good spirits and it's a good hike. Although there is mud and there are some especially slick descents, nobody falls and there are no soakers. 

The forest is still mostly brown and grey, but there are the smallest hints of spring with some brilliant green moss on trees and a few shoots pushing up through the soil. We also see debris from the past week's ice storms, with broken branches and fallen trees littering the trail and the forest floor.

In Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve, where there are many beautiful bridges, there is also evidence of a recent flood, with a section of the trail washed out and silted up. There are several wide, rushing streams. 

In Hockley Valley we meet Bruce Trail Conservancy member Keith McKewen (Dufferin Hi-Land Club, double end-to-ender) who describes the work of the volunteers of the BTC and urges us all to join. He hands out cards to the non-members in our group. 

At the start of the hike Dean had warned us that this would not be a flat one, and it isn't. There are many climbs and descents and in some cases we are hiking along ridges with the land falling away on both sides of us. 

I am pleased to report that this is the first hike IN TWO YEARS that my feet aren't aching. Thank you Mountain Equipment Co-op.

This sign is NOT accurate!