Date – May 19, 2014
Location – Map 25 Kolapore
Distance – 18.1 km
Total Trail Distance – 564.4 (329.6 to go)
Hikers – Steve, Simon, Dean, Marlene, Benjamin, Harold, Janette, Julian, Sue, Benjamin, Therese and Kai
Start – 41.9 Old Baldy, Beaver Valley Section
End – 23.8 Reg. Road #2
Direction – South on trail, but really East
Weather – Warm and sunny, black flies ferocious
We start this hike further south than yesterday, and will end where yesterday's hike began. Elza and Robyn elect to have a shopping-and-coffee-drinking-and-reading day, so we are down to a dozen hikers.
It's another warm and sunny day, but to our dismay we learn that two days of warmth + northern forest = blackfies! Persistent. Pernicious. Vicious. Blackflies. We have some bug spray, which we spray liberally, and repeatedly, but it doesn't help much. Instead, the only relief comes from the wearing of hats and the tying of bandanas and scarves. About mid-day we meet a local, out for a stroll, and she is wearing one of those cunning hat and mesh contraptions that completely protects her from the bugs. I offer to buy it. No dice. She says she would never venture onto the trail at this time of year without bug gear.
Because of our direction of travel and our choice of start location, we realize that we could end up passing Rory and Mick again, and sure enough, we soon do. They are in good spirits and making good progress. We greet each other briefly and on we go.
At Fox Ridge Road we meet a group of half a dozen day hikers who are just starting out. We stop for a short conversation and realize very quickly that four of them are visiting from Europe — The Netherlands, to be exact.
About four kilometres of this hike is on the road, which means we make good time. We stop for lunch and more bug spray on a wide, grassy shoulder of the road. It's not pretty there, but there's some shade, and even more importantly, it's an open space so there's a breeze and we get a little bit of relief from the blackflies. A very little.
About halfway we come to the Duncan Crevice Caves Provincial Nature Reserve, but we don't see any actual caves, although we do have a good view to the south from an escarpment outcropping. When we emerge from the nature reserve and end up on private property, we catch up to the kids, who have been hiking ahead of us. They have found a seating area and a fire pit and have made a very smoky fire — in the hopes of thwarting the blackflies. It doesn't work.
In a couple of places we encounter abandoned farm machinery. I am always intrigued by the lives of the pioneers who once farmed here, and I wonder about how difficult their lives were — especially when I think about the cold, and the poor soil, and the rocks in the fields and the bugs.
We meet two more people who are climbing the escarpment face at Metcalfe Rock and see a farmer cultivating a field. Our path runs adjacent to the field, which means this famer has kindly allowed the trail to pass through or adjacent to his or her farm. Thank you, landowner!
|Mick and Rory|