Friday to Sunday, March 20 – 22 2009
08:00 – 22:00
Roads: Dry / Ice Patches
Area: Tobermory, ON
Vehicle: Black Sunfire
Weather: Cold, overcast
Trail Conditions: Ice / Snow
Hikers: Wolfmaan, Deciduous Rockwell, Luka
Plan: Spend the Spring Solstice Hiking in the Bruce Peninsula
GPS: 45.2648, -81.6375
Friday, March 20th 2009
After an early morning run on the warm first day of Spring, Deciduous picked me up around 09:00 in his black Sunfire and we headed up the Highway 6 towards Tobermory with Luka and all hour medium (+5C to -10C) weather hiking kit. Along the way we found a World War II Sherman Tank like my Grandfather drove during the war. The Sherman “Easy Eight” was one of the workhorses of the allied forces during WWII and without it, Allied forces would have lost many battles. We stopped to take some photos and then noticed we had a sagging exhaust pipe on the Sunfire. A quick stop for lunch and repair from a local hardware store and we were ready for adventure again!
Deciduous was kind enough to pay for two nights stay at the Harborside Hotel, which allowed Luka to stay with us. There was a little white Jack Russell Terrier who was a little grayed showing her age, who greeted us upon arrival. We headed back to the car with our winter kit and Deciduous took us to a favorite hiking spot of his at the end of Little Cove Road. We spent about 3 hrs hiking the Bruce Trail which was beautiful here with amazing panoramic views of Georgian Bay. We activated the SPOT unit to send a message back home that we were all right. The windswept point of Little Cove was breathtakingly beautiful and desolate, with no people around, and no vehicle traffic, the solitude was welcome from our normal near-city hikes. Around 18:00hrs we retired from the panoramic vistas, and fresh unpolluted air and started to head back to the car and return to our hotel room for the evening watching Discovery Channel. We didn’t see a single person on the snow and ice covered trails.
Saturday, March 21st, 2009
Waking early to go for a 3km run, I ran from the ferry dock near the hotel and to the city center which took me past the only grocery store in this small town, past the North Carin of the Bruce trail and to the “Tugs” dive site. Not wanting to over extend myself, I walked back past the waking town. The town is so quiet that I didn’t pass a car along the way.
I walked back to the hotel in beautiful silence as there were no cars, and very few people anywhere, and most of the businesses closed for the Winter.
We left the hotel around 09:00 after a quick breakfast and headed to the trailhead of the Burnt Point loop located by the new Bruce Trail visitor center, about 1km from Highway 6. The Visitors center staff were friendly and we looked at some of the exhibits which profiled some of the history of the Bruce Trail and Bruce Peninsula, including some nautical items such as marker buoys which loomed over the parking lot due to their immense size.
To the far East of the Bruce Trail visitors center was a white rectangle (known as “blazes”) on a tree, denoting we were on the Bruce Trail, which led tot he Burnt Point sidetrail. The trail passed by a tall lookout which we took the opportunity to climb. After a few minutes of climbing, we looked out on the high platform, well above the tops of the trees. Lookouts had been placed around the top of the tower to point out various areas of interest such as lighthouses and islands in the distance.
The Burnt Point trail itself was ice and snow covered, making it moderately difficult to navigate, with a few areas of the earth showing through to display vibrant colors of burnt-orange leaves and moss, as well as rugged, windswept rocks peering through. I forgot my gators and used some vet-wrap to make puttees to cover the tops of my Vibram Fivefingers Surge boots and outer shell. At the first lookout located only 1km from the Bruce Trail visitors center, we stopped and activated the SPOT unit to send a message home that we were okay.
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
Waking around 08:00 I went for a run around the still sleepy Tobermory. As I ran past the small shops, the cold, windy, fresh air filled my lungs. The quiet solitude is such a joy to be around. Sadly this will be my last run in the area on this trip.
We had a light breakfast supplied by the hotel, packed up and hit the road to try and see if there was some new places to hike. We stopped in Lions Head, but the wind was blowing a frigid gale, and the Bruce Trail here ran right along the rocky coastline. We decided to wait until it wasn’t -12C to hike this section. We also stopped briefly in Colopy’s bay and decided this may be a great area for a dive.
The cold weather drove us back to Niagara along Highway 6 and then the QEW highway until we returned home around 15:00hrs. Luka was happy to be home.
Even with the cold weather, Tobermory is a beautiful area deserving of a visit. Sadly as the temperature rises so does the population. This small town with less than 4,000 people will literally double in size as the temperature rises filing with hikers, campers, SCUBA divers, and other explorers. Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, this is truly one of the most beautiful areas in Ontario Canada.