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Urban Hiking: Highways and Highrises

April 24, 2016

Yesterday was our first day of hiking for 2016.  It was great to be out on the trail again and we were happy to have the perfect weather for it.  This was also our first real experience with urban hiking.

We hiked a section through Hamilton and while it was nice, it was strange that at times there was a highway on one side of the trail and highrises could been seen when you looked the other way.  This urban section of the Bruce Trail means at times we were walking on the sidewalk beside a busy road and for another block or two down the sidewalk on a pretty residential street.

A perk of urban hiking is that there is no need to strategically look the “last small town with a Tim Hortons” so that you can use the bathroom before spending hours treking through the middle of nowhere.  Then again, when we are in the middle of nowhere we don’t worry so much if we need to pee in the woods.  On this section, there were so many walkers, and bikers, and runners, and dogs, and houses, and kids playing, that we wouldn’t have had the privacy needed to pee in the woods.

We generally don’t spend a lot of time reading the trail description on the Bruce Trail guide ahead of time.  As it’s not like we are going to “choose” to not hike a section based on something in the guide.  However, had we read the description prior to starting out yesterday; we would have realized that had we hiked the other direction, we could have gone down the 2 super huge flights of stairs, not up them.  As we have said in the past, they really don’t include the right pieces of information in the guide book “go the other way” would have been a good tip for the section we did yesterday.  (See photo of stairs below).   The one flight had the steps numbered, we went up over 160 steps.  And I gotta say, to all you Hamiltonians, why are so many of you running up and down the stairs?  It might be good exercise, but there is no “stair running” sport.

Other noteworthy things from yesterday’s hike were that we saw 2 snakes.  In the past 2 years with over 200 km of hiking, I think we have only seen 1.  I’m not a fan of snakes and I’m not feeling good about what this sudden increase trend might mean.  We also immediately started hiking the wrong direction from the short side trail.  We were thankful for the Bruce Trail app and that we hadn’t gone far; but again not a great sign for the year to come.  Although we did comment that another perk of urban hiking is that you can always get a cab if you need to get back to your car, something less possible in the middle of nowhere.

So that was our first day on the Bruce Trail in 2016.  The plan is to do 3 days this coming weekend, so more blog posts to come.


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