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Hiking – Pretty River Valley and the Blue Mountains

May 1, 2016

I spent the past 3 days hiking.  This represented 28.2 kilometres of the Bruce Trail, but in reality several more kilometres in total.  The extra kilometres were a result of a 2 km side trail that we used to get to our car at the end of the day on Friday and again to get back to the trail on Saturday morning.  While we are generally against side trails (one of our mottos is “no side trails”), this particular trail did mean that we hiked to the highest point on the Bruce Trail system.   Yes it’s a poor quality photo, but it’s the only one we have and it’s the proof we really were there.

hikinghighestpointapril2016

 

The other reason we did more than the 28.2 km than calculated in our guide book, is that we had a significant detour around a country block as there is a section that is closed indefinitely until they can build bridge over a river.  We were grateful we had checked the website before we left and that the detour was marked by several signs.  Overall we did about 35 km in total.

The section we did on Saturday was a lot of up hill.  There was so downhill too (see photo below with the water running down the middle of the path), but most of what we remember most is that while the day started out as relatively easy hiking, it ended with a lot of going up, going up, going up.  Of course this makes sense if you consider the whole ‘highest point’ thing.   We don’t like when the challenging terrain is at the end of the day.

Saturday and Sunday had some of the easiest hiking we have had in a while.  Flat sections, packed trails, minimal inclines or declines.  We really wish the guide book or website included this kind of information.  It’s very difficult to know that the majority of the kilometres will be easy going, meaning we could have perhaps done a few more on Saturday.   Of course there was that 15 minutes where we were guessing at where the trail was between all the rock, boulders and snow.  We even did some independent off trailing to avoid some of this crazy, poorly marked section.  It was during those 15 minute that Linda stated that if we are going to need a harness and carabiners in order to complete the Tobermory section, we aren’t doing it.

And while I said that had we known the hiking would be easy on Saturday (and the weather not so nice on Sunday), we might have done a couple extra kilometres on Saturday; officially we couldn’t have.  This morning we did the section that is closed from November to May 1.  It was May 1, and so we were following the rules.  We didn’t know why this section was closed over the winter, until we went over the stile and saw the elaborate cross country ski trail map.  They apparently don’t like the hikers “walking” on the ski trails.  Wide ski trails are great for hiking on when there is no snow, we are glad the timing worked out for us.

The Pretty River Valley Provincial Park is apparently a popular place for mountain biking. Both Friday and Saturday we saw tons of bikers.  We even good Samaritans, helping guide a lost dog back to it’s owners.  (at least that is the way we are telling the story).

When you hike over 30 kilometres, in over 10 hours, over the course of 3 days, it’s difficult to remember all the highlights and lowlights. There were beautiful views, quiet forests, tiny buds on trees, thorny/spikey trees, wet spots, mud, multiple dogs, an old man hiking alone, 2 guys who looked like maybe they had camped and were doing the entire trail, the 3 women who included us in their conversation about mosquito resistant Olympic uniforms without every really stopping or saying hi, one wet foot, bikers bikers and more bikers, a perfectly placed port-a-potty, babbling rivers, flags that made me say “it’s not Mount Everest”, one back-track for a hiking stick, warm sunshine, cool breezes, classic escarpment look-outs, and I haven’t even talked about the Village of Blue Mountain (aka mini wanna-be Whistler).  All in all, a good few days of hiking.

Here are some photos (not in chronological order) …

hikingprettyrivervalleyAPR16 hikingslipperyhillAPR16 hikingnoteverestAPR16 hikingprettyriveAPR16 hikingmiddleofriverAPR16 hikingbeautyAPR16 hikingvalleyviewAPR16 hikingrainyviewAPR16

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One Comment
  1. marni permalink

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.

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