September 18th we headed back to the Beaver Valley. The weather called for rain and we packed accordingly.
Although I’m never eager to get out of bed at 5:45 I look forward to our hikes and this morning’s sunrise was the perfect start to an amazing day:
Our goal was 9.6 km from 23.8 to marker 33.4 on map 25.
Even after more than 400km and 1 1/2 years on the trail we still worry a little that our car won’t be where we exit the trail. We check and double check the map before starting out. We use to leave 1 car at the end point and 1 at the beginning but for this hike, as thunderstorms were in the forecast, we parked one vehicle at the end point and one in the middle. We hiked 5 km, ate lunch in the comfort of our car and then simply moved the end vehicle to the start point (23.8) There were two added bonuses – the last 5 km were the most difficult so we got that portion out of the way while we were relatively fresh and we were able to gather additional rain gear.
We started at point 27.9 (middle of the hike) with most of the trail running through the Duncan Crevice Caves Provincial Nature Reserve. It was breathtaking:
Pinnacle Rock, a large outcropping of rock that has separated from the escarpment proved a difficult climb and one we would have had real difficulty with a year ago when we began our journey:
The trail hugs the steep valley wall of Mill Creek and crosses a beautiful bridge supplied by the Bruce Trail Conservancy and built by dedicated volunteers:
The trail at marker 23.8 runs alongside private property and 2 beautiful horses galloped to the fence line to greet us and to see if we might have treats. With hundreds or perhaps thousands of hikers passing their way we suspected they had been the lucky recipients of apples from the trail or fruit and carrots from backpacks. It was a lovely moment.
At 27.0 the trail runs through Metcalfe Rock . The guide book gave us a choice of descending from the summit of the rock via the main trail or via the Metcalfe Crevice Side Trail. Carol read the description and quickly decided she would stay on the main trail. I on the other hand thought I might try the side trail. I knew from the description that it was “exciting and demanding” but I honestly felt up to it. I got really lucky when 2 young hikers came along and started descending before us:
When we asked if this was the side trail they quickly said “no they were just having fun”. Oh the joys of youth! Although I did remind them their mother’s would not approve and they laughingly agreed. They did report they had completed the side trail through the crevice and it was steep, difficult and covered in wet, slippery plants. You guessed it – I finished the hike with Carol following the less exciting and less demanding main trail.