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2016 06 10 Barrow Bay Side Trail

Started out from Google Maps GPS coordinates 44.944586, -81.164952 from a roadside parking spot at the intersection of Richardson Road (Rush Cove Road) and Scenic Caves Road (about 8 Kms SSE of Lion's Head as the crow flies). The main trail (SOBO) heads along Rush Cove Road; about 1.3 Kms this way, near GPS coordinates 44.953702, -81.165333 the Barrow Bay Side Trail leads off the road to the left (with ominous signage, warning not to hike when the conditions are wet).

Having walked past this Side Trail many times, and having seen it develop from a loop into a radial trail, and lengthened somewhat, I decided it was time to investigate. Also, looking at the trail changes on the #BruceTrail website ( ), this side trail may develop into the main trail in the not-so-distant future,

This trail starts with warnings of moss covered rocks and of a steep descent/ascent (see picture of sign), and this warning is well given, this may contain one of the steepest and most perilous descents that I have encountered on the trail; with a cable strung along the descent for support. At one point I felt like I was descending straight down.

But once off the road the trail winds northward to the edge of the scarp then westward at and near the top of the scarp through mature forests; these were mostly hardwood on the flatter areas then more coniferous on the steep spots and below the scarp. After about one hour off-road we arrive at the sharp descent, and within minutes we are at the bottom of the escarpment walking along the edge of #GeorgianBay looking across #BarrowBay to the Lion's Head Peninsula.

The descent seemed about the halfway point as the hike to the dead-end took about another hour. At this point I stopped and rested, splashing some Georgian Bay water over my head and arms to provide some extra cooling (on this day it was below normal, close to 17c - 18c (63 - 65 F)), but hot enough when hiking a rough trail.

After a splash, a drink and a snack I turned around and headed back to the car.

Satellite View of the area on Google Maps (with approximate location of the start of the side trail marked with LatLng marker)'13.3%22N+81%C2%B009'55.2%22W/@44.9502536,-81.1890497,3077m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d44.953702!4d-81.165333?hl=en-GB

FYI, the star on this map to the right of the LatLng marker is a Bruce Trail Parking lot.

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Spring #GeorgianBay #NiagaraEscarpment

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2016 01 22 Blue Mountain, Loree Forest

Started out from Google Maps GPS coordinates 44.510758, -80.357306 from a roadside parking spot at the end of 4th Line where it intersects Side Road 21 about 11 Kilometres West of Collingwood (as the crow flies). At this spot the Intercept Side Trail leads us about 180 Metres (according to the guidebook) to the Main Trail of the #BruceTrail . This is near the beginning of the #BeaverValley section of the Bruce Trail (which starts above #BlueMountain ). This loop was almost exactly 9 Kilometres, covering 7.1 Km of Main Trail, 1.3 Km on the Loree Side Trail and a few hundred metres along Side Road 21 to get back to my car.

I chose this hike because I wanted to #snowshoe and weather reports had noted the area was getting lake effect snow (and +W Tarbat  provided a similar report for Collingwood earlier in the week). The snow was well tramped in some areas through the forest but almost untouched in others as I diverged from the popular walking areas. The day was bright and mostly clear and about -5c (23F) as I started out and was cloudy and grey as I finished.

The hike headed east along the Intercept side trail for a couple of minutes then picks up the main trail and starts descending into a sharp ravine down a steep decline with a cable for a hand-hold, at the bottom the trail crosses a mostly frozen stream then climbs out the other side to a knoll marked by a bench and a memorial marker then skirts the edge of a ridge before descending and climbing another ridge in sight of Georgian Bay. Upon this ridge the trail follows a counter-clockwise path within sight of the Escarpment (and a descent overlooking the Bay) at times and through old growth forest and open areas for about 4 km before emerging back at Side Road 21 (about GMaps coordinates 44.511678, -80.381110 ); somewhere in that loop the trail crosses the top of the Georgian Bay Ski Club which was active with skiiers. Here the trail crosses the road and continues south then eastward ,for a bit over 1 Km, skirting a farmer's field along a ravine's edge then connects with the Loree Side Trail. This side trail follows an old road bed and connects with SR 21 where I removed the snowshoes and walked the few hundred metres back to my car.

It was a gorgeous day for a hike and I met a handful people on the trail. One pair of snowshoers asked me if I had come through the steep ravine (yes) and we shared a few minutes of pleasant conversation, while another woman was Snowshoe jogging with her dog. Some of the smaller trees were holding onto puffs of snow that made them look a little bit like Marshmallow Trees. I managed to deceive myself as to the distance of my hike, figuring it might be 2-3 hours and what turned out to be a 4 hour excursion, but I felt I got a good workout so it's all good.

A satellite view of the area of my hike can be found at:'42.0%22N+80%C2%B022'52.3%22W/@44.5204609,-80.3755969,5730m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0?hl=en-GB

#Hiking    #Ontario #Conservation #Winter #GeorgianBay #SnowShoeing #NiagaraEscarpment

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2015 08 21 Burnt Point, Singing Sands & Cabot Head

(Continued from 'part 2' post - this is part 3)

Map Url of the "Top" of the peninsula:,-81.496098,12z?hl=en-GB

Cabot Head

I will have to thank Google for this one. While reviewing a Google Map of the area I noticed Cabot Head on the far eastern corner of the "top" of the Bruce Peninsula (see map url above - first one) and it piqued my curiousity to try to have a look. I should have asked Google to tell me how long it would take, because while it was only 44 Kms away it took almost an hour to get there as the road beyond Dyer's Bay was a rough dirt road little over one lane wide most of the way to Cabot Head. Cabot Head is worth the visit. The lighthouse area is a walk back in time, while Wingfield Basin with the bluffs of the escarpment towering to the west and south are an awesome sight.

Map Url of the Wingfield Basin at Cabot Head (Satellite view):,-81.3046527,1505m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-GB

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer
2015 08 21 Cabot Head
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While this is technically Lake Huron, it is very close to Georgian Bay so I thought i would include it here.
2015 08 21 Burnt Point, Singing Sands & Cabot Head

(Continued from post )

Singing Sands Trail

After the bonus beach post (from an Aug 14 trip - posted Aug 21), I thought a hike was in order. The trail is a peaceful and easy trail on the way out, following a road a few hundred metres from the north shore of the bay through forest. The trail returns along the shoreline providing nice views of the bay and sometimes rocky, sometimes sandy shoreline.

Google Maps Satellite View:,-81.5806442,1448m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-GB

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer #Beach #JohnMuir
2015 08 21 Singing Sands
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This is an enjoyable moderate hike, but with what I consider to be amazing views over the blue waters of Georgian Bay.
2015 08 21 Burnt Point, Singing Sands & Cabot Head

On this day I had high ambitions:
1) to hike the Burnt Point Loop from the Park Centre at Tobermory
2) to hike the Singing Sands Loop, and
3) to Visit the Cobot Head Lighthouse at the far NE corner of the top of the Peninsula.

Given that Tobermory is at the far western edge of the top of the Peninsula and that it is basically an hour drive to the last point from the first, I knew this would be a challenge for time.

Map Url of the "Top" of the peninsula:,-81.496098,12z?hl=en-GB

Burnt Point Loop

This is a short hike on a Bruce Trail Side Trail that allows hikers to explore the top end of the Niagara Escarpment as it submerges off the top of the Bruce Peninsula.

The Burnt Point Loop starts from the *BrucePeninsulaNationalPark Visitor's Centre (it's actually the Bruce Peninsula National Park and the #FathomFive National Marine Park visitor's centre lol). The Visitor's Centre has a Museum of sorts with a lot of useful information about the geological, nautical, historical and conservation aspects of the area. The geology and nautical elements collide here as the escarpment goes underwater here and the limestone has been eroded away to cause great 'deeps' to sit adjacent to shallows, and this has resulted in dozens of shipwrecks in Fathom Five (and more outside).

Starting out from the visitor's centre I follow the main #BruceTrail past the lookout tower (ok, not past, up the 14 flights if I recall correctly) from which I took some pics, then continue along the main trail for about 600 metres before encountering the Burnt Point Loop, from here the side trail continues before splitting into the loop. I chose the right fork which leads to a platform overlooking Little Dunks Bay before heading through the forest over typical escarpment geology with peeks over the bay. The trail emerges in a little cove near the easternmost part of the little peninsula this loop trail circumnavigates. A great spot to splash fresh #LakeHuron / #GeorgianBay water onto oneself to cool off. From there the trail heads to the north end of the little peninsula where the submerged (and emerged) limestone formations provide a little demonstration why these waters are so treacherous. The trail returns through the rocky, mossy deep forest before closing the loop.

The viewing tower has little 'scopes'; no 'tele' about them, they are just glassless tubes pointing at some of the local features such as Flowerpot Island and Cabot Head.

Google Maps shows an approximation of The Burnt Point Loop Side Trail at the following Google Maps url.,-81.652244,16z?hl=en-GB

I have separated the three visits into three separate posts, ... to be continued.

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer #Tobermory
2015 08 21 Burnt Point
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2015 08 14 BPNP Bootleggers Cave

The hunt for Bootlegger's Cave.

To access this hidden treasure in #BrucePeninsulaNationalPark (BPNP), the closest parking is at the Emmett Lake Road / Halfway Dump Road Trailhead (at GMaps coordinates 45.227408, -81.480628). If you hike a goodly pace then the access trail (Halfway Dump Side Trail) will take 10-15 minutes to get to main #BruceTrail, here we head NOBO (left) along the main trail; my destination is around 1.5Kms (almost 1 Mi) from the intersection of the main and side trail.

The main trail starts level but is visibly above the escarpment ridge with views downward into crevices and caves. After a while we climb up and down over rock features and hills, then climb to the cliff edge overlooking the bay with views of a prominent point jutting into #GeorgianBay; this point is Cave Point (my destination). After a few (at least three) different lookout points that include the bay and Cave Point, the trail heads back into the forest for a descent then a big climb up to cave point. This walk took me 39 minutes (and I took almost 60 pictures along the way), so at a good pace it was perhaps 35 minutes from the trailhead.

After hiking through here at least once, it is hard to miss cave point; you are at one of the highest elevations along this segment, and if you have seen these pictures then you will know what it looks like from this point. Also on Google Maps it is around coordinates 45.237714, -81.485871 (hint: paste these into Google maps and search).

Bootlegger's Cave is just below us. To get there we walk back somewhere between 30 and 50 metres to a point where a ridge runs about 1-2 feet high across the trail at an angle getting closer to the right where a blazed tree stands before the ridge. This visit I would describe it as what looks like a fork ahead; with the Main Trail veering right over a 1-2 ft ridge and the trail to Bootlegger's Cave veering left over a fallen tree/log/branch. Funny thing is the first time I hiked in this direction, the trail to the left (cave trail) was the one I followed, but it looks to dead-end after about 10 metres (but it just looks to do so, the trail is not maintained down to the cave, so it overgrows).

Now it gets fun, as we start to climb down an irregular and steep path overgrown with small cedars and hemlock, bending to the left and always steeply descending. Eventually we encounter a flatter area and we can see a big hole in the rock face, the entrance is somewhat below this as you have to find a safe place to descend the last 4 or 5 feet. And you are there.

When this cave was first described to me it was described as "roughly the size of a 2-bedroom apartment", with which I would agree.

Afterwards I returned to Halfway Log Dump and visited the shore for a while, removing my socks and boots and walking around in knee-deep water (and dumping water over my head) for a while to refresh and recharge. After returning to my car I visited Singing Sands Beach in BPNP on the west side of the peninsula, which I will post separately.

This was a hot and humid day from the morning onward and the usual heat abatement typical to this area seemed to have departed for the day.

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer #BootleggersCave #GeorgianBay.
2015 08 14 BPNP Bootleggers Cave
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2015 07 24 BPNP Horse Lake Trail to Halfway Log Dump

Started out from Google Maps GPS coordinates 45.236333, -81.523158 from the Cyprus Lake Head of Trails parking lot and followed the Horse Lake Trail to the #BruceTrail along beautiful #GeorgianBay.

This hike is a "stub" hike for me as I don't usually drive 3.5 hours to hike 5 Kms (and back) (then 3.5 hours to drive home again), but my on my hike two days before this, my camera's memory card was full (due to my own negligence), and that day I found myself more fatigued than I expected; so I bailed less than 3 Kilometres from my final "turnaround". Ultimately I cut out 9 Kms or so on the 22nd of July, which caused me to rehike about 1.2 Kms (between the Horse Lake Trail and Stormhaven, where I turned around the previous hike) and the 4.7 Kms of main trail between the Horse Lake Trail and Halfway Log Dump.

This section is the third part of the trail that is tied for the most difficult part of the Bruce Trail. The rocky shoreline requires great care and ankle strength to avoid a break or sprain and many parts of the trail are uneven, pitted dolomite caprock. There are also many little climbs, up and down along the way that add to the challenge. The beauty of the hike makes it well worth the effort as the typical Georgian Bay blue water, white cliffs and shorelines, wild forests and freedom from civilization are endemic to most of the trail through #BrucePeninsulaNationalPark (BPNP).

The weather for most of these four hikes through the park was great for hiking (mornings at 14-15c / 50F; and peak heat around 23c/75F, with moderate wind) so I had no draining heat to contend with, but, being surrounded by water the #BrucePeninsula is usually cooler than the rest of Southern Ontario.

Once at the lake, I headed eastward along the main trail (SOBO towards Niagara - lol, only about 880 kms away by trail) across a rocky beach, then the trail heads into the forest for a couple of hundred metres before descending back down to another rocky beach. After crossing this beach, the trail climbs into the forest and up the escarpment to walk along the cliff edge with views of the rocky shoreline below. After nearly 2 Kms, we approach Stormhaven, an overnight camp for hikers with organic out-houses and bear poles. If you are considering camping here please contact the park as there are limited spaces and they are popular in summer.

I continue on for another 2.7 Kms (according to the Bruce Trail Guide and Map Reference) through similar rough conditions to Halfway Log Dump (GMap Coordinates 45.232075, -81.476668), the turnaround point on my hike of July 15th (link below). This part of the trail takes me past Cave Point, (pictured as the background on my profile page, and a picture I shared in this collection, since it is one of the most memorable features along this part of the trail). I think I just made up a reason to return to BPNP; I will try to go back and head below Cave Point to Bootleggers Cave, the feature for which the "point" is named. I retraced my steps back, and stopped to dip my legs into Georgian Bay (after removing my socks and boots) and splash water onto my head/arms/back 5 minutes before the trail back to the parking area; this was very refreshing and I will have to do that again in future. There is a perfect rock ledge to stand in water up to mid-calf, of which I took full advantage.

If you want to explore Google's map of the area with other people's photos, check out the following link. The Google Map shows an approximation of the trail through the park with some of the main features I describe well marked on the map.,-81.5019489,15z?hl=en

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer
2015 07 24 BPNP Horse Lake to Halfway Log Dump
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2015 07 22 BPNP Stormhaven to Sinkhole

Started out from Google Maps GPS coordinates 45.236333, -81.523158 from the Cyprus Lake Head of Trails parking lot in Bruce Peninsula National Park (BPNP); from here there are three choices to access Georgian Bay and the #BruceTrail ; The Marr Lake Trail, the Georgian Bay Trail and the Horse Lake Trail. I chose the Horse Lake trail as it is the most direct.

This was intended to the the third of three hikes through BPNP, another hike where I start in the middle then hike out and back in both directions. But when my camera reported that its memory card was full, and I was finding myself fatigued, I decided to leave the last 4.5 Kilometres for another day (a day where I would return and actually stop to enjoy the water). Had I actually done what I had planned this hike would have been "Halfway Log Dump to Sinkhole". Sadly I have only one or two pictures beyond my mid-point (I was able to go NOBO and back then only a bit SOBO before the camera was full), so those pictures will have to come from the next "stub" hike.

The Horse Lake Trail ends at Georgian Bay and the Bruce Trail, I decided to take what I thought would be the hardest part first, NOBO (although at this point it is more like westbound). In this direction, the trail crosses rocky shore and over some escarpment formations (short cliffs) for about 1 Km before reaching Halfway Rock Point (not to be confused with Halfway Log Dump from a previous hike), this is the area of The Grotto and Indian Head Cove which are THE DESTINATIONS for most people who visit BPNP. And... who can blame them, this area is gorgeous all year round, but in July/August when the water is bearably warm (ish), it's just a great place to lie about and swim and explore.

After passing the Grotto we alternate between rocky shores and old cedar forests (along cliffs), passing Overhang Point along the way. I think there are 3 different rocky shores along this part (which are very wearing on a hiker). We get away from Georgian Bay for for a couple of Kms after one rocky beach to head inland and hike past Loon Lake (really just a puddle compared to Georgian Bay) and through forests for a while before emerging near Driftwood Cove. Here's the oddest thing... in the depths of this cove, in the middle of a National Park we hike around what I presume is a private residence in the deepest part of Driftwood Cove. As we divert around this cove we eventually encounter the Sinkhole Side Trail (around coordinates 45.239278, -81.586100), where I turn around to return.

Heading back I encounter a few people on the trail, but mostly amongst the rocky beaches; at The Grotto and Indian Head Cove there are crowds of people enjoying the summer day. Shortly after passing the popular spot my camera said it was full. At first I was still determined to finish the hike, but the trail between the Horse Lake Trail and Halfway Log Dump is very difficult and I wasn't feeling up to a 9 hour hike, so I decided to turn back at Stormhaven at GMaps coordinates 45.239208, -81.499411 (after a healthy dose of refreshment). My thinking was partly that, with a 9 hour hike, I wouldn't really have much chance to enjoy the water, so I would return to hike between the Horse Lake Trail and Halfway Log Dump, and maybe go for a dip in Georgian Bay when I was done (or nearly done).

The area covered by this hike can be seen in the following Google Maps Link:,-81.5343995,14z?hl=en

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer #BrucePeninsulaNationalPark
2015 07 22 BPNP Stormhaven to Sinkhole
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2015 07 18 BPNP Sinkhole to Tobermory

This hike is the northern part of BPNP, two more hikes to follow between the southern end of the park (Crane Lake to Halfway Log Dump) and this part; to be posted in the near future.

Started out from Google Maps GPS coordinates 45.247074, -81.615260 from a Bruce Peninsula National Park (BPNP) from a (free) parking lot at the end of Little Cove Road just south of Tobermory, ON. To a NOBO hiker, Little Cove is a sign that you're almost there. Given that this hike is a there-and-back hike, and given that Little Cove is in the middle; I started southwards and went to an unmistakable landmark (the Sinkhole Side Trail), then retraced my steps to the start then continued to the Northern Terminus cairn in Tobermory and retraced my steps back to the middle. I decided to tackle the difficult part first, southwards; the trailhead map shows this segment as red (meaning very difficult), and it lives up to that description.

In my post of the first hike into BPNP (link follows), I describe the trail along the edge of the scarp as tied for the most challenging section; well this is the other part that is tied.

Hiking SOBO The #BruceTrail follows a road to the bay at Little Cove then follows the southern shore for about 200 metres over loose rocks then interesting rock formations before heading into the bush. Almost immediately I encountered a steep climb with a rope-hold to help me climb to the top where the trail follows a ridge overlooking the shore (where the trees aren't too thick). As I recall the trail was wet, and wet rocks make for slippery footing, so... that means it was extra difficult. The trail follows the cliff and shore's edge for a while before cutting across the mini-peninsula to views of Driftwood Cove. At Driftwood Cove we make a right turn and follow the cliff in a SSW direction for a while before the trail descends into lush forests and fern fields and heads east where it meets up with the Sinkhole Side Trail.

I followed this short side trail to the Sinkhole, (I estimate to be around these coordinates 45.239278, -81.586100) which is described as an underground cavity/cave that collapsed; sadly I doubt the picture really conveys a true sense of how it looks at is it partially obscured by fallen trees.

Here I followed the same route back to Little Cove then continued NOBO along Little Cove Road for a little over 1Km where the trail heads NW through a short Fern patch then across fields and through forests, past the NE edge of a Golf Course. Shortly after this we do perpendicular right turn and head back to the scarps edge overlooking the east end of Dunks Bay and follow difficult terrain for about 1Km before skirting the homes in Dunks Bay (to the south), crossing Dunks Bay Road and continuing NW for a bit. We reach a much more groomed trail and turn back towards the NE meeting up with Little Dunks Bay before picking up an even better groomed trail (as we are approaching the Park Visitor Centre for Fathom Five Marine National Park (& BPNP)). We pass a viewing tower that overlooks Tobermory and offers endless views of Forests to the south (which I avoided as I still had a few Kilometres left to hike to get back to my car), then the Visitor Centre, then we emerge roadside in the small town of Tobermory and soon after the Northern Terminus Cair of the Bruce Trail.

Due to the high moisture from the previous day's rain this was a difficult hike, but the day was cloudy at times and other times clear, but it was a nice day. Started out just before 8:00am and finished at 4:20pm; making this close to 8.5 hours.

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer #BrucePeninsulaNationalPark #Tobermory
2015 07 18 BPNP Sinkhole to Tobermory
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2015 07 15 BPNP Crane Lake to Halfway Log Dump

Started out from Google Maps GPS coordinates 45.190855, -81.419830 from parking at the end of Crane Lake Road at the south end of Bruce Peninsula National Park. From here the #BruceTrail meanders northward along what might be described as an old logging road, circling past "Big Marsh" and between Moore and Upper Andrew Lakes. This track, according to the map is 8Kms, and at my fastest pace takes me about 1hr 45 minutes. This part is moderately Difficult (according to the "Park Map") as we follow what might have been a logging road at one time and is a snowmobile trail (for most of this part of the trail) in winter.

At around GMaps coordinates 45.233300, -81.407106 the trail reaches the High Dump Backcountry Camp Side Trail and turns westward to follow the escarpment overlooking beautiful Georgian Bay. Here is where the fun starts; this part of the trail is, in my estimation, at least tied for the most demanding and difficult part of the Bruce Trail. I say tied, because this part and another within Bruce Peninsula National Park are both very exhausting and difficult as a hiker will have to do a little climbing and will have little if any flat, level hiking for most of the next 6 Kilometres. While I managed to hike the first 8 Kms in 1:45 Hrs, this next 6Kms took me more than 3hrs.

The trail is uneven for much of this part, with little smooth rock to be seen as much of the caprock is pitted by erosion. A hiker must climb up then down and follow a trail that is rarely straight for more than a few metres at a time.

At Halfway Log Dump Side Trail (don't you just love the name?) (at about GMap Coordinates 45.232104, -81.476681), I took a little rest and refreshment, checked out the lake (Georgian Bay), splashed some water on my head, then turned around to head back following the only trail I know of to return, and wishing there was a shortcut.

All tolled, this 30Km hike (roughly 19 miles) took me 8Hrs 45 Minutes and took a bite out of me.

If you zoom in just a bit from the following url on Google Maps you can see a rough approximation of the track as it is marked, I started at the star on the lower right and turned around north of the star to the upper left.,-81.4441296,14z?hl=en

#Hiking #Ontario #Conservation #Summer #BrucePeninsulaNationalPark
2015 07 15 BPNP Crane Lake to Halfway Log Dump
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