I had enough of shoveling slushy icy sidewalks, winter coats, scarves, mitts and this past winter's mostly ever present grayness so I decided to take an adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed last spring. I purchased tickets for one of the Bruce Trail Waterfall Walks.
This walk helps one reconnect with nature. A small group of 20 met at the gorgeous Western Luxury C Hotel on Stone Church Road in Hamilton with our expert guide Jamie Kent. After an overview of our two day adventure, we were shuttled by van to a section of Ontario's premier scenic pathway, the internationally renowned Bruce Trail.
This pathway winds along one of Ontario's most striking geographic features, the Niagara Escarpment, and carves across the heart of Ontario from Queenston in the south, to the Great Lake Huron in the North at Tobermory. It's Canada's oldest and longest footpath, over 800 kilometres (497 miles) beginning to end. The Niagara Escarpment is a designated UNESCO World Biosphere, recognized for its unique blend of near-wilderness and natural environment with cultural and spiritual values.
The morning walk took us through a Carolinian Forest that was coming alive with the new growth of spring. Numerous
species of plants like Stinging Nettle, Jewel Weed, Paw Paw, Flowering Dogwood and Sweet Chestnut jostled each other in search of newly discovered sunlight. As we began our walk new life was everywhere. It filled me with joy.
Along the way we saw about half of the 19 stunning waterfalls that we would see along our two day, one night 25 kilometre (15 mile) walking tour. Borers and Sherman Falls are two of my favourites.
At noon, after an invigorating ten kilometre (six miles) hike, we stopped and enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at the
Ancaster Old Mill. It's a beautifully restored 19th-century grist mill. This restaurant is rated by TripAdvisor as the second best out of 50 in Hamilton. There were fresh flowers everywhere, friendly staff and a lovely natural waterfall outside our window. The food was top notch.
After another afternoon of hiking, we were shuttled back to the Western Luxury C Hotel which was home for the night. A real good shower was a must and then after a few hours rest I headed downstairs for a delicious dinner where we reminisced about our day of adventure. Sleep that night came easy.
After a hearty breakfast we all loaded into our van for another day of discovery. Besides the hiking, and stops at scenic outlooks where we saw more falls like the magnificent Albion Waterfall, one of the highlights was a behind-the-scenes look at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
For over 80 years the
Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) has been an ecological jewel at the western tip of Lake Ontario and revered world-wide for its extensive 162 hectares (400 acres) of display gardens.
The adventure ended at about 4pm and then I was taken back to my hotel to pick up my car. On my way home to Niagara I realized how great life really is.
Keep in mind this tour includes a knowledgeable guide, first rate accommodations, breakfast lunch and dinner each day and ground transportation between your hotel and restaurants .Also included is a one-year Bruce Trail Conservancy membership and an official Bruce Trail guidebook. There are two different tours. A two-day hike of 25 kilometres, where you view 19 waterfalls, is $588.00 per person, double occupancy. The first few walks are April 25-27th, May 9-11th and May 30-June 1.More dates are available. A five-day hike of 45 kilometres (28 miles) where you view 28 waterfalls is $1,198 per person, double occupancy. These hikes are available May 9-13th and July 11th-15. To enjoy these outings
you should be in good physical shape.
Bruce Trail Conservancy
Great Getaways: Hiking The Bruce Trail
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, The Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.
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The idea for creating the Bruce Trail came about in 1959 out of a meeting between Ray Lowes and Robert Bateman, of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Ray Lowes' vision was of a public footpath that would span the entire Niagara Escarpment.
On September 23, 1960 the first meeting of the Bruce Trail Committee took place. Four members attended - Ray Lowes, Philip Gosling, Norman Pearson, and Dr. Robert McLaren. Each became instrumental in building the Bruce Trail.
Trail Director Philip Gosling with a team of volunteers, visited major towns along the proposed route to discuss their vision of the trail and to solicit help from landowners. Their efforts were successful and by 1963 regional clubs were established along the length of the Trail. Each club was responsible for obtaining landowner approvals, organizing trail construction, and maintenance.
On March 13, 1963 the Bruce Trail Association incorporated in Ontario, and the first edition of the Association's newsletter,
Bruce Trail News, was published that same year. Membership grew to 200.
Dr. Aubrey Diem, an assistant professor of Geography at the University of Waterloo compiled the first guidebook in 1965.
The cairn at the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail in Tobermory was unveiled in 1967 to coincide with Canada's Centennial Year.
The Bruce Trail is the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada, with over 440 km of side trails.