Distance hiked: 7.4km
Location: Bruce Trail, Ontario
Date: May 16, 2020
We’ve been under lockdown for the past couple of months, and as of this week, provincial parks and conservation areas in Ontario are back on the menu. What better way to spend the weekend than hiking. Especially since the weather was (finally) cooperating (i.e. not raining).
We hiked through the Pretty River Valley Provincial Park, which contains geological features related to glacial and post-glacial processes, such as meltwater channels, moraine and talus slopes, along one of the highest points of the Niagara Escarpment. We parked along the Pretty River Road and took the Pretty River Access Trail to get to the Bruce Trail. The trail winds through a dense cedar grove before heading down into the valley to cross the Pretty River.
The water level was pretty high, so it took us a while to find a good spot with sufficiently large enough rocks to cross over. Once we made it to the other side of the river, the path steadily made its way up to the top of the escarpment, providing (a good cardio workout and) sweeping views overlooking Collingwood and Georgian Bay.
The path continues along the edge of the escarpment before winding back down. We followed the white blazes along the main trail and turned around at the second access point for the Russ McConnell Side Trail. We hiked along the side trail as it provided a short-cut back to the main trail and change of scenery.
The side trail meets back with the main trail, which we followed for a few kilometres before reaching the Pretty River Side Trail. We followed the path through the forest, which turns onto an old logging road. The trail then leads to a small pond before heading uphill into the bush, connecting back up with the main trail. It also provided another short-cut back to the car.
By the time we finished up, the whole side of the road was lined with cars. We were not expecting that as the main reason we chose to hike through the Pretty River Valley Provincial Park was because it was pretty far from Toronto (just under 2 hours drive). I guess everyone else had the same idea. For the most part people were pretty good on the trail and tried to keep their distance. Who knows, maybe this is the new normal where more people get into hiking than ever before. I can’t blame them, hiking is one of my favourite activities after all.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here