Distance hiked: 25.0km
Number of hikes: 1
The Niagara Section marks the start of the Bruce Trail. It spans across 80km from Queenstown to Grimsby. We initially signed up to complete the Niagara End-to-Ends section of the Bruce Trail back in May 2017. This event takes place over three days over the course of the Victoria Day long weekend every year. Rain or shine. We completed the first day but did not return for the second or third because of our lack of preparedness. And the weather? Maybe?
Below is a log of our hikes along the Niagara section.
All maps and kilometer references are based on the 27th edition of the Bruce Trail Maps and Trail Guide.
Hike #1 – May 2017
Map #4 and #5: 55.0 – 80.0km (distance hiked = 25.0km one-way)
We signed up to complete the Niagara End-to-Ends section back in May 2017. Well it turns out 198 other people signed up for the Niagara End-to-Ends as well. And apparently they pulled a United and overbooked the event. But we got a spot on the bus. And they (thankfully) strategically staggered the timing of each bus so all 200 of us didn’t start the hike all at once.
We met at the end of the Niagara section and parked along the road of some side street. We were then shuttled to the start of our hike at Ball’s Falls (what an unfortunate name) Conservation Area. We were the second bus to hit the scene. When we exited all the people who got off before of us were just standing around and getting their stuff together. So we took the opportunity to separate from the herd. Because that’s the worst when you’re behind a swarm of people who hike at a slower pace and there is little opportunity to bypass. Crisis averted. For the first 10km we maintained a pretty brisk pace. We even caught up to a bunch of hikers from the first bus and quickly left them behind. And the hike itself was quite enjoyable. The trail was relatively flat, there were lots of flowers in bloom, and we got to weave around a number of vineyards.
But around 15km in the terrain took a turn for the worst. Rocks everywhere. Rocks up a hill. Rocks down a hill. Always maneuvering over rocks. The Mountainview Conservation area was the worst. And with 3km left the steepest downhill yet nearly had us in.
We definitely underestimated just how difficult this hike would be. We thought, 25km? How hard can it be? We’re avid hikers. We’ve hiked way longer and more challenging trails than this. But we also didn’t do much prep work beforehand. Sure, we went on a couple of hikes just over 10km long back in April. And we just came back from a week of diving in Bonaire. I guess we’re not as young as we once were.
We started our hike just after 7a.m and finished at 2p.m. But it turns out we missed some side street we were supposed to turn down for the final 100 to 200 hundred metres left of the trail. And when we reached the end the lady who was keeping track of completion rates wasn’t impressed. It’s as if she wanted us to turn around and walk the 100m or so down the actual trail. Listen lady, we’re pretty tired and in our knees and toes are in rough shape. And it’s not as if that part of the trail went through a wooded area or a field. It was along a road portion. Give us a freaking break here. After some awkward pauses she checked our names off the list as having completed the hike.
We did not return for the second or third day.
Return here for more of our Bruce Trail adventures.