The female navigation system. Such a very useful tool. Put two women together to go on a road trip and you can always count on a scenic detour… even with the possession of a GPS.
“So Sam, are you SURE we’re going the right way?” I ask her again as I make a right turn to ANOTHER “Grey Rd”. We were running heavily behind schedule, making the decision to forego our initial plan to make a quick stop at Eugenia Falls.
It was a long morning trying to get to our destination. We got lost along the way, making the wrong turn and almost heading back home. Don’t ask how that happened — women just have the natural radar for adventure.
The photo was taken near the Silver Creek Conservation Area, en route to Metcalfe’s Rock.
It was the long weekend of Good Friday, and we decided to go for a little drive up north to Collingwood. Approximately 2 hours away from downtown Toronto, the town caters to a wide array of activities throughout the year. Winter sports enthusiasts flock to The Blue Mountains during snow season, also enjoying snow shoeing and cross country skiing on the local trails. During the warmer weather, visitors take pleasure in exploring the scenic caves, mountain biking, hiking on the trails, rock climbing at Metcalfe’s Rock or relaxing by the gorgeous Georgian Bay.
We finally arrived at Metcalfe’s Rock. The sun was shining bright, the air was cool, and though the snow has not yet defrosted, it was the best day that week for some trekking. As we began our mini expedition, we noticed a group of men rock climbing. Equipped with the appropriate gear and (hopefully) the mindset for safety, their aura of excitement was contagious. As a casual indoor climber, I added an entry to my mental checklist to try outdoor rock climbing sometime this summer.
Various websites rated Metcalfe’s Rock to be a moderate level hike. The rocky, uneven ground and the ascending path to the peak delivers the slight challenge to the main trail; however the audacious also have the option of choosing blue-blazed side trail that involves some climbing.
The rocks were covered in ice, making the optional climb extremely dangerous. Samantha and I unleashed our inner children and without shame, tore the icicles hanging from the rocks and had a race sliding the slippery snow on our bottoms. I have to admit…Sam won that race.
The photos above shows the alternate, more challenging route up the trail.
We continued on another path up the trail. There were several other hikers, most likely from the cottages around the area. During our hike we came across a series of crevices — a common formation I’ve noticed when hiking the Bruce trails.
We arrived at our first lookout that features magnificent views of the Kolapore Creek Valley. It overlooks a white-powdered landscape — currently serene and motionless from the cold winter, yet slowly and quietly cultivating the young blossoming season of spring.
After about another 10 minute walk, we came across another lookout with a small clearing. This area gives you a 180 view of the beautiful landscape.
We then arrived at an area with what seemed like endless collection of trees. The birch trees among the group were easy to spot; their off-white to light gray shade protruding with pride. The snow on the ground was high, and there were no footsteps that we could see. We sank at each step we took. Sam and I played another game where we counted how many steps we could take without sinking to the ground. Being the lighter one, I was proud to have won this round.
Continuing on to the Chuck Grant Loop (an additional 9.3 km to our approximately 2.4 km hike) was part of our initial plan. According to the information page at BruceTrail.org, the route explores the west side of the valley as well as the Duncan Crevice Caves Nature Reserves. More caves!!!!
However, we underestimated the ground conditions (I wore walking boots where snow was able to creep in, and Sam wore running shoes!) and had cold feet (literally) half-way down our hike. This would have been an exciting adventure for the warm summer weather.
We made our way back to the car, taking a small detour that took us close to one of the side roads. With (finally) dry feet and a smile on our faces, we paid a quick visit to the downtown area of Collingwood. We had a lunch at Butcher’s Bistro (http://www.butchersbistro.ca). The restaurant provides a unique and creative blend of French Canadian cuisine in a casual setting. It was de-licious!
I am happy to say that the return home was seamless. There were no wrong turns and no, we did not end up at the tip of the Northern Bruce Peninsula. Perhaps a little bit of adventure, vitamin D, mother nature, and good food are all it takes to re-calibrate the female navigation system.