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3 Photosets

2000-05-29  
1994-09-09  
Bruce Trail - Tobermory, ON
mini location map1994-09-09
16 by photographer avatarBarrett
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Bruce Trail - Tobermory, ON 
Bruce Trail - Tobermory, ON
 
Backpack avatar Sep 09 1994
Barrett
Backpack25.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Backpack25.00 Miles4 Days         
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After seeing a tiny bit of the Bruce Trail with my wife a few years earlier, I put together a bike/backpack loop and called my brother John. The next thing I knew we woke up in the back of my Isuzu Trooper at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula as the sunlight rose around us.
After breakfast in Tobermory, we drove to Little Cove and prepared for the first section, a 25 mile bike ride down to the Crane Lake entry point for the Bruce. We would hide our mountain bikes there, backpack back to the truck, then pick up the bikes on our way down the peninsula. I attached my 45 pound pack to my rear rack, which made my bike handle in a most peculiar way, and John wore his, making his rear end pay the price. Six of one.
We took a break at Singing Sands Beach, where indeed the sands did sing, and then found ourselves at the Crane Lake entry, where we ditched the locked bikes under a camo net, ate lunch, and hit the Bruce. The first few miles would be inland, passing a few lakes and fairly level.
John was leading, when in an instant he stopped moving forward and fell back into me. A beefy Massasauga Rattlesnake sat dead center on the trail, blending in perfectly, and had feigned a strike as my brother's foot approached. A few expletives and photos followed, and we continued on, somewhat more cautiously.
4.5 miles from the trailhead, we reached our first camp at High Dump, named for the spot where loggers would slide logs down the slope into the Georgian Bay for transport. There of all things we found a little box with instructions to break glass in case of snake bite. There are so many rattlers in the area there are actually anti-venom stations along the trail. We worked our way down to the backcountry sites at the bottom, and set up camp, setting up a rope between two trees to suspend our food for the night. This would prove to be a waste of time, as we learned that night, shining our flashlight at the gear from the tent and seeing a group of raccoons having a high wire party. We lowered the food and went over to the beach, carefully burying the food bag in a structure of 30-40 pound rocks. In the morning we would find that one of them had still managed to get their head in there far enough to chew a hole in the nylon bag and eat some of our precious oatmeal.
The next day we started out on the most famous 20 miles of the 560 mile Bruce, following the shoreline, up and down the 200 foot escarpment of Dolomitic Limestone (Dolostone) that caps the softer shale beneath it. Huge overhangs provided viewing platforms for the Caribbean blue waters below, and the shoreline stretches offered easy access to cool (42 degree) water. At one point, high on the ledges, we came across a hole in the ground, that upon further inspection, led straight down and exited below the overhang we had been walking upon. It's not even mentioned on any of the maps. We passed the Grotto I had seen years earlier, and the Sea Cave, along with wild formations at every turn. No camping is allowed along this section of the trail, so we would travel 7 miles today and camp at the Loon Lake backcountry site for two nights, allowing a day to come back to this part and spend a day exploring without our packs.
Loon Lake was a great site with a very comfortable tree, and no raccoons disturbed our food. We rose on day three and headed back a mile or so to the Grotto, only to find a film crew shooting for "Pocahontas: The Legend". You can see several scenes of the Bruce ledges and Grotto in the trailer (http://youtu.be/2fpxEecBEcE). Fortunately, we found the Sea Cave, with its underwater entrance glowing, and had the place to ourselves for a while, even diving in for a brief swim in the chilly water. We spent the day just wandering around, taking pictures that sometimes would include a "native" in the background wearing a loincloth. A perfect day.
Day four would be a 9 mile hike along only slightly less dramatic section of the trail, a light rain made the foliage in the wooded sections an intense glossy green. We finally reached Little Cove, where the truck sat waiting, shedding our packs and driving back to pick up the bikes.
An amazing trip, to this day the most beautiful trail I have done east of the Rockies.

P.S. The AEG is an estimate, I have talked to several Bruce Trail organizations in Canada and no one seems to have numbers. The trail itself has little or no exposure, but often climbs steep grades and crosses boulder fields, as can be seen in the pictures.
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The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar.
It was tense.
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Barrett's
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