jhnmcknght: Professional Amateur

Bruce Trail: Toronto

Toronto Heading

Oh hey, and we're back. Given that this post now exists it probably means I've completed another section of Bruce Trail so we'll assume that I did.

2020 was a nightmarish hellscape for many reasons but outside of the public health orders to stay the fuck home or stay the fuck near your home, it was a great time for hiking. Well, it was a great time for hiking aside from people crowding trailhead parking lots and pissing off conservation authorities, but I think all that's needed to be said on that has already been said so I'll save that for much smarter and angrier people.

Compared to the mess of a way I decided to tackle Niagara, I knocked out this section in a mostly normal way going south to north in the orientation the guide is written.

ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE...

Sixth Line to Speyside Woods

Date: November 7, 2020
Distance: 9.3km in 3 hours
Notes: I don't know what I was expecting in reality but this was surprisingly rocky and rugged. The only portions of this where there was some break from it was a bit of a road allowance and a road walk up 15 Side Rd. The rest was all ankle-twisty and thankfully not ankle-snappy but no, this section of trail isn't done with that. Not even close.

Appleby at 401 to Sixth Line

Date: November 19, 2020
Distance: 2.62km in 44 minutes
Notes: This was a shorter makeup hike. When I began this slackpacking shit show the original plan was to start at 0km but a short distance in the trail was closed due to the association treating for invasive species of some sort of plant that was clearly raging against this section of Bruce Trail. I'm assuming its anger was completely justified because of the rocks. I get it.

Speyside Woods to Limehouse

Date: September 18, 2021
Distance: 9.3km in 2 hours, 52 minutes
Notes: Rocks, rocks everywhere. Around 2km into Speyside Woods you're met with some awesomely daunting and a little bit (a lot) sketchy of trail conditions that are worth it when you reach a road allowance that some informal digging told me was used to survey the province many years ago. If I'm wrong about this be sure to send me an angry Facebook message that I'll probably read some time in 2022 and respond to in 2025 once my ego has healed enough.

Aside from the insane rockiness the rest of this stretch was a party that covered some less soul-crushing terrain. Namely the trail skirting the edge of some lovely farm fields and a 100 meter road walk.

Limehouse to Scotsdale Farm

Date: October 23, 2021
Distance: 11.7km in 3 hours, 19 minutes
Notes: This stretch had it all. It covered a bunch of different terrain types. Regular rocky trail, tree roots, some ups, some downs, a drumlin (nice), a few boardwalks, farm field, open meadow, and heavily wooded swampy sections. Crossing the legendary Highway 7 was a little bit sketchy but we got it done.

Scotsdale Farm to Tenth Line

Date: November 6, 2021
Distance: 9.5km in 3 hours, 10 minutes
Notes: I hate picking favourites but this was my favourite stretch of Toronto Bruce Trail. People talk about this one a lot and hype it up to the point that you're trying hard to not be all contrarian about it but guess what assholes? Yeah, it's that good. Even if you don't do the whole Toronto Section you need to at minimum hike Silver Creek to Tenth Line. Do a there and back of it or make it a loop using the Roberts Side Trail. Either way you're in for a treat.

Anyway, this stretch also had probably the most amount of elevation gain that I'd experienced in the Toronto Section which was nice to see and experience as it's a relatively flat section of Bruce Trail overall compared to others. It was a humbling reminder that I'm not the pro athlete that I never aspired to be but look, it's done, alright?

Tenth Line to Cheltenham Badlands

Date: November 20, 2021
Distance: 11.59km in 3 hours
Notes: It turns out we're 3 for 3 on the completion of sections of Bruce Trail being oddly bittersweet. I think it's to do with the fact that once I start a section I'm pretty committed to it and even though I know I can go back and revisit it any time I want, it's still bittersweet. Wow, this took a turn.

Sentimentality aside, this stretch was challenging right up to the end like the rest were. My plans were to at least complete the Toronto Section before we started settling into winter with a lot of snow and while I lucked out with my timing on that front, this was also the muddiest stretch I'd done as well. The descent down to Heritage Rd was made all the more better by a lovely group of hikers insisting I go first. I like to think they wanted to watch me go first because of my almost animal-like prowess in tackling steep, muddy descents but the reality is that if I totally fucking ate it and fell, they'd have a story to tell and you know what? That's completely fair.

I've heard people talk about how the Toronto Section is a slow burn ending due to the final bit of trail being a nearly 3km road walk instead of it going out with a bang. Having completed the Toronto Section, I didn't mind the road walk as much as I thought I would.

That's All, Folks

Thanks for following along, I appreciate it.

Tags: #hiking #outdoors #bruce trail