“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow.” -Hal Elrod
I kept a journal every day and shared it as blog posts. I decided to include them here for people that were not subscribed or are big readers and want to go through it once more. Enjoy!
Day 1 ~ Distance: 44km, Climb: 400m, Cumulative: 44km This is an unexpected trip, I had other adventures planned, but COVID prevented me from doing them (closed borders, etc.). So here I stand, in Tobermory (Ontario) staring at a little monument showing the Northern Terminus of the Bruce Trail. It’s 7:30am. I’m starting another long hike. I must really like walking... The trail begins in the Bruce Peninsula National Park, quite a beautiful place to start. Imagine high cliffs diving into one of the Great Lakes of Canada (Lake Huron). The lake is so huge you can't even see the other side. The best? The cool rock formation and the turquoise water breaking on its cliffs. What a beautiful first day, with plenty of jaw-dropping viewpoints (some that I was happy not to be afraid of heights). I pushed it, not to have to camp in the national park. I saw 3 snakes and 5 frogs.
Day 2 ~ Distance: 44km, Climb: 340m, Cumulative: 88km Another beautiful day where I followed cliffs with their amazing views. I had good thundershowers in the afternoon and evening. I stopped by Lion’s Head for a bit of hiking food and enjoyed some on the spot. I pushed outside of town to find a campsite.
Day 3 ~ Distance: 48km, Climb: 480m, Cumulative: 136km A long and beautiful day. Most of the day was along beautiful cliffs overlooking bays. I had to take different trails since part of the main trail was closed. I ended up following a road for 8km. I found a nice campsite, probably the best so far. At 10pm, I hear a weird noise outside my tent. I make a sudden sound and I hear something taking off in the woods. I get out of my tent to investigate. A cute little porcupine was out for a night walk.
Day 4 ~ Distance: 43km, Climb: 250m, Cumulative: 179km The trail was overlooking the bay, all the way to Wiarton. Once in town, I bought a bit of hiking food and a salad to enjoy on the spot. Then I pushed following the cliff on the other side of the bay. I had more beautiful sceneries of the bay with the fall colours. I took a small detour to see some caves. The nice cliffy trail ended on a muddy and buggy ATV road that I followed for a bit before camping.
Day 5 ~ Distance: 37km, Climb: 100m, Cumulative: 216km I made my way towards Owen Sound, where I'm spending the night. I took an alternative way into town. I booked a motel, campgrounds were almost more expensive. I bought plenty of food for the upcoming section. I was happy to see an open laundromat (my clothes were due). I took 2 baths, and a cold one for my feet that were starting to swell.
Day 6~ Distance: 38km, Climb: 200m, Cumulative: 254km I slept in and enjoyed the motel until checkout. When I left, I took an alternative route to get back on the trail. I stopped to resupply on the way. From this point on, the trail heads inland. I had a mix of roads and trails today. I got lucky, the rain started once I had set up camp. It rained heavily all night.
Day 7~ Distance: 45km, Climb: 280m, Cumulative: 299km The day went well it was mostly in the woods. I had a couple of quick showers. The trees were so green. I’m sure they were happy with all the rain they had.
Day 8 ~ Distance: 34km, Climb: 270m, Cumulative: 333km The morning was cold and clear. I had a couple of showers but got lucky (most of the storm passed right beside me). I had many views over Beaver Valley from some ski hills. Today my motivation was lower, but tomorrow fresh food is waiting for me in Eugenia (one of my resupplying towns). That should help to motivate me.
Day 9 ~ Distance: 46km, Climb: 520m, Cumulative: 379km It rained all night and was still raining when I woke up. I had to put on some music to get motivated, it worked! I pushed on to Eugenia (one of my resupply) and took an alternative route to get there. Their “grocery” was small and more of a convenience store with limited varieties. I had some beautiful viewpoints from the other side of the valley.
Day 10 ~ Distance: 45km, Climb: 600m, Cumulative: 424km I woke up to downpours. I waited it turned into light rain before unmaking camp. It rained most of the day, with a few breaks here and there. I got lucky and had a small clear up when I was around the Blue Mountains. I was able to enjoy the views over Lake Huron. I took an alternative way that brought me to a sign saying that it was the highest point on the Bruce Trail (540m). The night is supposed to drop below freezing. I had to bring a few things with me in my sleeping bag (water filter, phone, etc.).
Day 11 ~ Distance: 47km, Climb: 300m, Cumulative: 471km I had a bit of drizzle that turned into rain. The rest of the day was cloudy. Today was the coldest day so far. I had my gloves and toque on almost all day. I found a very nice camp, a spot right beside a creek. I will probably take a rest day here tomorrow (to avoid some heavy rain with freezing weather). It’s a nice and quiet spot, with some great cover and water close by, a perfect place to unwind and enjoy a day off the rain.
Day 12 ~ Distance: 0km, Climb: 0m, Cumulative: 471km Today is my first real rest day of the trip. The rain was heavy and steady all day. It was nice to hear the rain and the creek. I listened to music, podcasts, and watched a few things I had on my phone. The rest of the day was me getting lost in my thoughts and the wonderful sounds of nature.
Day 13 ~ Distance: 46km, Climb: 530m, Cumulative: 517km First day without rain after nearly a week-long streak! Today was a mix of quiet roads and busy trails. I met many day hikers. I was supposed to stay at a campground, but they didn’t accept tents (their showers, toilet, and laundry facility are closed due to COVID). So I will stay in a motel in Orangeville Tomorrow. Fresh food! A shower! Cold drinks! I can’t wait!
Day 14 ~ Distance: 12km, Climb: 100m, Cumulative: 529km I saw a porcupine on the trail just as I started hiking. The first part of the day was in the woods, the other half on roads to get into town (Orangeville). I arrived too early for check-in. So I went to buy food (fresh food come to me!) I then went to the laundromat. I bought more food on my way back to the motel and enjoyed an (well deserved!) easy-going evening.
Day 15 ~ Distance: 36km, Climb: 250m, Cumulative: 565km I had a late start. I enjoyed my motel room until 11am. Then, I went to the grocery to buy my food for the upcoming section and pushed on. A storm hit, and it rained like crazy but it didn’t last long. Instead of taking a detour to get back to the trail (where I left off). I decided to take an alternative way to meet the trail further. At some point, I was able to see Toronto's skyscrapers (even if they were ~50km away). I pushed hard and didn’t take any breaks to still have a decent distance out of my short day. The good thing? Since I didn’t take any of my food breaks, I had quite the feast at the end of my day.
Day 16 ~ Distance: 51km, Climb: 250m, Cumulative: 616km The morning was chilly (1 degree above freezing). My clothes were still wet from the heavy rain of yesterday. It took some will to put them on (I should have filmed my facial expression. I’m sure it would have been funny to rewatch). I haven’t seen a soul in the last 24h. Suddenly today, I met a bunch of people all around the same hike. I guess it is a famous day hike? When I saw the view, I understood! I was expecting another stormy day, but luckily, It was enjoyable. Still quite windy in the exposed sections, but the clouds were high enough to allow me to embrace beautiful scenery with my eyes. I camped early since another storm was about to hit. From this point on, it’s only 16km to the end of this trip. I still have 72h before getting picked up.
Day 17 ~ Distance: 49km, Climb: 400m, Cumulative: 665km What a beautiful day I had, the weather was gorgeous! The trail followed cliffs and offered views over the land and bay. I have learned that Toronto is about to go into another 28 days shut down quarantine (COVID second wave). I am suppose to take a bus there when I leave. I guess I will have to activate my "Turbo-Mode” over the next couple days to finish as fast as possible.
Day 18 ~ Distance: 68km, Climb: 570m, Cumulative: 733km An exhausting day (68km), I started in the dark with my headlamp, hiked all day, and kept going a couple hours after sunset. Well this very long day will allow me to cross the finish line tomorrow. I took an alternative route through the city of Dundas for food. I had multiple nice views over the different coastal town and subdivisions.
Day 19 ~ Distance: 62km, Climb: 180m, Cumulative: 795km Another long and taxing day. I started very early and hiked in the dark for a couple of hours. I had about 50km to the actual finish line. From there, I added an extension to the trail (+12km). I mean, what’s the point of finishing at Niagara Falls and not at the waterfalls themselves? I stopped at my accommodation on the way to have a quick shower and drop a few things. I then pushed on to the notorious waterfalls to catch them before sunset. This is where this wonderful and unexpected adventure ends...