Exploring Ontario's Bruce Peninsula

  |  Gorp.com

It's early on a cool, misty Ontario morning. Rain amplifies the crimson and gold maple leaves in this patch of forest broken in two by a rocky chasm. My sisters and I spent the previous day following the length of a cedar-lined gorge, walking on slippery needles above the rocks; today we approach a tamed drop-off, where a rock wall prevents a skid over the edge. The roar of a cataract beckons from below; from the top, we only see a hint of blocky stones curtained in white foam. Despite the rain, we follow the trail. Huge boulders line the chasm, the trail bouncing from rock to rock beneath the maples. From above, it looked like any other ordinary trail, but down here? I steel myself to step over a crevice two feet wide and more than fifty feet deep. Further along the blazes I slip on the slick rock, and lose my nerve. I call out to Sally to go on down without me—how will I drive home to Pennsylvania if I break a leg on a Canadian trail?

And so, I inauspiciously and unknowingly start my first hike down a section of Ontario's Bruce Trail. This ribbon of wilderness stretches along the crest of the long, lean Niagara Escarpment from Queenston to Tobermory, more than 800 km (497 mi) north, where it plunges into Lake Huron. From the craggy cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment on Georgian Bay to the soft sand beaches of Lake Huron, Ontario's Bruce Peninsula encompasses a variety of unique natural areas. In addition to Ontario's only national park, the Bruce contains many provincial parks, geological sites, First Nation reservations, and delightful coastal towns. Brimming with natural wonders, this rugged landscape attracts photographers, painters, hikers, kayakers, cavers, fishermen, and birders—all lovers of outdoor beauty.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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