Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Blue Mountains Section

I’ve now completed 6 sections of the Bruce Trail (there are 9)!

What’s the Bruce Trail? According to the Bruce Trail Conservancy website, the Bruce Trail is “Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath. Running along the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail spans more than 890 km of main Trail and over 400 km of associated side trails.”

The forest felt a little spooky on this wet, overcast day.
Giant puffball.

BLUE MOUNTAINS SECTION

Started the Blue Mountains section: October 19, 2019

Finished the Blue Mountains section: December 8, 2019

Run details

October 19, 2019 – 20th Sideroad/Prince of Wales Road to Lavender cemetery – 18 km (with Kris)

October 27, 2019 – Lavender cemetery to Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area – 22.1 km (with Kris)

November 30, 2019 – Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area to Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve – 21.4 km (with Kris)

December 8, 2019 – Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve to Maple Lane in Ravenna – 25.2 km (with Kris)

Run stats

  • # runs: 4
  • # solo runs: 0
  • # runs with my husband Alasdair: 0
  • # runs with friends: 4 (Kris)
  • shortest run: 18 km
  • longest run: 25.2 km
  • average length of run: 21.7 km

Run highlights

Near the Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve

Prettiest sunrise: The sunrise was so pretty that I had to pull over and take a picture. This was just a couple of kilometres from our end point for the run, where we met to leave one car – not too far from Maple Lane in Ravenna.

Barred owl in the centre of the picture (see brown blob!).

Wildlife sightings: A missed blaze and an accidental short trek off-trail near the Nottawasaga Bluffs meant that my friend Kris and I were led right to a Barred Owl! It was my first time seeing one in the wild (though I have heard many while backcountry camping), and first time ever seeing an owl while I was running (or walking!) – once I saw one while in a moving vehicle. It was beautiful, and had a huge wingspan. Sadly, we couldn’t get too close for a picture, but I promise you, the owl is in the picture! 

Whee!

Most non-running fun/neat finds: Not far from one of the ski lifts at Blue Mountain we found a rope swing, which just begged to be used!

Best natural art: I spotted this on the side of the road as we ran by on a very windy day!

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Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Dufferin Hi-Land Section

I’ve now completed 5 sections of the Bruce Trail (there are 9)!

What’s the Bruce Trail? According to the Bruce Trail Conservancy website, the Bruce Trail is “Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath. Running along the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail spans more than 890 km of main Trail and over 400 km of associated side trails.”

DUFFERIN HI-LAND SECTION

Started the Dufferin Hi-Land section: June 3, 2019

Finished the Dufferin Hi-Land section: October 19, 2019

Lush green of a June forest.

Run details

June 3, 2019 – Hockley Road to Highway 89 – 25k (solo)

June 29, 2019 – Highway 89 to 20 Sideroad/Prince of Wales Road – 27.4k (with Kris)

October 19, 2019 – 20 Sideroad/Prince of Wales Road to 2k north of the Mulmur-Nottawasaga Townline parking and back to the parking by the cemetary – 18k (with Kris)

Climbing a stile.

Run stats

  • # runs: 3
  • # solo runs: 1
  • # runs with my husband Alasdair: 0
  • # runs with friends: 2 (Kris!)
  • shortest run: 18k
  • longest run: 27.4k
  • average length of run: 21.1k

Run highlights

Perfect running conditions: On June 3 the ground was almost completely dry, there were no bugs, the sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and the temperature was a comfortable 15C or so!

Wrong turns: My friend Kris and I were clearly too engrossed in conversation to follow the blazes. We missed trail turns a couple of times, running a little more than we needed to!

Pretty valley!

Best post-run cooling station: The little waterfall at 20 Sideroad/Prince of Wales Road! We doused our faces with cold water. So refreshing. 

Most gorgeous fall colours: Starting around 8 AM, it was around -2C on October 19 at 20 Sideroad/Prince of Wales Road. The frost just added to the beautiful fall colours!

Love those fall colours!

Wildlife sightings: The most memorable wildlife sighting in this section of the Bruce Trail was a Great Crested Flycatcher – I had no idea what kind of bird it was when I spotted it, but found out through some google searching. I also sought confirmation from other members of the Bruce Trail Facebook group.

Great Crested Flycatcher!

Single vehicle run: My husband dropped me just south of Hockley Valley and then parked at my end point just south of Boyne Valley Provincial Park, and then while I ran 25k, he biked and then ran, with me picking him up at his end point. Most of the time, my runs have involved a running companion and 2 cars.

Neat finds:  A Bruce Trail log book!

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Race report: Happy Trails Falling Water trail marathon 2019

Like a crazy person I jumped at the chance to run the inaugural Happy Trails Falling Water trail marathon in the Beaver Valley section of the Bruce Trail. Who wouldn’t want to tackle a ridiculously hilly race course that the organizers very clearly cautioned was not for beginners? Not only did I sign myself up, but I quickly convinced my husband and several other friends to as well (two of whom signed their husbands up – one without his knowledge, the other with a little arm twisting). The 80 race slots were sold out within 6 hours!

From the race website: “This course is not meant for beginners. Although there are not any specific qualifying standards for this event, runners should definitely have experience running on trails.  The course is rocky, rooty, and very hilly.  Your feet will probably get wet and aid stations will be further apart than our other events, due to the challenging terrain.  Although it is a “marathon”, it is not a Boston Qualifier and if that irritates you, this probably isn’t the race for you! Seriously, this race is tough.  There will be waterfalls, steep climbs, and incredible views.  The scenery will make the challenge worth it!” And this, so true: “You will laugh, you will cry, you will probably say you are never running again, and then you will go online and register for another race.  Sound familiar?”  

I was looking forward to running this race with friends I’ve made through Twitter. Social media has its pros and cons, but I’ve met some great people through it. I finally got the chance to meet Katherine at this race, as well as her husband Paul. Trail runners are awesome!

This marathon would also allow me to cover more of the Bruce Trail in my end to end project!

Pre-race with Kristi and Mike, Katherine and Paul. [Photo by Alasdair]

Alasdair and I arrived at the Beaver Valley Ski Club with lots of time for me to pick up my race kit (race bib, protein bar, and awesome running socks) and chat with other runners. Unfortunately calf and Achilles issues this summer meant that Alasdair hadn’t been able to train for the race, so he was going to cheer for me instead.

With only one portapotty for everyone, I found myself ducking into the bushes several times before the race began. This was my only complaint about the entire race – need more toilets!

After a short pre-race briefing, we all headed to the start line. My other Twitter friend Kris and I found each other, and when the race began, we stuck together. We hadn’t planned this pre-race, but it worked out great. We’ve run together previously on the Bruce Trail. I had forgotten that this was Kris’ first marathon. It was my first in 7 years (and very first trail marathon)!

Note the shape of the Bruce Trail main trail (the solid red line) – it’s a U shape, but we ran it as a figure 8 (follow the km markers below to see the race route).

The Race!

Missing from picture: KM 2, 3, 4.

KM 1-6.5

The race began with a 6.5k out and back section, starting in the Beaver Valley Ski Club parking lot and heading straight up a ski hill north on the Bruce Trail main trail towards Tobermory (the left side of the U).

Yes, we went straight up a ski run. Most people walked.

The hill shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone – in fact, before I even signed up for the race I knew it would feature 5,000 feet (1,550 metres) of elevation gain and elevation loss. And yet I still signed up for it.

First few steps into the race and we are looking fresh! [Photo by Sue Sitki]

From the very beginning, Kris and I walked the steep hills, and ran the rest. Mostly.

Finishing the first 6.5k out and back section. [Photo by Alasdair]

When we returned to the start area, I made a quick pitstop in the portapotty, and then Kris and I headed for aid station #1.

KM 6.5-15

While most of the race was on the Bruce Trail main trail (31k) – marked with white blazes, the rest was on side trails – marked with blue blazes. The course was also marked with flagging tape, and while Kris and I managed to stay on course the whole time, others went off course (one person at least 4 times, but I’m not telling).

[Photo by Sue Sitki]

During this race, I found that concentrating on running from one aid station to the next helped to break such a long race into more manageable chunks. We hit aid station #1 at around the 8 km mark. At each one, I added water to my camelbak when needed, and munched on fruit, as well as sweet and salty snacks. I was carrying quite a bit of food in my camelbak, but only ate a single energy ball all race. I preferred the aid station food.

This section of the race featured a 1.5k climb up a gravel road. Lucky us, we would get to do it again later in the race!

We were rewarded at the end of this long climb with the best aid station, #2 (we would visit it later as aid station #5), which was run by the Beaver Valley Bruce Trail club (such enthusiasm!). And as we were enjoying the spread (including homemade blueberry muffins – yum!), Alasdair showed up to cheer us on! Once we left the aid station, I craved watermelon until we returned.

Delicious spread at aid station #2/#5, run by the Beaver Valley Bruce Trail Club.

KM 15-23

Towards the end of this next section of the race, we came upon the very pretty Hoggs Falls, as well as aid station #3.

Running down to Hoggs Falls [Photo by Sue Sitki]

It was around 17C and a beautiful fall-like day for a long run. Did I mention the hills? They were never-ending!

Hoggs Falls

KM 23-31

With only 68 runners starting the race, Kris and I ran many kilometres of this race alone. However, I don’t think we were ever the only runners at an aid station. We did pass a few runners later on in the race, and were concerned about one woman who Kris thought went off course. She later caught up to us, and sure enough, when she started running into higher brush, she realized she must have gone the wrong way! Another guy would have continued off course had Kris not yelled ahead to him!

In this section, we reached Eugenia Falls and aid station #4. Alasdair met us here too! By this point, we were at 31k and my right knee was really unhappy. The front of my knee on the downhills, and the back pretty much all the time. I had felt the front of the knee a few times since June (though never so bad), but the back was new!

At the 31k mark at Eugenia Falls (still smiling!). [Photo by Alasdair]

Over and over again we ran through such pretty forests. At one point, there was a house at the top of a waterfall.

Another pretty little waterfall. This was the very bottom, but at the very top there was a house!

KM 31-37

When the volunteers at aid station #4 (at 31k) told us that we had 6k to go to the next aid station, and then only 5k more to the finish, I was relieved. While this was a trail “marathon”, we didn’t know what the actual distance of the race would be. I hoped it wouldn’t be too much longer than 42.2k! (It’s not like a road race where you set the start and finish lines exactly where you want to get the correct distance.)

For perspective… we ran right by that white tower waaaaaaay in the distance.

KM 37-42.2

Before we reached aid station #5, we got to do the 1.5k road climb again. Alasdair was once again waiting for us.

Stuffing our faces at aid station #5! All the food. And Oreos to go! [Photo by Alasdair]

While my knee meant that our pace was slowing, and I wondered whether I was doing damage to my knee, I also knew I would make it to the finish line. Towards the end I couldn’t even take advantage of the downhills – the front of my knee hurt too much!

Remember that ski hill we ran up to start the race? Well we had to run down it at the end. From there we did a little loop through the parking lot/grass, and at the finish line, Alasdair presented Kris and I with flowers!

Flowers from Alasdair at the finish line for Kris and I! [Photo by a Bruce Trail volunteer]

Jeff (one of the race organizers) presented us with medals and very cool Bruce Trail badges that the Beaver Valley section volunteers designed for us!

With my flowers, cool compass medal, and custom Falling Water Bruce Trail patch designed by the Beaver Valley Bruce Trail Club. [Photo by Alasdair]
To add to my section end-to-end badges!

This race also had the best race medals – a compass! Pictures by Sue Sitki.

I was so glad to be done climbing those hills!

Elevation (in metres) over distance (in kilometres) – more than 1500m (5000 feet of elevation gain and loss over the course of the race)

After the race, Kris and I jumped into the creek for a short time – it was cold!! Alasdair and I stayed to watch our friends finish (Mike finished before us), and then we headed home.

What a race. It was fun to run it with Kris. I know I did better than I would have had I run it on my own. You can bet I’ll be back. (I’m well on the road to recovery, back to running again and doing physio for my knee – tightness, not a worrisome injury).

Thank you Happy Trails and all the volunteers for another great race!!

Race stats

  • Time: 7:38:38
  • Pace: 11 min 16 seconds/km
  • Unofficial race distance: my watch said 40.67k
  • Place: Tied for 54th/68
Post-swim muffins (from Alasdair).
We all made it to the finish line! Kristi, Mike, me, Katherine, and Paul.

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Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Caledon Section

I’ve now completed 4 sections of the Bruce Trail (there are 9)!

What’s the Bruce Trail? According to the Bruce Trail Conservancy website, the Bruce Trail is “Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath. Running along the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail spans more than 890 km of main Trail and over 400 km of associated side trails.”

Taking a well-deserved snack break on a stile.

CALEDON SECTION

Started the Caledon section: April 22, 2019

Finished the Caledon section: June 3, 2019

Run details

April 22, 2019 – Silver Creek Conservation Area to Forks of the Credit – 22.9k (solo)

May 12, 2019 – Forks of the Credit to Finnerty Sideroad – 22.7k

May 18, 2019 – Finnerty Sideroad to Hockley Road – 27.3k (solo)

June 3, 2019 – Hockley Road to Highway 89 – 25k (solo)

Run stats

  • # runs: 4
  • # solo runs: 3
  • # runs with my husband Alasdair: 0 (but we did leapfrog each other on the trail!)
  • # runs with friends: 1 (Laura!)
  • shortest run: 22.7k
  • longest run: 27.3k
  • average length of run: 24.5k
With Laura!

Run highlights

Spring flowers: In this section I first saw spring flowers on the trail.

Most hilly: My run from Finnerty Sideroad to Hockley Road was most definitely the hilliest part! Lots of stairs too.

Scariest moment: The few seconds it took me to fall hard on both knees. And then I had to run another 10k!

Great Crested Flycatcher (a new bird for me!)

Wildlife sightings: Scarlet Tanager, Great Crested Flycatcher, porcupine, hairy coo!

Porcupine – my first on the trail!

Favourite run: My run from just south of Hockley Valley to just south of Boyne Valley Provincial Park – the ground was almost completely dry, there were no bugs, the sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and the temperature was a comfortable 15C or so. I scared 4 turkey vultures out of the woods, and couldn’t identify a large animal that ran off the trail into the woods later – maybe a turkey. I saw a Great Crested Flycatcher (had never heard of one before that day), and then finished the Caledon section of the trail!

Most memorable encounter with other hikers/runners: I met Christopher L from the Bruce Trail Facebook group, who is also working on completing the entire trail from south to north. I had seen his posts on the group, then he recognized me one day on the trail just south of Hockley Valley. Plus we randomly colour coordinated outfits, so there’s that too.

Christopher L!

Neat finds:  Cheltenham Badlands – represents geological processes that have occurred over the last 450 million years

Roads: The Caledon section of the trail had a lot of road running. I’d rather be in the woods, but the road made for easier running.

Green: This section brought the end of snow and the beginnings of new growth in the forest!

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Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Toronto Section

I’ve now completed 3 sections of the Bruce Trail (there are 9)!

What’s the Bruce Trail? According to the Bruce Trail Conservancy website, the Bruce Trail is “Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath. Running along the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail spans more than 890 km of main Trail and over 400 km of associated side trails.”

TORONTO SECTION

Started the Toronto section: December 8, 2018

Finished the Toronto section: April 22, 2019

Run details

  • December 8, 2018 – Crawford Lake, Milton to Hilton Falls Conservation Area, Milton – 13k (to just north of the northern end of the Iroquoia section)
  • January 25, 2019 – Hilton Falls Conservation Area, Milton 5k north towards Speyside and back again – 10k (solo)
  • March 3, 2019 – Scotsdale Farm, Georgetown, to Silver Creek Conservation Area and back again – 11k (solo)
  • March 8, 2019 – Speyside south to Hilton Falls, and then north past Speyside to 17 Side Road – 18.3k (solo)
  • March 16, 2019 – 17 Side Road, Milton to Scotsdale Farm, Georgetown – 17k
  • April 22, 2019 – Silver Creek Conservation Area to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park – 22.9k (solo)
Alasdair and I just about to enter Hilton Falls.

Run stats

  • # runs: 6
  • # solo runs: 4
  • # runs with my husband Alasdair: 1
  • # runs with friends: 1 (Laura)
  • shortest run: 10k
  • longest run: 22.9k
  • average length of run: 15.4k

Run highlights

Most fun section to run: from Speyside south toward Hilton Falls, because of this section’s curvy, twisty little ups and downs.

Most decorated trees: From Hilton Falls north towards Speyside, there was one spot with many trees marked for removal.

X marks the spot.

1st time climbing a stile in spikes: Between Hilton Falls and Speyside (I was extra careful, thinking I may get caught in the gaps of the wood!).

I initially thought this had disaster written all over it.

Longest stretch without seeing another person on the trail: 18.3k when I ran from Speyside south toward Hilton Falls, then north up to 17 Sideroad and back to Speyside.

Most wildlife encounters: From Silver Creek Conservation Area to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park I saw 2 wild turkeys, 1 turkey vulture, 2 riders on horseback, 1 hawk, 1 garter snake, butterflies, chipmunks and squirrels, and a beagle that chased me, and I heard lots of spring peepers and other pond critters.

1st signs of spring on the trail: On April 22nd – flowers (and spring peepers!)! However, there was still ice on one section just south of Forks of the Credit.

Most memorable encounter with others on the trail: a beagle that chased me, getting very close and barking at me – I had to keep yelling “no!” to get it to back off. Eventually it’s owner called it away (property backs onto the trail).

Neat finds:  Limehouse Conservation Area, with narrow passages through steep rocks faces and little caves.

Hardest section to run: from Silver Creek Conservation Area to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, because of the rocks, mud, washed out trail, and a sore knee after I fell hard on it at the 10k mark! My knee really didn’t like the final steep descent to Forks of the Credit.

So pretty in the forest!

Up next is the Caledon section!

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Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Niagara Section

I’ve now completed 2 sections of the Bruce Trail (there are 9)!

What’s the Bruce Trail? According to the Bruce Trail Conservancy website, the Bruce Trail is “Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath. Running along the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail spans more than 890 km of main Trail and over 400 km of associated side trails.”

NIAGARA SECTION

Started the Niagara section: January 6, 2019

Finished the Niagara section: February 22, 2019

Run details

  • January 6, 2019 – Elm Street, Grimsby to Mountain View Conservation Area and back – 18.5 km (solo)
  • January 11, 2019 – Mountain View Conservation Area to Ball’s Falls Conservation Area – 18 km
  • February 8, 2019 – Ball’s Falls Conservation Area to Short Hills Provincial Park – 14.3 km
  • February 16, 2019 – Short Hills Provincial Park to Tremont Drive – 19.5 km
  • February 22, 2019 – Tremont Drive to the Southern Terminus at Queenston Heights Park – 23.8 km (solo)
Cool ice crystals in a creek under a bridge.

Run stats

  • # runs: 5
  • # solo runs: 2
  • # runs with my husband Alasdair: 0
  • # runs with friends: 3 with Laura
  • # trail angels used: 1
  • shortest run: 14.3 km
  • longest run: 23.8 km
  • average length of run: 18.8 km
Ball’s Falls

Hardest section to run: First part of Ball’s Falls run because of the ice (we hadn’t brought our spikes).

Most puzzling sign: “Passive Use Only”? I’ve since looked it up and understand what it means!

Most waterfalls: From Short Hills Provincial Park to Tremont Drive (Swayze Falls on the left, below… not sure if the right one is named).

Scariest moment: As I was running along Warner Road, I heard thundering footsteps and was scared half to death when a big coyote ran out of the woods and right in front of me (20 feet?) straight across the road at full speed and into the woods on the other side! Wow! It ran too fast and I was too spooked to grab my phone.

Wildlife sightings: The most memorable wildlife sightings were of swans, a super friendly little goat, and a coyote (see “Scariest moment”) .

With my new friend.

Windiest run: On February 8, we ran with a bitter cold wind, which was awful when running along exposed areas like roads!

A super windy area beside an open field! There was no snow anywhere else – it all blew here.

Most surprising part of the trail: I was surprised to see that I had to walk through running water in a tunnel, but I managed to keep my feet dry by staying far right and walking on the ice.

Muddiest run: February 8th starting at Ball’s Falls (after we got through the ice!).

Strangest things encountered: Mascot in St. Catharines and a shoe in a tree near Brock University.

Iciest run: It’s a toss up between the last two runs, when it was spikes on/spikes off over and over again!

Love my Kahtoola microspikes!

Favourite photo: Laura jumping!

Neat finds: Log box at 30-Mile Creek

First trail angel: My running buddy Laura’s mother-in-law Jean is responsible for a part of the trail in the Niagara Section. She drove me from the Southern Terminus at Queenston Heights Park to the start of my run at Tremont Drive, allowing me to finish the Niagara section with a big run (rather than 2 out and backs on my own). Thank you Jean!

Up next is the Toronto section!

Here I am at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show (with Brooke from the Bruce Trail front office), pointing to Milton on the Bruce Trail map, where I’ll be running next.

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Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Getting Started + Iroquoia Section

At some point last year, my husband Alasdair decided to run the entire Bruce Trail, so I thought it would be fun to take on the challenge too, knowing that it would take us several years, and that we would do some parts together, and some parts separately. We each downloaded the Bruce Trail app, and started tracking our runs.

What’s the Bruce Trail? According to the Bruce Trail Conservancy website, the Bruce Trail is “Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath. Running along the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail spans more than 890 km of main Trail and over 400 km of associated side trails.”

There are 9 sections of the trail. I live in the Iroquoia section just 2 km from the trail – lucky me! You can learn more about all the sections here:

Niagara – Queenston to Grimsby (Maps 1-5) (read summary here)
Iroquoia – Grimsby to Milton (Maps 5-11)
Toronto – Milton to Cheltenham (Maps 11-14) (read summary here)
Caledon Hills – Cheltenham to Mono Centre (Maps 14-19) (read summary here)
Dufferin Hi-Land – Mono Centre to Lavender (Maps 19-21)
Blue Mountains – Lavender to Craigleith (Maps 21-24)
Beaver Valley – Craigleith to Blantyre (Maps 24-28)
Sydenham – Blantyre to Wiarton (Maps 28-35)
Peninsula – Wiarton to Tobermory (Maps 35-42)

I was strictly a road runner until a couple of years ago when I started orienteering, which got me running on and off trail looking for controls (checkpoints) in the woods. However, it wasn’t until I started this end to end goal that I became a regular trail runner! I love it. It is so much more peaceful than running on the road, and way more scenic. I’m hooked.

I had previously hiked many different short bits of the trail over the years, but I’ve been enjoying rediscovering sections that I’ve been on before, and running on sections that are completely new to me. So far, I love the waterfalls along the trail the most.

As the parts of the trail that I need to cover get further and further away from home, things will get more complicated, and will definitely require some overnight trips. For now though, I’ve started close to home!

IROQUOIA SECTION

Started the Iroquoia section: October 27, 2018

Finished the Iroquoia section: December 26, 2018

Note: While I completed the Iroquoia section, the part of the trail that runs through Kelso Conservation Area in Milton was closed, so I ran the rerouted section along Appleby Line instead. I’ll go back in the spring to do the Kelso section.

Run details

  • October 27, 2018 – Rockcliffe Road, Waterdown to Borer’s Falls, Dundas – 14.3k
  • October 28, 2018 – Rockcliffe Road, Waterdown to Grindstone Falls, Waterdown – 5.7k
  • November 2, 2018 – Borer’s Falls, Dundas to Davidson Boulevard, Dundas (with a side trip to Tews Falls) – 22k
  • November 4, 2018 – Mount Nemo/Walker’s Line, Burlington to No. 8 Sideroad, Burlington – 10.8k
  • November 14, 2018 – Grindstone Falls, Waterdown to Highway 5, Burlington – 12.4k
  • November 24, 2018 – Highway 5, Burlington to Mount Nemo/Walker’s Line, Burlington – 10.2k
  • December 1, 2018 – No. 8 Sideroad, Burlington to Crawford Lake, Milton – 11.8k
  • December 8, 2018 – Crawford Lake, Milton to Hilton Falls, Milton – 13k (northern end of the Iroquoia section)
  • December 14 – Davidson Boulevard, Dundas to Filman Road, Ancaster – 12k
  • December 16, 2018 – Filman Road, Ancaster to King’s Forest Golf Course, Hamilton – 16.2k
  • December 22, 2018 – King’s Forest Golf Course, Hamilton to Millen Road, Stoney Creek – 19.5k
  • December 26, 2018 – Millen Road, Stoney Creek to Elm Street, Grimsby – 19.7k (southern end of the Iroquoia section)

Run stats

  • # runs: 12
  • # solo runs: 5
  • # runs with my husband Alasdair: 6
  • # runs with friends: 1 (Laura – yay to having similar running paces!)
  • shortest run: 5.7k
  • longest run: 22k
  • average length of run: 14k

img_7666
With Laura at the Hermitage, Ancaster

Run highlights

Hardest section to run: between Millen Road in Stoney Creek and Elm Street in Grimsby, because of the abundance of wet and loose rocks

img_7783
Albion Falls, Hamilton

Most waterfalls: between King’s Forest Golf Course in Hamilton and Millen Road in Stoney Creek – Albion Falls, Buttermilk Falls, Felkers Falls, and the Devil’s Punchbowl

Most scenic: see most waterfalls!

Scariest moment: while running through the Royal Botanical Gardens in Dundas, I encountered an illegal hunter in full camouflage carrying a bow and arrow, standing just off the trail and looking down the hill into the woods – I said to him, “Whatever you do, please don’t shoot me!” to which he replied, “I won’t.” (I made a report to the police, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and through a friend, to the RBG.)

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After the hunter incident, on my next run I wore a reflective safety vest, a flashing light on my leg, and a bear bell on my foot! Since I ran through Dundas on this run, several people turned and wondered what all the jingling was about. One kid started singing Jingle Bells.

Wildlife sightings: 2 close-up raccoons (separate runs), and a salamander at Crawford Lake, which my husband nearly stepped on as he ran – we placed it gently in mud close to a log, covered it in leaves, and wished it well!

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At Crawford Lake, Milton

Favourite run: the waterfall run!

Most memorable encounter with other hikers/runners: a little girl hiking with her parents, who said as I passed, “She runs so FAST!”; a couple carrying pruning shears and a saw to do trail maintenance; the hunter

Neat finds: caves just East of Twiss Road in Burlington; Devil’s Punch Bowl Market & Bakery for post run treats!

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Cave off Twiss Road, Burlington

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