Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Beaver Valley Section

I’ve now completed 7 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.”

Such pretty creeks and waterfalls in this section.

BEAVER VALLEY SECTION

Started the Beaver Valley section: September 14, 2019

Finished the Beaver Valley section: October 31, 2020

Run details

September 14, 2019 – Beaver Valley Ski Club to Beaver Valley Ski Club as part of the Happy Trails Falling Water marathon – covered Wodehouse Karst to Grey County Road 13 – 42k (with Kris)

September 19, 2020 – Maple Lane in Ravenna to Kolapore Grey County Road 2 – 24k (with Kris)

October 3, 2020 – Kolapore Grey County Road 2 to Grey County Road 13 – 30k (with Kris)

October 17, 2020 – Wodehouse Karst Management Area to Webwood Falls Nature Reserve – 25k (with Kris)

October 31, 2020 – Webwood Falls Nature Reserve to Walter’s Falls side trail – 24k (with Kris)

Unique “stepped” creek.

Run stats

  • # runs: 5
  • # solo runs: 0
  • # runs with my husband Alasdair: 0
  • # runs with friends: 5 (Kris!)
  • shortest run: 24k
  • longest run: 42k
  • average length of run: 29k

Run highlights

Most difficult day: The most difficult day was definitely the day my friend Kris and I covered 42k of road and trail as part of the Happy Trails Falling Water marathon. We ran (and walked!) about 31k of the main trail that day, with the rest of the race being on side trails. It was our first time racing together, and a first trail marathon for each of us. Read all about it and see pictures here.

Wildlife encounters: Other than cows, horses, birds, squirrels and dogs, we spotted a grouse in this section. And speaking of cows, we climbed a stile into a farmer’s field and were immediately approached by a very vocal cow who didn’t seem too happy to see us walking through the field. We had the cows approaching from the left and an electric fence on the right. Some kind words and a steady pace got us to the stile at the other end of the field!

One annoyed cow!

Coolest plant matter: fungi galore!

Favourite part of this section (which is one of my favourite sections so far): the waterfalls! I loved stumbling across so many unexpected cute little waterfalls, almost all of which we got to enjoy completely on our own.

Fall splendour: I covered this section entirely in the fall, with some of the lookouts providing amazing views of changing tree colours.

Some tiny flowers were still holding on for dear life…in the frost.

Best trail snack: a pear on the forest floor!

Yum.

Something I’ll remember this section for: the elevation changes! Up, down, up, down, and repeat.

Thank you volunteers for keeping us safe!

Progress so far: I was surprised to discover that I am now about 3/4 of the way along the trail!

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Running the Bruce Trail End to End: Caledon Hills 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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