Yesterday in Tobermory was not our actual ending. It was a climatic moment for sure, all the more dramatic because of the wonderful welcome from Tony & Tracy. Even more wonderful was re-uniting with my wife — who was the initial suggester and my main supporter of this venture.
Today, we flew along the Trail through the Bayview Escarpment east of Owen Sound. What seems like eons ago — and was actually less than two weeks ago — we skipped some 13 km in order to make it all the way to Owen Sound. Today, on the way home from Tobermory, we completed that portion. David, one of our amazing Trail Angels, and a hard-working volunteer for the Beaver Valley section to the south, joined us. Kookork emptied his pack before starting, and we carried only water, a few snacks, and a first aid kit. He carried half the distance, and I carried the last portion.
We didn’t actually walk that much faster. We still chatted non-stop, stopped to look at this and that, snacked on David’s sandwiches and cookies — ah, hermits! — and generally hiked normally. But we both had a very different feeling of being freer.
We didn’t have to concern ourselves about anticipating finding enough water. We didn’t have to think about where we might camp. We certainly weren’t weighed down by packs.
Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t simply a happier feeling. We’d slack-packed several days earlier in the thru-hike. We felt great relief on those days. Today at times felt somewhat like cheating. We were covering ground. We were enjoying ourselves. The Trail was excellent. But we weren’t camping along the Trail. It was somehow too easy …
- Fascinating moving so quickly further into Summer as we jumped so quickly southwards. So many things were so much ahead of the cooler more lake-influenced Peninsula. Like Trillium fruits being formed …
- We met — or were met by! — a couple from Toronto who had passed us several weeks ago on our long hot day through Bognor Marsh. They were continuing their section hiking and doing the next portion to the north. They were also kind to recognize that we didn’t look quite so grotty … Nice!
- With David’s help I made some progress on deciphering a phenomenon I’ve been aware of for years but never understood. In late Spring, I’ve seen strange root-like white pencil-lead-thickness growths curling up out of the soil and then down again into the soil. They look like bean sprouts.
- I began wondering if they might be associated with Trout Lily. Erythroniums have withered and all but disappeared over the last several weeks, but despite their massive presence along the Trail, there are few fruits to show. Could these sprouts I’ve been seeing be cleistogamous flowers of Trout Lily? Really?
- So I borrowed David’s knife and slit the bulbous swelling longitudinally. Indeed, there is a coherent structure in the swelling that could well be a simple flower.
- While I was photographing, David uncovered an adjacent whole cluster of sprouts, including a more fully formed thicker version.
- A ‘zero’ tomorrow, off to visit family!
- Then 2 or more likely three days to pick up the Caledon section that we skipped almost a month ago in order to stay on my artificial schedule. We have some 73 kilometres before we’re actually finished!
- Care to join us? Looks like a group of local hikers may accompany us for part of Wednesday.
- Oh, and of no surprise to those who know me, we’ll finish off on Thursday at the Spirit Tree Cidery! Happenstance, eh? !!!