If I were the kind of guy who used the word “epic,” today’s the kind of day that’d deserve it. After several days of gray and rain, today we woke up to sunny blue skies that didn’t abate until nightfall. Our plan the night before to find a bed just minutes from the trailhead paid dividends, as we were able to get from breakfast to hiking in less than 20 minutes.
We approached the hike in the same spirit as the rest of our trip — we had a vague idea of how it’d work and we’d figure the rest out when we got there. We knew two things: we wanted to hike the Lion’s Head part of the Bruce Trail, and we wanted to do it for about three hours. Marj, the B&B owner, pointed us to the trailhead. When we got there, we ran into a quartet of climbers about to set out in the same direction; they pointed us to the trail and explained which direction to go.
The hike was stunning. The trail weaves for a while through a forest of pine trees, then fades into birch and maple. Eventually, the color of the bay started to come through the trees to the north, and we could tell we were getting close to the edge. As soon as a offshoot path opened up to a view from the bluffs, I pushed through to take a look. (Every time I’d do this, Sarah would say, “I don’t think the path goes that way.”) The views were mind-blowing. We’d climb onto each one and just sit and stare.
At about the fourth outcropping, we ran into our first climbers. Or, not climbers so much as the evidence of climbers — a taut rope leading from a tree out over the edge of the cliff. It was only after accidentally kicking a rock over the edge that I saw the gear and realized I should chill out and stop moving so abruptly. We stuck around until the climbers came into view. Climbing faces like these soundly qualifies as beautiful insanity in my book. I’m guilty of engaging in plenty of insane things myself, but usually they involve acting in concert with the laws of gravity, not fighting against them. These folks have my serious respect.
The day was shocking in its contrast to yesterday — sun where there was rain, heat where there was cool, bug-less-ness where there used be swarms of insect terror. The only frustration was the incongruence of looking down on these stunning blue-green shallow waters and not having any way to swim in there. Then I remembered my time in the Grotto, and how frigid they’d be, and I was happy to be too high up to be stupid enough to jump.