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Monday, February 17, 2014

Nottawasaga Bluffs Hike (July 2013)

In July 2013, the girls and I went on a hike we really enjoyed along the Nottawasaga Bluffs, but I never posted about it. Seeing we are all hibernating and waiting for warm hiking days to return I thought I'd take a little trip down memory lane and finally post about it.

The trails at Nottawasaga Bluffs were enjoyed by all. The only downfall with the Nottawasaga Bluffs was we were over run by little biting deerflies (I think), which made the trip less enjoyable for the girls. It was a warm day but they had to cover up with their raincoats (thankfully I brought them) half of the trip to try to seek refuge from the biting flies. I hope this was just due to the time of year and we will try a different month this spring or summer.

The directions my phone took us on to get there was a bit rough. A normal car couldn't have made it up the back logging road as even in 4X4 it was tricky at times with the washouts.

We did have a nice surprise while driving along this back entrance way. We found these caves along the road and stopped to do a bit of exploring.



Sierra had just finished getting over a two week spell of being extremely itchy from playing in a poison ivy patch so she was very careful exploring here as she did not want to go through that again.

This area was actually one of Sierras favourite places to explore that we have found in Ontario so far, and we found it quite by accident.

When we finally got to the actual bluffs we parked and paid. At the time we visited it was $2 per person or $10 a family.
The trail we followed into the Bluffs consisted of very tall grass. The beginning of the grassy trail was OK but it soon became the lunchroom for the deerflies and then we ran until we escaped them.
Stopping to find a treasure
Stellar Jay feather Sierra found

Aayla running from the deerflies
 

 Once we hit the wooded area we lost the deer flies and could enjoy exploring the trail.
This trail is part of the Bruce Trail. We were in search of some caves we had heard about (while writing this post I found this information which I will take with us the next time we search for the caves. A map with us would have been very helpful on this trip).

With all the running from the deerflies, sprinting through the trees and mountain climbing on the rocks the girls were hungry so we stopped for our lunch.
Then headed back onto the trail. I love the patterns in these rocks as we walked out to a look off.
On the way up to the look off we spotted this spider who thankfully was just a toy someone left as a prank on the trail. We believe spiders are friendly but I think I would even scream if I came across this 'real' spider on a trail as it was about 10 inches across. A tarantula ran at me on a road in Mexico once when we stopped the rental car for a picture of it, and that was scary enough to last a lifetime. It scared me more then chasing after the perfect bear picture ever did.
The look off... I bet it is amazing in the fall.
As we continued further we saw all kinds of little caves and crevices. They were cold and dark so the girls put on their coats and tried to be brave to enter them.
 But in all honesty...this is as far in as they wanted to go.




 When looking ahead to this:
The picture doesn't do justice for the dark, damp feel this crevice had, and I can't really say I blame them for not wanting to continue inward.

We did continue walking along the trail though and as walk you had to be a bit careful as you never knew when a crevice would open up the ground. Falling into one would not have been fun...especially since we were all alone and didn't meet even one other hiker while here the whole afternoon. This picture shows a crevice about 2 feet off of the trail.


 No matter where we hike we are always searching for treasures (I found the pizza monster here).


 Treasures to us, can be found in the form of meeting new friends; AKA slugs,
Aayla found the best treasure; an empty snail shell. In this picture it looks like she is sniffing it but really she was giving it a kiss because it was empty and that meant she could keep it. She was quite sad when Sierra found the feather earlier so she was over joyed to find her very own special treasure.

 Sometimes treasures can be as simple as discovering caterpillars,
 Or finding homes and feeding grounds of birds,
 Finding Fungi,
 or finding camouflaged moths in the leaves... these are our kinds of treasures. Finding these connections to nature are the most important treasures we could ever find.
The search itself, for the treasures, is always half the fun.
 Nothing makes me more happy then a day on the trails, watching my girls find beauty in all the little details that Nature provides us if we only stop to take the time to see.
We didn't end up finding the big caves we went in search of but we know there is always next time. I also know now that I will bring the above mentioned map with us next time as I have a feeling we were so close when we turned around this time.

Since we are still fairly new to Ontario we are still trying to find hikes we all enjoy. My girls are used to hiking in BC in places like these:
Click HERE for this post
Click HERE to see post of our walk here

HERE for this walk at end of post

Click HERE for this post
Click here to read this post

Where the trails are more defined and even mostly stroller friendly. My girls don't really like bush-whacking. They love to explore off trail, but like to have the actual trail more path like. We had this great book for BC

http://www.lonepinepublishing.com/cat/9781551052533
but I have been unable to find something similar for Ontario. If you have suggestions of where to go for easy hikes with kids here in Ontario I would LOVE to hear your suggestions.