About Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

Best of The Bruce – Jones Bluff

trip report by best hike editor Rick McCharles

Parking at Jones Bluff Side Trail parking offers a 7.1 km loop most of which is on The Bruce.

It skirts the Niagara Escarpment looking down hundreds of feet to farmland.

This hike is a little more overgrown than the others I walked.

A long way down.

For the first time I notices autumn colours arriving. It was September 16th.

This hike is all good. I enjoyed every step. Carried no backpack.

Highly recommended.

See my photos on Flickr.

The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. I spent a week hiking some of the best sections.

Explore the Bruce – Jones Bluff Loop

related:

• 10 Best Hikes of the Bruce Trail

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

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Best of The Bruce – Jackson’s Cove

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

A nice little day hike. Birders like this area. Hikers come for wild flowers in the Spring.

I’m happiest hiking in the autumn, however. Very few mosquitoes. The harvest done.

I put on the long pants in fear of Poison Ivy.

Leaves of three, let it be …

This was a peaceful and relaxing loop. I did see other hikers out enjoying it on a Saturday in good weather.

Amazing views off the Niagara Escarpment.

Geese are already on the move.

Lovely.

White blazes are The Bruce. Blue are Bruce side trails.

See my photos on Flickr.

The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. I spent a week hiking some of the best sections.

Explore the Bruce – Jackson’s Cove

related:

• 10 Best Hikes of the Bruce Trail

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

Best of The Bruce – Lion’s Head

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I enjoyed my meal and fast wifi at Rachel’s Bakery and 50’s Diner. Too much.

Turned out I stayed too long.

To make it to McKay’s Harbour Overnight Rest Area I’d need to hike fast.

I parked at the Cemetery Road trailhead and dashed into the … apple trees.

The Bruce here is a gorgeous hike along the Niagara Escarpment with views out to Barrow Bay.

The footing is tricky. Especially approaching cliff edge.

It was getting dark far too quickly.

Finally I decided to wild camp rather than risk stumbling on in the dark. This spot was excellent, actually. (The cross pole on my tent broke, however. Design failure for the Hubba NX.)

Next morning — at the turnoff — the name changes to the Cotswold Way – Bruce Friendship Trail.

No rush this morning. I stopped to enjoy the views much more often than the previous evening.

The Lion’s Head is one of these jutting overhangs.

This is a pothole in a glacial erratic.

I took the Ilse Hanel to loop back to my vehicle. There are many options on the Lion’s Head. And it’s so well signed you never need to pull out your map.

Happy to be back at the trailhead after about 15km total. No damage done to the vehicle overnight.

See my photos on Flickr.

The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. I spent a week hiking some of the best sections.

Explore the Bruce – Lion’s Head

related:

• 10 Best Hikes of the Bruce Trail

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

Best of The Bruce – High Dump

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Bruce Peninsula National Park was busy, even in September.

Still Canada 150. All National Parks free in 2017.

Having driven up from Toronto it was 3:30pm before I went to book a backcountry campsite.

Stormhaven was full. I could book High Dump … but it there was a chance I couldn’t hike in by dark. The Ranger recommended I access by Crane Lake trailhead.

Instead I drove to Bartley Lake trailhead, a much more scenic approach.

The trailhead sign said 6.7 km to the campground turnoff. But this is considered the “most challenging hiking along the entire length of the Bruce Trail”.

I was immediately confused by these gold on white signs. They appear to be km markers. But are not.

Though rushed I couldn’t resist side tripping over to the first half dozen or so cliff edge viewpoints.

The Bruce follows the top of the Niagara Escarpment.

Though the waters look tropical, they are freezing.

The first sign of humanity. A woman collecting water from Georgian Bay. I was nearly there.

It was still light by the time I lowered myself (on a comfort rope) down to High Dump camp. (It’s rarely easy to climb or descend these cliffs.)

Though I’d paid for (CAD$21.50) a dark inland site I set up my tent instead close to the beach.

What a gorgeous evening.

Next morning was foggy. But soon cleared.

Here’s a properly cooked bagel.

Backtracking to my rent-a-van I was in no rush. The light was better, too, for enjoying the unique scenery.

All in all, a great adventure.

See my photos on Flickr.

The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. I spent a week hiking some of the best sections.

related:

• 10 Best Hikes of the Bruce Trail

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

2018 Inca Trail permits available Oct 1, 2017

… for the first time the Ministry of Culture is releasing all permits for 2018 on 1 October 2017.

With only 500 permits available per day, tour operators are urging travellers to book the trek, which ends at the 550-year old Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, as soon as they can. “Tickets usually sell out almost immediately for the peak trekking months of April, May and August,” …

Travellers who miss out on Inca Trail permits can still trek to Machu Picchu on an alternative route – the Salkantay trek for which no permit is needed. “On the Salkantay trek, you pass through small communities and farmsteads, and approach Machu Picchu from the other side. …

Inca Trail permits to be released four months early

No panic. We like the Salkantay (Salcantay) better in any case. And you can do the Salkantay independently if you prefer. The over-popular Inca Trek must be guided.

Best of The Bruce – Georgian Bay Trail

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

To research the best sections of the Bruce Trail I drove to the northern end – Bruce Peninsula National Park (established 1987).

My first visit.

Very popular. Well run. Rangers gave me good information on hiking.

There’s a tall viewing platform just outside the Visitor Centre.

“A sea of forest.”

I come from western Canada. The wild west is the best. The east … is not. More often than not I refer to this Province as On-terrible.

Still, I was excited to finally get on to the most famous hiking trail in the most populous Province.

Pretty much every visitor heads directly to the Cyprus Lake trailhead.

I did one of the standard short loops – Georgian Bay Trail out, Mar Lake Trail back.

It’s pretty. But pretty crowded. I didn’t stop long at any of the recommended stops.

See my photos on Flickr.

The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. I spent a week hiking some of the best sections.

related:

• 10 Best Hikes of the Bruce Trail

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

hiking Mt Assiniboine, Canada

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

One of our top 10 hikes in the world is Sunshine to Mt Assiniboine in the Canadian Rockies.

Nine of us made it to the top of Nub peak for the solar eclipse.

2017

Our trip was nearly cancelled due to forest fire. Assiniboine opened up on the Wednesday before our Sunday start.

Three hiked up on the Assiniboine trail because Sunshine Meadows was still under closure.

Six took the helicopter in from Shark trailhead.

When you chopper in you can bring heavy food. And too much alcohol.

Happy hour at Assiniboine Lodge was 4-5pm.

Click PLAY or watch some highlights on YouTube.

Great trip. The big downside was the hike out.

I told the group we’d be 8-9 hours on the 26 km hike out via Wonder Pass & Bryant Creek. I’d forgotten about the extra 2.5 km to the campground. Due to missing signage at the Wonder Pass turn-off we got lost for another hour or more. In the end it was 32.2 km for the day.

Everyone except for myself suffered a lot of foot pain.

In retrospect I wished I’d scheduled one night in a campground on the descent.

Details on our 3 day hike.