January 3rd, 2015: KM 376.4 - 393.3

(Dufferin Hi-land 53.3km -Blue Mountains 16.4)

4-man hike - Anthony, Jamie, Graham, Chris, aka "The Gentlemen Hikers".

Thinks came together quickly and at the last minute, but happily we found ourselves out on the trail yesterday, doing our first 4-man winter hike.

Starting out at the graveyard parking lot where we ended last time, we struck off along the road. It's not apparent from the photos, but it was snowing almost the entire duration of the hike.

After 0.5kim on the road we passed in to the Blue Mountains section of the Bruce trail. 5 sections done and 4 to go! Unfortunately the final sections are much longer in length.

After a bit more time on the road we finally entered the forest. At first there were tracks in the snow from other hikers and their dogs, which made following the trail pretty easy.

The we were following stopped pretty early on, and we had to start relying on the white trail blazes, which is not as easy in the winter.

The trail made it's way in to Noisy River Provincial Nature Reserve, beginning at the top of a large valley with beautiful views. There were a lot of long deep cracks in the limestone all around the trail at this part, making for some really interesting hiking.


We then began the long descent towards the frozen lakes at the bottom of the valley.

Reaching the bottom, the trail followed around the edge of a frozen lake.

Just after the lake, we finally crossed the Noisy River.

Then the fun part began, the steep ascent up the other side of the valley. About half way up we found a camping station, complete with fire pit and raised sleeping platform. Looked like 8-10 people could sleep here. We took a break and had some lunch at this point.

While here we saw the only other hikers of the day, a young couple with their child walking down the hill towards the lake.

After a quick bite we finished the rest of the ascent, and exited the park back onto another road.

The trail followed a few roads for about 3 km before heading back into the wilderness.

We crossed another road and  entered a reforestation project. We might be the first people to see this project in it's completion year (2015).

The trail became a lot more open here, following a ridge that sloped down to our right, with farmers fields on our left. Because of the lack of cover, large drifts of snow had accumulated on the slope. We found ourselves walking through some pretty deep stuff. It also got very windy at points, with the blowing snow moving completely horizontally. Kudos to Jamie for striking the trail for most of this part.

Eventually the trail cut back into a forested area, making the hiking a bit easier again. We were pretty exhausted at this point, and starting to get pretty sore.

We got one last nice lookout point before the trail struck straight back towards the road.

We finally emerged back on the road and made the final steps downhill to where we left the other car.

According to the Trail Guide, we did 16.9 km total in just about 4 hours. Not bad for a winter hike! Thanks to Anthony for capturing the statistics:

And finally, some bonus photos from Anthony and Jamie's phones:

Great hike!