Thursday, 14 June 2012

#276: Overcome by Spandex

The section of the Bruce Trail from Cyprus Lake Campground to Dyers Bay Road is described in the official guide book as the most difficult bit of the entire 800 km. hiking track that spans southern Ontario from Niagara to Tobermory.

Practically speaking, that means hours of slogging-- clambering over rocks, rocks, and more rocks, avoiding slippery roots, and climbing up for several metres only to climb right back down again, over and over and over for 18 km.  I would hate to do this stretch of the trail in wet weather, but fortunately we had a gorgeous day, and when the climbing briefly stopped, we were rewarded with fine views of Dyers Bay.

Not a bad place for a lunch stop.... 

Knowing that Ina (from the B and B) would have talked to many Bruce Trail hikers, we asked her how long it generally took to walk this particular section.  She recalled that the fastest time was about 4 hours, and the longest was 12.

With this in mind, we steadily made our way up and down terrain that reminded us of alpine avalanche fields only to be overtaken by four young people in bicycle gear and running shoes.  They briefly stopped to ask about landmarks and told us they had set out that morning from Tobermory and were intending to walk the last and second last sections of the trail that day.  When they completed the Dyers Bay section, they would have hiked twice as far as we did, and would probably do it in less time.

And so it was -- we actually did walk about of the bush about an hour apart.  While she was waiting to pick us up, my sister in law noticed "the spandex kids" as they exited the trail.   We felt old and creaky contemplating their energy and speed.  We imagined them leaping on bicycles and pedaling back to Tobermory for a game of beach volleyball while we were still easing our sore hips and feet into the waiting car. 

But hold on ...

It had taken us 8 hours to complete our walk, which when you think about it, isn't so bad for a couple of hikers pushing 70. (We should get Ina to qualify her times with details about age!)   Those "kids" are probably half our age--maybe less--so why shouldn't they go twice as far in the same amount of time? 

I need to get used to the fact that everything seems to take longer to accomplish as I age.  It's a good thing that I have more time.

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