Day Hiking in the Niagara Escarpment

James Ryan

As of today, it’s been three weeks since my hernia surgery, so to help celebrate, I decided to head out onto the Bruce Trail for a quick little three hour hike. How could I not on a day such as today? It was 18 degrees and gorgeous out there. A perfect Spring day. A bit windy and overcast, but definitely nice. Hard to imagine that it was snowing and below freezing just a few days ago.

I left kinda late in the afternoon so I ended up hiking the last half hour or so in the dark but not before I got to see an amazing sunset from the top of the escarpment. It was so worth it. The Bruce Trail is always marked really well, making it next to impossible to get lost. Plus I had my trusty flashlight in my hiker’s pack of goodies. In there I also had a pocket knife (the same one I used when I accidentally sliced the end of my finger off in Algonquin), a binocular (for bird watching – hawks, geese, owls, turkey vultures, blue jays, etc.), my cell phone (camera/emergency), a bottle of water, sunglasses, almonds, water/windproof pants (rolled up), a water/windproof jacket, fire starter and a torch lighter (just in case a day hike somehow turns into an episode of Survivor). I also wore my gators (they help prevent mud and water from getting inside your boots) and I brought along my 4-foot walking stick that I carved out of an Algonquin maple branch. That walking stick of mine has proven to be very useful throughout my rehabilitation, and I suspect it’s also perfect for beating off any brave coyotes.

The best part about today had to have been the sounds – the sounds of silence, but not really. More like the rustling of small animal’s feet, the chirping, honking and squealing of birds of all sorts, tree branches rubbing together in the wind, and best of all? The delicate sounds of sprinkling rain as it gently fell down onto the surrounding bed of dried leaves. It was beyond tranquil and calming. I made sure that I didn’t push myself too hard and if I needed a two minute rest, I took it. But overall, I felt fantastic both physically and mentally, and I think I managed to keep a pretty good pace going.

Since my surgery, I’ve been walking twice a day (every day), and using my new EazyStretch, which amazingly only takes 3-5 minutes per day, and overall, I’m shocked at how well I’ve been recovering. My hernia was bothering me for well over a year and half before I finally decided to do something about it and get it fixed. I just lived and worked with it. I lived with it for so long in fact, I’m only just now starting to remember what it was like before I was constantly in pain every single day. What an amazing difference.

My suggestion is that if it’s been a while since you’ve been out on the trails, I highly recommend that you get out there at any given chance, especially now that the snow is finally gone. Just take a break. Go outside and enjoy nature. Get hiking! Be free!

I would also recommend wearing a decent pair of hiking boots, as it can get pretty muddy out there, particularly on some of the inclines and downhills. The walking stick on those sections was a real plus.

If anyone has any questions about where to go hiking in Niagara, please don’t hesitate to send me a message and I will gladly share as much information as I can provide. There are so many beautiful areas throughout the escarpment and along the Bruce Trail, you could literally spend your entire life exploring it all. And I hope you do.

See you out there!












James Ryan
James Ryan


1 Comment

  1. Dale Srigley

    Nice pictures James, and some good comments about time spent during recovery.

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