Hiking in Niagara: Chipping Away at the Bucket List

James Ryan

“The unexplored life is not worth living.” ― Plato

All this past week, one of the things that I’ve been looking forward to the most on my day off was just getting back out onto the Bruce Trail and picking up where I left off.

It occurred to me on my last hike that there are still a lot of trail sections here in Niagara that I’ve never seen before. Some areas I’ve seen multiple times (Balls Falls in Vineland is a perfect example of that), but there are also many key sections that I’ve never even thought to explore.

Hitting new ground yesterday reminded me of a goal that I’ve had ever since my youth, but for some reason, it just never happened, and to this day, it still hasn’t. But that’s why I thought of it again – because it’s still a goal that I am determined to accomplish.

When I was a kid, my dad put an idea into my head before he passed away. He said that he would love it if he and I could hike the entire Bruce Trail together – all the way from Niagara up to Tobermory, which would take somewhere around 30 consecutive days of hiking at 8 hours per day to accomplish – only we never did it.

I figured that at the very least, it would be something that my son and I would do together, but again, it just never happened. Instead, we spent much of our time together exploring the beautiful wilderness of Algonquin Provincial Park. The benefits of these trips together were equally amazing, but still . . . I never did tackle the Bruce.

Deciding that this was still a goal worth reaching on my own, my new goal is to complete the entire hike by breaking it up into smaller sections (day hikes). Ultimately, if it takes me a year or more to finish, then that’s fine, at least it’ll get done. It’ll be one less thing on my bucket list.

The weather forecast was calling for heavy precipitation at times and quite possibly freezing rain or snow – hardly ideal conditions for hiking, but with the proper gear and attire, not a big deal either. Just another day out in nature, particularly here in Canada.

Admittedly, when I woke up, I had some reservations about going out onto the Bruce Trail. I had some errands to run and people to see, which meant that I wouldn’t have been able get an early start and I really wanted to go to karate in the evening, so an afternoon hike just didn’t make any sense (hiking for five hours and then going to karate is a bit much, even for this young grandpa). A short hike would have been possible but I was more interested in exploring new territory – something that I’d never seen before. And to do that, takes time.

As fate would have it, I found out just after lunch that karate had been rescheduled to the previous day (I didn’t get the email), so even though I was disappointed not to have been able to go to class (my first time back since my hernia surgery), my day was suddenly freed up for a longer hike.

Getting out there, I found the trails to be incredibly slick (it had been raining on and off for the two previous days) and the rivers were completely overflowing. In some cases, the rivers even consumed the trails, which didn’t pose too much of a problem but ultimately stopped my forward progress as the trail was totally washed out without a bridge to cross.

But in the end, I saw some beautiful sections of the Niagara Escarpment that I never would have expected to see, particularly in the area that I was in, but wow! It was absolutely beautiful. As usual, enjoy the pictures and see for yourself.

And again, if you have any questions about where these photos were taken or where a good spot would be for you to take the family out on a nature hike, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Hope to see you all out on the trails.

Keep hiking, Niagara!


IMG_20160324_152150 IMG_20160324_152715 IMG_20160324_153046 IMG_20160324_153445 IMG_20160324_154628 IMG_20160324_155319 IMG_20160324_160159 IMG_20160324_160301 IMG_20160324_164135 IMG_20160324_164546 IMG_20160324_165531 IMG_20160324_165552 IMG_20160324_170757 IMG_20160324_171832 IMG_20160324_180253 IMG_20160324_181725

James Ryan
James Ryan


1 Comment

  1. Rob

    Great pictures James, made me we want to start hiking. I know there’s nothing like it! Too cool how the Universe located you right on the trail. I personally think your Dad had something to do with that…

Leave a Reply