Part 25: 4th Line EHS to Hockley Road
Date: Wednesday 5 December 2018
Start: 4th Line EHS, Mono
End: Hockley Road at 2nd Line EHS, Orangeville
Distance covered: 5.4 km
Total distance covered: 312.6 km
308. There has been a considerable thaw since our last hike, so we figure the going will be easier. But unfortunately Nick hasn’t anticipated that, in shaded areas, the surface of the Trail remains compacted into ice by the pressure of hikers’ boots. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, as we can simply walk along the ice-free sides of the Trail. But early in the hike we descend steeply down a narrow section of Trail into a ravine sheltered from the sun. And that’s where Nick comes unstuck: unlike Mike, he has no cleats on his hiking shoes. Nick slips, falls on his back, and cracks a rib or two. He’ll feel that in the morning!
309A. We press on to where the Trail crosses near the top of one of the ski lifts at the Hockley Valley Resort. It looks pretty snowy up here …
309B. … but that’s only because the white stuff’s being laid artificially by a snow-making machine.
310. This is Hockley Valley viewed from the upper part of the ski area. As you can see, there’s very little natural snow on the ground at all. The Valley, by the way, is that of the Nottawasaga River. It flows from Orangeville north into Georgian Bay, and not, like all the other rivers we’ve crossed so far, into Lake Ontario. Up here we are standing right on the watershed between the Lake Ontario and Lake Huron basins!
311. The upper part of Hockley Valley is rolling and picturesque.
312A. Now we descend gravel-covered 2nd Line EHS steeply into Hockley Valley. If you look carefully, you can see that this same road makes a little notch in the forest where it resumes its course on the distant horizon. But between the bottom of the Valley and that notch lies the steep terrain of the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve, and we decide that we’ll leave the Trail through there for another day. EHS, by the way, stands for “East of Hurontario Street” (Hurontario Street being the local baseline road), and is part of a typical Dufferin County name for roads running north and south.
312B. The house numbering around here is fairly eccentric too. We pass a For Sale sign for 753432 2nd Line EHS on the left. And that six-figure street number commands a seven-figure price. The 64-acre property is going for $4,900,000, in case you’re in the market for a 13-bedroom, 11-bathroom, 14,400-square foot bungalow plus extras.
313A. Eventually we make it to our end-point on Dunby Road, but via 3rd Line EHS rather than the Bruce Trail. We’re going to have to go back and complete the challenging Trail section through the Hockley Valley Nature Reserve in the New Year, when fitness returns and the weather allows. So though we did a hike of average length today, only 5.4 km of it was on Trail, the shortest yet. But if 2018 ends with a bit of a whimper, today wasn’t a total disaster. Before we set off north towards Dunby Road, we come across the delightful Black Birch Restaurant on Hockley Road …
313B. … and it seems like a good idea to pop in for a bite …
313C. … not to mention a pint of the local black stuff. Cheers!
Since April we have completed 34.8% of the Trail.
Less than 600 km to go!
Happy New Year and the very best for 2019!