Part 36: Grey County Road 2 to Fox Ridge Road
Date: Thursday 12 September 2019
Start: Grey County Road 2 north of Kolapore, The Blue Mountains
End: West End of Fox Ridge Road, Grey Highlands
Distance covered: 13.7 km
Total distance covered: 448.0 km
435. As there’s no parking where the Trail crosses Grey County Road 2, we start here, 750 metres south at the Kolapore Uplands parking lot. “Kolapore” sounds like a place in India, and so it is: “Kolhapur” is the current spelling of the name shared by the city near India’s west coast and the former princely state in which it was located. Kolapore, Ontario was founded as “Paradise” but was later renamed, no doubt after the settlers’ initial euphoria had worn off. It’s not known why an Indian placename was chosen, though there is also a “Ceylon” 30 km to the southwest, whose name was apparently inspired by a package of tea. No doubt deeper research into the context of British colonial history would provide an explanation.
436. This is Tabitha, mother of seven children, and son Jedediah, her youngest, eleven months old. The two of them accompanied us for the first 4 km of today’s hike, as far as Metcalfe Rock. Or rather, Jedediah snoozed in his baby carrier while his mom strode ahead and we old buffers did our best to keep up with them.
437. Two fine horses at the L’Abri site just west of Grey County Road 2.
438. Mill Creek Bridge in Duncan Crevice Caves Provincial Nature Reserve. This splendid structure was rebuilt in 2011 by Beaver Creek Club volunteers with the help of 32 Combat Engineer Regiment. It looks good as new.
439. White snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) blooms at the wayside everywhere at this time of year. A member of the aster family, it’s quite poisonous and responsible for the notorious “milk sickness” that killed thousands of settlers, including Abraham Lincoln’s mother, in the US Midwest in the nineteenth century. Eaten by cattle, snakeroot contains toxic tremetol, which is passed on to humans through milk or meat.
440. This is Pinnacle Rock, a huge slab of dolostone from the cap of the Escarpment lying by the Trail. The plaque at lower right notes that the surrounding property, Pinnacle Rock Farm, was donated to the Bruce Trail Conservancy in memory of Peter Ogden Richardson (1932-2011).
441. A beautiful viewpoint looking east towards the Mill Creek Valley. There’s just the slightest hint of fall in the leafage.
442. Maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) growing in a crack in a mossy rock. It’s a small hardy fern, globally distributed, that likes shade and is a popular feature of rock gardens. “Spleenwort” gets its name from the belief that because the sori (spore clusters) on the back of the fronds look like miniature spleens, the plant could cure spleen diseases. Such a fallacy, based on the belief that God provides guidance to herbalists based on natural resemblances, is known as the Doctrine of Signatures. “Wort,” by the way, derives from the Old English wyrt, and means simply “plant” or “herb.”
443. Late summer on the Trail. Mike stands by a typical Bruce stile, a wild apple tree loaded with fruit at back.
444. Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), is native to North America and one of the first plants in late summer to take on beautiful autumnal tints. It’s related to the grape vine, but its fruit is laden with oxalic acid and consequently poisonous to humans. It climbs by attaching adhesive pads to vertical surfaces, and its roots are capable of penetrating the concrete foundation of a house.
445. An ancient Oriental variation on the garden gnome decorates a front lawn near the hamlet of Duncan.
446. A fine pair of farm buildings. The date on the side of the barn at right reads “June 30, 1949.”
447. I call this study, “Hanging Rural Mailboxes.” They are suspended thus to defy snowplows.
448. Fancy buying a plot of land on Fox Ridge Road in Grey Highlands? This “Spectacular One of a Kind Property” comprises 38.6 acres with “seasonal views” (i.e., in winter when those trees are bare you can see past them.) It is rated 10/10 for quiet and “car friendliness” but 0/10 for “pedestrian friendliness,” schools, shopping, groceries, vibrancy, restaurants, and nightlife. It backs on to a brand new stretch of the Bruce Trail on the edge of the Escarpment, and will set you back $450,000.