Bruce Wins the Crown for Mr. Photogenic
I don’t know about you but I do get a thrill looking at Carribean colored waters and white sand beaches. But what’s even better than that? Bruce Peninsula. Sure, the water is cold all throughout the year. Even in the summer, the water temperature rarely reaches 70 degree F. But you really don’t need to dip in it to love it. Seeing it for yourself and dipping your feet in the water should be enough to make you fall for it. But perhaps what lures me to Bruce is the hiking aspect of it. It is not your typical beach stroll. It is truly a hike with some rugged terrain and scrambling involved even if the elevation gain/loss is relatively low. Bruce Trail is a long distance trail so with elevation lacking, one can compensate by adding distance. You can find lots of history and information on the Bruce Trail here.
Lucky us since we got to do about 22 kilometers on Bruce trail, starting from the town of Tobermory and ending at our campsite in Cyprus Lake. Be forewarned, however, that doing a long distance hike would require pre-arranging a shuttle that would either drop you at the start of the hike or pick you up at the end. In our case, since we were staying in Cyprus Lake, which was next to Bruce Trail, we opted to have the shuttle drop us off at Tobermory. That way we had more flexibility with how much time we want to spend at each lookout and adjust our pace as needed. When staying at Cyprus Lake, one can ask the campground staff for shuttle information. There is no taxi service in this part of Ontario. So, the only option is to hire a private shuttle which can easily be arranged with the campground. On the day of our 22 kilometer hike, we decided to get picked up around 8 am at our campsite. The plan was to get breakfast at the Coffee Shop in town and then hike from there. The day before I was deprived of good espresso drink so upon entering the coffee shop, I was delighted to learn that they sell specialty coffee and also they have free wifi!
We started our hike around 9:45 am and ended at about 6:30 pm with a few stops along the way. With the sun setting at 9 pm, one can certainly spend more time at each major spot. This segment of Bruce trail is particularly known for the following sites: Little Cove, the Grotto and Indian Head Cove. The three did not disappoint. In addition, there were a few spectacular lookouts along the way. The only downside was by the time we arrived at the Grotto, there were hoards of teenagers jumping into the freezing water so our ability to take photos was significantly hampered. Other than that, we hardly saw hikers or backpackers on the trail. We might have been the only ones even doing a long distance hike that day which surprised me as the trail provides pit stops for overnight backpacking.
Without further ado, I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves. Here is Bruce in his most photogenic form:
Travel tips: 1. The shuttle drop off/pick up cost us $20 total. The campground staff can provide the phone number for the shuttle. The staff is more than happy to help arrange this by telephone. 2. One option you may consider is to start your hike from the campground to Tobermory. That way you can eat dinner in town and/or catch the sunset cruise at 5 pm. 3. To avoid crowds, it is easy to visit the Grotto and Indian Head early in the morning and before sunset from the campground as it will take about 30 minutes or even less to get there. Any other time, be prepared to deal with the crowds as this area is the highlight of the trail. 4. It is possible to do a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip along the Bruce Trail. Again, you just need to make sure to arrange your ride before or after the trek. 5. There are at least a couple of places to shower in Tobermory. There is one just outside the campground where you pay $2 for 2 minutes. The better option is the one by the marina. You can pay $5 and shower for however long you need. 6. As to wifi, it is easy to connect for free in town. Sweet Shop has free wifi and is next to the Coffee Shop. If that doesn't work, there is also the public library behind Sweet Shop that has free wifi. 7. From May to June, be warned that this is the time when black flies are out to pester you. They were definitely around in the campground especially in the morning and evening. Deet spray and clothing should protect you from the pesky little creatures. They do bite!
Photo credit for photos taken of Brown Gal: Govinda Ghanti