We all have our own summer goals. For some it's a backyard project, for others it might be a road trip, while for others maximizing reading time at the beach is the ultimate goal of the summer. For Ruth Moffatt of Grimsby and Margaret Corner of Pickering, conquering the Bruce Trail has been a summer goal that they are about to meet.
“We started hiking the Bruce Trail on a Thru-hike in Queenston on August 10, and we just hit the half-way mark yesterday,” Moffatt told The Independent on August 23. “We are currently in Beaver Valley, and heading north. We hope to finish on September 6, about 27 days after we started.”
Moffatt said that the pair, aged 55 and 60, have been averaging about 35 kilometres per day on the trail to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and they've been raising a little money along the way.
“We are hiking for the Bruce Trail Conservancy, and are raising funds for land securement, as only about 60 percent of the trail is secure from development,” said Moffatt. Thus far the pair have raised more than $2,000.
Moffatt said that a love of hiking inspired Corner and her to attempt to conquer the 885 kilometre-long trail.
“Aside from being inspired by some of the thru-hikers we have have met this past spring including the ones we have met since we started, our inspiration to undertake this hike stemmed from our love of hiking. We met one another during a Beaver Valley Bruce Trail hiking event two years ago and we have been challenging one another ever since. Last year we completed a one-day 80km hike of the Niagara Bruce Trail. This year we did two back-to-back hikes of the Niagara Parkway, 57km each day, and recently completed the 50km Challenge in the Peninsula, a fundraiser for the Bruce Trail Conservancy, in June,” Moffatt explained.
The adventure along the Bruce Trail has brought with it some challenges. For Moffatt, blisters on her feet have hampered her journey at times, while Corner has struggled with consuming enough calories to maintain the energy for the 35 kilometre per day treks.
“We are burning somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 calories per day, so getting adequate calories in order to maintain energy levels and keep our bodies fuelled in order to hike between 30 and 35 kilometres per day is a challenge,” Corner noted.
In order to conquer the Bruce Trail the pair have had to draw on their experience, tenacity, and mental and physical strength when they hit the trail each morning.
“The alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m., and regardless of the weather, we are on the trail between 7 and 7:30 a.m. The days are long, as sometimes we don't finish until 4 p.m.,” said Moffatt.
Those minor challenges haven't detracted from the adventure as the pair hiked their way toward their favourite sections of the trail. For Moffatt that is the Peninsula section, with its picturesque vistas and variety of ferns and flowers, while for Corner, her favourite part of the trail is Rocklyn Creek near Walter's Falls.
“We can't wait to get there next week as, with the wet weather, it is bound to be lush and green and always has a beautiful cascade of gently falling water,” Moffatt told The Independent. “The trail passes through such diverse and beautiful terrain, much of it challenging, but will always reveal beauty no matter the season.”
As they look toward the end of their journey, the pair are thankful for the support they've received from their friends and families, and for the trail itself, which they hope will be tromped on for generations to come.
“Our partners and friends have also been very supportive. It is our hope that the trail will be around for many generations to come, and that one day 100 percent of the trail will be secure,” noted Moffatt.
To contribute to their fundraising efforts, you can click here