Early February 2019, Bruce Trail and Ganaraska hikers enjoyed a winter get-away at Killbear Provincial Park. Two groups of approx. 40 people each filled up the staff lodge, and took full advantage of everything Killbear Provincial Park has to offer in winter. Cross country skiers loved the 9 km track set trail, and snowshoers hiked all over the park. The scenery was fabulous, with lots of picture taking opportunities. In addition to snowshoeing and skiing, or a simple walk down the park road, the groups enjoyed campfires, games, delicious potlucks, and even a beginner Square Dance lesson on a rainy afternoon! Looking forward to our 10th anniversary visit next February!
Wow, another GHTA Wilderness Club member representing! Congratulations Miranda on completing the entire trail. Here is her account of her fantastic journey:
Hello there, I am happy in sending my logs
for my E2E badge. I wasn’t sure where to start but I will do it telling the
best thing that happened to me in the trail.
Every time I think on that day I want to cry
of excitement as a little girl in the wilderness section. We were only four
hikers and I was the ahead when I saw the big, puffy gorgeous bear. I’m pretty
sure he was more scared than me but that moment is imprinted in my head forever
since I stayed still and couldn’t take a picture of it.
One of my first hikes ever was in Ganaraska Wilderness
in 2017; it was an 8 hours hike with high humidity and thousands of mosquitoes
but worth to try and since then I haven’t stop hiking. First I finished the
Bruce trail then the Oak Ridges Moraine because I was anxious about the stories
about the wilderness so I prepared and organized the hikes meticulously for
safety of everyone.
The backpacking in the wilderness section was
the hardest one since it was one of the hottest humid days in September. I
became dehydrated with symptoms like vomiting, migraine and dizziness I thought
I wasn’t going to make it but the next day I was the strongest one while the
others were struggling with the heat. In the other hikes on the Ragged and
Montgomery trail we loved the autumn colours and I had a moment of silence in
front of the rock remembering Doris, the hiker who died years before. I know in
my heart she was doing what she loved, hiking.
There are other memorable hikes along the
trail like the last one in the Mad river section with deep snow and strong cold
winds. We loved Creemore town and feared its smallest jail, better not
misbehave in that place 😉
The Wasaga section had a couple of beautiful
spots like in the Nordic area where we saw loons and we observed the sand dunes
but our phones and camera were dead due to the cold temperatures and we
couldn’t take pictures but one, we did 31km on that day.
Barrie section was funny since we started our
day with positivism and enthusiasm but a muddy pothole swallowed my leg
together with my snowshoe, hehehe we went back home for the first time after an
incident like this one.
Hiking along the lake in the Orillia section
was wonderful, I’m thinking in coming back at some point in spring or summer
I want to confess that my reason to start
hiking was to overcome my illnesses and find peace in my soul and mind.
started my journey I was a ‘victim of domestic violence’. I wanted to run away
but instead I asked for professional help. During my hospitalizations my
therapists noticed I loved walking and wondering in the city for hours and
capable of doing 30km every day. I was advised to find a group in the MeetUp so
I could meet people and I found the hiking group there.
I’m not longer a victim, I’m a survivor. After more than a decade I left the
abusive environment, a decision that I took while hiking. Sauntering in the
trail cleared my mind and I drastically change the turn of my life.
am free to do what I like at the same time helping those who join me in my
group for whatever reason they are hiking. Mental illness is invisible and as a
survivor I can tell you I learned to fake my happiness very well but hiking
brought me peace.
now, our next trail is the Grand Valley and Avon trails and then I’m hoping
there will be another trail to put my feet on the ground while I’m trying to
live my present.
to all the volunteers and members from the Ganaraska trail association that made
it possible for us to hike safely. Especial thanks to Glynn, John, Carol, Tom,
Frieda and Louis for responding back to my emails and phone calls.
special thanks to Troy who was my partner-in-crime in every single hike;
without him this wouldn’t be possible.
to my closest members in the Hiking Team GTA: Jean & Frank, Jeremy, Selena,
Natalie, Paul, Tanya, Neha, Garima, Alex, Tony, Jonathan, Gerry, Sandi, Naira, and
Congratulations to Jen & Frank, GHTA, Wilderness Club members who have recently completed the Ganaraska Trail End-2-End. Enjoy their description of their journey:
Frank and I hiked the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in 2011. Machu Picchu Inca Trail, Peru in 2014 and the Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal, in 2016. Additionally, we also finished the Bruce Trail E2E in September of 2018.
We asked ourselves; where do we go next?
We hiked Ragged Rapids Loop in the Wilderness Section with Glynn in the summer of 2016 to prepare for our EBC trip. That hike impressed us so we decided to complete the Ganaraska Trail E2E. We proudly became GT Wilderness Club members in October 2018.
Miranda and Troy started the GT E2E in the spring of 2018 where we joined them in September 2018. The very first GT hike we did together was the Crossover in Wilderness Section. It was hot and the humidity was high. Eight hikers joined and none of us were experienced backpackers. The hike was extremely hard for all of us. Some members experienced heat exhaustion and some even experienced vomiting. We were unable to get to Loon Lake campsite as planned, but Wolf Lake campsite was the most beautiful campsite that I had ever camped at. We toasted Frank’s birthday with coffee and hot chocolate that night. We crossed over 19 beaver dams and worked as a team to encourage one another. We were really happy when we made it to the parking lot before dark. Troy, Alex and I shared a small can of Coca-Cola at the end. That was the best Coca-Cola that we had ever tasted!
It took us 24 hikes to finish GT E2E. We hiked in 38 degree weather with high humidity in the fall and minus 23 degrees before windchill in the winter. We hiked in knee deep mud in the Barrie Section and knee deep snow in the Mad River Section. We hiked one of four biggest wetlands in the world. In heavy rain, under hot sun, miles and miles on train tracks and fast highways we hiked. Frank managed to drive our car into the ditch in Victoria Harbor. 17 KM hike turned out to be a 29 KM hike in Tiny Trail. We repeated the same question over and over, “Where is the blaze?” We often missed the blazes, traced back to the last one and got back to the trail. I set up the hiking schedule and we went hiking accordingly, regardless of the weather conditions. Nothing could stop us. We faced many challenges during our journey, but we knew what doesn’t break you, only makes you stronger.
There are so many people that we need to thank for helping us finishing GT E2E. First is our extraordinary hike leader Miranda who planned and led the hikes. Second, is Troy who was with us all the way and never ever complained. Third, is all the hikers along the way. My friends Doug and Colleen carpooled us to Wasaga Beach; the land owner Tom, carpooled us into Mad River and the Midland Section president Marc, shuttled us on one of the coldest days of the year.
It was bittersweet when we did our final GT E2E hike on Feb. 2, 2019. I truly did not want the hike to end. GT is unique in its own way and I will treasure the memory of GT in my heart forever.
Logging operations in the Simcoe County Forest Museum Tract will begin mid-January 2019 with a target completion of early Spring 2019. The GHTA Barrie trail is affected between Hwy #26 and Anne Street (see GHTA Guidebook map #21) and this section should be considered temporarily closed. The attached file shows the specific areas for the logging operation outlined with blue lines.
Please be advised that the western end of the Tiny section of the Ganaraska
Hiking Trail is currently closed from just west of Crossland Road to Archer
Archer Road is the northern most street on the Wasaga Beach section. A landowner is no longer allowing us permission to use his property, so we are currently looking (and may have found) a reroute that may open later this year. In the mean time, going east from Archer Road on the Tiny section of the Ganaraska is impossible. So your best option is to pick up the trail again from about 1 km west of Crossland Road on the Tiny Townline. You will see that the road dead ends at a farm. A forest track continues, but that leads to the closed section. Park near the farm on the side of the road and hike east towards the Tiny Marsh along the Townline until further notice.
A group of 4 hardy Toronto hikers came to Orillia on three separate dates to complete the end to end of the Orillia Section. They braved an early winter, and even navigated the section from Hwy 169 to the 13th even though it was in its usual inundated condition! Well done! Here are a few of their pics.
During the past year a group of hikers completed the End-to-End of the Ganaraska trail, and they sent along a report of their journey as well as a spreadsheet showing their actual log. This is an example of one way of presenting the log which some members may find interesting and useful. Of note, the first page on the spreadsheet – labelled GT – is the actual GHTA log, while obviously they have used the same spreadsheet format, indeed the same spreadsheet just separate pages, to record their other journeys. We congratulate them, and thank them for sharing their log format.
In order to view the attached files, click on them to download them to your download folder/desktop, then open the file from that.
At the recent AGM, the winners of the GHTA Inc. Volunteer of the Year Award were announced – and this year this award is shared by two Orillia Club members – Isobel Thorup and Carol Strickland. Pictured here are the two holding the plaque after it was presented at a recent Orillia hike.
The following article appeared in OrilliaMatters.com shortly after the 50th Anniversary event.
“The Ganaraska Hiking Club celebrates 50 years in 2018, and the celebrations culminated in the Sept. 28-30 weekend event held in Orillia. The Club began as the brainchild of Pat Lawson and Jack Goering, members of a nature appreciation club in the Port Hope area, in the mid-1960’s. With help from Bruce Trail organizational veterans, Pat, Jack and many others created a partial trail in the Port Hope area, but this quickly grew to form a 500 km trail that spans Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay and the Collingwood area where it joins the Bruce Trail. Today there are 9 member Clubs, each with their own section to steward and enjoy. The trail proceeds across lands held by private landowners, county forests and municipalities whose generosity has allowed the formation of a continuous trail, with only a few gaps.
Orillia, sitting in the middle of the trail, was a natural choice for location of the 50th anniversary celebrations, and Lakehead University, Orillia campus, provided an ideal venue.
The event kicked off with a welcome pub night at Kelsey’s, with local and out-of-town members of the club and Hike Ontario Board members mingling and renewing old acquaintances.
Marion Brophy (past Orillia Club President), Irene Bell (Wasaga Beach President) and Fern Splichal (Board Member) enjoy a cup of cheer while greeting visitors from all over the province.
The following morning, the program got underway at Lakehead Orillia’s beautiful campus. While Hike Ontario held their Annual General Meeting and Summit, members of the Ganaraska Club from all over Ontario registered for the day’s events.
Frieda Baldwin, the current Ganaraska President, welcomed the crowd.
Followinga presentation on the history of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, several of the Past Presidents of the club were given a special anniversary cap and thanked for their outstanding service to the Club. Pictured from left to right are: Paul McCreath, David Francis, Mike Pidwerbecki, and Bob Bowles.
Kevin Callan provided the keynote address – “Wilderness Surthrival” – in which he entertained the group with his description of his work leading 7 day wilderness trips for college students.
After this, the water ceremony began. The background for this is that during this hiking year, bottles of water from Lake Ontario and from Georgian Bay (being either end of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail) had been relayed by each of the member clubs in turn, until the waters arrived in Orillia to be delivered to the Orillia Club.
Pictured holding the specially designed water tote bags are: Barb Lewis, Paul McCreath, and Fern Splichal. Joining them on the journey out of Scout Valley are Wendy Kirk, Isabelle Lloyd, Isobel Thorup, and Carol Strickland (taking the picture).
They were joined by the 80+ attendees as they proceeded up University Avenue and across Lakehead’s campus to the Indigenous Gardens. There the waters were used in a moving traditional ceremony honouring water and asking for a blessing.
Trish Monague (Cedar Woman) leads the water ceremony in the Wiigwasitig Gitigaan (Birch Tree Garden) area at Lakehead University.
The waters were then poured out onto the gardens area.
Following this, a barbecue lunch was held in the Lakehead cafeteria, where an anniversary cake created by a Midland Club member was enjoyed by all.
The afternoon provided members with choices of workshops to attend, from “Stretching for hiking” to “Risk Management for Trail Associations, to “Fascinating Fungi”.
On Sunday, Hike Ontario offered a full day course – Certified Hike Leader – using Lakehead’s classrooms and adjacent fields.
Everyone in attendance agreed that the weekend was much enjoyed and very worthwhile. The Ganaraska Hiking Club and Hike Ontario were delighted to hold their event at Lakehead University, whose campus was an ideal setting for this Summit and whose philosophy of partnering with the community and fostering lifelong learning matched perfectly with the theme of the whole celebration. Many thanks to Kristen Lampman of Lakehead’s Conference Service, and to Dr. Linda Rodenburg, Co-ordinator of Lakehead’s Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning and to Allysha Wassegijig, Lakehead’s Aboriginal Initiatives Co-ordinator for their very generous and helpful support.
The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association strives to provide and protect a trail for public enjoyment, and to provide hiking as an activity to any who wish to do it. Check us out at www.ganaraska-hiking-trail.org