Hiking in Boyne Valley Provincial Park
Early one Saturday morning a friend and I headed out on another hike. The clouds looked like they might still have some lingering rain from the night before, but I was optimistic. We had an hour until our destination and I figured by the time we arrived it would be yet another beautiful, sunny day. Our destination was Boyne Valley Provincial Park.
Boyne Valley Provincial Park is a non-operating park, meaning there are no facilities. Just you, the trails and the wilds. Home to a few trails that include; Boyne Valley Side Trail Loop, Primrose Side Trail and the Bruce Trail. Located just outside of Shelburne, Ontario, Boyne Valley is full of hills, has the Boyne River cutting through it and varying habitats covering over 1000 acres.
From the parking lot we headed north along the winding road for a bit to access the Primrose Side Trail. As soon as we entered the dense forest we were met with an ever increasing incline. No better way to start off than on the up. The trail took us through hardwood forests, and past open fields. Then suddenly there to our right were wide open vistas of the lush Boyne Valley. You couldn’t see civilization at all and it was amazing. Rolling hillsides met green untouched fields and it was beginning to sprinkle rain. But it didn’t dampen our spirits, instead it was refreshing. Plus, I always feel that any day spent in the woods is a good day.
On this portion of the trail we stumbled upon a few cairns. A cairn is a human-made pile of stones, used for many reasons across time, but are commonly used as trail markers. It appeared that the area was once full of these stones, but when some of it was cleared for pastures and fields all of the stones were piled in large masses along the trail. And on one of these large stone piles we decided to create our own special cairns. And to be honest, it wasn’t as easy as it seems. But a cool way to leave our mark without actually harming the trail.
Further one up the hill we met up with the Bruce Trail. Turning left we headed along my main man Bruce. Is it strange to be in a love affair with a trail? Certainly not! He loves the outdoors, enjoys hiking and has a flair for adventure. And I know a few other ladies who feel the same way.
As the Bruce usually does, it surprised us. We went from hardwood forests to this enchanting forest of moss covered rocks, towering trees and an air of fairy dust. The trail took us down into a valley where the trees seemed like giants and mushrooms lined the way. We scaled thick, fallen trees and were amazed by the wealth of berries and wildflowers that littered the area. I couldn’t believe all the beautiful flowers we saw, each one demanding its own attention. There were everything from Queen Anne’s to black-eyed susans and wild daisies to chicory. Flowers of every colour!
One flower in particular stole my heart. It was this delicate, vivid yellow, orchid-like bloom. Getting down close to inspect it and photograph it I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Had I finally found one of the rare orchids that can be found along the Bruce Trail? No. I later learned that it was actually a pale touch me not. Still, no less stunning.
After a wander through the valley, passed prehistoric ferns, we decided to head back. We headed back the way we came, still stumbling upon more and more striking flowers. Near to where the Bruce Trail meets the Primrose Side Trail is another side trail, Murphy’s Pinnacle Side Trail. This trail takes you up a conical hill, known as a kame, that was deposited by meltwater during the last ice age.
And the views from its pinnacle was intoxicating! Sweeping 360 degree views of the Boyne Valley. Under the overcast sky its lush green seemed to pop even more than if it were a hazy, blaring bring sun shining day. We stood with our hands in the air and relished in the view, the rain and soaked in this beautiful moment.
It just proves that if you are willing to see, open your eyes and your heart, every day and every trail has something to give.
Parking Lot: Located 1km north of Highway 89 on Prince of Wales Road, on the right.
Time: +3 hours
Trails: Boyne Valley Side Trail Loop, Primrose Side Trail and the Bruce Trail
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