On the 3rd day, we took a gravelled Emmett Lake Road (picture 2) from Highway 6 and a drive of 15 minutes at less than 40 kms per hour brought us to the Emmett Lake. There were very few visitors on this lake, some enjoying kayaks and others took cycling on a narrow track.
The Lake looked beautiful without any major human activity.
At High Dump, the Bruce Trail said goodbye to the Georgian Lakeshore and turned south i.e. inwards into the deep forest. This was an 8 km long hike that meandered through dense forest and through a number of lakes, namely, Warder Lake, Quenlin Lake, Upper Andrew Lake, and Moore Lake to reach the Crane Lake Parking Lot, where I picked my husband up and drove back on Crane Lake Road back to Highway 6.
My husband told us that he met only 3 hikers on this long tract of Bruce Trail. Loneliness was his only company and the picture best describes it.
When my husband left us for hiking towards Cave Point, Ifrah, Rayyan and I returned to the Cyprus Lake for a little bit of exploration. The lake offered many scenic views and canoeing and fishing was allowed. There were few campers who were swimming in the lake. We love canoeing and could have planned to have it here. We thought that we missed the opportunity.
Between the Halfway Rock Point and the Grotto, we perched ourselves on a high rock for resting, having snacks, and watching water based activities.
We noticed an increasing number of visitors pouring in and climbing down to the rocky beach for picnics and taking a dip in the lake.
Ifrah descended on the rocky beach and attempted to get into the water. She came out quickly and told us that water was freezing cold. Hearing that, my husband also tried to confirm the factoid. He came back totally shocked at visitors being able to swim in those frigid waters for so long.
This 8.5 kms of hike was done the next morning by my husband alone. Yes, the remaining 3 of us chickened out. The trail was difficult over rocky terrain, but offered fantastic lookouts. Since my husband only wanted to complete the hike as quickly as possible, he used only a small time over photography at Cave Point and taking shots of some wildflowers as he hiked.
The Overhanging point is named so because that portion of the cliff is not supported by ground below it, which is one of the main features of the Niagara Escarpment (see picture 1). An outcrop on a cliff is the most picturesque spot of the national park with many a picture of hikers / couples taken for showing off and for making posters. My husband and son could not indulge in such luxury, because the picture of people standing on the overhanging cliff can only be taken from next cliff quite a distance away. My husband could not afford that separation from our son because of security reasons.
The two discovered a 'Hole through the Rock' giving a glimpse of the view below the cliff (see picture 2). They kept meeting with other hikers on this section of the Bruce Trail.
The two then doubled back to the Grotto where we were anxiously waiting for them.
The remainder of the day was spent observing various activities at the Grotto and the Halfway Rock Point.
As we started for our next section, negotiating a steep decline over huge rocks and loose boulders, Ifrah, the most excited hiker of the pack, got hurt and had to give up. This left Rayyan, my husband and me to rethink our strategy. My husband and I thought to give up for the day, but then Ifrah pushed us to complete the hike. I decided to stay with Ifrah and return to the cliffs over the Grotto, leaving Rayyan and my husband to continue towards the Overhanging Point.
The boys reported that hiking on the Bruce Trail westwards to the Overhanging Point from there on turned out to be very difficult. A small section of the hike was over rocky terrain and cobble beach that required careful balancing. Many other hikers with them gave up in the middle of the cobbled beach.
Once they crossed the cobble beach, the hike became easier, but ascended sharply into the dense forest, mostly of Cedars. It took them lots of drinks and motivation to keep going.
We hiked westwards over large rocks and through hundreds of beach and caves lovers to reach the high cliffs at the Grotto (picture 1). As explained by Wikipedia a grotto (Italian grotta) is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide.
This is perhaps the most picturesque spot in the national park. Tourists, divers and bathers were squeezing pass a crevice to reach the bottom of the cliffs to explore the huge cave (picture 2).
We took lots of pictures and had a snack. Since the purpose was to hike, that is what we exactly embarked upon from here.
When we reached our 1st destination on the shore, we were pleasantly surprised to see hundreds of visitors way down on the rocky beach (picture 1). Since this national park allows pets with the visitors, we saw many dogs accompanying their owners (picture 2). The rock is calcareous in nature and therefore, many caves are formed on the lakeshore rocks. A group of visitors were busy in cliff diving, which is discouraged through big signs posted, but then there are always a few daredevils who try to prove their mettle.
From highway 6, we took Cyprus Lake exit and reached the Park Registration Office. We bought our entry pass ($11.80 per day 2009 prices), collected brochures, and got some necessary information before heading off to the end of the road. We parked our car in the parking lot there. Prepared ourselves for the day-long hiking expedition and took the Georgian Bay Trail to reach Halfway Rock Point as against the more difficult Marr Lake and Horse Lake Trails. This trail is the easiest and shortest way (1 km) to get to the 1st Lakeshore destination of Halfway Rock Point. The trail passed over a stream of gushing water coming out of Cyprus Lake and flowing towards the shore (see picture 2).
My son Rayyan (picture 1) and daughter Ifrah used their field guides to identify many wildflowers and trees growing along the trail and in the dense forest. An overly friendly chipmunk was purposely ignored when it begged for food (picture 3).