A spring walk through the Hope Bay Forest has a unique, fleeting complexion this day: the leaves of this mature deciduous are still far from fully out as we set out just before noon, so the “cathedral” effect overhead is not yet formed. Instead, areas of the forest floor are still bathed in sunlight, creating ideal conditions for the growth of Trilliums, Ontario’s official flower, and other short-lived forest wildflowers, known as “ephemerals.” No wonder this is a favourite time for hikers on this section of the Bruce Trail and others like it.
Of course, I am biased. This Hope Bay Forest section of the trail leading to the lookout atop the cliffs overlooking Hope Bay would be one of my favourites even if it wasn’t right at the end of my driveway.
We headed out this Monday holiday-morning after a hearty breakfast, and Asia – bless her heart – only had to ask once, “Are we almost there yet?”
“Yes,” I said quietly, moments away from the left turn onto the short branch trail that leads up a rocky ridge, past the ancient, moss-covered boulder with the wild garden on top, and then on to the lookout.
“I’m there,” Allie called out ahead. And so she was, looking down from the cliff-top at the amazingly deep, blue water of Georgian Bay.
Asia was in awe when she reached it, with all thought of any rigours associated with the walk set aside forever. It was her first time there too, and I predict in the years to come it will be her special place, in much the same it was Wilma’s. A restless spirit needs to find a moment’s peace now and then in such a place.
They left a little while after the walk to return to their big-city home a few hours south. But it was a wonderful weekend for these members of my family – Kathy, Marie, Scott, Mirabella, Asia, Allie and Jacob – who bonded that much more to the “family farm” on Cathedral Drive in Hope Ness.
And there are more to come, some from distant parts of the world. I can hardly wait to welcome them all.
Talk about a dream come true: this is it for me.