We spent this past Weekend at Blue Mountain to celebrate my husband's birthday on Friday. We drove after work arriving at 8 p.m. in time for a late dinner at Tholos Restaurant. We love their authentic Greek food and their entertainment ... a very enthusiastic and talented belly dancer.
We stayed at the Westin Trillium House in a deluxe guest room on the third floor with a view of the mountain. It was very nice and comfortable.
Mountain view is the side you approach by car. This is the other side of the building with a view of the Village across the pond. There are boardwalks encircling the pond which lead to the Village in either direction. It is very picturesque.After breakfast and a matcha tea latte, we headed out to hike up the mountain. It was cool enough for jeans and jackets. Once we started climbing and sweating, we wished we had worn shorts.
The skies cleared by the time we reached the top. The views were definitely worth the effort.
My husband took a picture of this plaque commemorating Ontario's First Chairlift. He thinks he remembers riding this lift back in the day.
This sculpture at the top of the hill caught our attention ... very cool.
We rested a bit in the sun at the top of the hill before hiking down ... no open air gondola ride for troopers like us.
After our hike, we drove to Collingwood to browse the shops where we ran into an old friend (at a bike shop of course) who now lives in Collingwood. She had hiked Nottawasaga Lookout trail that morning and recommended it. We thought Nottawasaga sounded perfect for Sunday.
We had made reservations for 7:15 p.m. at our hotel restaurant for dinner. Since we had time to spare, we decided to check out the little town of Thornbury nearby. We both love Thornbury cider so when we saw the Thornbury Village Cider House we stopped for a visit and taste. From this flight including 2 oz each of the following apple ciders - premium, cranberry, spiced apple and honey - I preferred their premium apple cider. Cranberry apple was good, spiced apple smelled better than it tasted and honey apple was just too sweet.
We made it back to our hotel in time for dinner at Oliver and Bonacini Cafe Grill. The food was delicious and, as luck would have it, they carried Beaver Valley cider (another local award winning cidery). It was good, but I still prefer Thornbury apple cider.
After all that good food and cider, we slept well despite wedding celebrations late into the evening two floors below. I mention it because the music carried to our room like it was right next door. We had requested a room at the end of the hall to avoid excessive noise. Next time we will ask for a room at the other end away from the banquet hall.
On Sunday we woke up to sunny skies and warmer temperatures. We were looking forward to hiking at Nottawasaga Lookout trail. We could not find any maps but figured we could head out and back without getting lost. The main trail was well marked in white with side trails in blue. The main trail was mostly single track and relatively easy with enough roots and rocks to keep things interesting.
We decided to take a blue side trail heading towards the caves on the way back. We had passed it on the way out but I thought it looked too troublesome to climb down. From this direction it looked easy enough.
Easy enough until we reached the caves and big rocks.
We had to clamber over and under rocks and fallen trees. The blue markings didn't seem to follow a proper trail, but we carried on anyway.
This climb was particularly challenging. My husband had to go ahead and help hoist me up the last bit. I could get my knee on the next level up, but then I was squished between two rocks, so had to twist to stand on a very tiny ledge plus I'm not really comfortable with heights. My heart was thumping and legs shaking by the time we made it to solid ground only to discover we had to go back down to pick up the trail at the bottom of the crevice. We were guided by other hikers who had come up the other way.
The way back down was a little easier than where we had climbed up, except we had to leap (my husband might say step) over a deep crevice to get to it. Did I mention I'm not comfortable with heights? Thank goodness my husband was there to hold my hand.
We made it down safe and sound and carried on along the bottom of this crevice following the blue marks painted on the stone walls.
I loved seeing all the rocks covered in brilliant green moss. These tiny ferns were particularly pretty.
At the end of the crevice we climbed up and back to the main trail.
This was the sign we had passed earlier on our hike where I thought it looked too challenging to try hiking down. I was right ... climbing up and out was relatively easy though.
Like the sign says "Hazards Exist" and, like we've all heard before, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
In the end, I was happy to hike the Standing Rock and Caves Side Trail. It felt like an accomplishment.
If you're looking for a fun place to visit, consider a Weekend at Blue Mountain. We plan to go again ... perhaps this winter to ski.
Thanks to our parents for taking care of our pets Maggie and Sadie while we were away ... we truly appreciate it.
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