The long way out went remarkably well. I stopped to eat every hour or so, drinking lots as well. That change in nutrition put me in a much better way to do our longest day of hiking.
The gorgeous views from the tops of the hills were getting brighter. The Red Maples were intensifying in colour, and the other hardwoods were also beginning to turn bright autumnal shades. There were noticeably fewer mushrooms on this eastern side of the park. The acorn crop was as remarkable however. The forested sections seemed to be flatter and richer than along the rockier northern portion of the trail. The frequent ups and downs continued.
There were also a lot more people on the trail, almost all day hikers coming out from the Kakakise Lake parking lot along the highway east of George Lake, out to explore The Crack, the much-ballyhooed rocky crevice cutting up to the top of the southern ridge.
The Crack lived up to its reputation. Mostly. Big blocky quartzite chunks, jumbled randomly down a crevice seldom more than 5 metres wide. Tough clambering down for these old legs for sure! But not as scary for me as The Waterfall nor The Slide, nor the other unnamed climbs and descents of the more remote northern sections of the Trail.
It was these views from the top of The Crack that gave me the strongest memories of the day. Seeing OSA Lake spread out beyond Killarney Lake, all ringed by the white quartzite roots of the old mountains is so impressive. I’ve paddled those lakes over a dozen times (in addition to another dozen times to David Lake, and other lakes elsewhere I in this jewel of Ontario’s parks.
We wisely decided to skip the last 6 km into George Lake, instead taking the shortcut of doing the 1.5 km bush road walk out to the Kakakise Lake parking lot. As soon as we got to the road, I stuck my thumb out for a hitchhike, only to be rejected — or so I thought. The very first driver actually stopped, and took Josh right to the campground where my car was. He was able to be back to pick us up in less than 45 minutes. That put us in good stead to make it back to Orangeville about 10 P.M.
(We did have brief moment of excitement at the start of our way home … involving running out of gas 3 km shy of a gas station … and saved by having the ability of my Prius to run solely on electrical charge … Phew!)
(This trip actually took place from late September into early October. I’ve been caught up in other events since then …)