While, personally 2017 brought me into a new job, and along with that a new home, with a new city, it also gave my hiking boots the time of their lives. Last year was an amazing hiking year, I don’t think I have ever spent that much time outdoors. From the blue waters of the Bruce Peninsula to the chilly mountains of Tennessee, these were my favourite spots of 2017.
Hilton Falls Conservation
When I looked up this area and saw the waterfall, fire pits and mass amount of hiking trails, I knew this would be a winner. I decided to make my wait to Hilton Falls Conservation to celebrate my partners birthday, we brought along hotdogs, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate; all the fixin’s for a good campfire lunch. This is a popular area, so plan accordingly and expect to share a fire pit with others. We shared a pit with some friendly hikers from the Yukon who let us try their hammock tent, it was an amazing experience.
I have been to Tobermory before and it always delivers a gorgeous experience. What made this adventure particularly enjoyable was the fact that we went with our best friends and it was their first time exploring the Bruce. We weren’t able to get into the Bruce Peninsula Provincial Park due to how crazy busy it was but we were able to explore the Fathom Five National Marine Park, a first for me. We hiked for hours, killed our legs and finished the day off with all you can eat fish and chips. The muscle pain was well worth it for that insanely blue water.
The Alum Bluffs
My favourite part of 2017 had to be our road trip through the Great Smokey Mountains, which spreads across Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. This was an amazing overall trip but my absolute favourite part was making it to the top of the Alum Bluffs trail. Mostly because I didn’t think I could. We had already gone horseback riding as well as completed a two hour hike up one of the mountains when we decided to drudge up to the Alum Bluffs.
I was incredibly tired and while we were hiking higher and higher, I started to get light headed and nauseous. I was exhausted, sweating through my clothing and running incredibly low on water. I had to continue, I had to make it to the top. We made it to the bluffs and it was beyond worth it, not only because of the amazing views but also that feeling of genuine accomplishment. Nothing beats it.
This was an unplanned day of hiking before we set off on the final leg of our road trip. It was a short hike to the falls from the parking lot of the Great Smokey Mountains but it was mostly uphill, which was totally unexpected. It was a rewarding hike and a very unexpected journey, which made it all the more memorable. Pushing through the pain from the hike completed the day before, we were able to enjoy one more day in the mountains. A place that brought so much joy to my year and pushed my personal limits. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe this day.
With the end of another year, I cannot help but get a little nostalgic. Going through all of these destinations which I am so privileged to be able to enjoy, makes me feel very whimsical as well as grateful for everything I have achieved over the past year. So, here is to the sweaty, dusty hiking years of the past and to the many more adventures waiting in the future.