Day 19: Petun Conservation Area - Blue Mountains, 476.5 km completed

Having no idea where the campsite was last night, we woke up on a wide part of the trail and hit the road immediately - with no water leftover from the night before, we decided to eat breakfast as soon as we hit a major stream. There we could gather water for coffee and relax on the bridge. 

We knew today was going to be a pretty easy hike given the distance (22 km doesn’t feel like much for us now), so we rested whenever we felt like it and took the hiking at a relaxed pace. Nat and I had no idea that we would cross Blue Mountain - the ski resort - on our hike, so it was a surprise when we rounded a corner and saw groups of armoured-up mountain bikers coming off chairlifts. Walking over the top of Blue Mountain, we have our first views of Georgian Bay which I think we’ll be seeing a lot of for the rest of the trip.

Tonight we’ve pitched our tent at an AirBnB campsite with a very friendly dog named Harley who you’ll see in the photos. 

Today’s a special day for our hike because we’re now halfway done - both in days and distance! It’s hard to believe that the walk from Niagara Falls all the way to Blue Mountain is the same as from here to Tobermory. On its northern end, the trail goes through a few southern dips and rounds across a number of bays so we end up covering almost as much ground from here to October.

Wednesday wildlife: Mushrooms

We’ve sure seen a lot of fungi on our hike because there are so many when you look closely. In fact, it’s estimated that Ontario has over 30,000 species, more than 6 times all plants COMBINED. Mushrooms are often overlooked at first glance, but they’re one of the unsung heroes of the forest. They’re responsible for breaking down many things that other creatures can’t eat - it’s not often, for example, that you find any plants growing on freshly chopped wood, but there are many species of mushroom that will do just that.

Ontario also has a wide variety of edible mushrooms, including Lion’s Mane, Chanterelles, Lobster and Oyster mushrooms. Many of them can be hard to identify without experience though, so  make sure you go hunting with someone who knows the edible from the poisonous.

Happy Trails,