Despite the warm and rather rainy September it seems like summer has finally given up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a “woolly sweater pumpkin-spice” type of gal. I love summer, but there was no denying it, this was going to be one of those amazing autumn days. We milled around at the usual meeting spot (in the parking lot in front of GoodLife Fitness) and watched the sky. The clouds started to separate revealing blue skies.
Our group of 10 quickly sorted out carpooling and headed up the highway. We drove up past the Chippewa Falls and turned up the Tilley Lakes Road. I was a passenger and not very familiar with the road system up there so I won’t give detailed directions. You would get lost. Get in touch with Mark and Cheryl if you plan on venturing up there on your own. We parked the cars and walked up the road further before heading up the ATV trail to the summit.
As I stated before, I am a summer loving person but I just wanted to point out a few perks of hiking in the fall. No bugs! No bugs! And did I mention no bugs! In all seriousness, the cooler temperature was welcome for our uphill grind to Griffon Peak and the beautiful fall colours were easy on the eyes.
The ATV trail to the summit was a gradual uphill climb. If you are in decent physical shape you could make it. Of course, we stopped frequently admiring at the weird fall mushrooms and taking off layers of clothes. Others found photo opportunities in the forest streams and fall colours. It was about a 6km walk (taking about 1.5 hours) to the top but the conversations with the other hikers kept my mind off any huffing and puffing that I was experiencing.
The trail was pretty wet in places due to the rainy weather lately. We had to skirt around some good size puddles. I was glad I took the time to weather-proof my hiking boots earlier this summer. I sensed we were getting close to the top as the trail levelled off and you could see through the trees that we were on a high plateau. The trail opens at the summit to a rocky clearing. There is an old fire tower there that is used as a communications tower now. The view from the top was stunning. Vast overlooks north to the Montreal River area and Lake Superior shimmering in the distance off to the west. Wow!
With the warm sun on our backs, we perched at the view and sat to have lunch. For me, a big part of hiking and being outdoors is eating. Somehow a boring old sandwich always tastes better outside with good company and a spectacular view. We spent about an hour sharing our lunch and stories. (Delicious smoked fish Cheryl – thanks for sharing!). Like all good hiking citizens, we spent some time leaving the place cleaner than we found it and then headed back down. I am still undecided whether it is easier going up or coming down. I think we were back to the cars in about an hour. Good byes were said and we loaded up to head back to town. What a fantastic day! Maybe autumn isn’t that bad after all……
Authored by: Janice M.
Photo credit: Kimlan B.