La Cloche Day 4: There’s Nothing Like the Present
I woke up to the pitter-patter of rain on my tent. I sighed, wondering if it’d be yet another drizzly day.
A thin sheet of cloud covered the sky, as I indulged in a slow morning on my campsite.
Thankfully, the pattering stopped. I took some photos of the clouds, drank my cold coffee, and even got some stretching in.
It was lovely to not be rushing off to get to my next campsite.
That being said, it was cool and breezy — perfect for hiking — so I tried to pick up the pace to get out on the trail before the heat hit.
There was no stopping my slow roll, though. By the time I set off, the sky had completely cleared and the park was warming up for another sunny day.
Shortly after leaving H47, I ran into my first mom-son team sighting. The friendly pair was coming from Silver Lake, and had left a big pile of firewood behind on their campsite.
Luckily for me, that’s exactly where I was headed today.
“Nice shoes!” the mom exclaimed, sticking her hiking shoe — also Merrell-made — next to mine.
She asked the usual question (“Are you doing this by yourself?”), and gave the usual surprised reaction when I said yes.
We parted ways and a few seconds later, a couple in their twenties slowly trudged towards me. They were carrying huge packs and also coming from Silver Lake.
“How are you guys doing?” I asked.
“Hot,” the guy said with no expression as he trudged on.
It was hot. The sun was beating down on the trail, and I’d be on it longer than I was yesterday.
But I wanted to really focus on being present every moment of this hike. I didn’t want to just keep thinking the whole time that I couldn’t wait to get to camp.
Day 4 Intention: Present
Don’t just wish for the end of the road when the path feels slow and never-ending. Be present and savour every moment of the journey.
My mind wandered a few times, especially with the heat, but I reminded myself of the main reason I had returned to the La Cloche: to experience the beauty of this trail again.
Well, here I was — on the trail!
Being more present actually helped me to take in my surroundings in more detail.
There was the lichen — some bright green and sprouting, some scorched dry from the sun. The glisten on some of the rocks that hadn’t yet dried from the morning drizzle.
The cool, welcome breeze hitting me on some of those exposed rocks. Little green shrubs that perhaps one day would grow as tall as the trees making up the forest.
And the sky. Sometimes I forget to look up while hiking. Now, I gazed upwards, noticing the ruffles of grey clouds ribboning overhead.
I hiked onwards and one steep descent brought me down into the woods where a family of four — father, mother and two teenage girls — and their dog had stopped for a rest.
They were looking up at what I had just come down, and didn’t look as though they were in any great hurry to proceed.
So far, going counter-clockwise had relieved me of a few nasty climbs, though I knew I shouldn’t count my lucky stars just yet!
Day 4 Route (Heaven to Silver = 6.5 km)
After a long time trekking alone on the trail, I climbed down another descent to a creek and met a couple who were hiking to Bunnyrabbit Lake.
They were on their fifth day and doing a 15-kilometre stretch tomorrow. They seemed pretty experienced and were the first ones who didn’t flinch when I replied that, yes, I was doing the loop solo.
“There’s a beautiful part of the woods coming up,” the girl informed me. “You’ll enjoy that.”
A while later, I found myself in the “Jurassic Park” forest which I remembered from hikes past. There were logs covered with neon green moss and big, broad ferns spanning the forest floor.
Everything looked like it was teeming with life, and I half expected a little dinosaur to come scuttling out from behind a bush.
All the while, I kept bringing myself back to the present whenever I started wondering who I might meet next on the trail, or when I would reach the end of the day’s journey.
What a beautiful view of Silver Lake!
I had finally arrived at my destination, and been reminded of just how gorgeous the lookout from this campsite (H38) was.
I was so grateful for another successful day. I had enjoyed a magnificent, panoramic viewpoint of Georgian Bay, Manitoulin Island, Amikogaming Lake, Sandy Lake and Norway Lake. The scene was complete with large, billowing clouds that loomed seemingly close overhead.
Now, at my campsite, I couldn’t resist laying out on the smooth, sloping rocks after the day’s hot hike. I stretched for several minutes, feeling the cool breeze dance over my skin.
Then, a raindrop fell on my face.
“No,” I said out loud.
Rarely would I choose denial over prudence, but I was going with denial so I could have my victory moment.
But a few more drops and a sudden fierce gust of wind sent me grabbing my pack and searching for a tent spot. I set up my tent and retreated inside as it drizzled down in a steady pour.
After the rain subsided, I came back out to the main part of the campsite.
I glanced regretfully at the wet pile of firewood left by the mom-son duo, knowing I wouldn’t be taking advantage of it today.
I lay back down and closed my eyes, focused on listening to the sounds.
The wind to my left was gusting, as though it was brewing up a breeze that eventually came my way. Another wind was blowing to my right.
There was a concerto of crickets circling the entire lake. The occasional splash of something dropping into the water chimed in, along with the voices of my neighbours on the adjacent site, H37.
I felt so sleepy, but it was a beautiful few moments to savour. Every so often, I’d open my eyes and look up at the branches swaying high above me, backdropped by blue-grey sky.
Hiking the La Cloche Silhouette Trail solo definitely had its moments of adventure, but also many moments of peace and simplicity.
Sometimes, I’d catch myself wondering if I should be “doing something” more than just sitting there, staring out into the lake or at the trees.
But these kinds of moments immersed in nature were just as meaningful and important as the ones full of action and excitement.
These were moments of restoration and awareness that there really is nothing like the present.
>> Read the next post in the La Cloche Silhouette Trail solo adventure series: Gifts of Gratitude
>> Map screenshot from Jeff’s Killarney Map