What follows are excerpts from the End-to-End log submitted to Avon Trail by Brian Clarke. He, his wife Randi and their young daughter River embarked in January 2019 on their quest to hike the Avon Trail end-to-end.
Brian Clarke’s Avon Trail end-to-end Log (excerpts)
Jan 5, 2019, km. 0 – Km 10.5 Travel Time 2.5 hrs – Our daughter bought us the Avon Trail Map for Christmas, so we decided why not go for a hike two days before she turned 1. The temperature was excellent, the sky was blue, and there was lots of road walking to start.
Apr 27, 2019, Km. 10.5- Km. 20.6 Travel Time 2.5 km – It was a cold, windy day when we started. The trail protected us at times from the wind, but when we got to the Km. 20.6, our daughter had enough of the wind. The hike from Km. 18.5 – 20.6 was more of a slight jog when one has a crying baby strapped to one’s back. It was a beautiful hike through Wildwood. We saw a lot of deer.
May 4, 2019, Km. 20.6 – Km 27.1 – Time 1.5 hrs Another good day for a hike. The last part of Wildwood was interesting since none of us have ever explored it before
May 18, 2019, Km 27.1 – Corner of Road 111 and Line 26 Time 2.5 hrs – It would’ve been a good day to check for re-routes before we set off, but someone (me) didn’t. So when we got to Rd 112 thinking we would be going to Harmony, we quickly figured out we had to deal with a re-route. The section from km 32.5 to re-route Road 111 was very interesting. However, I liked the walk along the river around Km. 32.5.
Jun 8, 2019, Corner of Road 111 and Line 26 – Km. 48.8 Time 2.25 hrs – Another good day to hike. We started early, so once we got a lot of dew on our pants and wet boots once we got off the road. It was the start of mosquito season. We found out quickly this fact requires preparation, which we neglected. We found we semi jogged through a lot of the wood lots that the trail went through. We found reprieve in the cornfields and the road walking.
Jun 30, 2019, km 48.8- Km 58.9 Time 2.5 Hrs On this hike, we prepared for the mosquitoes, although can one win the battle? Our daughter, who was now 18+ months, really got the hang of using her arms to keep mosquitoes away. The section from Km 52.8 – Km 58.9 was attractive. The boardwalk sections are well made. Still, we spent most of that hike trying to remain in front of the horde of mosquitoes that followed us the whole way.
Aug 7, 2019, Km 58.9- Km. 68.9 Time 2.5 hrs – We prepared for the onslaught of mosquitoes that we would encounter on this hike of the trail since it was mainly all through woods. It was a beautiful section. Although probably a better part for the autumn season. (Side Note. I’m more of a canoer. So if it feels that the bug report gets a lot of attention. I only experience black flies or mosquitoes during portages. I don’t make trips that have 2-hour portages.)
Aug 9, 2019, Km. 68.9 – Km -78.7 Time 2.75 hrs -This time we were well prepared again for the mosquitoes and even were up to date on the re-route. So we were learning as we hiked. We enjoyed the re-route along the Nith River. We met a trail crew working, and I do believe the three of us got our picture on the Avon Trail Instagram.
Aug 17, 2019, Km 78.7 – Km 91.6 Time 2.5 hrs – There was a lot of road hiking on this stretch, but that was alright since it was a damp day. The re-route to the Drumlin was very cool. The hike from Km 86.9- Km 91.6 was fascinating. Lots of twists and turns and elevation changes.
Aug 18, 2019, Km 91.6 -Km 101.0 – We encountered lots of road hiking on this stretch, and we had to be careful since it seems to me drivers aren’t as good as they used to be. The most exciting section part was from Km 97.1 -Km. 98.9, mainly because of the side note. (Side Note. We were hiking in between the previous stated Km’s when a car drove up a lane as we were hiking. A lady got out of the car, and I thought, ‘Here we go again.’ We had to walk back to where she was. She warned us about the Hogweed. “We appreciate that”, I said. But then she told us there was no trail where we were walking, only Mennonite fields and that the government puts these trail markers up, and it’s not a trail. She offered to drive us to some real trails. We explain to her what we were doing etc, but she wasn’t convinced. We could see the bridge that was built over a creek before you enter Matthew Martin’s farm on Apple grove etc. Anyway, we said thanks for the offer, but we are going to walk this way and continued.) We ended the hike with some poutine from Crazy Canucks. Yummy!
Oct 5, 2019, Km 101.0 – Km 113.0 Time 2.75 hrs It was a nice day for a hike. Lots of road hiking but the stretch from Km 104.1 – 107.6 was very interesting. It was also nice to grab a pre victory snack in Conestogo. We finally made it to the marker beside the golf course. It was a great victory!!! Brian Clarke