What began April 29 in St. Marys ended November 4 in Conestogo for participants of the Avon Trail End-to-End leader-led hikes. From western to eastern terminus, 11 hikes were held in 2023 to walk the entire trail – 130 km. Many hikers participated over the year on some of these hikes. Ten hikers completed all 11 sections.
I was on both the April 29 and November 4 hikes. Weather conditions for both hikes were remarkably similar – unexpectedly warmer temperatures with no wind or rain. The car pooling was efficiently arranged by Tracy throughout all of the hikes to the end point and then back to the start.
Sixteen hikers were on the November 4th hike that started at km 114.2 on Martin Creek Rd. in Woolwich Township. Hike leader Bruce Graham led us along the side of a farmer’s field single file, as is best practice to avoid crop damage.
We were fortunate on, this last hike. We witnessed cows grazing in the fields, a horse-team drawn carriage and hay bale carriages pulled by tractors. Our path took us along the Avon Trail/Health Valley Trail beside the Conestogo River. By this time, the sun was shining as the cloud cover broke. A bald eagle graced us with a fly by along the river while a heron patiently stalked it’s watery prey.
Even though this section has its road walking from the end of the Health Valley Trail to the single bridge crossing on Glasgow Street before entering Conestogo Village, it is not without it’s adventure. We witnessed a tractor pulling a double stacked and double carriage full of hay bales lose a hold-down strap while in motion. The tractor driver was alert. He stopped his train. After jumping down from his tractor to assess the situation, he grabbed the loose dangling strap, then in one fluid motion leaped onto the wagon and clambered to the top of the bales. He then untied the strap from both sides while at the top, jumped back down in a flash and began to ball the strap together. After stuffing the strap into his tractor, he lept back into the cabin and carried on.
Two kilometres past the bridge, we arrived at the eastern terminus completing the hike.
At the trail terminus the ten hikers posed by the rock to commemorate their End to End accomplishment. Congratulations to Marjorie, Rose, Christine, Tracy, Robb, Bernice, Mala, Clive, Galina and Murray.
After clambering into our appointed cars, we headed into the village for an End of Hike hearty repast at Crowsfoot Smokehaus restaurant in the Village of Conestogo.
See this link to more photos of the hike in the Photo Gallery. As I receive photos from fellow hikers on this section, I will add them to this link.
Tom Kimber – News