A Solo Hike on
The Bluff Trail

This letter and pics were received from Ben Feltmate who allowed us to post them at wrweo.ca. The letter provides some good examples of precautions to take when hiking solo, and lots of positive feedback to the many volunteers who built and maintain The Bluff Trail. Thanks, Ben

23 July, 2013

Dear People Who Maintain and Care for the Bluff Trail,

My name is Ben Feltmate, I am an avid outdoorist and adventure seeker. For a long time I have wanted to hike the Bluff trail and recently I had a weekend free and bee-lined it to Timberlea.

    The only prior experience I had on the Bluff trail was a trip around the Pot Lake Loop almost 6 years ago in grade nine with my Duke of Edinburgh Group. This time I went completely on my own (after giving detailed instructions of my whereabouts, plans and timelines to many different people) and traveled both the Pot Lake and Indian Hill Loops. I left on a Saturday afternoon, spent the night beside Upper Marsh Lake in my Hennessey Hammock and then hiked the rest of the loop Sunday morning.

     Throughout the entire trip, I was constantly amazed and impressed by how well maintained, easy to follow and yet still entertaining the Bluff Trail is. Those laminated posters at every intersection along with the constant color-coded markers are exceptionally useful and extremely appreciated. It really lifted my spirits each time I came across one of them and was reassured that I without a doubt was where I was and supposed be. By the way, this was the weekend of torrential downpour we had almost a month ago and the trail was still clear and easy to follow. I will say that I did get temporaily lost on the Indian Hill Loop where (on the online map) the trail is nearest to the "p" from Indian Hill LooP just before turning east. That part of the trail is a rocky plateau and could have used one or two more markersbefore the turn East, but even still by staying calm andgoing back to the last marker to have a snack and clear my head, I able to easily find my way back onto the well groomed path. I also found the alotted time for each loop to be bang on both times.

      I mentioned that I went alone this time. Now, I must explain that I am not particularly an advocate for solo-camping over going with a group. More often than not, it is more fun to go in a group and obviously easier and safer. I do however advocate facing your fears, and I an experienced wilderness camper and hopefully someday search and rescue volunteer had been afraid of being alone in the woods at night for as long as I can remember. That is why I went alone and for making the trip much less potentially perilous by maintaining the trail so well, I have to thank you as you were a part of how I overcame my fear.

    Thank you again for doing such an amazing job caring for this path that should definitely be respected and well stewarded as it is. I made sure to follow "Leave No Trace" principals and to pack out all of my things as well as some garbage that I found along the way. Attached are some of the great moments captured.

Thank you again for enabling such an adventure,

Respectfully yours,

Ben Feltmate

Ben Feltmat on The Bluff Trail

Ben Feltmat on The Bluff Trail

Ben Feltmat on The Bluff Trail

Ben Feltmat on The Bluff Trail

Ben Feltmat on The Bluff Trail