Date: Saturday, September 24, 2016
Weather: 17 degrees Celsius, sunny
Distance: ~9 kms of hiking to summit Silver Peak
It was a chilly night’s sleep with temperatures dipping near the freezing mark. Everyone emerged from their tents bleary-eyed. Jenny started a quick campfire to warm everyone up while the coffee brewed. We cooked up a batch of hearty pancakes topping them with seeds, nuts, real maple syrup, apple sauce, and / or fruit compote (dried apple rings, yesterday’s harvested low-bush cranberries, and brown sugar).
Once the dishes were done, trail lunches packed, and everything locked down from marauding chipmunks we set out for a little bushwhack through the back of our campsite and up to the Silhouette trail. We wended our way through scraggly maples trying to make their way to some daylight and over white granite rock formations until we found the blue trail marker indicating we hit the defined trail.
In ten steps we were out of the canopy and onto an exposed rock plateau overlooking David and Boundary Lakes. Rock cairns guided us to a precipice from which we could the summit of Silver Peak. We stopped to soak up the sun and take in the view. The bag of trail mix made its rounds while we took sips of water from our own water bottles. We peeked over the edge and plotted our route down into the valley. One by one we picked our way down gently, scooching down rocks on our bottoms when needed, using them to steady a wobbly step.
We hiked back beneath the canopy occasionally getting views of wetlands starting to turn a beautiful fall rust color. A solo hiker passed us on the trail, waving and making small talk as he continued on his way. He’d been on the Silhouette trail for six days and anticipated finishing in two days. We ran into him again a little while later when we reached the ‘T’ in the trail. He had stopped for lunch and to stash his pack so he could take the side trail to Silver Peak. We also stopped for a quick break before starting the steady ascent to the top.
As with our portage strategy we took a “slow and steady wins the race” approach as we climbed over boulders and stepped through streams likely generated by Thursday’s rain. Slowly but surely the canopy started to thin. Patches of blue sky peeked through. We scrambled up a little ladder of a boulder and were greeted with an expanse of green forest dotted by blue lakes. The smoke stacks of Sudbury’s mines blighted the horizon off in the distance. We turned around to see the trail continue to the true summit, bald rock dotted with at least a dozen other hikers.
We were rewarded with a Georgian Bay panorama at the summit. We spent an hour at the top, shooting photos and eating our lunches. At 2:30 Jenny indicated it was time to head down so that we could make it back to camp at a leisurely pace and in complete daylight. We passed half a dozen groups on their way up to the summit, each one wondering how much further they had to go.
We bushcrashed our way back to our campsite arriving in time for women to take a fall plunge in David Lake. Someone started another campfire. Someone else stretched tired muscles. Jenny and I started dinner. Conversation and laughter flowed as the sun set.
I called it quits about 8:30 opting for the comfort of my fleece liner against the cool night air. I could hear tired, happy women follow suit shortly after.
For more on this trip report, click here.