Backpacking

Dreams Are Made of This…Tobermory Glory, Bruce Peninsula National Park and Lion’s head beach and trails

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Tobermory Glory, the calm chased the storms away within a few short hours
The early morning road to Tobermory did not look promising. But the sunflowers willed the sun, and a few short hours later, a miraculous, sunny sky! Can you believe this is the same day?!

A few sprinkles of rain were felt while we setup our tent and tarps at Tamarack campsite with our friends. Next, a meandering trail and dock lead us around picturesque Cypress lake through a shady forest. This is Bruce Peninsula National Park. Cypress lake also beckons, but we are anxious to reach the turquoise waters and glacially carved rocks at Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. With every step, the sun reveals itself more and more.

Cypress Lake, the thirty minute trail to the Grotto from Tamarack campground, Tobermory. We peeled the layers of our rain coats as the sun promised a summer day. Closer campgrounds to the grotto which we passed en route were Birches and Poplar. Find more information about campsites in the park here:
https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/on/bruce/activ/camping/hiver-winter
Light hike from Tamarack campground to the Grotto along Cypress lake

It is the last weekend of August. The summer breeze has drawn the curtains of dark rain clouds back and sunlit the stage. The waters at Tobermory are traditionally chilly but irresistible. My friends, Alexis and daughter Gia take turns wearing a wet suit, and I opt for two rash guard shirts on top of my bathing suit. Neoprene being the ideal, the double rash guards, (think bicycle shirt/short material, or surfer tops), were a close second to prolonging our swim. Mark braves the waters in shorts and Kathleen photographs us from above. Water shoes when entering the water help navigate the multitude of rocks.

This is us, just below the Head of Trails, bathing, frolicking and chilling in the waters of this natural pool formation, Tobermory

The Head of Trails lookout point reveals oceanic, navy waves framing the turquoise waters closer to shore. Layers of rock platforms are a natural seating arena for this wondrous place. The beauty takes center stage.

Clearly, this is the precious land of our indigenous brothers and sisters and their ancestors. Click here for historical information.

The awe is palpable. There is a permeating gratitude shared in every being here. The Grotto can wait. We dip in the natural pool created which is only slightly less chilly than the open bay beach.

Picnic on the next cliff, after our chilly dips in the natural pool. We watch jumpers as Alexis heats up her mother’s delicious lentil soup on a camp stove.

Although there are many visitors, most are aware of the social distancing requirements. It is a privilege to share this space. There is a general desire to be silently enraptured by the grace.

Occasionally we talk to strangers, borrow matches, warn them not to jump off the cliffs, like we have known them for all our lives. They do it anyway, with our reluctant blessings. They have been jumping here since their childhood. We give directions, we let people pass us, we express our wonder, we co-exist within the excitement.

Call it connection with the Mother Earth. Call it a shared connection with like-hearted humans. The majesty of this land has drawn us all here, to the Bruce Peninsula. Dear Georgian Bay, of Lake Huron: there is a specialty in your waters, framed by ancient cliffs, canopied with trees, an infinite blue sky, a fresh wind flows, almost through us. We are surrounded by a deep reverence for nature.
Gia and Mark. Alexis scooping seconds of soup. Time stands still. It is not a race to the finish, after all. It is a journey.
Jumpers of the cliffs, prepared to swim to the grotto entry. It is dangerous and not recommended.

Dreams are Made of This…

Mother and daughter enjoy a blissful nap with a view, Tobermory. The soup, sun and laying on ancient rocks warmed our body temperature. Dreams are made of this.
The Grotto, Tobermory, from above or below, is glorious. Pictures and words cannot express the feeling of our home and native land.
Day two Tobermory, a new viewpoint and a prosciutto sandwich picnic. Croissants purchased from the Little Cove Bakery on the way into town famous for their butter tarts.

The Majesty of Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head turned into a half day excursion on the way home. We parked at the marina, hiked and enjoyed a less chilly, actually pleasant swim for about an hour without freezing. It was a rejuvenating experience of swimming which was much more tolerable than the Grotto area. The best part of Lion’s Head and Tobermory are the dark night skies. Believe me, we did not want to leave this place. Time stood still, and I kept getting goosebumps from the positive energy in the water, the sky, the atmosphere.

Bruce Peninsula has some of the most spectacular viewing of our home galaxy the Milky way, and many constellations against a deep indigo backdrop. Click here to learn more about the Astronomy club at Lion’s Head, hosting telescopic viewings after dark from Canada Day to Labor Day.

A long exposure landscape photo of the frozen snowy shore of Lake Huron, with the milky way and some clouds. A restful, peaceful background. Click here for more night sky images of the Bruce Peninsula and photo credits
Lion’s Head Trails lead to secluded beaches
Lion’s head was spectacular, we stopped by on our way home for a beach swim to commemorate August’s end.
Swimming in Lion’s head crystal waters. Isthmus Bay is actually a few degrees warmer than the Grotto. I swam for over an hour in the sun and fresh water. It was exhilarating.
It is not too late to visit Tobermory as we approach autumn. The nights in tents were chilly and we slept bundled up in our winter coats. Camping and lodging Bruce Peninsula National Park is a life-affirming endeavor. It will have you walking tall with “We The North” emblazoned metaphorically in your chest. Until we met again, Cypress lake, we bid you, farewell.

12 Comments

  1. STEPHANIE Wand

    September 9, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Beautiful blog!! So happy you finally got a chance to make it there! It looks like you had a wonderful trip!!

    • Catwalk to Runway

      September 9, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks Stephanie! It was truly magical, thanks for all your encouragement! Still did not get a chance to photograph the night sky as you did with your husband! Another trip is in order! Your tips were great, we have the same taste in travelling!!

  2. Alexis

    September 9, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    What a wonderful account of our weekend, great memories made

    • Paula

      September 9, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks to you Alexis, for booking Tamarack campsite this past spring, months before end of August this past week. If it wasn’t for you choosing Kathleen and I to go, there would be no trip! Pre booking ahead of time is key! Book a campsite, by morning, the day trip parking option was full, it would have been heartbreaking not to see it!

      Thank you for choosing us to go with you! We loved it!

  3. Jo Greaves

    September 9, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Looks absolutely beautiful!! Hoping to visit Tobermory next year to hike, camp and let my hubby do some diving!

    • Catwalk to Runway

      September 9, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks Jo for your comment! All the best to you!! I know you are such an avid traveler, and your blog inspired me not too long ago, the one you have for your family to enjoy! xo

  4. catwalk

    September 10, 2020 at 5:59 am

    Wow, nature there looks sooo beautiful. And you look gorgeous in that dress! Glad you managed to enjoy and swim this summer, despite being away from your favorite vacation spot! We are still enjoying everyday swims and hot weather here in Croatia. We are blessed 🙂

    • Catwalk to Runway

      September 11, 2020 at 8:28 pm

      Well I am missing time with you all on the beaches of Croatia! I am making the best of it here in Canada. Everywhere we are, there is something to explore and discover. There is beauty all around. Miss you Antonia!! The dress is from my Cameroon trip. It does match Tobermory!

  5. Daniela

    September 10, 2020 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience, photos and tips. I’m inspired to visit.

    • Catwalk to Runway

      September 11, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Daniela! Was great to visit the other day with you in your cool place! The trip exceeded all my expectations! nice to hear from you xo

  6. Silvia

    September 11, 2020 at 1:07 am

    Wow wow wow! Amazing story, pictures and very intriguing to explore Tobermory by camping. Fantastic action shots.

    • Catwalk to Runway

      September 11, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks silvia, I know it would have been something you loved to do!! Next time, together! xo

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