end to end : hiking the bruce trail
On March 7th 2021, my good friend Steve and I went on a hike - it was a small section of the Bruce Trail : "Speyside to Limehouse". It was a warm sunny day and the snow still lingered against the escarpment rock. On that hike we discussed the possibility of hiking the entire Bruce Trail, an idea that had been simmering faintly in the background for most of our lives. The Bruce Trail is a 900 km / 550 mile trail that follows the Niagara Escarpment from the Niagara River, just north of Niagara Falls all the way to the small town of Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula. The Bruce Peninsula juts out into Lake Huron, creating the massive and magnificent Georgian Bay to the east, and the beautiful sunsets on Lake Huron to the West.
We wondered why we hadn't hiked the trail already since it is a world class long distance trail right in our backyard, a trail we have spent many many hours hiking sections of through our lives - but never (even close) to the whole thing. If not now, when?
That became the first official hike of an epic cross-Ontario journey. By April we were hiking in Niagara.
In 2020 I released four outdoor adventure films documenting hiking and canoe trips in Temagami, Algonquin Park, Kawartha Highlands, and the French River. In those films I created original instrumental soundtracks complimenting the beauty of this great land, and tried to capture some of the feeling of being on a multi-day trip in the wilderness.
Some of the music from those films became songs from the album "Upland". The songs "Algorithm" and "Country Road" came from the Kawartha Highlands soundtrack, and the song "Seems So" came from the French River movie soundtrack.
Somewhere close to Crawford Lake, I first had the idea of using the footage I had been recording to create what I called "Bruce Trail : The Movie", however I soon realized that it would be a 20 hour movie. I wanted to capture, in my own way, the essence of the trail, in order, from beginning to end. All 900 km. In a way that someone could really experience what it is like to hike the trail. And I wanted it to be a unique take on a trail video, something that hadn't been done before.
I decided that it would have to be "Episodes" rather than one long movie. But soon these episodes were piling up. There was too much beauty along the way. I realized that this project would probably take about 40 episodes to complete.
I made much quicker progress on the trail than I had thought I would. I guessed it would take about 5 years to hike the entire trail - but I really got into hiking long distances - hiking on average 25 km in a day. Then it became a real possibility that we could hike half of the trail in the first year - 450 km.
This became "Season One" of the Documentary series "End to End : Hiking the Bruce Trail, A Journey Across Ontario". 19 Episodes. I used the music I had been writing, recording, and performing over the last few decades as the soundtrack focusing first on the most recent music - two albums "Upland" and "Steve Welch 2019" then filling in with some retro classics. It has been very fun to put this together - so much of my music is inspired by the outdoors and my relationship to nature, including many songs written with the Niagara Escarpment as the direct inspiration with it's beautiful scenes and great spiritual presence, so the songs and lyrics just seemed to fit.
Season One is now complete and I released one episode every week throughout the winter of 2021, totaling 19 episodes. I have already begun to hit the trail starting on Season Two. No guarantees when I will finish- but with any luck by fall I will reach the ultimate goal - the cairn in Tobermory marking the end.
At the same time, I am also, slowly, working on a documentary hiking the Avon Trail - a lesser known, and much shorter. rural trail in Southern Ontario (120 km), as well as upcoming adventure films from trips in Algonquin Park, and I have a great hike planned for the Superior Coastal Trail on Lake Superior this summer.
You can watch the episodes through links on this page, or go to my Youtube, BitChute, Clouthub or Minds pages "Steve Welch Ontario", or my Rumble page "Steve Welch Adventures".
HOPE SPRINGS, THE VALLEY SINGS. CHANCES ARE, YOU WILL GO FAR. BREATHING IN THE FOUR SEASONS. CURRENTS COLLIDING. NEW WAVES ARE FORMING, SO MANY NEW WAYS ARE FORMING. INTO THE TREES, THE SUN AND THE CLOUDS, I SAW AN OSPREY FLY ACROSS THE SKY, AND I LOOKED UP HIGH WITH THE SUN IN MY EYES AND I REALIZED...IT WAS THEN I REALIZED...I NEED A NEW ALGORITHM
("ALGORITHM" FROM THE ALBUM "UPLAND")
The Bruce Trail has become my new algorithm.