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E-Notes - September 2020
Greetings, Bruce Trail enthusiasts, and welcome to the glorious fall hiking season.

Having experienced the pandemic shutdown, this year I think many of us are approaching the season with a profound new understanding of how precious a privilege it is, to be able to hike together. Enjoy it safely!

Our issue this month includes news of a unique new badge for you to include in your hiking plans - the Toronto Winter End-to-End Badge. We also have an informative piece by Bob Humphreys about black-legged ticks and the danger of contracting Lyme Disease on your hikes.

Happy September, everyone.
 
New edition of Bruce Trail Reference Guide
It's here at last!

For all you who have been itching to explore the trail but discovered the Guide was out of print, you'll be thrilled to know that you can now purchase the new 30th edition of the Bruce Trail Reference Guide from the Bruce Trail Conservancy office (34.95 for members, 39.95 for non-members).

This edition incorporates trail changes from the last 3 years. Also, new this year, there is a section on Indigenous Culture in the Introductory section, and maps identify Indigenous landmarks along the trail.

Check here for more details.
 
Parking on the 10th Line
Due to road repairs, much of the 10th Line between 27th and 32nd sideroads will not be accessible to vehicles. This closure includes the roadside parking area at km 38.7 (maps 13 and 14, 29th edition, BT Reference Guide). Hikers may still walk along the trail on 10th Line and also access the Walking Fern Side Trail, but should be aware of construction equipment. Construction is scheduled to be completed in November 2020.

Alternative roadside parking is available at km 36.1 on Fallbrook Trail and on Winston Churchill Blvd.
New! Winter End-to-end Badge

Congratulations to Shawna Reeves, winner of our hotly contested badge design contest for the Toronto Winter End-to-End Badge. We hope you had a chance to see the many creative submissions on Facebook – the choice was difficult, but in the end Shawna’s design garnered the most votes. Thank you to all the artists, and to all who voted.

You may be wondering about the concept behind a winter end-to-end badge. We know that everyone needs space to appreciate the simple things in life. Time to focus on what really matters. Places where you feel part of something greater. We all need nature, beauty and history in our lives. And never is this more true than in Winter.

So, this year, set yourself a goal of hiking the entire Toronto section of the Bruce Trail in Winter, i.e., between Dec 21 and Mar 19. You’ll discover the beauty and tranquility of our awesome landscape and you’ll qualify for the new Toronto Winter End-to-End Badge

You will need to submit your BTC membership number and hiking log (days hiked and the start and end point of those days) to the Toronto Club Badge Secretary, Jude Keast, at the following address: Toronto Bruce Trail Club, P.O. Box 597, 2938 Dundas Street West, Toronto ON M6P 4E7. The cost of our new badge is $5.00 for members and $10.00 for non-members. Cheques should be made payable to The Toronto Bruce Trail Club.
 
Ticks and Lyme Disease 

OK, so here we are some five months into dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has certainly hit some people quite hard, who might have been unlucky enough to either fall sick themselves, or experience a loved one doing so.  However, I think that apart from so called bathroom tissue and bread yeast shortages, it is fair to say that the majority of us in Southern Ontario have gotten off quite lightly as far as our physical and mental health is concerned.  Those of us who like to hike on the Bruce Trail have had to learn patience, brought on first by the closure of the trail, and now, whilst it is for the most part open, we still have restrictions on the number of fellow hikers we hike with, and the type of hike we can do.  But as far as COVID-19 is concerned, we are essentially safe.  Well, we have another health threat out there, one that has actually been with us for some time, but has unobtrusively gotten worse.  I refer to Lyme disease, a disease that causes fever, fatigue, joint aches, and in severe cases death, and that is spread by the blacklegged tick (commonly known as the deer tick).
 
Lyme disease is not new.  Blacklegged ticks have been prevalent to the south of us in the USA for many years. As recently as the 1970s the only known colony in Canada was at Long Point, on the north shore of Lake Erie.  In the 1970s Canada was considered safe from Lyme disease, as our climate was too cold for blacklegged ticks to be a serious threat.  Well, along came climate change and by the turn of millennium we started to see blacklegged ticks turn up on rare occasions from the Maritimes to Manitoba.  In 2009, Gabe Magnotta, the founder of Magnotta Winery, died of Lyme disease, which he contracted from a bite he received while gardening in his back yard in Beamsville.  Then we started seeing and hearing of the occasional hiker being bitten on the Bruce Trail, mostly in the Niagara section, but around 2013 there was one as far north as Thornbury in the Beaver Valley.  One regular problem heard of from individuals who were unfortunate enough to contract Lyme disease in Ontario, was to get an accurate diagnosis from the medical profession.  However, as the BTC Representative to Hike Ontario in 2014 - 2015, in conversation on the subject with the Rideau Trail Association’s representative, I learned that she regularly saw cases in the course of her work as a nurse practitioner working south of the St Lawrence in New York State.  The problem was definitely creeping north and increasing in numbers.
 
To bring this right up to date, the latest September/October edition of The Walrus magazine carries a feature article by Stephanie Nolen, of Globe & Mail fame, part of which details the time she spent at Christie Lake Conservation Area near Hamilton, doing field research with an Ontario Veterinary College professor and research students, and finding more blacklegged ticks as each year passes.  Apparently, now, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported 2,025 cases of Lyme disease in 2017, the last year for which data is available, and that by this year we could be seeing over 10,000 new cases each year, so those of us hiking on the Bruce Trail had better take notice.
 
How do we combat it?  These ticks can live for years in the mulch underfoot on the trail, waiting to hitch a ride on us as we pass. It looks as though we are going to have to stop wearing shorts, and that we need to wear long pants year round.  On top of that, we will have to have the bottoms of the the pant legs tucked into our socks, AND spray our lower legs lots of DEET bug spray.
 
There are two other important things to remember about blacklegged ticks. 
#1    The first is that you do have up to about 12 hours after they get onto you and into your clothing before it is vital to remove and dispose of them, even if they have their teeth into your flesh.  It takes longer than that before they transfer the virus to you.
 
#2    Once upon a time, the “wisdom” was that after you are bitten, you will find a large red “bulls-eye” welt around the bite.  Don’t count on it, for the latest medical research shows that only happens in about 20% of cases.
 
I don’t know about you, but I think this all sucks a bit, doesn’t it!  Sadly though whilst I don’t like wearing a mask these days to stop the spread of COVID-19, I know it makes sense, so as I don’t want to catch Lyme disease either, I will have to start wearing long pants year round throughout the whole trail, and not just in winter.  I suggest it might be a good idea for you to do so too.
 
Oh, and by the way, I recommend you read Stephanie Nolen’s article in The Walrus, but not late in the evening before going to bed.  Some of these ticks could give you nightmares!
Bob Humphreys
Hike Listings
Be sure to keep up to date with the hikes offered by the Toronto Club. New events are added to the online calendar on an ongoing basis so don't miss out. For the current hikes scheduled by our dedicated volunteer leaders go to the Hiking Calendar. Check it weekly!
 
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Toronto Bruce Trail Club E-Notes Editors, Publishers: Magdalena Vanderkooy mvkooy@gmail.com and Wayne Crockett waynehikes@gmail.com






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Toronto Bruce Trail Conservancy · PO Box 597 · Toronto, On M6P4E7 · Canada