Photos contributed by Bob McGrath
Many folks that are drawn to the Georgian Bay area have found that one thing – the thing that resonates with them – for some it’s the endless beaches, or the sparkling waters, the fiery sunsets, the remarkable trails, the easy access to a smorgasbord of outdoor physical activity.
For Bob McGrath it is pretty much all of that, and he devotes as much of his free time as he can to embracing the big beautiful outside world that is Georgian Bay.
After 15 years of weekend visits to Collingwood and Blue Mountains the Toronto native decided 2 years ago to pack in city life and make Collingwood home. He is fortunate to have a job that facilitates working from home.
“I have always loved being up here and I love being outside. I trail run, road ride, mountain bike, hike, stand up paddleboard, rock climb, and play tennis. In the winter, I downhill ski, snowboard and snowshoe.”
I ask what are some of the trails he has travelled. “Pretty River, Nottawasaga Bluffs , 3 Stage, Loree Forest, Blue Mountain, Old Baldy, Bruce Trail, Devils Glen, Metcalfe Rock, Tobermory” comes the impressive list.
Is there a favourite? Bob is thoughtful and then relates that “One of my favourites is Cascade at Blue Mountain. You start at the south base of Blue and the hike takes you up the mountain. There are some steep sections but your work is rewarded by a waterfall just before the top and of course the view of the Bay. You can make the hike a loop and descend numerous different trails or you can hike to the gondola and take the easy way down with stunning views. It is the one I take people to who haven’t been up here before.”
Bob explains how much he loves that the trails are so accessible in the area. “You can park the car and hike for 2-3 hours without crossing a road. The variety of terrain is amazing.
“The rail trail is a great place for family rides” he adds. The father of a 5-year old girl Bob loves being able to take his daughter on hikes and occasionally caving. “Good opportunities to teach her life lessons about the outside world.”
In closing I ask Bob if he has any helpful advice to share with newbies. The list isn’t long, but it is wise….
– Get outside and explore
– Wear proper footwear
– Wear proper socks (no cotton)
– Pack out what you pack in
– Pick up after your dog
– Say hello to other hikers!!
You’re welcome to check out Bob’s Instagram page @BobMcGrath71