….Andrea and Josie have invited us to walk the Bruce Trail from end to end
A week ago last Monday, the four of us drove down to Queenston Heights in Niagara Falls to start our trek on the Bruce Trail. After doing our hikes for the last 8 weeks I thought I was in good enough shape to tackle the first part of the Bruce Trail. All was well until we hit the ridge. I’m actually fine walking uphill but going downhill is scary for me because of my vertigo.
We started at the Cairn for stage one at Queenston Heights.
The first part of the trail was pretty easy. The trails were relatively wide and well marked.
At about the 3 kilometre marks things started to get a bit tricky. I didn’t mind the uphill climbs and at one point at the top of the ridge we came across a series of abandoned limestone kilns that were behind a chainlink fence and nestled into the side of the ridge. We carefully went around the fence to have a closer look at the old brickwork.
It was soon after this that I became seriously doubtful that I could finish the hike. It was time to descend from the ridge and the path was rocky, twisty and very steep. Luckily my daughter was very supportive and was there with a helping hand and encouraging words. When we got to a lower section the path evened out and the rest of the hike was relatively uneventful. We came across a wooden box where we could record our names, date and our intentions for the rest of the Bruce Trail.
The end of the trail brought us back out to a road by a railroad crossing and close to where we had parked one of the cars. We managed to hike 7.4 kilometres but it seemed like a lot more. We drove back to Queenston Heights to pick up the other car and then we headed back home.
That night and the next day both Kevin and I were feeling a little stiff and sore but it hasn’t deterred us from doing the next section of the Bruce Trail.
Our weekly walk took us on a path along the Etobicoke Creek close to our home. The mouth of the creek opens up to Lake Ontario and we started our walk from there. We drove to Marie Curtis Park and headed up along the paved path. We had no idea how far we were going to go but after 2.7 k we were forced to turn around because the path was closed for repairs.
As you can see from the sign we have a lot more exploring to do when the trail opens up again. Looking forward to a much longer hike next time.
….on our walk this past week we came across this colourful collection hanging from the trees along the edge of the creek
Early into our walk I notice a flash of colour up ahead and as we got closer we noticed dozens of brightly painted birdhouses hanging from some of the smaller trees next to the creek. You could tell that a few were done by adults but the majority had to be done by children. I figured that some enterprising class from one of the neighbourhood schools did this as a spring project to beautify the neighbourhood and provide nesting areas for some of the smaller birds.
I was so impressed with these tiny feeders and birdhouses that I promptly went to the dollar store to buy some for my granddaughter. I also bought some small clear containers which I filled with craft paint and a variety of paint brushes. At home I put a prime coat of white paint on two of the houses and then packed everything into a gift bag. On Saturday we did a drive by visit in Hamilton to drop off our Easter candy and this special bag. Winnie was so excited that she wanted to start painting right away. When we got home her mom sent us photos of the ‘finished’ projects. I’m not sure if she’s going to add more detail but she’s pretty pleased with the way they’ve turned out.
Another trip to a conservation area with a waterfall.
Last week we took a drive to Halton Hills. We had to make a reservation and we were quite surprised at how many cars were in the parking lot for a Wednesday afternoon. The hike started with a steep climb up a rugged path but this was the most difficult part of the hike. After that the paths were wide and relatively smooth.
It didn’t take too long before we heard the sound of rushing water.
As the sound got louder the we noticed that the water moved quickly and before too long we found ourselves at the top of Hilton Falls. This waterfall is 10 metres high and at the base are the ruins of a 19th century sawmill.
The conservation area also has great picnic sites right by the falls and when COVID is over the fire pit will probably be open to the public again.
After our lunch we headed back on the path that we came on but there was a fork in the road and we headed toward the reservoir.
All in all we had a wonderful day. On the way home we took a side road instead of the highway and were impressed with the beautiful countryside so close to the city.
“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. During COVID so many of us have had more time on our hands because commuting was no longer necessary to get to and from work because we were able to work from home but how many of you made use of that extra hour or two to do something for yourself. I’m painfully aware of this after I spend too much of my day binge watching TV.
One of the best things that my husband and I have done since January is to put aside one day a week, in the middle of the week, get into the car and drive somewhere where we can be in nature and go for long hikes and not worry about crowds of people. We’ve had a wonderful time and each week we become a little more organized. This week we even packed a picnic lunch and some weeks we had dinner cooking in the slow cooker so that when we got home dinner was ready.
Here are some of the wonderful places we have visited since January. These are our ‘brightest gems’ in our lives this year.
The Dufferin Islands are just up the road from the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls. It is a sanctuary for walkers and birds alike and is probably largely unknown to most tourists. The walk takes you over a series of bridges and ponds where marsh birds love to hang out. It is truly a hidden gem that is right under your nose if you take the time to look and explore.
Today was another beautiful day in Toronto; sunny and warm (for March) and the paths and roads were dry and clear of ice and snow. I was in search of the red tail hawk that I saw last week but I saw no signs of him. Instead I spent the two hours taking photos of trees, squirrels, broken bits of picnic tables, stadium lights, fences and birds. On my travels throughout the park I came across some lovely sculptures a statue and a memorial stone cross.