Monday, 24 July 2017

Bruce Trail- Woodend Conservation Area to Brock University

This was the first time we had hiked 2 days in a row. We returned to Woodend Conservation Area to resume the trail.
There is something about a stile that compels us to sit on it and take a selfie.
The trail passed beside and sometimes on a golf course
A little too close for comfort.
Marshy in places, in fact water was prevalent on this section of the hike.
We peaked through the foliage at this and heard the sound of falling water.
We found we were walking beside one of the old Welland Canals.

With the walls gradually crumbling into the water
and old bollards, surrounded by foliage and used as trail markers. About here Nicky found her first tick, on her arm, and after that we checked every time we stopped for water.

Evidence of an old orchard, hanging over the trail.
After a couple of hours we had to cross the current Welland Canal.
There was a boat coming up the canal and
a boat coming down.
We crossed the bridge and then, as Nicola had never seen this before, we ate an apple while watching the bridge go up
and the boats
pass each other, even though it looked too narrow.
Not only does the bridge carrying the road have to lift to let the boats pass but there are also 2 bridges for the railway that have to lift too (there are 2 locks side by side at the steepest part of the climb over the escarpment) The trail follows the road beside the locks up the hill.
Then it follows
the railway before heading into woodland again.
Beside another of the old canals and
then the worst part of the trail so far, residential streets, then a busy street under construction, that went under the 406 and then a climb up through another residential section.
The only saving grace was that I was able to find a, badly needed, washroom, in the Canadian Tire Service Centre
and this made us laugh.
Wooded trails again on Brock University property.
Skirted Glenridge Quarry where we met a couple who made us feel good by being impressed with how far we had walked.
Up a steep road to the parking lot to pick up my car and drive back to get Nicola's. We had walked 10km in just over 4 hours, which we didn't think was bad considering how long we had spent watching the boats on the canal.
On my big map, at home, this is how far we have completed (25km) in our 3 days of walking.
I found 10 kms to be tough and 8km to be fine. Hopefully we will be able to find 8km chunks to do but I am sure, especially as we get into less populated areas (therefor fewer roads) we will have to do some longer ones.
We found the camel backs easier to use than water bottles, cheese curds and snap peas to be good snacks and that we had to keep an eye on each other for ticks.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bruce Trail: Firemans Park to Woodend Conservation Area

A few weekends ago Nicola and I continued our hike on the Bruce Trail.
We were very excited because the new guide that Nicky had ordered had arrived the day before we needed it (close call). Last month we had used maps that she had downloaded and they were difficult to read.
This had clear, fold out maps that can be taken out of the guide and put in a plastic pouch (comes with it) for carrying on the trail. We still have to take our glasses with us though, maps are pretty small..
The guide also has sections on the history of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, geology and fuana and flora.
After making sure, this time, that we had both sets of car keys
we set of from Firemans Park, where we had left the trail last month.
Although most of this weekends hike was very close to St Catherines, the QEW and Hwy 406, we were only occasionally aware of traffic noise and subdivisions, most of the time it was woodland and meadows.
Trail blaze on a birdhouse. They were usually on trees or (on the roads) telephone poles.
This section of trail had a lot of creeks and wet spots to be navigated, sometimes with bridges and boardwalks but other times just piles of stones to step on.
Hiking a month later meant that the plants and flowers were all different. There were lots of brambles and berries.

Doesn't look very attractive but we were very glad of it.
A footbridge over the QEW
and shortly after, a rather wet tunnel (known as the "screaming tunnel") under the railway.
A section on a country road took us past vineyards,
a shoe tree (why?)
and a couple of guinea fowl
before heading across private land ,
with a lovely pond,
Lunch - granola (with M&Ms), snap peas, cheese curds and protein powder (I was not a fan).

The escarpment rock outcrops are quite impressive in places
and if it wasn't for the traffic noise you wouldn't know how close to the QEW you are.
The trail goes around
Walker Living Campus, with its
statues and

flower beds. It is an outdoor education centre run by the Niagara District School Board.
A glimpse of Lake Ontario through the trees
and a ghostly Toronto skyline across the Lake.
After 8km we were at the days destination.
After checking in at the hotel in St Catherines and a shower, we felt revitalized enough for wine,
appetizers (stuffed mushroom caps and herbed goat cheese with port poached pears) and quilt store shopping.
For supper we took a taxi to Port Dalhousie. To quote Nicky "this is when gluten free sucks". My cheesecake and her fruit sorbet (the only gluten free dessert available)
The Lake levels are still very high. There is no beach left at Port Dalhousie.
We bought Meridian from La Salle on Burlington Bay and sailed her to Port Dalhousie the first day. Stayed overnight here before taking her through the Welland Canal to Lake Erie. The dock we moored at that night is under water.
This reminded me of Meridian
and this was definitely the boat that was moored behind us then.
Another glimpse of Toronto
St Catherines honors its rowing history in Port Dalhousie
where the rowing competitions are held.