Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sherman Falls - Ancaster, Ontario

The Hamilton area is blessed with an abundance of easily accessible waterfalls and is host to many visitors throughout the summer who come to take pictures and enjoy the natural beauty.Although visited by many in the summer months, these waterfalls become much less frequently visited in the fall and winter months.

In my opinion, this becomes an ideal time to explore as the area takes on a whole different feel during these seasons.Taking advantage of a mild fall day, I recently headed out, with kids and dog in tow, to explore Ancaster's Sherman Falls. This waterfall is named after the Sherman family, who had a farm in that area. The Sherman’s are a well known name in the Hamilton area, as Clifton Sherman founded Dofasco Inc. in 1912.

Easy to get to, the trail starts right where Old Ancaster Road meets Lions Club Road in Ancaster and meanders over reasonably easy terrain for the short distance to the base of these falls. It is somewhat amazing that although it is located just a short hike away from the road and is fairly large in size, many people pass by this hidden treasure without ever knowing of its existence.There is a wooden bridge that crosses the stream right near the base of the falls that presents a great vantage point for photo taking.

Sherman Falls is a 17 metre (56 foot) multi tier waterfall surrounded by rugged limestone, mossy rock and natural forest. It has two cascading drops with a wide flat ledge that divide the upper and lower falls. This stunning waterfall, also known as Fairy Falls or Angel Falls is absolutely beautiful in the summer but in my opinion is great to visit all year.

An easy hike, consider Sherman Falls when looking for a place to day hike or to take amazing pictures.

The following pictures were taken on a hike earlier this year accompanied by friend and photographer, Vasily Ryabov.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall Hiking on the Spring Creek Trail

Although there is no bad time to be hiking in the Dundas Valley, there is something special about the fall. The cool clean air, lack of bugs and distinctive crunch of leaves underfoot always remind me that another summer has come to an end and that the days of winter are not far away.
My dog Rosie, who is a frequent hiking companion of mine seems to prefer the fall as well and loves to run through the crisp leaves of the forest floor as she explores the valley.

This past weekend we walked the Spring Creek trail as it runs east from the Trail Centre. This centre is a replica of a Victorian train station from a bygone era and even features a section of track with a 1929 executive coach car and a 1931 baggage car that were donated by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The centre features a snack bar and interpretive centre and often displays the artwork of local artists’ and photographers. Trail maps can be obtained there and it is a good launch point from which to explore various parts of the valley.
The Spring Creek trail which is just over 3 km in length starts at the Trail Centre, follows the Spring Creek valley eastward, crosses Sanctuary Park, and ends at Warren Park.

On this particular day, we left the Trail Centre walking through sun-dappled Carolinian groves with an elevated view of Spring Creek below. We stopped to watch a group of four deer peacefully grazing and were entertained by a number of black squirrels busily preparing for winter.

At times the forest changed to sumac and to marshland heavily populated with red-winged blackbirds and other song birds. Often times on this trail, we spot wild turkeys, various varieties of snakes and woodpeckers.

One of my favorite trails, the Spring Creek Trail often becomes my default trail when I feel the need to get in the valley but am limited for time. Close to home and always changing, I know I'll always see something new, no matter how frequent I visit.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Websters Falls Part 2

In early September, I had the opportunity to act as a tour guide for my friend Vasily Ryabov and his wife who were visiting from Toronto. We visited 4 of the area's most well known waterfalls; Tews, Websters, Sherman and Tiffany and were fortunate to get some great photo's.

To add to my article posted yesterday, I thought I would add a few photo's from that day. Although the water levels were low, it allowed for a unique perspective to view the rock formations that are often hidden behind the cascading water.

Being a rock climber and exceptional photographer, Vasily has a unique perspective for capturing images and it was a privilage to spend a few hours on the trails with both him and his wife.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Webster's Falls - Dundas, Ontario

With the temperature hovering right around the freezing mark, and the sun shining, it felt like a hike out to Webster’s Falls was in order. Of the hundred or so waterfalls in the Hamilton area, Webster’s Falls is likely the best known and with a large park area around it is an ideal spot for a days picnic.

In the summer I like to hike into the falls from the lower trail, starting at the rail bridge where it meets King Street in Dundas and approaching the falls from the bottom. This is a spectacular hiking trail in the summer but can be slippery and difficult to hike in the winter.

Webster’s Falls is located in Spencer Gorge Wilderness Area, and is part of the Niagara Escarpment, declared by the United Nations (UNESCO) as a World Biosphere Reserve. This unique geological formation contains two of Hamilton’s best waterfalls, one of its best lookouts, and hundreds of species of wildlife living in this Carolinian forest.Webster’s Falls is 22 metres (75 feet) high and is one of two waterfalls in the immediate area, with the other, Tew’s Falls, a short hike away. It is created where the main branch of Spencer Creek empties into the gorge. From the top of the falls, there is a series of stairs that you can take to get down to the base. There are a number of good vantage points for photography.

The area also features a beautiful cobblestone bridge which was built in 1936 and restored in 2000. As the Bruce Trail meanders through this area, there is an abundance of main and side trails offering spectacular views of the valley below.This is a beautiful area and worth a visit regardless of the season.

To get to Webster's Falls, take Highway 8 from Dundas going up to Greensville. Keep right on Brock Road and turn right onto Harvest Road. Turn right on Short Road, then left onto Fallsview Road. The parking lot will be on your right.

New Adventure

Thank you for joining me on this journey! I greatly appreciate it.

After years of writing about camping and hiking throughout Ontario, I thought I would narrow my focus and begin to concentrate on the trails, waterfalls and natural wonders that can be found in the Dundas Valley and surrounding area.

Living in this area, I spend countless hours hiking and exploring the valley and am constantly amazed by the unique features and stunning views that can be found here.

Please join me each week as I bring you photo's and stories of the area's natural wonders, trails and hidden treaures.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!