Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sherman Falls – Illuminated!!!

With its short trail and ease of access, Sherman Falls is one of my favorite “go to” destinations when I am looking to sneak in a quick hike. Waterfalls have been drier than normal this summer but with the rain we had last weekend I felt that it be worthwhile to check it out and I’m glad I did.
Parking at the corner of Old Ancaster Road and Lions Club Road in Ancaster, I headed up the trail and within minutes was enjoying the beauty of Sherman Falls, which I had all to myself.
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.  The double tier makes this waterfall particularly interesting.
Later that day I posted a photo of Sherman Falls on my Facebook page and was contacted by Chris Ecklund, the man behind the City of Waterfalls with the suggestion that we return an illuminate the falls that night. It sounded like a great idea to me so later that evening we returned and along with a group of volunteers placed around 30 battery powered spotlights in the rocks facing the falls.

These spotlights, each providing 25 million candlepower of light were fitted with a purplish red lenses and when activated bathed the waterfall in a soft purple light. A number of people came by to take photos and enjoy the view.
Hiking and exploring these trails is always a great experience, but for me they take on a special feel at night. I think that the dark makes your sense of hearing more acute and sitting on a rock near the base of the waterfall enjoying the sound of the water and the cool sweet smells of the forest always brings me a powerful sense of peace.

Thank you to the many that have been visiting and sharing my Facebook page at:
Always appreciated. Happy hiking!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Summer Hike to Borers Falls

Lately I have been making a point of re-visiting the many trails that I discovered over this past winter and early spring. Seeing them again now fully covered in their summer foliage feels like visiting for the first time and the increased level of activity of native animals and songbirds makes the forest feel that much more alive.

A couple of weekends ago I visited one of these trials that I was particularly impressed with when I last visited in November.

The Ray Lowes Side Trail starts by a small parking lot on York Road in Dundas. As the trail descends to the valley floor the air feel cooler with every step, a welcome relief from the hot humid temperatures that we have been experiencing.

On this day there seemed to be an abundance of woodpeckers and chipmunks and I observed a small family of raccoons foraging in some downed timbers. They continued to peek inquisitively over the logs as I walked by until convinced that we didn’t mean them any harm.

As the trail approached the escarpment, we continued upwards, admiring the moss covered rocky outcroppings and stands of birch. Taking in the view from the top, I stopped to enjoy the view and some coffee and then continued along the escarpment edge on the trail heading towards Rock Chapel and Borers Falls.

I always enjoy the view of Borer’s Falls, a classical, 17 metre (56 foot) waterfall but with the low volume of rain we have seen this year the flow was greatly reduced. We rounded the trail to the top of the waterfall and sat there awhile enjoying the view of the valley and the quiet. This is a great place to view hawks and other birds of prey and on this day we observed quite a number of vultures as they glided in lazy circles overhead.

A relatively short hike of about 40 minutes each way, there is lots to see on this trail and the ever changing landscape and escarpment views guarantee that it always worthwhile.
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Crooks Hollow Conservation Area

In years past, I always enjoyed visiting and hiking the trails of Crooks Hollow Conservation Area and particularly enjoyed the area around the dam. When I learned that the dam required extensive repair and as a result was to be destroyed, I admit that I was in the camp of those that favoured repair over demolition.
After reading a recent article by Richard Leitner in the Dundas Star Journal announcing that the work in this area was near completion and the trails re-opened, I had to see for myself. I am pleased to say that I am thrilled by the result. The creek now meanders much as it would have before the dam was built and the new surrounding marshland, although still new looking is already establishing itself well.
On my visit I observed a large volume of songbirds as well as footprints in the soft clay belonging to a variety of mammals. The tadpoles have returned and there is every indication that the entire area will soon be teeming with wildlife.
 New features to the area include a rustic steel walkway across Spencer Creek to connect trails on both sides, a small waterfall fed by an artesian well in the escarpment face that was discovered during the work, and additional wetland creation.
What I particularly like is that they left both ends of the dam in place, adding guard rails and repurposing them as lookout platforms. From here you can take in the expanse of this newly created oasis.

According to the story, Cultural and heritage features, interpretive signage and an official reopening are currently being planned.
All in all, a job well done. Be sure to plan a visit to Crooks Hollow Conservation Area in the near future. You will be glad you did.

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