Friday, September 21, 2012

Crooks Hollow Conservation Area Revisited

The only disappointment I experienced last weekend revisiting Crooks Hollow was realizing when I got there that I had neglected to put a memory card in my camera meaning I would have to rely on my iPhone for any photos taken.
I last visited this area back in July and you can see my blog post on that visit in the archives from July 14, 2012. At that time I had been impressed with the work that had been done in removing the dam and re-naturalizing the area. Now, a short time later, I am happy to report that it looks even better. The marshland is well along in establishing itself and the area is teeming with songbirds and butterflies.

On this day, I walked first from the parking lot, along the creek to the observation bridge and then returned the same way enjoying the dragonflies and birds along the trail.
With the day being so nice, I decided to continue in a westerly direction along the Crooks Hollow trail as it meets the road and then links up with the historical Darnley Mill ruin. Turning in along the entrance there I followed the trail stopping to enjoy the somewhat drier than usual Darnley Cascade, then crossing the Christie Lake Dam and following the shoreline of the lake. I stopped to admire this snake that was sunning himself in the trail and then continued a short distance before returning.
I have to say that I really enjoy this area and left making a mental note that I would like to return in the near future and hike the entire perimeter of Christie Lake, something I have not tried in the past. Stay posted for more detail and hopefully some better quality photos.
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spring Creek – Sawmill Trail Loop

Last Saturday morning I was looking to hit a trail both as a cardio workout as well as to test out a new pedometer app that I had added to my phone. Staying close to home, I decided that I would hike the Spring Creek Trail to the Trail Centre and then return a different way, creating sort of a loop. This turned out to be a good idea both from a workout standpoint as well as an opportunity to enjoy some beautiful parts of the Dundas Valley.

You can start this hike at the end of Bridlewood Drive in Dundas, entering the valley on the well marked trail and heading west. The Spring Creek trail like the name insinuates, follows the meandering Spring Creek and runs roughly parallel to the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail. You pass a pond that I often stop at to watch frogs and birds and pass through hilly Carolinian forest.

This is a great spot to observe deer particularly if you hike in the early morning or late afternoon. On this day I was able to get within about 15 feet of a pair of them as they grazed and even with Rosie at my side they did not seem particularly concerned with my presence.

Stopping at the Trail Centre for some water we started heading back in the direction we came, but veering left when we got to the marker for the Sawmill Trail. This trail takes you through milkweed filled meadows interspersed with black walnut trees and then directs you deeper into the valley.

The key is to stay to your right as side trails branch off at various points. It was noticeably cooler as we walked along the creek edge and I enjoyed how complete the silence was; only broken by the song of the various finches and chickadees that flitted in and out of the sumac trees.

This trail ends at the John White Trail. Turning right and crossing a wooden foot bridge, you soon arrive back on the Spring Creek Trail. Head east and you will arrive back at the starting point in about 15 minutes. Other than my pedometer app stopping at some point likely due to being in a low area with no cell service, this was a very enjoyable walk. At about 3 miles, it took me just over an hour but that included stopping to take photos and letting Rosie play in the water.

For more pics and info, visit my Facebook page at: Happy hiking!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Relaxing at Turkey Point Beach

Taking a short break before school resumes, this week we spent five sun filled fun days at a cottage in Turkey Point.  Although a deviation from my usual pattern of finding hiking trails to explore, I have to admit that at this time I was continually drawn to the beach and spent as much time there as I could.

Getting up with the sun, I took pride in being the first one on the beach each day, arriving just as the colour in the sky was changing and enjoying a magnificent sunrise that seemed to be taking place for my enjoyment alone.

What an amazing way to start the day! With a fresh coffee and in the company of a dog that seemed to enjoy it as much as I did, I looked forward to this soul cleansing ritual each morning.

After spending the day swimming in the warm waters and catching up on reading, we would often return for an after dinner stroll and a few times returned late in the evening to catch the sight of the moon reflecting off the waters.

With the interesting tide pools, warm sand and stunning sunrises, this beach is well worth visiting.

Next week, more hiking in the Dundas Valley. For more pics and info, visit my Facebook page at: Happy hiking!!