Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action!!

What is it about the combination of coloured lights and waterfalls that is so appealing? People flock from around the world to be awed by the sight of Niagara Falls lit up in colour each night, while here in the Hamilton area a similar phenomenon periodically takes place.

The City of Waterfalls initiative under the leadership of Chris Ecklund does an amazing job of promoting the many waterfalls of the area and the night time illuminations of these various falls is always worthwhile.

Perhaps more of an adventure than Niagara Falls in that getting there involves navigating the trails in the semi-darkness while hearing the sounds of rushing water increasing in intensity, a worthwhile experience in itself. When you eventually reach the falls the view is amazing as the light typically picks up nuances in the stone and water that may have gone unnoticed under regular daylight conditions.

I have had the opportunity to join Chris at many of these illuminations and last nights lighting up of Sherman Falls was like all those before it, a fantastic experience.

A good sized group of photographers, families and nature enthusiasts made it out and by all accounts, enjoyed every minute of it.

Keep an eye on the City of Waterfalls Facebook page to find out when the next illuminations are taking place. A worthwhile evening out, I promise you won't be disappointed. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why The Tews Falls Trail Is My Favorite

As luck would have it, I received 2 different requests to hike the Tews Falls trail in the last couple of weeks, one by my brother and one from an old friend. As this is probably my favorite trail in the entire Dundas trail system, I was happy to oblige to both requests.

In both cases, we started the hike where the railway tracks cross highway 8 in Dundas. Following the rail line until you get to the east side of Spencer Creek, you are treated to a great view of the Dundas  Peak above, another very worthwhile hiking destination.

Entering the forest, the terrain is immediately hilly and the coolness of the valley noticeable. Following the trail keeping the creek to your left and the canyon wall to your right, it is easy to imagine that you are enjoying the same sights as those that were enjoyed by the early settlers to the area.

As the trail starts to descend downward, you soon arrive at Lower Tews Falls. This classic waterfall is an ideal spot to rest and snap a few photos and just fully appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.

This Lower Tews Falls image was captured by my brother Ryan Goede and is one of my favorites.

After a short break, we move on, eventually arriving at Tews Falls. At 130 feet, this is the tallest waterfall in the area and a treat to see from the base. The mist coming off the falls makes this area much cooler and it is a refreshing and cool place to enjoy after the hike in.

Overall, this trail is reminiscent of the kind of natural, untouched and rugged trails that you would find in much more remote regions. From rocky moss covered trails to sky scraping canyon walls to stunning waterfalls, this one has it all. All of those reasons contribute to the fact that this trail has become my favorite in the area.

Count on a good hour and half to two hours to complete this one. It will be time well spent.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Change, It's Always Good

Over the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to get out and hike and paddle in some great areas from Lake Erie to Letchworth State Park in New York to my personal favorite mental rejuvenation location; Algonquin Park. On top of the obvious benefit of being immersed in absolutely breathtaking surroundings, these trips also provide ample time for thought and quiet reflection.

Part of my time away I devoted to reflecting on this blog; what works, what I'd like to change and strategizing on how I can shake it up and freshen it up a little. Like the seasons, change keeps things interesting and hopefully a few tweaks will make it a better resource for you as well.

A couple changes to note:

1. A new name. Dundas Valley Outdoors for me is a better reflection of what I'd like to focus on. As kayaking and cycling trips are added into the mix, the common element remains a focus on enjoying the outdoors in this area, regardless of activity.

2. A new look. A green background will represent a focus on our precious environment and my commitment to sustainability and conservation.

3. A new Twitter feed. @DundasOutdoors will feature photos and trail updates as well as related news. I hope to add this feed directly into this blog in the near future.

There are a few more changes in the works so stay tuned. Your suggestions are always welcome and as always, I graciously thank you for your support.