Marty

Winter Storm – Ajax, Ontario 2019

Cold walk to Lake Ontario

It has been bitter cold here in Ontario the last couple few days.  It has been very cold pretty much everywhere the last couple of days.  We drove along the lakefront earlier today and saw mist coming off the water.  Huge waves.  

So, about three o’clock I wrapped myself up in several layers.  Several.  Long underwear, pants and ski pants.  Temperature was about -15C or less but the wind was brutal coming off the lake.  Not much for it with hands getting cold when you are holding a camera but at least the rest of me could be warm.  

I mucked about for about 45 minutes or so before the cold really started getting to me.  It was totally amazing watching the mist, the waves, the clouds and the sun coming through giving an edge to everything.

I’ll try again tomorrow but no promises.  Check out the photos below:

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Bruce Trail End2End – Hike #3

Bruce Trail End2End Hike #3

11th Jan 2019

Short, easy hike: 7.2 KM

This section of our Bruce Trail hike went from the west end of Woodend Conservation Area at Taylor Rd to the Mall where the Keg Restaurant is on Glendale Ave near Highway 406.  

I was a little cooler, not too cold, but enough so that the path was more frozen than muddy. As you walk along the first part, you go through a golf course.  Weren’t any golfers out in the snow. At the end of that part of the path, you come to water so you have to turn left or right. The Bruce Trail proper turns right but through the trees to the left I saw a bridge for the train that I thought may be somewhat photogenic with the sun shining and all.  So we headed up that way.  Glad we did, as this made for some nice photos.  

You have three options here: 1. Go back and do the trail along the east side the water way.  2. Cross the bridge and do the path on the west side of the waterway or 3. continue a little further and walk the road.  It is a side/service road - kind of boring.  If I was going to do this again, I would take door #1 or door #2.

From there you get to Glendale Ave. Walk that across the Welland Canal where you follow the white marks to the left (south).  The trail works along the Welland Canal Parkway and goes under the same railway as you encountered earlier.  A little past there you will start to uphill and there is a path on your right that kind of doubles back.  Take that - going back toward the railway.  Follow it up and to the left as you get to the railway again.  

As long as you keep following the trail markers - the white painted slashes, you should be good.  This wasn’t the most exciting hike I’d ever been on as I do like walking in the woods and there was quite a bit of roadway to walk on, but the parts that were woodsy were wonderful.  And winter is our favourite time to hike.  

We parked our second car at the mall of the Keg and as usual, because we tend to start our hikes somewhat late, we arrived there a little before dark.  

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Bruce Trail Supplement – Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill

Bruce Trail: Decew Falls

Bruce Trail - Supplement - Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill

Got up to some new snow this morning so thought we’d go for a drive and maybe a short hike to catch some nice photos of the trees all white and all.  We are old so it took us a while.  I had to eat breakfast and all.  

We drove around a bit and ended up at Decew Falls; we had been there before and it is quite photogenic so we thought, with the snow it would be quite nice.  A fair bit of the snow had melted off the trees but it was still quite lovely.  

We were just beginning to walk about taking photos when one of the volunteers came out of the big house there and asked if we’d like to look inside some of the buildings.  We had never been in them, although we had been through there a few times, so said we’d love to.  

The place dates back to 1895. There is a sign that is now inside the building, you can see the photo below, that was up on the outside for 100 years.  As you can see from the photo below, the shot of the sign inside, it is still in pretty good shape.  Terry, the fellow that was showing us about, said the replacement sign they put up lasted about 20 years.  There is another one up there on the outside now.

It is called the Mountain Mill or Morningstar Mill (or both).  The original grist mill, still working, was built in 1872.  

Terry, our guide, was full of an amazing amount of information.  Can’t remember half of it but he also loaded us down with pamphlets so that it wasn’t completely necessary for me to remember every detail.  There is a photo below of the mill/grinder thingy where they actually make flour.  Apparently, you can’t buy it, they have to give it to you if you want, you can donate.  The mill is turned by the water from the river.  

(Rant: Amazing the bureaucratic complexities of any government at any level.  Terry tells us that it take ages to get money, if they get it at all and they are way down the list.  And here with the flour, they could actually make money to pay for some of the restorations and thus not have to wait for various approvals.  But no, the bureaucrats need a ‘raison d’etre’!)

Next door, at the back of the building they rebuilt the Mill part with old barn boards and beams.  Built last time in 1995 I believe.  They have the original cranks and shafts of the mill there as well.  Some cool views of the falls from the windows inside.  And one photo, if you cannot figure out what it is, looking straight down to where the water turns the wheel thingy for the mill.

The house, originally lived in by the Morningstar Family has been restored a couple of times.  All of the work is now done by caring volunteers.  

Lots more information about Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill and Family here:  http://morningstarmill.ca

This spot is on the Bruce Trail.  If you make it the beginning or end of one of your hikes, try and time it when they are open for tourists.  Depending on how many kilometres that you do each hike, this will be anywhere from your fourth to sixth segment.  

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Bruce Trail End2End – Hike #2

Hike #2 Bruce Trail
(End2End)

Marty's Road Trip

Yvonne and I did our second hike of the Bruce Trail Friday the 11th of January 2019. Was a bit shorter than the first - was approximately 6 km. I say this in inexact figures as although I had two electronic ways to track our hike I kinda messed up both.

First my iPhone. I like the phone but it doesn’t like the cold. It died about 2/3s of the way through the hike. It was a pretty chilly day and I kept in an outside jacket pocket. I was using the Bruce Trail App on it so it caught the first part of the hike and because I thought I was tracking it also on my Garmin watch (hiking app), I wasn’t too worried. But then after a few hundred meters I checked the watch and realized, new app, and I forgot to hit ‘start’. So, the hike is mapped in parts as you will see below.

A point here on the iPhone. From my research, they generally don’t like the cold. If you are hiking with it, keep it close to your body and as a back up keep an external charger, if you don’t want to lose part of the data from your hike.

This hike, as I mentioned was about 6 km or so. It was cold, about minus 5 C so the trail wasn’t muddy. We have very good winter boots, coming from Calgary where hiking in -15C to -20C wasn’t that uncommon for us. It’s the wind that kills us. When it comes off Lake Ontario and hits you on that exposed part of the escarpment, it is harsh. It was a very nice sunny day and fortunately it wasn’t windy at all. Which made the hike quite pleasant.

We started on the east side of Fireman’s Park at the bottom of Dorchester Rd. There is parking at the very end and a secondary trail that starts there. The main trail starts up near the rail tracks. There are two concrete barriers there. We parked there but likely shouldn’t have although there aren’t any ‘No Parking’ signs.

Most of the first part of the trail is low and in the woods so is protected from the wind, if you are there in winter. The trail is always quite well marked. We did go on a secondary loop along the QEW for a couple of hundred metres coming up to the walking bridge by the railway. Didn’t matter that much. The bridge is where my phone died. I was taking a few pictures and kaput! A couple of hundred meters beyond that is the Howling Bridge. You have to walk under that. It was mostly filled with water/ice. There was an edge of gravel on one sight. Not much choice but to go through there, so make sure that you have waterproof footwear.

Once you are out of the tunnel you have a bit of a walk along the road. Don’t worry, there is a sign telling you where to turn right. You are going through someone’s property - be respectful. And it is quite a pretty property. Then back in the woods of Woodend Conversation Area.

If you are parking your other car at this end, you have a choice. You can park at the entrance to the park, near Taylor Road or go all the way into the park and park near the education centre/outdoor school. There is a parking lot there. It is a little bit of a walk from where you come out of the woods but not that far.

You can also cross the road when the sign is there and follow the trail through the woods. We had done that part of the trail 2-3 times so didn’t bother this time. That section is a nice hike as it looks over Lake Ontario. Can be windy but great views, particularly in the winter when fewer leaves on the trees.

Enjoy!

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Bruce Trail End2end – Part #1

Bruce Trail End2end – Part #1

or

(Part of) Marty's Road Trip

Two days ago, at the pool, Anita, a good friend, told me that she and her husband are working on hiking The Bruce Trail end to end a little bit at a time.  This inspired me.  Yvonne and I have been here for almost a year and a half and have done some hiking but it has been different than hiking Alberta. 

So, yesterday, inspired with a goal, we started! We began at Queenston Park.  That is at the conjunction of Portage Rd and Niagara Parkway.  There is a little monument (cairn) that you will see in the first photo.  That is the southern end of the 890 km hike.  It is a decent sized park so to save you some wandering around looking, go to the eastern most reach of the parking lot. Right near the traffic circle you should see it.  If you then face away from the river, you should see the white trail markings on the larger trees.  Just follow those. At the other end of the park, you will see the actual trail head into the woods.

We parked the ‘end’ car at a small parking lot at the very north end of Dorchester road.  It is at the end of the road leading north from Mountain Rd. running along Fireman’s Park.  Yesterday's hike was about 8.3 kilometers.  

It is January and the temperature yesterday was about plus 9 Celcius.  So it was pretty muddy.  Wear boots.  The majority of the trail is fairly easy going but there are a couple middle parts where there are some somewhat steep climbs down.  With the covering of leaves there were some pretty slippery spots. 

We were late afternoon, so the areas with leaves coating the forest floor and the sun coming through the trees made for some quite pretty hiking.  Those spots were generally out of the wind which made it quite peaceful. 

Speaking of wind, depending on the direction you can be protected or not. If you are hiking along the ridge and the wind is coming off Lake Ontario when it is a chilly day, you are going to feel it.  If it is cold, wear something that will cut the wind.

Below, you will see some photos from our first day.  I’m not sure how often we will get to hike this but as much as we can. Maybe we’ll get some sections done with our snowshoes.  Who knows?  There are some sections of the trail that we’ve done already, so we may or may not repeat them.

Also, we are using two cars, as advised by my friend but when we get a little further afield, we will likely make use of Uber for the short runs back to the car.

I downloaded the Bruce Trail app as well, to my iPhone to keep track of distances, and hike we do, etc. I may also track the hikes on my Garmin watch.  The hiking app on my phone will keep exact distances of the hikes.  And will keep track of steps. 

I went online and purchased the whole map thing.  I figured that we are going to hike the whole damn trail over the next couple (or more) of years, so the maps they supply should earn their keep.

Here is a link to purchase if want: Bruce Trail Map Guide

And thanks again Anita for the inspiration!

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