Rockway to Louth Falls

Rockway to Louth Falls

Yesterday we hiked from Rockaway to Louth Falls.  We took only one car so had to hike there and back.  It was one of our more enjoyable hikes.  Well, it did rain for half the time…

We had the trail to ourselves and there was a fair bit of up and down.  More that a lot of the trails here we’ve done so far. 

It started raining about 15 minutes before we got to Louth Falls.  Took us just under 2 hours to get there from Rockway parking lot.  We tend to dilly-dally taking photos and such so if you are hiking in earnest it will likely take you an hour each way.  Total was a little over 10K the way we did it. 

My wife brought a walking stick/ski pole.  I should have brought something.  We have good walking sticks but most of the hikes we have been on in the Niagara region, there really has been no need.  As there was a fair bit of ups and downs on this hike and with the rain and all it made for some pretty slippery slopes.  Definitely would have made my life easier. 

Also, the rain made a good argument for carrying a dry shirt and even a light rain slicker.  I was once hiking Ha Ling, up behind Canmore, Alberta.   It was quite warm where we started and I was drenched with sweat by the time I got to the top.  Tough climb.  There were snow flurries at the top. Fortunately I had a dry shirt in my backpack that I could change into. 

I read in some adventure or spy novel once a very smart idea in case of rain when you are stuck in the woods.  If all you had was a large plastic back that was waterproof, you could place all of your clothes in that while it was raining, (yeah, if you are soaked, you are going to get freezing cold anyway), once the rain had stopped, you cold dress in dry clothes and you would actually be much better off than if you let your clothes get drenched.  A simple plastic bag of some sort is practically weightless.

By the time we got back to the car the rain had, of course, stopped. 

We likely only have a couple more good hikes that we can get in before the kayaks come out and we on the rivers and lakes instead of the trails. 

Posted by Marty in Blog, 0 comments

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:

Posted by Marty in Blog, 0 comments
Bruce Trail End2end – Part #1

Bruce Trail End2end – Part #1


(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!

Posted by Marty in Blog, 0 comments
Niagara-On-The-Lake in the Spring

Niagara-On-The-Lake in the Spring

Niagara On The Lake Walkabout

Niagara-On-The-Lake is one of our favourite walkabouts.  It is so pretty.  Buildings, flowers and people.  I like watching people and the downtown of Niagara on the Lake area particularly, is picturesque.  After loading our bikes up and driving to the bottom of the escarpment, we drove along the Niagara Parkway to the first parking lot accessing the bike path and parked.  We took off and after a few adjustments to Yvonne's brakes it was smooth sailing to this quaint little village. An easy ride of just a few miles.  The summer heat had not hit yet and it was quite pleasant.  You can see one of the photos below showing the blossoms on the Cherry Trees which bode well for a future of cherries and cherry pie. We do love pie.  After wandering around for a bit taking photos we stopped in and had some breakfast at the Sunset Grill.  Always a wonderful breakfast there. I’m of two minds on eating breakfast out.  I do love it but I could have it at home for pennies on the dollar and with my home made mango chutney and my favourite hot sauce.  Well, I guess eating out is not always about that; more the ambience and just the fact that you don’t have to cook. 

There is a little place in Niagara-On-The-Lake that I love. It is called Custom House Cigars.  That was our next stop.  One of many weaknesses.  He had a couple of Rocky Patels that I wanted to try.  His prices are pretty reasonable.  I get to shop at the cigar store at Rama: Cada del Humidor.  They don’t have a website but if you get up that way and you like cigars, it is worth the detour.  Yvonne and I took some more photos then went to the park and grabbed a bench and I got to smoke.  I chose a smaller cigar to smoke as we did have to bike back to the car and I couldn’t be forever.   I saved the Rocky Patels for later. 

Next stop with the Irish Design store.  About 9 years ago I purchased by far my favourite sweater, a Donegal Roll Neck.  I got it at the Irish Design Store in Niagara On the Lake. 

When we were in Niagara about 9 years ago, I saw the sweater in the store and fell in love with it but failed to purchase.  My thoughts were along the line of, “I’ll easily get it online.  Not so much.  I checked online, trade shows and could not find it in any stores in Canada. 

We lived in Calgary for years and I honestly could wear this sweater with a windbreaker at minus 20C.  BUT, as I wore it pretty much ALL the time, Calgary does get kinda chilly, I was due for another.  Yvonne had patched the elbows on my original one and repaired a few loose threads over time.  I was excited moving here because I knew I could some cool colours in this particular line. 

Alas, they were sold out and awaiting a shipment.  Being a few weeks before the main tourist season, this was not unexpected.  Staff are great there though and I left my email.  (Addendum: some weeks later - late June, I receive an email but again alas, I’m working in Calgary at the Stampede.  So, when I get home(after sleeping for three days), Yvonne and take a drive(her bike is in the shop getting the brakes fixed) down to have a look see. I have a couple of colours in mind and after digging through a couple of piles of Donegal Rollnecks and asking the clerks to check the basement for my size, I walked out of the store with exactly what I wanted.  So happy.  I like quality and I do like what I like.  This is one absolutely wonderful sweater.  It is pure wool and apparently will keep you warm even when wet.  No, it is not itchy at all.

If you come for the tulips, come early.  The season is short and it is early.  There are lots of them and they are out of this world wonderful.  And bring a proper camera.  Smart phones are OK but really won't do the flowers here justice. I don't know who takes care of the gardens here but they really do a fantastic job!

All roads lead to Niagara Falls. Everyone comes here eventually.  If you come to see the Falls, make sure that you take the time to see Niagara-On-The-Lake. 

If you check here periodically, we will have more photos and stories of our adventures in the area.


Posted by Marty in Blog, 0 comments