A writer's journal and photography blog documenting 900km of hiking End-to-End on the Bruce Trail from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Tobermory, Canada
The Dundas area between Governor’s Road and Rock Chapel — the first of our two hikes in this post — convinced us that we needed to get new maps. The current trail took us through the town of Dundas rather than up along the trail through Spencer Gorge as we expected. While it was quite pleasant to walk through the pretty residential and heritage district which included the old Dundas District School building being restored and turned into elegant loft style condominiums, we were disappointed to miss seeing Webster’s Falls and taking the side trail to Tews Falls, two of my favourite waterfalls in the area. Right after that hike I headed down to Raspberry House to pick up the 28th Edition Bruce Trail guide. It was closed when I got there that Saturday, but the Royal Botanical Gardens Shop had it on the shelves so I bought it and I’ve gone back and corrected the mileage on my previous posts.
Last Sunday we had perfect weather for finishing up this 19 km stretch of the Bruce Trail between Dundas and Waterdown that we started the week before. The breezes were cool and the sun bright at Borer’s Falls. On these two hikes we saw signs of late summer forshadowing the change of season all around us.
The dusty, sweet grass scent of August came across the fields to us on the open sections of the trail, the late summer sun turning greens to rust, gold, white, violet and orange week by week. On the verge of the forest near a Dundas subdivision we were rewarded with Cardinal Flowers, and two showy Great Lobelia thrived in a hollow at Grindestone Creek. Everywhere, familiar wlldflower blooms have been replaced by colourful seeds and berries and fungi: Jack-in-the-Pulpit’s bright scarlet clusters, the freckled pink of False Solomon’s Seal, dense little clusters of brilliant orange mycena, and White Baneberry’s doll’s eyes staring at us from side of the trail.
Down in Dundas Valley where the trail runs through the northern reaches of the Carolinian forest we saw the first vermillion signs of autumn in random leaves of the Sassafras. The very next week, the Sumac echoed it on the ridge in Waterdown. This season is my absolute favourite time of year, and while I’m never in a hurry to leave summer behind, or to rush headlong into another cold winter, I am always a little giddy when that special quality of autumn light shines and the leaves begin to change.
Like the trail, the summer also changed us. Four months of hiking every weekend has made a slow and subtle improvement in our fitness. We’re stronger, able to go longer and harder on the trail, and are much more energetic than those first tiring kilometers back in May. My feet don’t hurt anymore, and my leg muscles are now doing the work that I forced on my poor Achilles tendons back then. I’m looking forward to the hikes this fall, and we’ll be gearing up with poles and snowshoes rather than retreating to the couch on the first snow day. Well. As long as that day comes on a hiking weekend!
The last half of this hike took us through the Rock Chapel trails of the Royal Botanical Gardens with terrific views over Hamilton and Burlington out to the Skyway Bridge. We hiked through some terrific parkland owned by the City of Burlington, and past a former quarry where we were lucky enough to see a Trumpeter Swan and her young out for a swim.
We ended the morning walking through the pretty upper Grindstone Creek to Great Falls at Mill Road in Waterdown. Kelso, our border terrier, lived up to his breed’s reputation for resembling an otter when swimming — he is sporting a much heavier coat than he was four months ago, and by the time we crossed the Grindstone at the footbridge, he was ready to lie down and cool off a bit in the current while Ian took photos of the red shale slopes downstream. He (the dog, not Ian) immediately followed the dip in the creek with a happy go lucky sand bath further up the trail. It took a good soapy shower at home to get all that red shale out of his fur!
There’s only a few more days left of August, and we’re going to try and cram in a few hikes to up our mileage before the end of the August Bruce Trail Hike-A-Thon.We completed another 19.1km for a total today of 36.9km.You can still sponsor us by clicking the white trail marker to visit our donation page.Sponsoring us will help the BTC meet its 50th Anniversary goal to secure, steward and make available to the public 5,000 additional acres of Niagara Escarpment landscape containing the Bruce Trail by 2017.
Until next time, Happy Trails! Louise & Ian