Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pre-Spring Surprises

The day before this photo was taken it was a balmy 13C and then a major snow storm changed everything back to winter. People bemoaning the loss of the spring-like weather apparently don't appreciate the non-driving winter experience. (Spring isn't officially until the vernal equinox, March 20, so really, it's not fair to complain, is it? Besides, as my dear mom says, we always get snow in April, so please, fellow Southern Ontario residents, steel yourselves for more.)

I enjoyed a short X-country ski with my partner as we skied from our front door, down the middle of the side street and into the historic Hamilton Cemetery, perched so prettily above Cootes Paradise on Burlington Heights.

I'll try and post some April snow pictures here in a few weeks. Wink wink.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A new place to stand?

The Dundas Marsh is frozen through, and covered in several inches of snow. A new platform from which to experience the open sky, and gain a new perspective on the shorelines.

Distance is deceptive when landmarks are lacking. How long will it take to reach the far shore?

The wind, which was at our backs before we turned to trudge back to the Desjardin's Trail, now presses steadily in our faces, and the sun is eclipsed by clouds, the return journey colder.

Over at Princess Point, the distant dark figures of skaters and hockey players silhouetted against the snow is out of time. They could be from a Frank Panabaker painting, and I love that they are there, connecting the city to winter in a tangible and unmediated way.

A cross country skier has left tracks, double lines on a map, connecting north and south shores with their travelling.

Earlier in the winter across the open expanse a friend shot pictures of a coyote eating a fresh killed deer on the ice. Blood, ice, snow. Life. Death.

The frozen marsh provides different kinds of opportunities. Like discovering a new friend, we see everything with eyes wide open, eager for a deeper connection.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


We have been experiencing our first dustings of snow the past couple of days. The air is cold enough and the ground is frozen enough for these first sparse flakes to stay. What I love about being out early(-ish), when the ground is powdered with snow, is the evidence of the invisible, the things and people that have wandered the same ground before me. Things that I don’t usually see leave traces of their progress. The hopping trail of a bird that ends with swishes of disturbed snow to indicate its flight. The jumping pattern that the rabbits and squirrels leave that show their back paws landing in front of their forepaws before bracing for another leap. Tiny footprints and a little tail swish that show a mouse has dashed through. It is a map of each individual’s movements. In a way it is like nature is unintentionally giving up its secrets. So, too, there is something amazing about looking at an untouched expanse of snow knowing your the first one to wander down the path that morning.

(Guest blog by super-multi-talented Deani Sweet, used with permission
Binkley Hollow, Hamilton Ontario

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Worth the Walk in Winter

Sunset over Dundas Marsh
Cootes Paradise AKA the Dundas Marsh at sunset from Desjardin's Trail at the Canal, Hamilton, yesterday at dusk. Within a span of 5 minutes we watched Hooded Mergansers floating on the open water in the canal, a Beaver swim and climb out of the canal to gnaw down a small tree and carry it back into the water, and then a Bald Eagle fly over the the high level bridge at York just above the canal.

Today is supposed to be warm, but the next week looks like temperatures will dip to more seasonable levels. I'm looking forward to a chance to skate on Cootes and play a bit of hockey. Let's have some winter, shall we?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hunting Trails

The Royal Botanical Gardens has announced the following temporary trail closures:
Hamilton, ON, December 10, 2013 — Royal Botanical Gardens and the Haudenosaunee Wildlife and Habitat Authority (HWHA) have agreed to conduct a controlled harvest of White-tailed deer this December as part of RBG’s deer management.  
The 2013 harvest will be conducted at RBG’s Arboretum, located at 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton, Ontario, and will take place between Monday, December 16 and Friday, December 20.

Access to the Arboretum, including the access from York Rd. Trailhead will be closed to the public for the duration of the harvest with the Arboretum reopened at its conclusion. Notices to the public will be provided and posted at property at entrance points. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Busted Bruce

It appears the Bruce Trail suffered some storm destruction recently: the local section of the Bruce Trail has posted the following on their Facebook page:
The recent storm activity has brought a large number of trees down along the Bruce Trail throughout the Iroquoia section. Hikers are advised to take extra care when negotiating these storm affected areas and should be prepared to turn back if necessary. 
Trail Maintenance volunteers have already started clearing these trees, but it will take the next 3 weeks, at least, to completely clear the Trail.
If anyone is out there on the trails and has photos of damage, feel free to share them here!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday after the Storm

Friday night had our region under the dramatic spell of severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings. As a result, some clean-up and some damage in the wake of the thunderstorms in the days following (no confirmed reports of Tornadoes according to news reports this morning).

Hikers in Dundas Valley should note that:
The Dundas Valley Trail Centre is closed with no power or washrooms. Downed branches and erosion on trails have made trail conditions difficult. Please use caution on the trails.
The Giant's Rib Discovery Centre is also closed today and the guided hike has been cancelled. (Hamilton Conservation Authority)
We hope people continue to keep the environment in mind as we make daily choices, especially in the ways we contribute to climate change. Hotter summers with extreme heat and more frequent and violent storms are forecast for the coming decades.