Saturday, December 8, 2012

Walking Away Websters

Thursday, November, 29, 2012 
Dundas Star News
Webster’s Falls plan seeks to limit parking, hiking access

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

The days of being able to park your car by Webster’s Falls or the Spencer Gorge on a weekend and hike wherever you want may be numbered.

A proposed new master plan for the area is calling for their parking lots to be closed on weekends and holidays between Easter and Thanksgiving as a way to end the traffic snarls that have plagued the area in recent years.

It also hopes to keep hikers out of the bottom of the gorge.

A consultant’s report on the plan, to be presented to a Hamilton Conservation Authority advisory board on Dec. 13, concludes the area can’t handle the estimated 80,000 people who now visit each year, a growing number of them from the Toronto region.

It proposes that visitors on peak-season weekends be directed to park at Christie Lake Conservation Area, where a shuttle bus would take them to and from Webster’s.

Parking on those weekends would no longer be allowed at Optimist Park and Greensville school, and street-parking prohibitions would be extended to Highway 8 and Harvest Road.

The recommendations are part of a proposed $1.345-million makeover for the area that includes upgrades to trails, fencing and signage, construction of wheelchair-accessible washrooms and reworking of park entrances to reduce traffic lineups.

The plan also calls on the authority to try to stop people from trampling around the bottom of Webster’s Falls by limiting access to a viewing platform on new stairs that would replace the dilapidated stone ones, shut since May for safety reasons.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Low Exposure

 Drought like conditions in the summer mean low water levels this fall. Usually beneath the water of the bay at Valley Inn Road bridge, the extensive mud flats are exposed, which, with a canoeist's eye, reveals the natural deeper channel where Grindstone Creek empties into the Bay.

The Royal Botanical Gardens have capitalized on the low water levels by planting native water plants in some areas, and they have also recorded the withdrawal of Carp from Cootes Paradise, both positive developments from an otherwise bad (drought) situation.
The City of Hamilton has installed a new sign at the York Blvd end of the Valley Inn Road/Trail. The former roadway was closed to cars a few years ago. More on the improvements at Valley Inn for a later post.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Looking Down Binkley Hollow

Ancaster Creek is the thread that binds the torn quilt of this river valley together. At Binkley Hollow, where Osler Drive passes over the creek, "37,000 tons of fill were used" in 1965 for road widening, altering the waterway there forever.

The much abused lands adjacent to the creek have a tough time further downstream on the approach to Cootes Paradise as the floodplain at McMaster University was lost to paved parking a few years later the same decade. Efforts to restore at least some of the wetland function are underway over at Restore Cootes.

This valley view (above) is from the vantage point of the Henry Binkley Cemetery on Desjardins Avenue, looking downstream with McMaster parking just out of site through the trees. There were three Binkley farms, one on the west side of the creek in Dundas, one closer to McMaster on what is now Sanders Blvd, and another north of this site. The Binkleys were among the first settler families in the area, purchasing 800 acres in 1803.



Friday, November 9, 2012

From the boardwalk

Autumn in Cootes Paradise, Chegwin Trail behind McMaster University. rk.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Head's Up Hikers!

Conservation Authority closes trails for Hurricane Sandy

CHML
10/29/2012

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is closing several trails in advance of Hurricane Sandy's arrival.
The high winds may create possible hazards from falling or fallen trees and possible trail washouts.
As of 4 p.m. today, trails in the conservation areas will be closed until at least Wednesday.

Trail closures include: the Dofasco Trail through the Vinemount Swamp, Chippawa Trail, Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail, Lafarge Trail in Flamborough and Lower Spencer Creek Trail.

The following conservation areas will also be closed, and parking will not be available at:
Dundas Valley, Webster's Falls, Tews Falls and Eramosa Karst Conservation Area.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Complicated Colour

The fall colours are evident on the hills surrounding Dundas, but plenty of green leaves remain, especially apparent when we enter the interior forest on a footpath. We went for a little walk along the Bruce Trail Borers' Falls side trail, beneath water-heavy skies and got a different perspective on the autumnal transformations. 

With so many leaves still green and on the trees, the forest floor remains mostly bare, not yet resplendent in that thick, full-colour carpet that is yet to come. 

 What struck me today, more than colours, were the gorgeous textural surfaces and the complexity of the relationships between different plants and animals. Without even trying the forest provides such varied and constantly changing inspiration for the hiker - a feast for the eyes, at least, on this Thanksgiving Weekend.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Binkley Hollow Bridge Open Again!

On my way out to Dundas Valley today, I came across some workers on the deck of the replacement bridge at Binkley Hollow. I was thinking to myself, "when is this thing ever going to be open again?"

Pedestrians and cyclists using the detour around the bridge, with workers on the bridge,
October 3, 2012
I had e-mailed the Conservation Authority a week ago and got this response:
We are still waiting for the final supply of lumber for the bridge deck. This is special order material and the supplier recently informed us it would still be another week before it will be delivered to us. After we receive the lumber, there is about two days work for our construction crew to finish the bridge and get it back open to the public. It is a priority job to finish but we cannot finish until the lumber arrives.
On my way back from Dundas Valley today, I was greeted by an open bridge, the barriers having been removed in the hour or so I was in the valley. I crossed on my bicycle for the first time in a long time (15 months).
The replacement deck stands on steel supports.
So while it appears they are still waiting for some lumber to finish one section of the railings, they got the bridge back in working order by having a temporary fence on the unfinished section of the side rails and removing the barricades at each end of the bridge. Freshly packed sand makes the transition from trail to bridge a smooth one.


View from bridge looking south-west, October 3, 2012
It makes a lot of sense to get the bridge back in play rather than waiting for the wood, and just in time to convey nature lovers across the beautiful Binkley Hollow as the fall colours emerge, with Ancaster Creek running beneath the span. Well done!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Picture the Fall

There's something about the air in the fall that makes for intense landscape images. Drama in the outdoors where everything seems crisper and imbued with meaning. This scene of Cootes Paradise from the Desjardins Trail bridge over Chedoke Creek. Low water levels have exposed the shallow sections, and revealed the deeper channel available for late season paddlers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Clean Up the Creek


Hands On work for Dundas Area Hikers!

Everyone is invited  to come join us in cleaning up Ancaster (Coldwater ) Creek beside University Plaza this Saturday September 29th.  We are going after 58 Shopping carts and 49 tires most of which are right in the creek!   Turtles have been known to get stuck in tires and die and shopping carts serve as little more than cages for all forms of aquatic life.
We'll be providing hip waders and working right in stream.  For those of you who prefer your feet on dry land we have plenty clean up to do there as well.  We have about 20 student volunteers from McMaster coming and all and all it should be a blast! 
We're running from 9:00 to 4:00 but you can drop in whenever you're available.  Lunch will be provided. 
If your interested let me know your shoe size and the rough time that you think you'd be there so that we can have waders set aside for you. 
We'll have some gloves available but bring them if you got them. 
All are welcome so by all means bring out your friends. 
On this particular clean-up there are unfortunately few ways for kids to participate so you're best to let them have fun at home.  Teenagers could muck in but they'd need you there to sign a waiver and keep an eye out for them. 
Parking is behind the Metro at University Plaza. The south east corner of the property.  The green arrow on this map shows the parking spot exactly. http://goo.gl/maps/BYLsu
Here, you'll find a trail head for the Hamilton/Brantford Rail Trail that runs behind the property.  Hang a left onto the trail and head east (towards Hamilton) for about 150 m.  As you get to the far end of the trial bridge ( under construction ? ) you'll head down the embankment on the leftside (North).  There is a switch back road covered in grass that leads down the embankment.  Enter the wooded trail at the bottom and 20 feet later you'll find us. 
Again the green arrow on this map shows you exactly where we'll be workinghttp://goo.gl/maps/zUwYh  
This event is put on by our newly formed volunteer organization Stewards of the Cootes Watershed in partnership with the long established Field and Stream Rescue Team.  
If you'd like to know more about Stewards of the Cootes Watershed , I have included a little intro piece that will explain more about our objectives and activities. 
Hope to see you on Saturday 
Best Regards,  Alan
alanhansell@gmail.com

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hikers! Speak for the Future of Dundas Valley!

Hermitage Ruins, Main Loop, Dundas Valley, photo by Randy Kay

You can speak up now to have a say in the next 50 years of the Dundas Valley. There's an open house this Wednesday and an online survey about setting strategic directions. The Hamilton Conservation Authority wants to hear from you!

Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision Open House
Wednesday 26th September, 2012
6:00pm to 9.00pm
A brief presentation will be given at 7:15pm
Dundas Public Library-Allwood Room (18 Ogilvie St. Dundas)


TAKE AN ONLINE SURVEY ABOUT THE VALLEY HERE

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Starts Low

Spencer Creek Trail, September 2012, by Randy Kay

I've always felt that autumn begins on the ground and works its way up. Meaning the yellow of the late blooming Jerusalem Artichokes and the Goldenrod heads deeper gold are signs that the autumnal equinox is upon us. The leaves on the trees for the most part are still mainly green, but the higher canopy will soon be touched. 

The autumn fire starts below and will catch the tallest trees in their blaze of colour. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Main Loop, Dundas Valley

The Main Loop. It's a big hike, but one you must take when in Dundas Valley. I rode my bike around it today and snapped some photos along the way. It's quite a diverse display of habitat, as you can see. Start at the Trail Centre and leave lots of time if you are walking (not riding) - Main Loop is 3.5km with lots of hills. The Dundas Valley Brochure is available from the Hamilton Conservation Authority for more details and maps.
Hemlock Groves in a valley by Sulphur Creek - quiet, moody sanctuary

The Old Oak at Main Loop and Monarch Trail

Merrick Orchard

Wood and Rock on Main Loop

Wood and Rock together near Hermitage Creek, Main Loop

Hermitage Creek

 Hermitage Cascade flowing
The Hermitage ruins

Historic Sulphur Spring just off the Main Loop (across Sulphur Spring Road) - strong sulphur smell

Sulphur Creek by Sulphur Creek Road and the spring. Strong smell of sulphur here

Friday, September 14, 2012

History Hike

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group is hosting a History Hike as part of their Alternative Welcome Week programming:

Coldspring Valley/Lot M Restoration Hike--1-2pm (MUSC 229)
This in-campus history walking-tour includes the founding of McMaster University in Hamilton in 1930, the original six buildings meant to be "indistinguishable from the neighbouring Royal Botanical Garden parkland;" an overview of the importance of the ecology of neighbouring Cootes Paradise; the H&D Railway (1880), Cootes Drive (1936) as one of the first "modern" highways in Canada; and in the west campus, the loss of Royal Botanical Gardens' land in the 1963 as McMaster expanded an ambitious parking plan (1969) into Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary (1958-1963)
The hike lasts an hour, comfortable walking shoes and weather appropriate clothing required.
Hike leader: Randy Kay of Restore Cootes. Restore Cootes' seeks ways to enhance and restore natural areas on the periphery of Cootes Paradise that have been degraded or lost to development. Randy is also OPIRG McMaster's Coordinator of Volunteers. 
This is a free event, no registration required. Rain or Shine! Meet at the McMaster University Student Centre room 229 for a 1pm departure.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spring Creek Trail, Dundas Valley

 Spring Creek Trail in Dundas Valley connects Warren Park at the eastern end of the trail with the Dundas Trail Centre at the western end. Along the way, a footpath through a gorgeous valley, with plenty of hills, open fields, gloomy hemlock groves, and the lovely spring creek stitching it all together.
The low lying valley has a trail that parallels Spring Creek as the creek meanders toward Cootes Paradise. Beyond Warren Park the creek flows into the larger Spencer Creek before reaching Cootes Paradise, AKA the Dundas Marsh. Several low foot bridges help keep travellers feet dry while following the creek.
The Spring Creek Trail also roughly parallels the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, so it can serve as an alternate route, providing a cool sheltered walk when the rail trail is too hot. Going west to east will get you more downhill action on your bicycle, but please be aware of people walking on the trails as you descend, or corner.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The trail formerly known as Ski Loop 1


There's a fine little loop trail, formerly known as Ski Loop #1 in the Dundas Valley, now labelled as Deer Run Trail. The path encompasses many of the joys of the valley, with steep ravines, lovely forest cover, and well defined trails. Of course, the aptly named Deer Run provided live specimens of the deer-y kind (below).


If longer hikes aren't on your agenda, or you have little ones who want a taste of the forest without an epic hours-long adventure, this is a great introduction. For little children, in fact, this would be epic, with lots of up and down hills, curving pathways lined with tree stumps and branches (pictured below) to help them keep on the trail, and if a quiet interlude can be maintained, there are bird songs and possible animal sightings to seal the deal.


This trail is very close to the Dundas Valley Trail Centre. To get there from the trail centre, walk across the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail at the Main Loop Trail, and take the first right, directly at the top of the hill. Do the full loop and reward little ones (and adults too) upon completion with affordable treats (chips, granola bars, etc.)  food (hotdogs) or beverages (pop, juice, energy drinks, fair trade coffee) at the Trail Centre during their regular hours.

I suspect too that this trail is not as busy with mountain bikes, which always are a worry to parents with little ones on some of the longer through trails.

More Binkley Bridge Building

The Binkley Bridge at the eastern end of the Dundas section of the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail is looking good, and it can't be too much longer until the barricades are removed to allow trail users back on. As you can see, the railings have been added since last time we were out there (previous blog entry) and the entire structure has a handsome appearance from the side views as well as the on-bridge view.

I haven't bothered to call the HCA about a firm date for re-opening, but I can't imagine it taking more than another week. I'm looking forward to crossing the bridge on my bicycle again, though I may occasionally take the detour path if the bridge looks too busy with pedestrians...


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Binkley Bridge Bit by Bit

Binkley Bridge August 18, 2012, photo by r.k.
It looks like the replacement bridge at Binkley Hollow on the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail is getting close to completion. Originally to be completed by June 2012, a year after a wooden support beam cracked, the project was delayed when the steel supports came in too long and had to be resized. So it looks like late August for the bridge to be done and ready for pedestrian and cycling traffic.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Plan a Hike

Trail Centre, Dundas Valley Conservation Area

GeoTrails continue to amaze with their online mapping tools. We've talked them up here before more than once, but the layers of mapping have steadily encompassed more of the kind of things hikers, cyclists and nature lovers will appreciate.

Looking for a great hike to one of Hamilton's 100 plus waterfalls? Start right here and then keep going to see detailed trail routes, trail head images, and plenty more.

I'm not sure if the trails mapped have been specifically contracted to the GeoTrails team to create, since I notice that the Spencer Creek Trail in Dundas is not marked, and likely others as well. Still, even with the gaps, an amazing local resource, and the mapping extends well beyond our municipal borders and across the country for those looking for adventures further afield.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rail Trail Robbery

The local media are reporting that a woman was robbed at gunpoint yesterday (Monday, July 30) at 12:30pm on the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail by Bowman and Baxter Streets in West Hamilton.

"Police say that a 38-year-old woman was walking west in the area of Bowman and Baxter sts. when a youth on a bike pulled up in front of her, produced a gun and demanded she give him her bags.
He then biked east. The woman was not harmed but her ID, some cash and a cell phone were taken.
The youth is described as white, between 15 and 18, tall, thin, dressed in black and wearing a dark hat." (source: http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/07/31/hamilton-gunpoint-robbery.html)

View Larger Map

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bridge over Binkley

Work was underway on a hot sunny day in Dundas, as workers installed the steel understructure for the replacement pedestrian/cycling bridge over Binkley Hollow. I wonder how many cyclists will opt to continue using the detour path after the bridge is in place?
The project was originally intended to be completed by June, but apparently we are looking at late July or early August.
It will be great to have it back in place, especially for elderly people and people using mobility devices to get places like University Plaza, Dundana School, etc, off the rail trail.


View Binkley Hollow Pedestrian Bridge in a larger map

Friday, June 1, 2012

International Trails Day

Waterfront Trail, Hamilton ON
It certainly snuck up on me, but Saturday, June 2, 2012 is International Trails Day. Do you have any plans for the day?

If you are in the Dundas/Hamilton region and out hiking tomorrow, send us your photos and we will post them on the site!

Don't let the rain stop you from enjoying the trails. The added flow to the water courses should make waterfall destinations all the more exciting!

Enjoy the trails, wherever you are!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Falling for Falls

I was quite surprised, at least for a few seconds, at the announcement from the Hamilton Conservation Area that they were closing the stairs at Webster's Falls, as of tomorrow (May 26). Surprised because that is the only realistic way one can conceive of getting safely from the top of the falls to the bottom (or vice-versa). But safety is a slippery slope on a spectrum, and the stairs are definitely not the easiest stairs to manage. That's where I see the HCA's valid concern, and the easy drive in to park above the falls to hike down the stairs to access the base of the waterfall has made the descent a busy one.
Perhaps ease of access by car has assured Websters Falls the kind of success that can ruin a place. I personally avoid Websters during weekends and holidays for the crowds that overflow the capacity of the road system, the parking lots, the bathroom facilities and the quiet and powerful enjoyment I would otherwise derive from being there.
The path less taken, will now be the only route in, on foot, approaching from the east along the gorge following the Bruce Trail side trail to the base of the falls along Spencer Creek. The level of commitment to the journey here means there will be some filtering-out of people seeking the experience at the base of the falls looking up: it is a longer hike and at times more difficult with tricky footing along the edge of the ravine. The payoff is the beauty, being in a place where you can really feel like you have left "civilization" behind. The rugged moss-shouldered boulders, the sharp cliffs, the swirling, rushing water and the dark ferns, pines and hemlocks crowding out the noise and sights of human-created form.

The attraction of nearby nature has become more widely sought-after among the general population, and the resultant demands placed on nature - and let's be frank, we are talking about fragmented remnants of a much much larger lost wilderness - are increasing. Websters Falls serves as a local example of the kind of toll being exacted at these tourist attractions.
What is the solution to the problem of success? More local wild places. A recognition of the value of saving ("conserving") what we have, but also a commitment to restoring what we have lost. Expanding the bounds so that the point of contact is closer to where we are, not a drive-to or drive-through experience, but a walk, cycle, transit accessible experience.
We know people enjoy natural spaces, we know the benefits that accrue those who seek it out; but we cannot sustain the current supply of limited tourist hotspots. Something is going to give, and we know the trampling feet will outpace the ferns, grasses and reeds, and the fragile ecology of our remnant forests.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

walking comfort

"The walk through the darkness along the country road strangely impressed him, and the church with all its lights in the distance, coming gradually nearer, seemed very friendly. At first he was shy with his uncle, but little by little grew used to him, and he would slip his hand in his uncle's and walk more easily for the feeling of protection."
W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage)

Monday, May 7, 2012

RESTORE COOTES: Turtle Watching: Volunteers Needed

Attention all Dundas hikers! Lend some time to protecting turtles on your walks: Please check out
RESTORE COOTES: Turtle Watching: Volunteers Needed: a couple hours a week will help our slow moving friends survive Cootes and Olympic Drive...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I walk the (on)line on Waterfalls

Tiffany Falls
I must say I am impressed with Tourism Hamilton's waterfall hikes page http://hamiltonwaterfalls.geotrail.ca/ - which uses the same format/engine as the Royal Botanical Garden's Trail site we've shared with you before.

There are 10 different waterfall hikes featured on the site, and some of the hikes will take you past several waterfalls on one journey. If you haven't experienced some of these walks, start adding them to your "bucket list."

This is a high calibre web site that at a glance gives you the level of difficulty on the trail to the waterfall(s), route distance, and estimated time to hike. Of course you also get a map, and photos of the waterfalls.

Using the web site you can select views at points along the trail to see photos of the trailhead, waterfall views, and various points of interest along the way. A wonderful planning tool for local hikers and visitors to Hamilton.

It should almost become a duty for residents of Hamilton to get out the the many waterfalls, and to ensure that visiting friends and family get the same chance when in town.

Once you select a hike you can click on a link to directions using Google maps, and if you are really into sustainability, it is good to know that many of these trailheads are accessible using public transit or by bicycle (Google maps can get you the directions for walking, cycling, transit and driving)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

walking war zone?

From the Hamilton Conservation Authority - 

"Please be aware that Members of the Canadian Forces will be carrying out training exercises in the west end of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area on Wednesday April 18th and Wednesday May 2nd, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Members of the military may be carrying weapons but without live ammunition. The trails in the area remain open."


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spencer Creek Clean Up Saturday

SATURDAY, APRIL 14 - 9:00am

Join Councillor Russ Powers for his Annual Spencer Creek Team Up to Clean Up the banks of the Spencer Creek between Ogilvie and Cootes Drive.

Meet at 9:00 a.m. (done by noon) on the south side of Dundas Street at West Street.

Tim Horton's is a sponsor of this event and will be providing complimentary beverages and snacks.

For more information, contact Arlene VanderBeek, in Clr. Powers' office at 905-546-3190.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ponds to Parking Historical Hike


Hi - we're going to do another Ponds to Parking Historical Hike into McMaster's west campus to get a feel for the changes that have occurred to the landscape over the last 200 years. Will Coldspring Valley re-emerge from beneath the pavement of Parking Lot M? 


Meet at the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) McMaster office, in the Student Centre room 229 for a 1:30pm departure. The hike takes about an hour. Dress for the weather.


For more information, contact Randy at 905-525-9140 ext. 26026 or e-mail dundastard@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

signs of spring

Tree buds in the 17 degree (C) sunshine, Desjardin's Trail, Hamilton ON

Friday, February 24, 2012

Draw Bridge

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) shared the Binkley Hollow replacement bridge drawings with Dundas Walks. The replacement bridge will be the same width, height and length of the former bridge, with a wood deck and railings, but a sturdy steel frame that will have a longer life-span than the wooden beams which it replaces. The work will begin this spring and is expected to conclude in June 2012. A service path beside the bridge is being used as a detour route for cyclists and pedestrians on the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail. The bridge drawings indicate bollards at each end of the bridge, but Alexander Bell, Manager of Design and Development at the HCA confirms that they will not be used on the actual bridge, since they would interfere with bicycle traffic.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Un-bridged Binkley

The "Powers Crossing" bridge on the Hamilton-Brantford rail trail at Binkley Hollow has been removed by the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) leaving only concrete footings in place. A detour path beside the former bridge allows pedestrian and cyclist access between West Hamilton and Dundas, albeit narrower with a steeper grade than the bridge formally provided.

The Hamilton Spectator reported in January that construction on the new bridge would begin in the spring with a June re-opening. They reported that the original bridge was constructed in 1995, and was closed when a main beam collapsed.

The Dundas Star News reported that the replacement cost was $180,000, and the bridge would be a steel frame rather than the douglas fir used for the original. A steel frame will increase the life span to 70 years, rather than 30 for wood, however the deck and railings will use wood timbers, so the look will be similar to the previous bridge, the Star reported.

Monday, January 30, 2012

inspired snow


Cathedral Snow, by Randy Kay, January 29, 2012, Hamilton ON
‎"There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance."
William Sharp


thanks to Sue Breeze for the quote!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spencer Creek, the reason for a trail

Spencer Creek, flowing under Main Street, barrier free
 The Spencer Creek in Dundas is like a watery line dividing the town, running west to east, and of course a natural destination for nature lovers. Water is the building block of life, and the Spencer Creek trail is my personal favourite trail in Dundas (and that's saying something!)

Spencer Creek Trail, looking East, between Main Street and West Street, Dundas ON
What attracts me to this trail is, of course, the obvious beauty of a footpath running through a built-up community: the trail takes you away from, but also to, places you might actually want to get to. Tonight I was heading to a sports-store for skate laces, etc., and I really enjoyed getting away from the loud roadways to seek refuge by the naturalized creek (i.e. where before a concrete barrier blocked the natural flow of water and watery life under the Main Street bridge i.e. fish, etc., the first photo (above) shows the post-barrier flow under the Main Street/Osler Bridge.)

But the appeal of this creek and the trail, beyond the already alluded to beauty, is the brokenness of the system. No, not the omnipresent litter, but the fact that hikers have to leave the creek to traverse along sidewalks, interrupting the reverie that comes with proximity to the rushing waters. This more than anything is a sign that we have yet to realize the value and potential of this creek for the former town and its current inhabitants.

Ideally we should be able to spend our time alongside the creek, uninterrupted by detours to less tranquil environments, as we go from one end of Dundas to another. Now there's a realizable goal to keep in mind!

This blog began with my concern for the sanctity of the Spencer Creek Trail, a much more vulnerable bit of real estate than say, the Dundas Valley Conservation Area trails. We need to pay attention to this trail, while seeking ways to help improve the route, and pay homage to the work of the trail's early stewards like Ian Reid. This creek defines our purpose, and re-connecting the trail along the full course of the creek is a priority for this blog's author! Join me...


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Sky over Cootes Paradise, looking west from Burlington Heights, January 1, 2012

Wishing everyone a new year of wonderful excursions into the woods, prairies, mountains and marshlands!