January 27, 2013: Land of the Frozen Waterfalls

Today we tackled Hike #3 and were blessed us with something special: sunshine!  After the endless rain and discouraging grayness of our first two hikes, we were astonished to see a bright orb in the sky!  Could it be?  Yes, the sun, shining on our little band of hardy hikers.

Heading out from Morningstar Mill on a glorious winter day

Heading out from Morningstar Mill on a glorious winter day

We were excited to welcome some new faces to the group:

Jill

Jill

Sarah and Sheila

Sarah and Sheila

Joyce

Joyce

Inga.  Funny.... we haven't seen her since this picture was taken!

Inga. Funny…. we haven’t seen her since this picture was taken!

The first part of the hike took us through a beautiful forest of mixed hardwood.  We were awed by the age and size of some of the trees.  It is rare to see such giants anymore as they don’t fit onto a suburban lot in a subdivision.

A wise old tree beside the path

A wise old tree beside the path

Little did we realize that we were entering the Land  of the Frozen Waterfalls,  a magical place where water stands still.  The first silent cascade we came to was Terrace Creek Falls.

Terrace Creek Falls

Terrace Creek Falls

Terrace Creek Falls

Terrace Creek Falls

Up close, it was more like a grizzly old hermit’s beard!

Frozen strands of waterfall.

Frozen strands of waterfall.

Fun thing we encountered along the way:  Some energetic person had hung Christmas ornaments on a pine tree in the middle of a large meadow.  This person had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to create an unexpected piece of whimsey.  It had the intended effect: we were delighted!

Christmas tree in the middle of nowhere.

Christmas tree in the middle of nowhere.

Oh, look!  Another frozen waterfall!

Swayze Falls

Swayze Falls

Growing tired of waterfalls, we stopped for lunch.  Memo to all winter hikers:  bring a good-quality thermos.  Nothing like a hot drink on a cold day.  Second memo to hikers: hot toddy?

Lunch on a comfortable fallen log

Lunch on a comfortable fallen log

One thing I love about the Bruce Trail is that the humble stile is alive and well.  In this day of escalators and elevators, there is something so satisfying about climbing over a stile.  It’s the stuff of nursery rhymes….

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Most people would not expect to encounter a herd of llamas along the Bruce Trail, but we did!

Llama

Llama

The trail started to get more rugged and challenging and we had to pay more attention to footing on the mossy rocks and frozen stream crossings.

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Unfortunately, some people just didn’t seem to be taking the hike very seriously!

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Next up was the stunning (frozen) Fifteen Mile Creek Falls.  Note the karst topography, with water seeping through dissolved channels in the soluble rock.

Fifteen Mile Creek has carved out this huge bowl in the dolostone.

Fifteen Mile Creek has carved out this huge bowl in the dolostone.

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Top of Fifteen Mile Creek Falls

We passed by a shooting range which was well- marked by about 100 threatening signs – in case the sound of repeated gunfire didn’t deter you!

No ambiguity here.

No ambiguity here.

After this the trail got quite gnarly, with challenging ascents and descents, made more treacherous by the slippery skiff of snow.

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Approaching the summit after a long climb

Approaching the summit after a long climb

Everyone was all smiles at the top!

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One more frozen waterfall…..

Unnamed waterfall - frozen nice & solid, the way we like them!

Unnamed waterfall – frozen nice & solid, the way we like them!

And another climb…

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And then we arrived at the parking lot at Louth conservation Area, waiting for the car shuttle.

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What a great day!  16.3 km!  Congratulations everyone.  You deserve to smile….

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See y’all in March!

About idreamoftobermory

Hiker, kayaker, canoeist, cross-country skier, cyclist, wanderer, adventurer.
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