March 03, 2013: Crunch, Crunch, Crunch: Winter hiking in Grimsby.

Today’s hike was supposed to be through Ball’s Falls, but we heard that the Conservation Authority had closed the trail there due to ice.  So, being flexible and adaptable (really, we’re just looking for a good time!)  we skipped that section and set out from Quarry Road.    Balls’ Falls:  see ya next time!

Being responsible and prepared for everything, we showed up with Yaktrax and poles, ready to grapple with some serious ice.  Happily, we discovered  delightful crunchy snow which grabbed the hiking boot gently yet firmly.  Off we went: crunch, crunch, crunch.  It was a superb day for hiking, but not much good for stealthily sneaking up on woodland creatures.  The crunching announced our presence all day.  Another advantage of the intimidating snow and ice was that we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.

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Here we are near the start of the trail

Off we went, crunching up and down the craggy Niagara Escarpment.  The winter forest was delightful, as the lack of leaf cover allowed us many spectacular views out over Lake Ontario.  We felt fortunate to have this gift of scenery.  In summer, the leaves would hide the sweeping vistas and the steely blue water.

Once again, we had some new hikers join our group.  We are growing by leaps and bounds and are lucky to have so many cheerful, hardy trekkers willing to hang out on the trail for a day.  Here are our latest newbies:

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Louise

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Jean

I put in a few photos of the terrain as a reminder of the ups and downs that every trail hiker faces.  These cliffs and crags and gullies are the essential fabric of the Bruce Trail.  We have learned to love them and they are making us strong!

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One foot carefully after the other

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The three billy goats escaped the troll….. this time!

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Hardy hikers

You never know what lurks deep in the woods…. When we least expected it, we encountered a fire-and-brimstone preacher who tried to save our souls.

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Sister Inga’s Traveling Salvation Show!

We got rid of the poor woman by pushing her into the creek – making it look like an accident, of course.

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How to deal with pesky preachers

You didn’t need to be an oenophile to realize that we were traveling through some pretty serious wine country.  For most of the hike we were surrounded by vineyards.  Alas, the wineries were all closed!  This fact alone has ensured that we will do the trail again, next time being sure to pass this area in the fall!

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Typical scenery in Grimsby section

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Many intriguing wineries to choose from

Somewhere in Ontario, lives a person who creates these little whimsical moments along the trail.  We have seen similar installations on our other hikes.  I imagine this person has a good imagination and takes great pleasure in these guerilla acts of wilderness decorating.

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Festive tree in the middle of nowhere

Some thoughtful donors created a comfortable lunch spot right beside the rushing waters of Thirty Mile Creek.  We pulled out the gourmet goodies and enjoyed our “table with a view.”

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Lunchtime!

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Lunchtime!

Thirty Mile creek is very pretty in the winter, especially the stone footbridge.

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Thirty Mile Creek footbridge

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Thirty Mile Creek

After the creek, we had a long section of tramping along the escarpment, up and down, through woods and across streambeds.  From the high points, there were sweeping views out over the lake.

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Note Lake Ontario in the background. (foreground is pretty nice too!)

At times the terrain was challenging and icy.

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This was the most treacherous part.

We all thought that Julie was such a hard-core hiker, but her real nature was revealed when we discovered this little chair by the side of the trail….

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The armchair traveller

As we neared the Gibson Road endpoint, we passed by this strange edifice in the woods.  Someone went to a lot of trouble to erect it, whatever it is!  If anyone knows the history of this building, please leave a comment.

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A mausoleum? Really fancy outhouse? Concrete gazebo?

All great days come to an end, and our ending was Forty Mile Creek.  We posed for a few last photos above the rushing creek waters, happy in the knowledge that we have another hike coming up soon!

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The end of a great day

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Tired but happy

As always, there are a few random leftover photos that are just too good to leave out:

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Jean & Mary couldn’t just pass by this rock & leave it alone.

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A wonderful day spent with Bruce!

About idreamoftobermory

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