April 28, 2013: Drinking the Devil’s Punch on a Sunday

The Limestone Ladies are growing ever more hard-core.  Today was our first back-to-back weekend of hiking.  And, I’m happy to say, it was a great success.

We enjoyed the tour of Hamilton on our way to the start of the hike.  In particular, we were intrigued by a hair salon called “House of Vogue” which offers $6 buzz cuts.  Next time, ladies, we shall combine the trail session with a $6 makeover.

The first interesting diversion was the climb up to the Devil’s Punch Bowl.   Steep, perhaps, but definitely worth the exertion!  (A side note:  it’s interesting how many times the Devil pops up along the Bruce Trail :  Devil’s Punchbowl, Devil’s Pulpit, Devil’s Monument, Devil’s Glen… all such a heavenly places!)


Clambering up to the punchbowl


Limestone Ladies at the Devil’s Punchbowl lookout. Note the haze over the Lake Ontario basin.


10 m high steel cross erected on the cliff at the Devil’s Punchbowl. It is lit at night by 106 light bulbs.

The punchbowl itself is a 37 metre (121 foot) drop into a 60 metre wide basin, carved by water erosion of  sedimentary rock about 12,000 years ago.  This type of waterfall is known as a Ribbon Waterfall.  The bowl showcases colourful layers of sedimentary deposits, including red shale, gray shale, limestone and shale dolomite.  A great geology lesson!


The Devil’s Punch bowl, possibly named for the home brew that was bootlegged in the area in bygone times.


Limestone Ladies and limestone punchbowl

We climbed down into the Stoney Creek valley.  Thankfully, there was a staircase.


The grand descent down the spiral staircase


Stoney Creek below the punchbowl


Limestone Ladies at Stoney Creek. Hike Number 7!


Looking up from the valley

From here on, the hike became much more urban.  We were never out of sight of roads, houses, cars, railway tracks.


Railway underpass

Our views from the trail reminded us that we were in a narrow fringe of nature, surrounded on all sides by human landscapes.


Hiking beside Greenhill Ave


Urban hiking view

Still, we encountered many charming moments along the trail, such as this weathered giant.


Anne, Liz, Ruth


There is always another uphill climb!

One of the most beautiful waterfalls we have seen so far is the lacy Felker’s Falls.  This type of waterfall is known as a “Terraced Ribbon.”  The green pool at the bottom is most enticing, and impossible to get to.


Felker’s Falls: Red Hill Creek tumbles 72 feet (22 m) here.

When we think of the Bruce Trail, we tend to think of clambering over rugged limestone boulders in a landscape of wind-twisted cedars.  However, there is a different Bruce trail, a very urban Bruce trail, which is a valid as its wild counterpart.  I found this urban environment quite fascinating.


The urban hiking backdrop


Red Hill Valley Parkway viaduct. The trail passes underneath.


Urban canvases – why not?


I love the juxtaposition of the tranquil bulrush-ringed pond with the graffiti-splashed concrete.

We crossed over Red Hill Creek, which was very pretty and clear.  We had the delight of watching a Labrador retriever playing in the creek – obviously he had great insulation.


Red Hill Creek

It was a short hike, only 12 km (20,659 steps, for those who want to know) and only too soon, the day came to an end.


Congratulations to the Limestone Ladies on our first full weekend hike!

About idreamoftobermory

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