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!)

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Clambering up to the punchbowl

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

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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!

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

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Limestone Ladies and limestone punchbowl

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

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The grand descent down the spiral staircase

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Stoney Creek below the punchbowl

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Limestone Ladies at Stoney Creek. Hike Number 7!

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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.

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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.

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Hiking beside Greenhill Ave

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Urban hiking view

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

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Anne, Liz, Ruth

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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.

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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.

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The urban hiking backdrop

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Red Hill Valley Parkway viaduct. The trail passes underneath.

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Urban canvases – why not?

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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.

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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.

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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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