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Miscellaneous Hikes / Lafarge Trail - Gore Rd to HWY 97 and return - Feb 20, 2010
« Last post by DaveC on February 20, 2010, 04:33:22 PM »
     I was planning on attending the GHTC hike scheduled for today, along the Elora Cataract Trail.  This didn't work out, however, as I found out that the company I expected were arriving at around 2pm, and there was no way that I could attend.  So instead, I packed the family up and met my father for breakfast in Morriston.  After eating, we drove a couple minutes further down HWY 6 to the Lafarge Trail, which is only 13.5km and 17 minute drive from my house in south Guelph.

     From Gore Rd, the trail starts out through a planted pine forest, and then emerges out onto a boardwalk across a swamp.

     This is a very straight trail, as it follows a concession allowance, although there is a bit of ascending and descending here and there.  You pass some mobile homes on the east side of the trail, and this area has too many irresponsible dog owners that refuse to clean up after their pets which turned it into a bit of a mine field.  Having said that, it was still a very pretty hike and it was new to us so we enjoyed it.  The kids had fun picking out the trees that they easily recognize such as Birch, Maple, Cedar, Hemlock, Spruce, etc. and there were some significant rocks that they enjoyed climbing.

Miscellaneous Hikes / Bruce Trail - Iroquoia Sect - Kelso - Feb 19, 2010
« Last post by DaveC on February 20, 2010, 03:50:27 PM »
     Between Guelph Line and HWY 25, and less than 30km from south end of Guelph, Kelso Conservation Area has an extensive system of trails that run up and along the escarpment.  Friday was a gorgeous afternoon for a hike, sunny and about 1C, although the wind had a bit of a bite in it.

     I met my father at the Glen Eden Ski Hill parking lot, we crossed their enclosed bridge over the rail, and we set out along the clearly marked trail.  We stuck to the Bruce Trail and made a 7km loop hike using the main trail and the Glen Eden Side Trail.   Shortly after you begin climbing, you run into two old kilns.  Someone has taken the time to print off tonnes of historical information on the kilns and the area and attach it to the surrounding fence.

     Once you make it to the top, you are rewarded with some stunning views of the surrounding area, although the winds are incredible until you pass the first major lookout and get protected by trees a bit.  This is along the Milton Outlier and is the area where the world's slowest growing trees can be found.  These ancient dwarf cedars grow along the edge of the cliffs, are twisted and small, and can be as little as a few feet tall after hundreds and hundreds of years of growing.  The oldest living cedar along here was discovered by Professor Larson of the  University of Guelph at 1316yrs old.  Professor Larson also discovered a dead dwarf cedar along here that was 1890yrs old.  Amazing!

     Some amazing views, a good workout, and some fantastic ancient trees...all less than a half hour from Guelph.  If you haven't been, I highly recommend it!

Miscellaneous Hikes / Everton - Feb 7, 2010 - Led by Bill Mungall
« Last post by DaveC on February 12, 2010, 08:15:42 PM »
     Another amazing day for a hike.  It had warmed up a bit from the day before and was about -4C, and again, sunny.  The hike had a great turn out, 21 people I believe...and exactly 2/3 were skiing and 1/3 were hiking.  Right from the time you passed the old mill, you could tell that you were in a special place.  So much so that I didn't even snap pics, which I really regret now.

     Bill started out with an overview of the upcoming hike and the area.  He explained that these were the remnants of an ancient coral reef, and since we would be hiking on the surface of the frozen Eramosa, he ran over safety issues.  Bill led the skiiers, and set Norm up to marshall us hikers.

We headed out onto the ice, with Mary and then Victoria out ahead of me, and before long I had completely tuned out into personal zone and was just enthralled with the cliffs and trees, completely forgetting my camera.  I am not even sure how long we hiked before a bit of overheating snapped me back into reality.

Bill ensured we spread out on the ice to avoid putting too much pressure on any one place.

This proved wise, as there was one spot that we stopped and cluttered together as Bill pointed out the evidence of an ancient gorge buried deep beneath us, that ran perpendicular to the Eramosa.  As we resumed, a few of us hikers heard a nasty cracking and witnessed a line appear clear across the river.  Time to move!!!

It wasn't long before the ice conditions got really hairy.  This pic is the point where Bill decided it was time to turn us around and head us back, and catches a shot of Florence and the open water beyond.

Spotted some beautiful ice formations on the way back.

This hike was through a truly unique area, and Bill's knowledge of and enthusiasm for the area came through in all that he said.  Thanks for a great day out, Bill!  I really regret not pulling my camera out WAY more often on this hike.  I know I saw several cameras out there.  If you have pics of this one, PLEASE post them!!!
Kissing Bridge Trailway / Sect 2 - Feb 6, 2010
« Last post by DaveC on February 12, 2010, 07:44:34 PM »
My first time on the Kissing Bridge Trail, it was led by Susan Bard.  A perfect day for a hike, about -7C and sunny.  The following pic is of the group just before heading out...for those that don't know her, Susan is the wee one in the white jacket, 2nd from the left.

Gitta gets a bit chilled if she stands around, so she got out there and set the pace.

The next two were taken from the Musagetes Bridge over Cox Creek.  The first one is looking north, and the next south.

Susan had a neat little story about how the Mennonites ride their bikes up in great numbers to the pond in this next pic, and swim and play on the rope swing while washing.  They grab the rope that is attached to the pole, and run up the steps on right, before swinging and splashing back into the pond.

We had Victoria with us, who is a field naturalist, and pointed out some invasives.  We stopped to rip out some 'dog strangling vine' I think she called it.  She also identified the pic of a tree I had with me as a Black Cherry, ending my frustration.  Thank you Victoria! 

I was dismayed to find out that this tall grass in the next pic is also an invasive, native to somewhere in Asia.  Damn, I have always found it so pretty, especially when it catches hoarfrost.  I am going to have to be a closet fan now!

Eventually, we hit the end of the club's section of trail, and turned around to head back.

I really enjoyed chatting with Bob and Terry on this hike.  Terry had his GPS, and I believe he said that we did between 7 and 8km on this hike, with a moving speed of 4.5km/hr and an average speed of 3.8km/hr.  Another fun day out with the club.  Thanks for the hike Susan!
Radial Line Trail / Westbound Sect 8 and 7 from 5th Line to HWY 25 Feb 4, 2010
« Last post by DaveC on February 04, 2010, 04:45:01 PM »
     I parked my car on 25 SR, a little bit west of HWY 25, and then jumped in to my ride to get a lift over to the juntion of 5th Line and the trail, planning a solo hike return to my car.  Beautiful day for a hike, sunny and about -4C.  The first thing I noticed as I set out on the trail is that there had not been anybody on this section of the trail for quite some time, atleast not since the first good snow.  I found my way around the edge of the corn field and stopped for a look back toward 5th Line.

     I passed under the hydro line and came out onto the northern edge of the quarry.  One of the things I love most about winter hiking is the animal tracks and being able to see the evidence of all their activity.  I don't know how well this picture will demonstrate it, but the quarry was perfect for this, with distant visibility and with various animal's tracks going in all directions.  

     I made my way out of the quarry eventually, up and over the stile at 4th Line.

     As I mentioned, there were no human footprints to follow through Sect 8 so far, and I was relying on map and blazes.  This continued on the west side of 4th Line, and after climbing down the ravine wall to the creek, it was incredibly quiet, giving a real sense of solitude.

     From 4th Line around to Glen Lawson Road turned out to be my favourite section of the day, and there were some really BIG old trees in there.

     I threw my pack down beside one just for some scale.

     There was one section in here where it looked a little dodgy, with some wet snow/ice.  My first time through here, so I had no idea how deep it might be.  I was tempted to find a way to go around, but the trail obviously went straight through so I told myself that in the worst case, it wouldn't be THAT deep.  There were a set of tracks that followed the path, and then just before this wet patch, they cut to the right and crossed at a point a little off the trail, and then cut back across the trail toward the the appearance that it knew something I didn' I followed them.  The ice creaked and groaned, but it held my weight.  I imagine this little section would be soaking at any other time of year.

     Eventually, I popped out onto Glen Lawson Rd and walked along to 3rd Line, and stopped on the bridge.  I snapped one looking south from Glen Lawson, and one looking in each direction off of the bridge.

     Up over the stile on 3rd Line, and I followed the old rail back north, until the trail cut west off of the old rail.


     This next section is the first time that I really noticed the lack of topographic info on the maps, as I did not expect the winding trail and the significant climbs and descents that turned into a great cardio work out through here.  Picking up an old set of prints on the trail, this was also the first signs of human since I had started the day's hike, although the tracks were obviously a little dated as snow had covered them.

     Eventually, I popped out of the forest, crossed the field back to HWY 25, and returned to my vehicle.  Another great hike on the Radial Line Trail!  By the way, compliments yet again to those maintaining these sections.  With the snow fall and no prints, there was no obvious trail to follow most of the way.  There were very few occasions on the day that I had to stop and really look for the next blaze.  Doing a great job!      


Miscellaneous Hikes / Spencer Gorge - Jan 26, 2010
« Last post by DaveC on January 31, 2010, 11:45:08 PM »
     Spencer Gorge - 40km from south end of guelph

Then approached Tews Falls

     Getting around to Websters Falls.

     Crazy stairs

     Views were worth the drive to Dundas.

Radial Line Trail / Re: Sect 6 - Jan 31, 2010
« Last post by DaveC on January 31, 2010, 08:36:40 PM »
I am glad you are enjoying them Pat.  Not a fan of Winter?  I admit that Autumn is my favourite, but I love Winter hikes too.  It helps keep my core temperature down, and I can see so much deeper off the trails, noticing things that I pass right on by in other seasons.  I love how the same hike can appear SO different in each season.

Radial Line Trail / Re: Sect 6 - Jan 31, 2010
« Last post by Pat on January 31, 2010, 07:05:35 PM »
Fantastic photos, David.  Wow!  It was a cold day today and so nice to see these winter shots!  Roll on spring!  It can't come too soon for me.
Radial Line Trail / Sect 6 - Jan 31, 2010
« Last post by DaveC on January 31, 2010, 05:59:25 PM »
     I took a solo hike out the Radial Line Trail on a foggy, rainy day back in November.  I started at Watson, headed East, and am embarassed to admit that I got spun around in Sect 6, east of Kong Hill when it got dark much quicker than I expected.  I ended up popping out onto the Blue Springs Golf Course, and had to humbly call my wife and admit I didn't exactly know where I was.

     This embarassing moment has stuck with me since, so when my 8yr old daughter Madelyn...

...asked to go for a hike today, I decided that I was going back to the scene of the crime, and would figure out what I did wrong on that fateful day.  We drove to the junction of the trail and Dublin Line and headed back in westbound.

     Just as it is described in the GHTC handbook, this first section closest to Dublin Line was quite rocky, and Madelyn loved the rugged terrain.

     It then opens up and thins out a bit, with some beautiful old trees.

     Eventually we came to a log bridge over a wet area, which proved to be snowmobilers nemesis, as their eastbound tracks stopped here.

     From here we were on the old rail and there was what appeared to be open marshy area off to our right.

     The trail leaves the old rail, and wanders uphill until eventually you reach the top of Kong Hill, which has some beautiful lines of sight in almost every direction.  We hung out here for 10 minutes or so, and had a drink and snack before heading back.

     Oh, saw this depression.  Not sure what it is.  Is this a hole left from torn out roots, or some geological sink?  Someone fill me in please.

     All in all, it was a beautiful day for a hike...about -7C, a little bit of wind, and a bit of snowfall...and Madelyn and I really enjoyed the climbs.  Almost exactly 2hr roundtrip at a fairly relaxed pace.  Here are some more odd shots of my daughter enjoying herself.

Radial Line Trail / Re: Parts of Sects 3 and 4 - January 20, 2010
« Last post by Pat on January 28, 2010, 02:13:27 PM »
Lovely to see these, Dave. 

Thanks so much for the great photography and the nice write-up.
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