Friday, August 19, 2016

Brothers Creek Loop Trail

It took 3 hrs 20 mins to do this hike, including the Blue Gentian Lake and Lost Lake loop (not shown on this general map of the trail), but excluding the recommended detour to the Candelabra and Big Fir which we sadly missed due to bad signage. We saw the "5 and 6" sign post, but did not know it lead to the old growth trees. There really should be detailed printable maps for all these hike. I make my own, but they're not perfect.

We took the advice of commenters and went west/clockwise along the the Baden Powell Trail close to the power lines rather than follow the directions by starting up the Brothers Creek Fire Access Road. This was in order to begin the trail with the steeper incline and stairs on the Baden Powell Trail which is easier on the knees. However, this was not a great idea either, as much of the fire road is loose rock, which is not so pleasant to descend and easy to slip on.

If you do go west/clockwise, you'll hit some wooden stairs at the 15 minute mark, and then a marked lookout. Someone left an old chair you can meditate on. Minutes after the lookout we got lost by continuing up a trail that wasn't a trail (you'll know you're on it, because it goes up towards the waterfall and is not safe). We retraced our steps and then saw the hairpin turn (with no marker) we missed that leads down to some primitive stairs and a bridge over the creek.

It took 1 hour to get to the main bridge at the tip of the loop. Beautiful shady trail with waterfalls. Lots of twisted roots underfoot, and a rock bed creek to cross (it was low at this time of year). At the west side of the main bridge we took the Blue Gentian Lake Trail (the Lost Lake trail is on other side of the bridge). Blue Gentian is the nicer of the two lakes, and has a picnic table—perfect time and place for a lunch break. It's pictured above. This side loop detour took 1 hour. Map that includes lakes loop.

The return part of the main loop took another hour and 20 minutes. As I mentioned, much of the road is loose rock, but also has some flat spots. Whereas the scenery on the west/Baden Powell section is gnome country (moss, undergrowth etc), the scenery on the Fire Access Road becomes less dense, with soaring second growth trees. Lots of huge old stumps, and a section of charred stumps from a 1916 fire. There are other historical reminders of logging here, such as skid roads made of logs, and the remains of a mill boiler house and steam sawmill foundation (marked, but easy to miss if you are looking down).

The view of the city above is just after the gate you go through to get to the trail.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Eagle Bluffs

Baden Powell trail to Black Mountain and Eagle Bluffs took us 3hrs and 50 mins. We missed the views due to cloud cover, but it was still beautiful. The many small lakes along the way are like perfect oases. This is not a challenging trail, but still a good workout. The only part I didn't like was the loose gravel and stone at the beginning, especially coming back down. At Eagle Bluffs there are 2 large ravens waiting. We started at 8am, and just had time to eat lunch there before the crowds descended. The top photo is of Cabin Lake where we met the chipmunk.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ontario Wine Country



Kew Vineyards


The fam and I did a wine tasting tour of the Niagara Escarpment region. First we went to Peninsula Ridge, which has a restaurant in a beautiful red brick farm house in front (closed that day, but picturesque). Then Rosewood who specialize in mead and wine flavoured with honey. Then lunch and more tasting at The Good Earth. I really liked the atmosphere of this place. The food was good—simple local fare (tho pricey). The patio looks out over their garden. Malivoire has a popular "Musqué Spritz", so we went there for a bottle. Kew Vineyards specializes in sparkling wine, and is located in a lovely old house. The branding and feel here is very feminine. Vineland was the most impressive property, with an 1845 farmhouse restaurant, 1850s carriage house, and 1877 barn where the wine store is. The renovations look extensive, but are well done. Lastly we visited Featherstone which has a less grandiose, family farm feel, and resident falcon to keep starlings away from the grapes. If I knew anything about wine, I'd be able to provide a helpful review. But I'll just say that the drive along King St. through Beamsville to Vineland had quaint old houses, a school, and churches to see, the staff at every winery were helpful and kind, and I enjoyed all the wines! Thanks, T&B.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Simple Things

A full-moon night at my sister and her husband's farm.

Monday, July 04, 2016

raspberry beer

Tried something new.  Basically sweet, delicious, beer-like raspberry juice.  So drinkable.  Pretty colour too.  I still prefer my go-to wheat beer.