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Yep, we went back. This time with my sister-in-law, her husband and their two kids. We ate lunch once we arrived, then we were off to explore the kids’ fun area where we learned that there was a new baby goat in their midst (gasp!) – could not wait.

There were tons of things to see and do and the kids (big and small) had a great time. There were lots of animals, beautiful scenery and growing crops (pumpkins are coming!), hay bales for the kids to play in, a spider web to climb, a nice lookout platform with great views over the escarpment (we actually saw the CN Tower – it was a clear day!), tractor “bikes” to roll around on, did I mention the goats?, an informative wagon ride that toured the farm and surrounding irrigation ponds, and more!  We had a great time – it was a gorgeous day, sunny and bright. We stopped by the market on the way out and home we went for a Hawaiian themed dinner party. :)

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These chickens were hilarious – you pressed a button and they would tell a joke.

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Lots of sunflowers made the view really “country cozy”.

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Pony rides!

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View of an irrigation pond from our wagon ride – complete with ducks and fountain:

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Bee hives that house one million bees:

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View of the newly built velodrome for the Pan Am games to be held in Toronto in July 2015:

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More pretty sunflowers:

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The pumpkins have started to grow:

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The wagon we rode :) Farmer Don was a great guide!

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Old-fashioned tractor:

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Windmill above the hay bales:

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I couldn’t help myself…I hate spiders…except when they wear slippers and rollerblades. :)

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Grasshopper!

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Views from the lookout over the escarpment:

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This little guy was my favourite :)

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Oh my goodness…

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Goats…

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View of the Lookout platform from the bottom

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More goats…

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Goats goats goats

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More pumpkins :) And more sunflowers.

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The sunflowers were so tall! Much taller than me!

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The entrance to the maze (more of a path but it was cute)

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Chloe leading me through the maze

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Turkey!

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Peacock!

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Bunnies are so cute

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They live in Bunnyville

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Chris, the goat whisperer :)

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A farm wouldn’t be complete without a rooster. :)

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Farmer Chloe

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Farmer Zach

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Being silly during our Hawaii-themed dinner :)

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This morning we headed out to the Spencer Gorge conservation area in Hamilton on a recommendation from a friend. We still can’t believe how lucky we are to live so close to so many amazing scenic places – this was just a 25 drive away!

Our plan was to hike from Webster’s Falls, to Tews Falls, to Dundas Peak and back. It’s about 5.2km total and we did it under 2 hours. Most of the trail is hard-packed dirt and there are some stairs, some bridges, some areas with a pretty steep drop with no railings but it was totally doable. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we figured by heading out in the morning, we’d beat most of the afternoon heat. I brought this map with us but we didn’t really need it as everything was clearly marked.

We parked at the parking lot near Webster’s Falls on Fallsview Road ($10 parking fee) and at 10am it was mostly empty. We explored the area surrounding the falls; the story says that the area was developed to resemble the English countryside and we were completely enchanted.

View from the lookout closest to the parking lot. We could hear the roar of the falls as we approached.

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We walked down to the cobblestone bridge you see in the distance. You can see people on the bridge as well as at another lookout point just to the left of where the waterfall goes over the edge:

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Coming up to the cobblestone bridge:

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Taken from the cobblestone bridge facing away from the falls:

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Taken from the lookout point right where the falls go over:

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So charming :)

 

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Coming up to the other bridge – beautiful :)

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View from that bridge up the creek:

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From here we followed the trail up towards Tews Falls (about 20 minutes) – the trail is clearly marked.

These are Tews Falls – it’s 9m wide so much narrower than Webster’s but a lot taller – just a few metres shorter than Niagara Falls.

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We continued on to Dundas Peak and got to enjoy some great views from up there:

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A train!

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Raspberries :)

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There were various bridges…

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Some steep drops…

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which provided some cool tree root photos opportunities…

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Some stairways…

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Some scenic paths…

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Maps along the way to tell you where you were…

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On that last map, we noticed that there was a dam (Christie Dam) west of Webster’s Falls (about 2.8km from Webster’s Falls to the dam) so that will likely be our next hike.

It was a great morning!

This morning we headed over to Lion’s Valley Park in Oakville to enjoy a walk/hike on the Sixteen Mile Creek Trail. After reading up online about the trail we decided to scope it out for future walks/hikes. We got to the park very easily, driving east on Dundas and taking a right on Lions Valley Park right after the bridge. The road led us down to a parking area and we headed out on foot across the pedestrian bridge then up the west bank trail. It was a somewhat steep climb to the top where a couple of other cars were parked and we followed a road to a subdivision. There was a dirt path that we saw cyclists come out of but we didn’t venture there this time. The path was off the left side of the path right  after a small guard rail.

We headed back down to the park and walked north to the end of the path which stopped at the creek. Another couple was waiting patiently for their dog to get out of the water and fetch his ball on the other side of the creek. He was having a great time but did end up getting his ball when he was good and ready. :) There was a dirt path off to the left here as well but we chose not to venture there this time either.

It’s a beautiful area and next time we’ll tackle the East Bank – maybe even all the way to Upper Middle road.

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Today we headed south towards Lake Ontario instead of our northern Niagara Escarpment adventures of the past couple of weeks.

We drove along Lakeshore and parked on Brant Street in Burlington, then walked out to the lake where there’s a great promenade and path on the Waterfront Trail. We walked from there all the way to Burlington Beach. All along the beach people enjoyed the sun and water, with paddle boats and inflatable tubes of all kinds. Along the path there were lots of walkers, joggers and cyclists. It’s a great area to enjoy the outdoors.

Most of the pics below are of the downtown waterfront area and promenade. There were lots of geese there too. :)

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This weekend had us heading out to explore another of Halton’s Conservation areas: Mountsberg. This one has a raptor centre which houses birds of prey that you can learn about and see up close including falcons, hawks, eagles and owls. There are also hiking trails and a lake. It was nice to walk around and see the birds.

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After the park, we headed over to Springridge Farm to have some lunch and pick up some fresh-baked goods and fruit. We brought home a strawberry rhubarb pie, 6 tarts (2 each of: wild blueberry, cherry, butter tart) and some blueberries. It had a really nice market and gift shop plus a whole area for kids (which we didn’t partake in). In the shop, we bought a few additional items: cranberry fig port sauce, maple balsamic vinaigrette, peach jam and strawberry rhubarb jam. They had LOTS of yummy things to choose from. Lunch was delicious as well and we enjoyed it on a nearby picnic table. My sandwich was a ham and brie with apple and red pepper jelly sandwich – fabulous. :)

We headed out to explore one of the several parks in the conservation area located about 20 minutes North of where we live. Crawford Lake is special in that it’s a meromictic lake:

A 1971 study revealed Crawford Lake to be meromictic –  because the lake’s basin is deeper than it’s surface area, the lowest levels of water are very rarely, if ever, disturbed by wind or temperature changes. Without an annual turnover of water, there is little oxygen present in its depths and minimal bacterial breakdown, which preserves the layers of sediment that have built up over time. This build up provides an accurate record of the human and natural history of the lake and its surroundings. Studies of this sediment revealed the agricultural history of the Iroquoian people, and the presence of a pre-contact village.  – Excerpt from the Conservation Halton web site

Based on those findings, there is also a reconstructed Iroquois village on site which made us choose this area as the first to explore. The village is laid out with informative signs throughout that provided a really good glimpse into the day to day life of the Iroquois.

The reconstructed15th century Iroquoian village, is well worth an exploratory visit before you head home. From 1973 to 1987, excavations uncovered 11 longhouses on the site and various artefacts of the settlers day-to-day lives. Three of these longhouses have been reconstructed on the exact footprints of the archaeological findings. Peaceful flute music plays softly, encouraging you to wander the village and delve deeper into the history and culture of these original settlers. Learn about their daily lives through Interpretive programs, including simulated digs and presentations on life in the 15th century.  - Excerpt from the Conservation Halton web site

We spent about 45 minutes exploring the village then chose to hike the shortest of the trails available (weren’t sure when the rain would start) Lake Crawford Trail (1.4 km). This trail has a boardwalk that goes all the way around the lake. Beautiful day at Crawford Lake.

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On the trail….

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On a related note – that last pic with the red berries reminded me of something I learned as a child about the dangers of eating berries in the wild: If the birds or other wildlife haven’t eaten the berries, it’s probably safe to assume that they’re not safe for human consumption either… Leave them alone.

 

My sister Sue and her girls arrived on Thursday night. After picking up some groceries we got back home and watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (first movie) in preparation for the party on Saturday. But before then, we had a full day on Friday.

In the morning we headed out to Andrew’s Scenic Acres, a local farm in Milton, Ontario. It was my first time going and we had an amazing time. We spent some time picking raspberries and blueberries, enough to fill 4 small baskets, then did some shopping in the shop (picked up fresh apple pie, butter tarts and homemade jams). We had hot dogs at the BBQ area and the girls played in the small playground and fed the goats. Before we headed to our next stop, we enjoyed a yummy fruit ice cream cone. A perfect summer day:

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After swinging by home to drop off our purchases, we headed to the train station to head downtown to Ripley’s Aquarium. Since we got there at around 6pm, there was no line to speak of (they closed at 11pm). I was so impressed with everything here  from the gorgeous displays to the interactive activities to the amazing Dangerous Lagoon. A must-see for anyone in the area – fabulous.

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My favourite things were the jelly fish, the anemones and the Dangerous Lagoon – it was so freaky to be on the slow-moving walkway going through a tunnel inside the tank and seeing sharks swimming above us. Awesome!!!

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