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Adventure: Christie Lake

This morning we ventured out to Christie Lake in the Hamilton Conservation Area. It was a beautiful morning – and after a 25 minute drive West on Dundas St, we got to the lake at about 10:30am and it was 18C, sunny and dry – a perfect late summer day.

We wanted to hike the “Round the Lake” trail since it was listed as 5.6km for the loop and we likely hit 6km with the initial back and forth we did trying to find the trail head. :) At a leisurely pace, it took us about 2 hours.

The trail goes over grass in some areas and mostly packed dirt paths through the forest areas. There are a few hills but nothing very difficult. Once on the trail, the markings were clear for the trail we were on as well as several other walking and mountain bike trails crossing it.

The scenery was very diverse as you’ll see from the photos – and I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in the fall once the leaves start to change color.

Right after we parked the car (near the marina area) and headed out to find the trail head, we spied this heron perched in the sun. He was quite large.

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He let us get pretty close then flew to a nearby post – what a graceful bird. I’d never seen a heron fly before – he was huge!

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The lake was serene and beautiful. Our hike took us on a full loop around the lake.

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There were lots of wildflowers and butterflies darting around. I was lucky to catch this guy:

 

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We also saw what we believe is a loon. He jumped into the water as he saw us walking by.

 

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Crossing to the south side of the lake:

 

 

 

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This side of the trail was mostly forest and the trees offered some shade.

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It was cool to see the trees lush and green on one side of the path but very dry on the other, except at the very top where they grew leaves:

 

 

 

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Here’s a good shot of dry on one side and lush on the other:

 

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One of the trail markers (showing a picture of the lake):

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You can see the lake on the left through the foliage:

 

 

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The trail brought us to the Darnley Dam which was pretty cool.

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Approaching from the north side, right before you cross the pedestrian bridge, there’s a trail on the right to go down and see the Darnley Cascade waterfall – there was a small walking path to do down further as well.

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This path also brought you to the old Darnley Grist Mill:

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After that, we headed back up to the pedestrian bridge to cross it and head back towards where we parked the car. Posted on the side of the pedestrian bridge:

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On the bridge, facing Christie Lake:

 

 

 

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On the bridge facing the other side:

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On the bridge, facing Spencer Creek. On the other side of the bridge is where the “Spencer Adventure” links to the trail that would bring you to Webster’s Falls (a must see).

 

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It was a great hike with lots to see and lots of different terrain. Christie Lake has a ton of activities too: You can rent boats (canoes and row boats – we saw some), fish, swim (they rent tubes), play disc golf, enjoy a picnic and/or barbecue, not to mention lots of trails for walkers or mountain bikers. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

Our goal when we set out this morning was to explore the East Bank trail of the section of Sixteen Mile Creek between Dundas and Upper Middle Road, estimated to be about 2.5 km one way. We headed out on the East Bank trail, enjoying the views and catching a glimpse o a family of ducks bathing in the creek; they were gurgling and splashing and having a lively old time. I couldn’t get a good pic as we spied them through tree foliage and I still haven’t figured out how to change focus on my camera (so it was only focusing on the leaves…).

The path was packed gravel and dirt, some parts were paved, and there are some bridges along the way. It’s a relatively easy hike; there are some stairs and steeper hills as you get deeper into the trail. As other posters have mentioned, the signage is somewhat limited which is how we ended up doing the full loop as opposed to doubling back the way we came. No harm done as we can now say we walked the full loop (including East Bank, Inner and West Bank trails) and we got to see some nice scenery along the way.

The ducks were just behind this area:

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A lot of the trail paths were like this:

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Isn’t this a great tree? Check out those roots. To me, it looks like a woman in a gown with a long train (roots) with her arms outstretched, reaching for something/someone across the creek. To my husband, it looks lik a tree. :) To each his own right?

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The water was pretty clear:

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We stopped at a small lookout area and I noticed some red leaves on the ground – first day of September and fall is slowly approaching. I looked up to see where the red leaves came from and saw this. Nice surprise. Note to hikers: Look Don’t forget to look up or you might miss something special!

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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. :)

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