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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

This morning we headed out to enjoy the fall colours and went for a hike at Rattlesnake Point. The drive there was nice and the trees were yellow, orange and red all along the way. We arrived there at 10am which was a bit later than our usual and were surprised to find a lineup of cars coming out of the park entrance. It only took a few minutes to get in.

We took the Bruce Trail path that runs alongside the yellow park trail (Buffalo Craig Trail) to avoid the crowds. It was really beautiful and it smelled like fall (as my husband romantically calls it, the smell of dead leaves…  Hmph).

It’s my favourite time of the year and love getting out and seeing all the amazing colors.

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There are a few steep climbs to have fun with…

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Cool bird – think it was a turkey vulture.

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Deeper in the park there was still a lot of green but the trail was a soft carpet of fallen leaves.

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My fave tree on the trail… 🙂

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What a beauty… 🙂

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It’s been a long time since we had an April snow but we got one today – and in an El Nino year no less! It started at dinner time and we had gone out to eat and watched the fat snowflakes falling all through our meal, covering everything in a heavy wet blanket of white. On the drive home, we were mesmerized by the snow-covered trees with each little branch clearly defined like little veins. As soon as we got home, we picked up the camera and headed out to the trail near the house to snap some photos. After all, this might be the last snowfall of the season. 🙂 What we found was a magical wintry wonderland.

Welcome to Narnia:

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This year we had family down for Thanksgiving. Since it was only a couple of days, we made the most of our time together. The fam (sister and her two daughters, plus my brother and his wife) arrived Saturday in time for Thanksgiving lunch. My sister-in-law, her husband and their two kids who live nearby also arrived for lunch. We were 11 in all: 7 adults and 4 kiddos. I had my first kiddy table (and none of the kids are mine lol).

I cooked everything the day before (except the turkey). I started the turkey at 5am so it would be ready for lunchtime. I changed up the menu this year:

  • Ciabatta buns, butter
  • Wild mushroom medley (cremini, button, shitake mushrooms with shallots, garlic, parsley, sherry vinegar, olive oil)
  • Roasted red onions (olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme)
  • Red and yellow baby potatoes with butter, thyme, salt and pepper
  • Maple-glazed carrots and rutabaga (glaze: maple syrup, butter, brown sugar)
  • Green beans with gremolata (lemon zest, salt, pepper, shallots, garlic, pine nuts)
  • Turkey (stuffed with lemons, thyme, salt & pepper)
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Sweet gherkins
  • Pickled beets
  • Greek salad provided by sister-in-law/husband (thanks!)
  • Dessert: Lemon meringue pie, Apple pie, Cinnamon coffee cake
  • Wine: Thirty Bench 2010 Benchmark

Pics of the kiddy table and grown-up table:

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After lunch, we headed out to enjoy the fall colours and hiked from Webster Falls to Tews Falls and back in Hamilton (Ontario). The scenery was just beautiful. I was able to capture some great pics of fall foliage.

Gorgeous tree in the parking lot:

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Webster Falls:

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We got to enjoy all the colours of the fall rainbow including greens and yellows:

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Oranges:

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Reds:

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Even all of them together:

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Kiddos horsing around 🙂

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Lone red leaf

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The sun created a cool effect on this one at Tews Falls:

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Captured a couple at the top of the falls:

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Pretty trees:

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Surrounding area back at Websters Falls, reminds me of an English garden:

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Under a weeping willow:

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Sunday, we headed to Stonehaven Farm for farm goodies, picked our pumpkins and played in the hay maze. Uncle Mark and I played tag with the kids in the hay maze – fun! When we got home, we had leftover turkey and fixings for lunch then started decorating our pumpkins. We chose to do sugar skulls this year for a change – they turned out pretty good:

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Having fun at the pumpkin patch:

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It was supposed to be a gloomy and cool day today with a risk of showers but we decided to brave the winds and possibly wet weather anyway and headed down to Hamilton to hike a short section of the Bruce Trail that connected Sherman Falls to Tiffany Falls.

We decided to park on a small stretch of Lions Club Road that fit about maybe 5 cars and after a couple of U-turns and false starts, we found the entrance to the trail – which was right under our noses if we had started in the right direction to begin with. 🙂  Good times.

We don’t come down to the Hamilton area to hike very often and enjoyed what the area had to offer. They’re known for their waterfalls so we ticked two off of the list with today’s outing.

We started at Sherman Falls. There were 6 of us in our group: 4 adults and 2 children. Although the Bruce Trail is typically more rugged than the trails found in conservation areas, no one had any trouble today. There were a couple of rocky areas with a few steep steps here and there but very manageable for the most part.

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The leaves haven’t fully started changing color here yet…but there were some red and yellow stragglers on the ground  The water was a bit low (typical for this time of year vs in the springtime) but it was still nice to see the small rapids and “babbling brook” sounds of the water trickling by. We only encountered a couple of other people at Sherman Falls and passed a few small groups along the trail to Tiffany Falls.

We saw some cool things along the way – like these HUGE mushrooms:

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And this gnarly tree:

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Side trail to the falls!

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One of us being brave:

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Closer…

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Closer…

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He made it back to the trail safe and sound. 🙂

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Tiffany Falls:

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We hiked about 6 km total and got to enjoy a real fall day outside in nature. Great way to start the autumn season!

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To kick off the warm weather season, we bought an annual pass to the Halton Conservation Areas. This pass will give us entry into seven conservation parks in our area so we can enjoy the outdoors, hike to our hearts’ content and have fun.

We kicked things off this morning with a 5km hike at Mount Nemo, one of the parks we didn’t get to last year. What made it interesting was that both loops at Nemo are along the Bruce Trail which typically has more rugged terrain and inclines. This was no paved or packed stroll through the woods. And we loved it!

We got to see lots of flowers and trees. Wildlife such as chipmunks, turkey vultures, other birds – no snakes this time. Beautiful lookouts and views – the day was so clear, we were able to see downtown Toronto from up there.

The trail has lots of roots, rocks, twists and turns, and there are some steep drops. We need to get hiking poles. Word of warning: There is no fencing so don’t get too close to the cliff or you’ll end up bungee jumping without a cord. 🙂

Great great day!

We started with the yellow loop, then the red loop. Did then both from 11:45am to 1:30pm, about 5km.

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Can’t escape them. 🙂 This one was particularly poofy.

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Beautiful trees…

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These smelled good!

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Chris in the trail

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Christmas trees!

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These were cool – with the wind, their leaves flickered in the sunlight and looked like confetti.

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More flowers…

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Some parts of the trail were narrower and flat.

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Great views!

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You could see the CN tower from here – hard to see in the pic though.

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Chipmunk!

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In a few spots there were narrow packed-earth bridges and if you looked over, you could see gaps in the rock – creepy yet cool.

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Don’t get too close to the edge!

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Golf course

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More flowers… 🙂

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Saw this left on a tree stump – pretty 🙂

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Cool looking tree

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Yes. More flowers.

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Some parts of the trail were on somewhat steep inclines with rocks and roots…

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Bruce Trail lingo 🙂

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Purple flowers 🙂

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And some parts were very steep. 🙂

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This one was pretty tough to get down but we were fine.  We should get hiking poles…would have made this one much easier.

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Last bunch of flowers on our way back to the parking lot.

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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.

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We had our first now about a week and a half ago. And it looks like it’s staying for a good while by the looks of it. It’s the most snow we;ve had in about 2 years so although it’s nice to see (and feel like real Canadians!), it’s already getting old…

I was looking out our back patio door this morning and noticed that even though the trees have lost their leaves and there’s snow on the ground, there are still small signs of spring to help us through the cold. 🙂  I’m hangin’ onto those berries people, and hopefully they’ll stick around til April!

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