Beaver Valley – Continuing Along The West Side and April Mud

It grieves me to even write this, but the last time Lynn and I hiked the west side of the Beaver Valley along the Bruce Trail to any great extent, was back in the summer of 2017.

With this unfortunate revelation having reared a disappointing head, we felt it was outstanding, and I must say, a brilliant idea on my part to head back out to where we had left off back in 2017.

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 1.34.05 PM

So, with the goal in mind to pick up where we left off in 2017, we exited the “old homestead” last week and west towards the Beaver Valley.

If you are a regular follower, you often find a “Google Map” screen capture like the one above, giving a reasonable, albeit not a complete detailed representation of how we arrived at our destination to begin our day’s adventure.

The area in the yellow circle was more or less our target for the afternoon. It’s not the exact location, but close enough that you get the idea of where we were headed to.

If you are at this moment wondering “why the yellow circle – that’s not very accurate,” I’ll explain all of this and my reasons behind it in a future post I’m working on.

Leaving all this mystery and intrigue behind us for the moment, I need to point out that in our area of the country, it has for the most part been a wet spring, as they usually are.  Notwithstanding that, we have had some wonderfully warm and sunny days, but not enough to dry things up, especially the mud!!

We pulled into the trailhead, I’m guessing about 12:15 pm. Getting ourselves organized, we loaded our stuff up and headed off down the trail.

After only a few steps, we soon came to this remarkable or perhaps unremarkable conclusion. Our afternoon would be spent gingerly stepping around the low areas in some misguided thought that doing so, we would avoid the muddy terrain now attaching itself to the soles of our hiking boots, thus making them weigh 5.2 kilograms each.

We soon found this to be a battle we were losing and ultimately a war we could not win.

So, with that devastatingly foregone conclusion, the afternoon became a slugfest of  “when, the hiking boots and the steps became heavy and slower – stop and scrape.”

We didn’t go too far along the trail before all I could hear was the sound of running water. In fact, it was the sound of a significant flow of running water. With that, we soon found what was generating all that noise.

Now, Lynn and I have a sort of mantra we often recite when outdoors. It goes like this, “if a difficult way to get to something is right in front of us, we’ll take it.” Another way of stating it is, “why attempt to do something the easy way, when doing it a more difficult way is a heck of a lot more fun and exciting.”

After several repetitions of the aforementioned or similar mantra, we scrambled down a steep, muddy and tree-strewn slope to the bottom of a stream bed.

The first picture was one I took on my phone. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t adequately capture the height of the waterfall. As Lynn so expertly said, “there needs to be something of scale in the picture to help provide an idea of the height.”

That one large ice formation in the centre of the picture would be about twice my height. I’m just over six feet tall. That should give an idea of the height we’re talking about here. Perhaps, forty to fifty feet to the top of the waterfall.

1

4

A quick video from the stream bottom. Sorry for the poor quality. But you get the idea.

I’m thinking we spent an hour down here, with Lynn happily snapping away taking pictures and myself climbing over rocks and fallen trees, to see if there was anything else to see that I hadn’t looked at over our time there.

I can say, I pretty much saw it all.

A few more of Lynn’s pictures.

5

7

Upstream from the top of the falls, was in Lynn’s words a photographers dream. I referred to it as the “stream that just keeps on giving.” It was simply a series of small rapids and tiny waterfalls as it progressed and flowed down the escarpment face.

10

 

8

13

The trail eventually crossed the stream and lead us to a magnificent lookout, east over the Beaver Valley towards Eugenia Falls.

 

22

11

After a few minutes spent on the lookout, we reluctantly decided to start back to the car. Lynn had been experiencing a few upper leg muscle issues in the days prior, so we opted on the side of caution and not to push or overextend things.

9

14

A few final pictures from the trek on the return.

3

12

15

17

My favourite picture of the afternoon.

18

19

20

21

All in all, it was a great outing.

Despite the mud and overcast skies, any time spent outdoors is a good time and time well spent in my opinion.

We didn’t cover as much distance as I had hoped, but as I said to Lynn, it is just another reason to get back there and “knock that remaining bit off.”

Now, there is just a small section to complete from where we left off on this outing to connect with an adventure from last summer near Hogg’s Falls. Once we’ve done those few outstanding kilometres, that will have completed the west side of the Bruce Trail through the extensive Beaver Valley section.

Thanks for taking the time to trudge along with us

Epilogue:

Since we have been home from this outing, Lynn has been sidelined and out of commission with an excruciatingly painful muscle pull and spasm on her upper leg which radiates out across the lower back.

Unfortunately, this has all the appearance of keeping Lynn on the injured list for the foreseeable future.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

First Day Hike – Beaver Valley

January 1, 2019 – out with old and in with the new.

While many were couch sitting and nursing a self-inflicted hangover from way too much New Year’s revelry, there were those of us and many of us for that matter who headed out for what has become known as “The First Day Hike.”

“First Day Hikes” from what I’ve now learned, is somewhat more of a formal endeavour than I thought. The idea of a coordinated “First Day Hike” originated in Boston in 1992. This year Ontario Parks is the first international participant in the “First Day Hike” movement, with hiking events at many of the provincial parks throughout Ontario.

 

Nevertheless, we adopted the moniker “First Day Hike” and headed out on our own to the Beaver Valley.

img_20190101_113626724

 

Heading out the door at 11:36am and at a balmy minus 6 degrees C, our adventure was to take us over to a section of the Bruce Trail located in the Beaver Valley area of Grey County near to the Beaver Valley Ski Club.

screen shot 2019-01-06 at 5.13.48 am

This particular section of the Bruce Trail has become a favourite of ours over the past couple of years. It has relatively easy access from two separate roadways(one paved and one a gravel country road). The trail through here, as it is in numerous sections of “The Bruce”, offers plenty of terrain changes, all combined with exciting features to catch your imagination along the way. And to obviously stop and take pictures of. That goes without saying!

DSC_0006-Edit

The above picture, I swear must be the most photographed abandoned farmstead in this area of Ontario. There is hardly a month goes by, that on either Instagram, Twitter or Facebook someone doesn’t post a shot of this place. In fact, Lynn takes a photo of it just about everytime we drive by. I’m sure she had a dozen shots of this place in her collection. For those who want to know where it is, it’s located of Grey County Road 31, just west of the Osprey-Clearview Townline.

With pit stop along the way and somewhat snowy and slick road conditions west of the Village of Duntroon, we arrived at the trailhead around 1:30pm.

glen 7

After getting ourselves organized and Katie packed in “The Bag”, off we headed along the trail.

glen 6

From the parking area, the trail follows a flat, yet meandering path until it reaches the top of the large ravine that contains a tributary that feeds the nearby Beaver River.

A few pictures from the beginning of the hike.

DSC_0048-Edit-Edit

DSC_0052_HDR-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit

dsc_0012

DSC_0056-Edit-Edit-2

Along the creek bottom.

glen 1

Lynn doing her thing and quite well I must admit.

glen 5

 

Four of Lynn’s shots from the creek bottom.

dsc_0025-edit

A fun stylized pic of the shot above.

dsc_0025-edit-edit-edit-edit-edit

dsc_0029-edit

dsc_0033-edit-edit

 

Katie and I posing at the bridge crossing that leads to a series of switchbacks.

DSC_0036-Edit

And to ultimately this. The trail leads passed this location. I think a lot of people just continue on by even when they hear the water. You sort of need to search for the falls and such through the trees.

Lynn and I visited here three or four times in the past two years.

 

Lynn captured a cute puppy out on the trail

DSC_0045-Edit

As Katie was starting to shiver and get cold we headed back to the car and set off to check out a number of other cool spots in the Beaver Valley area.

Strangely, this has become one of Lynn’s favourite spots on the Beaver River to shoot photo’s at. It is a canoe access point to the Beaver River

DSC_0084-Edit-Edit-Edit

dsc_0083-edit

There was a lot of water, albeit frozen in the surrounding forest which comprises as a component of the Beaver Valley Lowland Management Area. The wooded area surrounding the bridge is very low and I suspect quite prone to flooding.

DSC_0066-Pano-Edit-Edit-Edit

dsc_0062-edit

Even beavers take New Year’s day off. Statutory holiday regulations I’m thinking.

DSC_0072-Edit

As time was moving along, we got back in the car to start the journey home. A few more pictures from the return trip.

DSC_0085-Edit

The sun is setting to bid farewell on the first day of 364 more farewells to come.

 

dsc_0091-edit

This old car located in a farmers field adjacent the roadway is one of the very first pictures Lynn captured when she first started into photography. I’ll have to take some time and search through her pictures to see if I can find the first shot from here.

dsc_0092

dsc_0095-edit

dsc_0101-edit-edit

And of course, it isn’t Canada if you don’t follow a snow plow at some time during a trip in the winter.

dsc_0106-edit

Although not a long time spent out on the Bruce Trail, it was still a great way to spend the afternoon. Discovering that Katie will ride along in “The Bag” certainly opens up the opportunity to get out on more adventures in the upcoming weeks.

As I mentioned before, the Beaver Valley and Grey County have become our default go-to spot when it comes to hiking and other adventures as well. The whole area contains a wealth of places to hike and explore for a day and when you’re hungry or thirsty, there are more than enough restaurants, pubs and spots to satisfy any craving you might have.

I would encourage you to get out, even today for an outing in this area of the province.

If outdoor activities aren’t your ideas of a great afternoon, there are quaint shops, stores and restaurants located throughout all the towns and villages in this area and they’re open and waiting for you to stop by.

Just head on out. You’ll have a great time and believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Revisit – Snowy Return to the Beaver Valley

Isn’t there some sort of “mind over matter” thing, that when you’re feeling hot if you think or dwell on something that’s cold it then helps you to feel cooler?

Not sure if that works, but here’s the heat warning for my area today. It was the same the day before. After spending 6 plus hours yesterday in temperatures approaching 40 degrees, not much fun.

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 6.35.37 AM

 

However, perhaps reading something from a cooler time might help. Might not help, but who knows?

From February of this year Snowy Return to the Beaver Valley

Snowy Return to The Beaver Valley

Since October 2017, we’ve made four remarkable…….you read that right, four remarkable trips to this sweet location on the Bruce Trail in the Beaver Valley area of Grey County.

What makes all of them even more memorable, is each trip was essentially the same ……………….while completely different at the same time. If you find that last sentence confusing don’t worry …………………….so do I.

DSC_0035-Edit

We first came upon this spot back in the fall when I did a solo day adventure through this area, finishing at the top of the Beaver Valley Ski Club. Don’t ask me why I hiked up and down the steepest hills I could find at the ski club. New medication seems to have taken care of that urge. Just kidding.

You can read about that outing and my day’s exploits here.

The second excursion to this location happened after I spent several weeks extolling the magnificence of the spot and why Lynn needed to photograph it. With Lynn needing very little persuading, we headed there in late fall. Give a click right now and you can head on over to take a look at that afternoon.

The third trip wasn’t supposed to be a trip at all. In fact, it was only an afternoon car ride to scout out if the parking area we used previously was cleared of snow during the winter ……………. and it is. If you want to read about the “Hike That Wasn’t Supposed To Be”(and you should), you’ll need to give this a click.

So, since early December, our goal has been to head back in the winter to check out and photograph what we assumed would be an eye-popping frozen winter wonderland.

A bright, warm and deliciously sunny Friday fell upon us in mid-January, so off we went. In addition, I had a Christmas present from Lynn of trekking poles, so we brought those long to give them a good trial run.

We arrived at the Bruce Trail parking area on Grey County Road 30 sometime around noon. After getting our stuff together, including attaching Lynn’s camera tripod to my backpack, off we went.

edit 1

From the parking area, we had an easy hike on a packed trail, through a fairly open area of scrub brush and trees, then finally entering a young hardwood forest.

DSC_0056-Edit-Edit-2
This was taken on our third visit. You know, the one that wasn’t supposed to happen!

After exiting this location, there is a short(100-metre +/-) switchback down to the creek bottom. Another couple hundred metres along the valley bottom brought us to a bridge crossing.

pic 2
This was taken on our third visit. You know, the one that wasn’t supposed to happen!

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the trail to this point has been well packed down and obviously gets used a fair bit. I guess it makes for a relatively easy “out and back” hike from the parking area on the County Road.

From the bridge onward though, things became much more difficult. The hill on the opposite side is “shall we say” ………..exponentially steeper than the one we had just come down. Guess that’s why the trail from this point on isn’t hiked as much during the winter.

From being here twice in the fall, I knew that immediately after the bridge a series of steep switchbacks brought you up to the top of the embankment. This was followed by a crossing of another small stream and a short hike to the falls and rapids in question. It would be a fair assessment to conclude, that from the bridge onwards the trail tended to be exceedingly icy in spots.

Here are a few pictures we managed to capture on our outing.

IMG_20180126_132408935~2DSC_0017-EditDSC_0029-EditDSC_0025-Edit

pano 1

edit 2DSC_0061-Edit

When we’re adventuring in the winter, Lynn loves to seek out and capture how ice forms on rocks, tree limbs or how it forms on just about anything where water is flowing. There is something about the results of it that is mesmerizing.

DSC_0055-EditDSC_0045-Edit

This is the result of what happens when the person who IS NOT CAPTURING THE MOMENT has to wait for the person who is. I think I’ve discovered a new cold weather art form using trekking poles and snow as the medium. However, I would anticipate a number of significant issues with this particular artist style in warm weather.

DSC_0058

Lynn jammed in on a 40 to 50-degree slope to get the shot. Gotta do what you gotta do.

2

While stating the obvious that trekking poles are wonderful for well ………. trekking, they also make superior pegs to anchor camera bags to exceedingly steep slopes. I used one trekking pole stuck into the said steep snowy slope to keep Lynn’s camera bag from tumbling into the creek just below.

3

DSC_0065-Edit

A few more pictures of Lynn’s more artist approach. What amazes me is her ability to capture the small and the most poignant details of our adventures. To us, those pictures record the essence of a particular outing or adventure. I’ve found many times when looking back, those pictures which captured somewhat seemingly insignificant details; it’s those ones which invoke the greatest emotional meaning to me.

And isn’t that what art is supposed to do, regardless of the form it takes, ………….create a strong emotional response in people.

DSC_0066-EditDSC_0067DSC_0079DSC_0066-Edit

A few more.

DSC_0043-EditDSC_0037-EditDSC_0042-Edit

DSC_0028-Edit

Generally, when we head out and if Lynn wants to bring her tripod with her, I usually attached it to the outside of my backpack. This day was no different. Except for the last 50 metres before getting back to our car.

With Lynn happily snapping away a short distance behind me, I kept walking towards our car located as I said about 50 metres away when I heard this dull sound or thump of something landing on the ground next to me.

When I looked down, I thought, “strange place to find the handle of a golf club.” Nope, not a golf club handle …….yup the handle to her tripod.

This was soon followed by a sudden rush of adrenaline; quickly followed by the realization that finding the rest of the bits and pieces could be next to possible in even the best of scenarios.

However, the universe cooperated for just the briefest moment, because looking down; resting and sitting there like a tiny lost child; laying in just the right spot in the snow waiting for me was the broken half of a plastic bushing and the handle adjustment screw.

A quick fix with some industrial strength adhesive should nicely repair the broken plastic bushing.

DSC_0072

After much planning, anticipation and a bit of waiting, this was one of those afternoon’s we all long for; in fact an afternoon we all need. Warm temperatures, the sun beaming overhead and a spectacular destination to get to. It’s this type of afternoon that vanishes all the worry, stress, tension or whatever you want to call it away; even if only for a few hours.

We spent many of our hiking adventures traversing along the Bruce Trail throughout the Beaver Valley area in 2017.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you’re hiking the west side, the east side or through the valley bottom, there is always something spectacular to see. Pastoral farm settings; limestone cliff faces; waterfalls; gentle caressing babbling brooks; spectacular high cliff vistas across the valley; meandering paths through acres of hardwood or pine forests.

You can’t go wrong if you took a day and headed over to the Beaver Valley area in Grey County to hike and explore. When you’re done for the day, why not find a quaint restaurant in one of the neighbouring villages or towns and have a relaxing meal to re-charge before heading home.

Sounds like a good day out to me!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Beaver Valley – Waterfalls and Rapids….What a Afternoon!

When you have to go……..you have to go!

Oh my gosh…….not that “when you have to go……..you have to go!”

But, when you have to go back and take someone to a place that sort of fell out of the sky…………..well………..when you have to go……..you have to go.

I came across this spot from an adventure I took by myself a couple of months ago. Lynn’s back had been out of whack for a bit, so on that day, she decided to stay at home.

If you want, you can read about that adventure here.

Now, after looking at the pictures in that write-up, can you see why I needed to bring Lynn and her out of this work photography skills to that one particular spot??

So, last week on a late Friday morning we headed on over. I knew we could park closer and have a short hike of maybe a kilometre or so before getting to the area in question.

This adventure as we headed out started like most……. in that:

  • we’ll go
  • we’ll hike
  • we’ll take pics
  • go home

But what happened turned one of those afternoons into one………………..that

> refuelled the empty tank
> got us out of the craziness of the holiday season(if only for an afternoon)
> time to relax
> to revel in the awesome of nature
> re-connected my soul with the soul of nature
> the list goes on………..

And aren’t these many of the reasons to get outside into nature. There is plenty of well-documented quality scientific research to supports the obvious physical benefits, but importantly the mental and emotional aspects of spending time in nature.

Getting outside really doesn’t have to cost you anything. A simple trip to a local park or out to a nearby nature trail is one of the least expensive or even free outdoor activities that one can partake in.

I recently listened to a CBC radio show on a Sunday morning while driving into work. The host asked something like, “what does your Sunday consist of doing?” One answer that showed up in all of the 3 or 4 responses she read was, “………Sunday mornings we do X, while after lunch we/I always go for a long walk.” 

57

Our hike took us through a fairly young hardwood forest, that was completely devoid of leaves……which created an exceedingly weird feel to the start of the adventure.

Weird………..but cool and neat at the same time.

pic 26

A look a the top of the escarpment just before trekking down into the creek bottom.

13

Our goal was to get to this spot illustrated in the next photo…………that’s right ……..this one!

1

Although there didn’t appear to be as much water flowing through the system as when I was there in October……….still a pretty special spot.

pic 13210

Just below this spot, there was another super waterfall, with a cave in the back although it is hard to see in the picture. These two pictures don’t really capture how beautiful this particular waterfall and tumbling rapids down the green and moss-covered streamed really is.

14

5

I’ve been experimenting with doing a bit of video over the last couple of adventures. On this trip, I actually took a lot of videos, using only my phone, unfortunately.

Nevertheless, I used some of the videos and combined it with most of Lynn’s pictures from the day and mixed them together to create this 7-minute video. Hopefully, you’ll watch the whole thing. Just remember, it might be seven minutes you’ll never get back(lol).

Thanks for taking the time to give it a read and watching the video.

So…get out there during this busy time of year and give yourself a much-needed break.

You deserve it!!

Play of The Week – 7/12/2017

Had one of those moments last week. You know…….one of those moments……..come on…..you know what I’m talking about…..right??

Okay then….let me try to explain.

I had come across this particular spot about two months ago when out on an adventure by myself. At that time I figured that this would be a super place to bring Lynn given the beauty of the location.

So, last week off we went. It felt like…” hey this will be good to get out; it’s not too far; we got a waterfall and a few rapids to photograph………a good day is anticipated.”

Seems like a pretty decent late morning and afternoon adventure…….right?

So…….what’s the moment you ask????

The moment is ……..“be ready”

Be ready for what being outdoors in nature can do.

Last week was one of those be ready times. Gosh, we spent more time driving there and back, than actually outdoors on the hike.

But, it was one of those afternoons………………..that

  • refueled the empty tank
  • got us out of the business of the season(if only for an afternoon)
  • time to relax
  • to revel in the awesome of nature
  • re-connected my soul with the soul of nature
  • the list goes on………..

pic 2John Muir was onto something when he said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

pic 1

Yup……….be ready.

Don’t take the outdoors and whatever your outdoor adventure or pleasure is …………………….for granted.

Why………………you just never know what “old Mother Nature” has planned for ya!

BE READY

 

BE OPEN

 

BE PREPARED

 

FOR AWESOME