Over the past couple of weeks, things are slowly opening up again after being on a force shutdown or lockdown for the past 10 or 11 weeks or so.
Most people I know don’t really know what day it is anymore(or really care), seeing as the “stay at home” requirements made days seamlessly flow from one day to the next, with each one for the most part exactly like the one before(real-life Ground Hog Day).
I think most and that includes myself, have quarantine fatigue or isolation fatigue(at least that’s what experts on the news say we have). Where people have had enough of the lockdown and “stay at home” directives and need to at least get outside and get on with their lives as best they can.
In Ontario, we are currently in the midst of a heatwave of sorts. Yesterday(Tuesday) we had temperatures approaching 30 degrees C and with the high humidity, the temperatures where near 38 to 39 degrees C.
For today, the weather forecast is pretty much the same as yesterday.
With these temperatures and nice weather, it is virtually impossible to keep people inside anymore. On weekends now, parks and hiking trails are seeing more use than ever.
Part of the opening of facilities in Ontario has been Provincial Parks and Provincial Conservation Reserves for day use trips only.
Seeing as there really isn’t any published playbook for handling a “worldwide pandemic crisis – how to reopen stuff”, there was and continues to be some confusion as to what outdoor amenities are open and conversely what is still closed.
A Provincial Conservation Reserve is owned and operated by the province. Conservation Areas on the other hand are not. They are owned and operated by local conservation authorities. Conservation Reserves are open; Conservation Areas are not(I think – although some may be open).
See the confusion.
Nevertheless, last year about this time, Lynn and I trekked from the “old homestead” north-west to the Indian Falls Conservation Area which is part of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority.
A great little hike to the falls and not far(just a few kilometres) from the City of Owen Sound.
From May 2019
Over the long weekend here in Ontario, we took the Sunday to head over to the Owen Sound area to check out Indian Falls, located just north and west of the community.
We had been here twice before. Once in the fall several years ago and once this past winter.
In the past, we always thought that it would be interesting to hike along the bottom of the ravine in which the Indian River flows to get to the falls from the bottom.
Leaving mid-morning from the “old homestead” we arrived in the parking lot at the Indian Falls Conservation Area close to noon. Sort of forgetting it was the long weekend, I had made the assumption that it wouldn’t be that busy with people hiking out to see the falls.
It was plenty busy.
Nevertheless, we packed up Lynn’s camera equipment and trotted off down the trail.
When we were here back in 2017, the trail at the beginning followed the river bed over a rock-strewn trail to reach a short set of stairs and then continuing on towards the actual falls. In 2017, we found it, not that difficult as we had our dog, Katie, with us.
I’m assuming that high water levels over the past while have caused people to by-pass the rocky and now water covered trail and to create a new path along the slope of the river bank.
Now it as a challenging path slick with mud and difficult to navigate.
So, if you visit be prepared for a challenging go of it prior to reaching the stairs that traverse up the slope to the top of the ravine.
After watching several families with small children slip, trip and slide along this slick new path, Lynn and I scrambled along the river bottom to get to the base of Indian Falls.
We have had a fair amount of rain throughout the spring and combined with snowmelt that would still be moving along in watersheds and river systems, there was still a significant amount of water flowing over the falls. In the summer, that falls can be reduced to a mere trickle.
We made our way out into the middle of the river to set up on a flat rock.
While we were there, I kept hearing this chirping sound that seemed close to us. It was coming from this little fella.
He had obviously become separated from his mom and siblings and was desperately swimming around and scrambling along the river bank calling and searching for them. For the time we were there, unfortunately, we didn’t see any other duck or ducklings that might have been his family.
I hope things turned out all right for him.
What started as a glorious and sunny afternoon, soon however turned into an afternoon of thunderstorms and rain.
And with the start of rain and cracks of thunder, we started to make the trek back to the car.
Not wanting to take the muddy and now even muddier and slicker route back, we found a scrambling route up through some rocks to the main trail at the top of the ravine. We followed the trail to the steps down to the bottom of the ravine.
At this point, we sort of looked at each other and decided, “we’re wet now, so let’s hop and jump along the “old river bottom path” and avoid that sketchy new path.”
By the time we had got back to the parking lot, the rain had stopped(sort of). As a side note, Lynn and I both wear a brand of quick-dry outdoor clothing and using just our own body heat, our pants and shirts were dry in less than an hour.
As I knew that thunderstorms and bad weather would be with us for the rest of the day, we decided to head over to Harrison Park located on the south edge of Owen Sound.
Again, with it being the long weekend, Harrison Park was very busy with families enjoying the sights and sounds of the park.
A few pictures from there.
As Lynn had been recovering from an abdominal and upper leg muscle injury, plus just getting over a touch of the flu we decided to go on the side of caution and call it a day.
Good thing too.
Not long after leaving Harrison Park, the heavens opened up once again with heavy rain and high winds.
Nevertheless, even though Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating the best, it still made for a wonderful day out.
Owen Sound and this area of Bruce and Grey counties is one spot to put on your “to do/must-visit list” for the summer. Great hiking opportunities, shopping, restaurants and parks all provide the basis to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Thanks for reading.
— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —