Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 38

Well, February is done and we’re now into March. Hopefully, spring is just around the corner. Well, at least close to the corner.

Nevertheless, it is Tuesday and that means “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 38 picture is a old car that was just sitting a field next to a garage in the City of Owen Sound. Lynn is more the old and vintage car enthusiast than I am. Nevertheless, imagine what memories that old might be able to share.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Owen Sound – Indian Falls

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.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 4.57.19 AMFor 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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 5.23.53 AM

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.

Wrong!

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.

IMG_20190519_132549741

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.

IMG_20190519_133631643

DSC_0084-EditDSC_0084-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditWhile we were there, I kept hearing this chirping sound that seemed close to us. It was coming from this little fella.

DSC_0099-Edit-Edit-Edit

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.

DSC_0120-Edit

DSC_0122-Edit

DSC_0128-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

DSC_0130

DSC_0135-Edit

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  —

 

 

Bruce Trail – Silent Valley Nature Reserve and Crevice Springs Side Trail

I must readily admit, it has been a while. In fact, a long while since I’ve posted anything much along the lines of a trip report.

textgram_1502050465

Perhaps you’re expecting the next sentence to read, “and for that I’m sorry” but, in all honesty, I’m not really sorry at all.

Life does and will get in the way of doing what we may want to do at times. That’s just the way things tumble and roll. Life and wellness or lack thereof seemed to race out to the forefront since about the second week of July.

So…….

170712_BBC3_SNS_02

As many of you may know or perhaps you are just finding out for the first time, I’ve been dealing with some mental wellness issues, primarily surrounding anxiety since returning from our trip out east back in July. That was a fun, yet whirlwind 3-day adventure to Halifax to the east coast of Canada in the second week of July to deliver a kitten our daughter had purchased back here in Ontario.

Here’s a post about that tornado speed-like adventure to Halifax in July. Soft Kitty – Warm Kitty (Update)

Notwithstanding that, I had noted in several posts throughout the summer and into early September of what has been occurring in my life with regards to my own mental wellness. Feel free to search through and read about them if you feel like it, but I’m trying to march forward here and keep the focus at least at this juncture on a more positive note.

So, with that in mind, let’s leave all that there and move right along.

Back in early September(Saturday of the long weekend), Lynn and I headed up towards the Owen Sound area for a day of hiking and exploring the Bruce Trail as it traverses across the Niagara Escarpment in this area of south Georgian Bay.

After much research(well, not that much research), we settled upon the “Silent Valley Nature Reserve” and the “Crevice Springs Side Trail”.

Both locations are just a short jaunt from the City of Owen Sound.

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 8.15.38 AM

Silent Valley Nature Reserve

If one is looking for a hike that combines a little bit of everything you could want in an adventure, then the Silent Valley Nature Reserve has to be on that list.

  • flat sections
  • fossil site
  • crevices
  • caves
  • rocks
  • steep slopes
  • a pioneer homestead
  • a plane crash site with wreckage
  • ….to name a few things

1

After leaving the old homestead and our ritual stop in Collingwood for the required snacks(okay – mostly junk food) for the day at…

bulk-barn-450x253

….we continued west towards Silent Valley.

The trailhead for the Silent Valley Nature Reserve is at the north end of Concession Road 2. There is parking for three or four cars, but be sure not to block the private driveway located here as well.

1

The following is a screenshot with more detail of the various trails throughout the reserve.

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 9.21.05 AM
Source: Google Images

Heading north from our car and hiking several hundred metres on the road allowance, we came to a wonderful and very useful information board, detailing the history of the Silent Valley Nature Reserve.

Our general route for the day was north on the Silent Valley Side Trail; followed by a left turn to the Wilson Homestead Side Trail; a steep hike up the escarpment face and a right turn to connect with the main Bruce Trail; a right turn onto the Avalanche Pass Side Trail; re-connecting with the Silent Valley Side Trail and back to our car.

The total distance was approximately six kilometres

The Silent Valley Side Trail is generally flat, passing through a wonderful meadow before entering a mixed forest, but predominately cedar forest.

DSC_0010-Edit

After making the right turn onto the Wilson Homestead Side Trail, all four of the major historical elements are located relatively close together.

The first historical site was a fossil interpretation information board. It detailed the types of fossils that have been found on and in the rocks in this area. Unfortunately, and for some unknown reason, we didn’t take any pictures of this. Interesting nonetheless.

The next two elements focus on the Wilson Homestead.

2

(1) – the dug well and dry stone masonry sides.

3

(2) – the barn walls and discarded machine parts.

DSC_0029_HDR-Edit

5DSC_0028

The final historical location was an infamous 1970 plane crash site, found just south of the homestead location.

7

DSC_0032

DSC_0043

DSC_0046

A short video clip.

We continued the adventure on the Wilson Homestead Side Trail as it meandered through meadows and a mixed cedar forest until we started the arduous climb up the escarpment face to connect with the main Bruce Trail. An interesting fact, that just after connecting with the main trail, you will pass the deepest crevice in the Sydenham section of the Bruce Trail.

This one-kilometre section of the trail through this area is littered with deep crevices and such. Many of them are covered with leaf and forest debris, thus concealing what could very well end up being a quick fall into a situation you don’t want to find yourself in.

20

18

19

After about a kilometre or thereabouts, we made a right turn to the Avalanche Pass Side Trail.

avi pass
Source: Google Images

This section of the trail makes a steep downclimb from the main Bruce Trail to the valley bottom. It is as the picture above indicates, the trail weaves through a steep talus slope of large rocks and boulders that have separated from the escarpment face and over the millennia tumbled and crashed to the slope bottom.

We only have one picture from our trek down the escarpment face along the Avalanche Pass Side Trail.

One of my trekking poles got caught in a deep crevice opening. As I was walking, it pulled out of my hand and slipped down into the crevice, apparently never to be seen again.

DSC_0070-Edit

The Avalanche Pass Side Trail, once it gets to the talus slope bottom, traverses through another meadow and forested area, before connecting again with the Silent Valley Side Trail and the return to where we parked our car at the end of Concession Rd. 2

DSC_0091-EditWhen I had been planning for us to head over to hike here, I thought it would be very busy or at least have people hiking through here, given it was the Saturday of the Labour Day long weekend and it’s relative closeness to Owen Sound.

Nope, that wasn’t the case at all.

For the three hours or so we were there we didn’t come across anyone else out enjoying the day. I did read after that even with the variety of hiking terrain and things to check out, that the Silent Valley Nature Reserve remains a bit of a hidden gem.

Regardless of whether it is a hidden gem or not, we thoroughly enjoyed it. It seemed every kilometre or so along the trail, either the terrain changed or there was a new site to see and explore further.

If you happen to be in the area or are looking for a bit of variety in hiking for a few hours, be sure to check out the “Silent Valley Nature Reserve.”

It was mid to late afternoon by the time we left Silent Valley. We then headed on over into Owen Sound for a bit of a tour through town and some refreshments.

After a quick stop at a local LCBO for some “adult beverages” to consume later that evening, we headed west along Highway 26 to the hamlet of Woodford and the Crevice Springs Side Trail.

Crevice Springs Side Trail

The Crevice Springs Side Trail forms a short loop off the main Bruce Trail, immediately south of Highway 26 in the tiny hamlet of Woodford located about 15 kilometres east of Owen Sound.

Parking for here is across Highway 26 on Woodford Cres. There is a widening of the shoulder of Woodford Cres., just after turning from Highway 26. The Bruce Trail guide also suggests you can park at the Woodford Community Hall which is right off the highway as well.

DSC_0129

It traverses through many crevices and rock openings before climbing from the bottom of yet another talus slope to rejoin the main Bruce Trail.

11

Follow the blue blazes….

DSC_0124

DSC_0113_HDR

12

13

14

15

Someone’s happy.

16

All in all, hiking at these two locations made for a wonderful afternoon.

We really hadn’t done much hiking or adventuring since hiking a fair bit in Algonquin Park in late June and into the first week of July.

We both remarked, that although we love to hike and explore new areas, at times hiking for hours on end through what is a seemingly endless forest all looking the same can get a tad boring.

The Silent Valley Nature Reserve and the Crevice Springs Side Trail delivered a kaleidoscope of challenging terrain and historic locations to check out.

These are only two hikes of many in this area that are more than well worth checking out.

One suggestion would be hiking to Inglis Falls, located on the south boundary of Owen Sound. A great little excursion is to park and leave from Harrison Park and hike the Bruce Trail south to Inglis Falls and then return via the same route. It makes a round trip of somewhere between 5 to 6-kilometres.

We did that particular route back in 2016(before justabitfurther came into existence).

7
Inglis Falls – May 2018

Another great hike is to head just outside of Owen Sound to Indian Falls. This is our most recent adventure there.

A third one to check out is Jones Falls, located on the west limits of Owen Sound. Take a look at our 2017 adventure to Jones Falls here.

Thanks for taking the time to “hike” along with us.

The changing of seasons into fall is in full swing in our area of the country. Nevertheless, regardless of where you may be hiding out or when you might be reading this little entry, be sure to take some time for yourself and get outside to recharge.

Time spent wandering around in a park close to your home will provide benefits beyond measure. So, put down whatever you’re doing right now; lace up your shoes or boots and head on outside.

You deserve it.

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 7.57.15 AM

Remember…

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Road Tripping – Owen Sound and Meaford

Although we love to visit communities of all sizes when we’re out on an adventure, we don’t often make the community the adventure so to speak.

What I mean by that is, we might be hiking or adventuring close by and may stop in an adjacent community for a bite to eat or to put a bit of fuel in the car.

The one thing we rarely do but have done from time to time in the past is “urban hiking.”

One definition of urban hiking I happened to stumble across is this, “Urban hiking might  be defined as, an active walk taken in an urban environment that goes through parks, uses stairwells, crosses intersections, and meanders through the city’s obstacles of life.”

In addition, Lynn likes to shoot every so often, pictures that aren’t normally nature or hiking related. To keep the creative and technical things sharp, she likes to shoot areas or subjects she might not normally spend much time photographing.

Such was the confluence of these two elements in the past few days. An urban hike to photograph something different.

Having a purpose in mind, we simply needed a place.

And what better place, than Owen Sound and Meaford for the day. Just a relatively short hop from the “old homestead” and both being just down the road from the other.

This looks like it was going to work.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 7.40.39 AM

Of the many things we adore about Owen Sound, is its architecture in and around the downtown.

Some shots from here.

DSC_0129

DSC_0133

DSC_0137

DSC_0138

DSC_0139

DSC_0155

DSC_0165-Edit-Edit-2

DSC_0172-Edit-Edit

DSC_0189

DSC_0186-Edit

An outstanding feature of the many things that make Meaford a great spot, is the waterfront and harbour area.

DSC_0191

DSC_0207

DSC_0209

DSC_0222

DSC_0225

The spookiest tree we’ve ever seen. It was across the road from the harbour and waterfront.

DSC_0226

DSC_0232-Edit

Urban hiking/walking – is it worth it?

Absolutely it is.

If this type of hike is something that you don’t normally undertake, especially if your exploring time is normally spent out on a trail, having an open mind to what you might discover in my opinion is the best first step. Often larger municipalities have urban walking routes with maps that you might be able to get a local tourist information site.

There are plenty of outdoors types who would never be caught hiking through an urban environment, and I get that. As much as being in nature is to “get away from the noise and busyness of built-up areas”, discovering and seeing new and exciting sights is also part of the mix as well.

So, having an open mind to what might fall across your path, I think, sets a good course for the day. Urban hiking has it’s drawbacks and issues as well. Nevertheless, the same approaches one would apply on a wilderness trail can be applied here. Be aware of your surroundings; don’t head into spots if you’re unsure of. You get the idea.

One of the best aspects of this is, you just might be able to head out in your own backyard for an enjoyable day spent exploring the city you live in. We often live in communities, but never get out and explore what is simply around “the corner.”

Thanks for visiting and hope that you can take an opportunity and explore “the nooks and crannies” in our neighbourhood.

Remember…

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

 

Owen Sound – Indian Falls

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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 5.23.53 AM

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.

Wrong!

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.

IMG_20190519_132549741

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.

IMG_20190519_133631643

DSC_0084-EditDSC_0084-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditWhile we were there, I kept hearing this chirping sound that seemed close to us. It was coming from this little fella.

DSC_0099-Edit-Edit-Edit

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.

DSC_0120-Edit

DSC_0122-Edit

DSC_0128-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

DSC_0130

DSC_0135-Edit

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  —

 

 

Owen Sound and Grey County – Adjustment in Agenda

If you spend any amount of time adventuring in the great outdoors, you’ll have those outings that all seemingly “worked on paper” a couple of days before, but once out in the “field”, you needed to undertake “an adjustment” or two.

DSC_0183-Edit.jpg

That’s how Tuesday, January 15 unfolded.

With Lynn’s birthday on January 17th, she wanted to head up to Owen Sound and Meaford for a day of adventure and obviously filled with photography.

Our goal was to hike to the base of Indian Falls, located just north of the City of Owen Sound and shoot pictures from the base of the falls. After that, there was the idea of a short hike along the Bruce Trail through Harrison Park and finally shooting the sunset from the marina in Meaford.

screen shot 2019-01-17 at 5.41.13 am

Heading out the door just before 9:00am with coffee in hand and Katie in the back seat, we settled in for the 2-hour drive through Wasaga Beach, Collingwood and across Highway 26 to Owen Sound.

A quick stop in downtown Collingwood at Gabriele Photography bagged an elusive sized lens cap that Lynn had been searching for and as a bonus at a super price. Far better than any larger chain retailer.

After another stop along First St.(Highway 26) for a quick washroom break, we put the “pedal to the metal“; cranked up our favourite podcast and off across Highway 26 we went.

Like all perfectly laid out outdoor plans, there is always something or someone who loves to lurk in the background and dangles the distinct possibility that they and only they will throw a wrench into the equation.

In this case, it was Mother Nature.

pauldouglas_1497153755_mother nature

The forecast for the days proceeding Tuesday forecasted temperatures at around zero degrees Celcius and sunshine. Tuesday morning brought us zero degrees Celcius; no sunshine and a mixture of light snow and drizzle.

Mostly drizzle, however.

Now, sensitive camera equipment and drizzle don’t make the best friends at all. Over time, Lynn has hooked up a “shower cap” like device that covers the camera body and lens barrel, but nonetheless, drizzly dampness to camera equipment is like poking a sleeping bear. Something bad will likely happen.

Undaunted and just simply ignoring the drizzle, we arrived around 11:30 at Indian Falls with the grand intention of hiking as I mentioned to the base of the falls themselves. After getting Katie settled into “The Bag”, we headed off down the trail from the well-sanded parking lot.

dsc_0014
Katie’s view of the adventure

It looks like someone tried to girdle a birch tree or at least strip off a good chunk of the outer layer of bark. Why??

dsc_0012-edit

As we hiked along the start of the Indian River Trail, it became obvious that there was a significant amount of water flowing through the system, which had flooded the low lying trail adjacent to the river.

dsc_0017-edit

Those low lying areas had what we thought was a reasonability thick cover of ice over them, but as Lynn gingerly put a boot toe onto one icy patch to test its thickness, a loud crack echoed through the forest and water started to seep up through the ice.

The idea of trying to navigate up and down the steep slopes along the river in order to avoid the flooded areas, all the while with me carrying Katie in “The Bag” moved us to go with Plan B, which was to take a few photos where we could and move onto the next exciting part of our day. As well, the drizzle has started to increase a bit more than on our way up and as such, we thought it prudent to perhaps stow the camera equipment in a dry sack and hope the rain let up.

dsc_0026-edit-edit-edit

img_20190115_121135177

Getting back to the car, we took a drive around Owen Sound and to Harrison Park to get Katie warmed up and to dry a bit ourselves. As part of scooting around the Owen Sound, Lynn casually mentioned, “why not see what’s happening over in the harbour by the Grain Elevators?”

So, off we headed to the harbour. Lucky for us, the “Algoma Harvester” was over-wintering in the harbour as well, providing ample photo opportunities.

dsc_0044-edit-edit

dsc_0049-edit

dsc_0073-pano-edit-2

dsc_0095

dsc_0073-pano-edit

Leaving Owen Sound, we made a leisurely drive along the waterfront on Grey County Rd. 15, ultimately coming to the hamlet of Leith.

screen shot 2019-01-17 at 2.11.04 pm

The unassuming hamlet of Leith is the final resting spot of one of Canada’s most iconic and well known historical figures in the small Leith United Church Cemetary.

dsc_0128-edit

dsc_0111_hdr-editTom Thomson, arguably Canada’s most famous artist and certainly the most famous since his death in July 1917, survives in greater prominence in his death when compared to his when he sketched, painted and lived in northern Ontario.

The life and death of Tom Thomson and the stories surrounding both seem to grow with exponential magnitude with each passing decade. Like stories of “the big fish that got away”, the truth surround Tom Thomson’s life and legacy gets “stretched” much like “how big was that fish again?”

dsc_0137-edit

Much has been written about Tom Thomson over the past decades. Some of it is fact; some of it is “pure fiction”; most of it is a bizarre combination of both. In fact, if you put his painting and artwork aside, the stories and tales surrounding Thomson’s life and death has become an industry in itself.

Background on Tom Thomson

Tom was born on August 5, 1877, in Claremont, Ontario, located east of Toronto. He came from a large family, being the sixth of ten children. Although born in Claremont, Tom was raised in Leith, Ontario, located near the Town of Owen Sound on the shores of Georgian Bay.

dsc_0138

From an early age, Thomson didn’t really show or display any immediate artistic talent. He did enroll at the Canada Business College, where he learned as part of the courses “plain and ornamental penmanship.” From that, he developed rudimentary penmanship abilities.

He worked as a pen artist at several different photoengraving firms including Grip Ltd. in Toronto. It was there he met most of the artists who would eventually form after his death, what is known in Canada as the “Group of Seven.”

Tom first visited Algonquin Park in 1012. It was here that he took sketching equipment and on the advice and pushing from J.E.H. MacDonald from the “Group of Seven,” Thomson began to paint and capture the scenes of nature.

Typically, Thomson would spend the spring, summer and fall painting in Algonquin Park and return to Toronto for the winter. Although his earliest paintings were not great technically, it is said they did show an above-average ability in terms of colours and composition.

Over time, it was his later paintings that set up Thomson as having a great, if not the greatest influence on the early development of Canadian art and culture. It was his use of various types of composition, vivid colours and thickly applied paint strokes, that paintings such as “The West Wind,” “Northern Lights” and “The Jack Pine” are regarded as symbols of the culture of Canada and are some of the country’s most iconic treasures of art.

Tom_Thomson_-_The_West_Wind_-_Google_Art_Project
The West Wind

northern lights
Northern Lights

The Jack Pine_1
The Jack Pine

As well as his painting ability, Thomson earned a reputation throughout his life as an excellent outdoorsman with a good ability handling a canoe. It was the tragic circumstances of Thomson’s drowning on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park in July 1917, married to his image as an experienced canoeist has resulted in his death entering into the popular imagination and myth.

The circumstances surrounding his death have been of particular interest to many, with unsubstantiated rumours that he was murdered or committed suicide becoming common and persisting in the years since his death.

dsc_0150_hdr

After about 20 minutes shooting pictures in the cold, we got back in the car, cranked up the heater and headed back out to the highway heading the 30 minutes or so east towards the Town of Meaford.

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 5.45.42 am

The Town of Meaford with a population close to 11,000, sitting on the shores of Georgian Bay has an outstanding marina and Canadian Coast Guard facility. Having visited in the summer, we thought that the rocky breakwater that protects the harbour and marina might make a superior location to photograph the sun setting over the water.

Unfortunately, with drizzle and no sun to be seen, the idea of photographing the sunset will have to wait to perhaps some date later in the future. Nevertheless, we did manage to capture some great shots from along the shoreline and the marina.

dsc_0169_hdr-edit-edit

dsc_0190_hdr-edit

dsc_0253_hdr-edit

dsc_0283-edit

dsc_0292

dsc_0307-edit-edit

After getting back in the car one more time, we started the 90-minute trek back home. We detoured slightly passing through the Blue Mountian ski resort to check out things as the lights were being turned on the runs for the night skiing and just because it’s a neat place to be in.

We made one stop at the old grain terminal in Collingwood and captured this shot of Blue Mountain in the distance, just as the lights were being turned on.

dsc_0319-edit

Although the day perhaps didn’t turn out weather-wise as well as we had hoped, it still made for a nice birthday day outing for Lynn. I’ve come to realize and accept that when things don’t seem to go as planned, your adventure can be salvaged and more often than not, end up becoming something even better.

Spending the day with Lynn and Katie, being outside, shooting some photos all the while listening to our favourite Prince Edward Island music show podcast goes in the record books as “a win.”

Why not head on over to Owen Sound or the Meaford area for a day out in the near future. Both communities offer plenty to tempt you for an afternoon or for a full day’s outing. Restaurants, shops, parks, trails and a host of other activities will fill your day with memories to last a lifetime.

Thanks for reading.

 

— get outside; find inspiration; discover yourself —

 

 

 

Fall Road Trip Through Grey County

Being on vacation certainly has its advantages. Now, there’s an understatement if I ever heard or stated one.

But, one nice advantage if you’re not on any specific schedule, is to “go with the flow.” Get up in the morning or decide late the night before, what might be on the agenda for the day.

That’s how it was on the Tuesday of the “old vacation week.”  One thing Lynn and I have talked about for a while, is taking a day trip and actually stop in many of these little towns and villages we pass through while on other adventures.

With almost endless possibilities of places to go, we decided that ultimately we would make it to Owen Sound, but our route would take us through south and west Grey County to get there.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 5.41.09 AM

So, with Katie in tow and coffee in hand, we locked the back door, jumped in the car and were on the road by 10am.

Our first stop was “The Bakery & Cafe” in the community of Flesherton.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 5.58.18 AM
Source: Google Maps

Known or self-proclaimed as the“Gateway to the Beaver Valley”, Flesherton although with only a population of around 700 residents, has a number of quaint shops and restaurants along the main street.

For our stop at The Bakery & Cafe, we scooped a blueberry muffin for Lynn and a lightly spiced Indian samosa for myself. The Verdict – both excellent choices. 

If you’re in the area,  be sure to check out “The Bakery & Cafe.” You won’t be disappointed.

After a quick pit-stop at the Flesherton Community Park and Pond to let Katie go to the bathroom, we headed west along Grey County Road 4.

Lynn’s father’s side of the family comes from and farmed in this area of Grey County albeit further to the west around the town of Durham. This part of the trip was for Lynn a slight jaunt down memory lane.

Our first stop in Durham was McGowan Falls on the east edge of town. 1

McGowan Falls, although very gradual as it flows over the several layers of bedrock, is formed as part of the dam used for recreational and flood control uses with the Durham Conservation Area of the Saugeen River Conservation Authority.

2

3

After about 30 minutes or so, we headed to the main street to check out what stores were still there. Lynn’s grandparents after they sold their farm, bought a small house in Durham many years ago. In fact, that house is only a few hundred metres from McGowan Falls.

I had been to the house many times with Lynn, but we hadn’t been through Durham for almost eighteen years. We were kind of curious about what business have managed to survive in a small rural community over that time.

To our pleasant surprise, things, for the most part, are alive and well in downtown Durham. One spot we stopped at was the “Chicory Common – Natural Foods and Cafe.”

cafe
Source: Google Images

the-chicory-common-cafe
Source: Google Images

Natural foods, organic products, bakery and restaurant all rolled into one. The menu looked delicious, to say the least. There are only a few tables in the restaurant, but most were occupied by the lunch crowd.

We didn’t leave empty-handed though. The smell of the bakery, while at the same time viewing the choices with wild anticipation of delectable yumminess, resulted in a large oatmeal raisin cookie for me and a raspberry/almond square for Lynn that was so rich, it took her until we got home at night to finish it. It was THAT GOOD!

Leaving Durham, we headed west again along Grey County Road 4, to the towards the Town of Hanover. I find it somewhat remarkable, that with all the road-tripping and adventuring Lynn and I have done, we’ve never really been west of Durham and into this area of Ontario.

We made a quick tour of Hanover and much to Lynn’s surprise(but not really) we made a quick stop at MacLean’s Ales.

page_macleans_logo

With the idea of picking up some locally brewed suds and after a short consultation with the gal working the counter at the brewery, I left with a sample of “Luck & Charm Oatmeal Stout.” Okay, it was more than just a sample.

stout
Source: Google Images

As it was getting later in the afternoon, we detoured through town following the simple and straightforward signage to head north on Grey County Road 10 towards Owen Sound. Getting out of Hanover, was one of the most complicated “follow the detour sign” excursions we’ve been on. Yikes.

detour-sign
Source: Google Images

We arrived in Owen Sound around 4pm and headed straight to Harrison Park in the south end of town. Harrison Park is always one of our go-to spots when we hit up this area.

If you’re not familiar with Harrison Park, it is one of the best municipal parks we’ve ever visited. It’s 100 acres set in an urban environment. Beautiful grounds and facilities. It connects to the Bruce Trail, as well as a short side trail to Weaver Creek Falls. It’s probably best to read about the park here.

At this time of year, chinook salmon leave Georgian Bay and head up the Sydenham River which passes through Harrison Park. The salmon migration up the Sydenham is part of their natural life cycle to return where they hatched in order to spawn and eventually die.

Arriving at Harrison Pak we checked out the salmon working their way upstream, as well as many of the ducks and other waterfowl that congregate along the river as well.

Cormorants resting on a log.

21

20

Salmon working their way upstream to spawn.

19

18

Harrison Park also has a wonderful waterfowl enclosure filled with a variety of ducks, geese and swans. When we arrived, two Great Blue Herons were visiting the park as well. One was strolling along a small tributary in the park, while the other was out in the river.

4
A park stroller

The Great Blue Heron that was originally out in the river, decided to fly into the duck/geese enclosure to hunt for food. Over the years, Lynn has worked on getting pictures of a Great Blue Heron in the wild, but it has more often than not resulted in the bird flying away or not being able to physically get close enough to get a decent photo.

So, technically this was a shot of a Great Blue Heron in the wild who decided to feed in a waterfowl display.

Looking for dinner.

11

Bingo – got it!5

A few more pictures from the park.

12

7

8
Trumpeter Swans

The park also has a pheasant enclosure as well, with a variety of different pheasants and other birds. Very cool.

6

When I first spied these little guys, I would have sworn they were tiny wind-up toys placed in the pond. Nope – the cutest little yellow balls of fun. Mom would bring them down to the pond every 30 minutes or so; head out for a short paddle, then march the troop back up to their nesting spot. Very neat to watch.

9

10

We left Harrison Park around 5:30pm or so and went to get a bite to eat.

While munching away on dinner, we thought we might be able to make it to Meaford and the waterfront on our way home to photograph the sunset. A quick check of the Weather Network suggested the sun would set by 6:35pm. There was no way we would be able to get to Meaford in time.

I thought the eastern side of Owen Sound harbour that faces west might work and was just a few minutes away. We found a great spot adjacent to the local arena.

A few sunset pics.

16

17a

13

15

14

With the sun finally dipping below the horizon, we packed up and got Katie back in the car and started east for the 2-hour drive back home.

A long day out and about, but a super time checking out some parts of Grey County we’ve never been to before.

Looking back, it seems our day was as much as a bakery run as it was a road trip. And we’re okay with that! If someone has to check these places out and sample some along the way, I figure it might as well be us.

That area of south and west Grey County has a ton of things to see and do, as well as neat places to check out. It seems the day turned out to be a reconnaissance trip for the next time we get out that way.

Once again, Owen Sound and specifically Harrison Park made for a perfect stop. The salmon run, a Great Blue Heron, fuzzy yellow balls of fun and lastly the waterfront for the sunset. Not too shabby.

Be sure to check out this area of Grey County. Great places to visit; great restaurants and lots to keep you occupied.

After getting home around 9pm, and settling onto the couch….. it was worth the trip.

stout

Thanks for reading.

Weaver Creek, Inglis and Hogg’s Falls – A Mother’s Day Adventure

The first question one might start to ponder about is, “why am I writing about a Mother’s Day adventure in the first place?” A very good and reasonable enquiry from you the reader. No, the adventure didn’t occur on the traditional Mother’s Day Sunday and to answer the second question should it come up, our daughter wasn’t there in person to partake in what has become Lynn and Sara’s traditional Mother’s Day excursion.

Since our daughter had been essentially living away from home since her second year of college, while working part-time at an upscale restaurant, Mother’s Day has been always a busy time to try to get the day off. Given Sara’s work situation, she and Lynn would take the next available day and both of them would out for the day, which usually involved lunch and tripping throughout Wellington County and the Grand River Valley areas of Ontario seeking photo opportunities.

This year, however, with Sara permanently living in Halifax I stepped into the void and filled to the position of “surrogate daughter” for the day. After a few texts between myself and Sara, we devised a plan that saw her calling Lynn on Mother’s Day, as well sending me some money to take Lynn out for an adventurous day photographing waterfalls and lunch in the Owen Sound and Grey County areas.

Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 5.19.52 AM

With the day of adventure upon us, and leaving home between 9 and 9:30 in the morning it was about a 2 hour trip to Weaver Creek Falls in Owen Sound which was the first stop of our “Mother’s Day Adventure(MDA).”

Weaver Creek Falls is located in the south end of Harrison Park, a City of Owen Sound run facility. If you’re ever visiting Owen Sound, it is worth your time to come and explore Harrison Park. It has a wonderful playground for children, a waterfowl display and enclosure, a small campground, a swimming pool, the Bruce Trail, a restaurant and of course access to Weaver Creek Falls.

You can give this link a quick click to learn more about Harrison Park.

Access to the falls starts at the south end of the park, near the swimming pool. It is a short hike on a flat and very accessible hard packed trail with a wooden boardwalk. From the start to the falls themselves, it might be a couple of hundred metres. Technically, the actual falls are on private property. From the Grey County Waterfall Brochure – …“Note: The boardwalk leading to the falls is in Harrison Park, but Weaver Creek Falls itself is on private property. Please be respectful when visiting.”

A few pictures from Weavers Creek Falls.181

A couple of feather visitors who decided to join up on the adventure. Well, at least for this part.21720214317

Katie viewing the proceedings thinking that it must be time to head back to the car for a well-deserved drink of water and a tiny snack.

22

After spending about an hour along the Weaver Creek Falls trail, and as part of our MDA, we decided to head over to “Elsie’s Diner”, located in the north-west part of Owen Sound on Highway 6.

elsies2elsies

It’s a “50’s” style dinner that takes you back into a different era for sure. The food is comprised of burgers, sandwiches, wraps and such, and you do tend to get a large plate of whatever you order. We had been there once before last year.

Seeing as we had Katie with us and it was getting pretty warm out, we ordered takeout and headed back to Harrison Park for a picnic lunch.

After finishing our burgers, Lynn had spied some flowering trees along the street that leads into Harrison Park. So, heading out, naturally of course, we needed to stop to take a picture or two.65

After leaving Weaver Creek Falls, we thought let’s just go more or less around the corner to Inglis Falls located on the southern edge of Owen Sound. Inglis Falls forms part of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority holdings.

We’ve visited Inglis Falls on numerous occasions over the past couple of years. For those so inclined, a great little excursion is to park and leave from Harrison Park and hike the Bruce Trail south to Inglis Falls and then return via the same route. Round trip totals around 5 to 6-kilometres. We did that particular route back in 2016.

We didn’t spend much time here on the MDA, seeing as we’ve been there several times in the past. A few shots though.7161415

The falls are very impressive, to say the least. When we hiked there from Harrison Park back in 2016, we found an opening in the escarpment face that with some tight scrambling allowed us to get to the bottom of the valley and bushwhack up to the base of the falls. Unfortunately, I can’t find any of our pictures from that adventure.

The always required “group shot.” Katie does not like waterfalls nor the sound they make. Let’s say she was not impressed with our choice of photo location.23

After leaving Inglis Falls, it was our intention to head back home. We started home south on Highway 10, passing through the communities of Chatsworth and Flesherton. After turning east on County Rd 4 in Flesherton, I mentioned to Lynn it might be fun to head along the East Back Line and Lower Valley Road to come out near the Beaver Valley Ski Club.

Seeing as we would be passing by Hogg’s Falls, we thought “okay, maybe one last photo opportunity.” Stop number three on the MDA.

However, we did find this Canadian version of a “Tardis” located near the village of Markdale.

8

Hogg’s Falls is located on Lower Valley Road, about 3 or 4 kilometres from the Village of Flesherton. The falls themselves are on the Boyne River and the Bruce Trail passes the right beside them. There is a small parking lot that could hold about 10 cars and is located a short 5-minute walk from the top of the falls.Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 8.08.30 AM

11
Hogg’s Falls from the base

12

A couple of short video clips from the base and the top of the falls.

And another from the top.

13

A couple of shots upstream from the falls near the parking lot.

109

After leaving Hogg’s Falls around 5pm, we casually made our way home, pulling into the driveway around 6:30 or so.

Throughout the day, Lynn would fire off a text or a text and picture letting Sara know what we were doing and helping to make sure that she felt part of the adventure if in spirit only. It was unfortunate that Sara couldn’t be with Lynn this year, but according to Lynn when she spoke with Sara later that night, it was a good day nonetheless.

As I write this, we are just a few short weeks away from pulling out of our driveway early on a Sunday morning to head to Nova Scotia to visit Sara and then back to PEI for a variety of adventures, including fishing on a commercial lobster boat.

Over the past number of years, we’ve visited most, if not all of the waterfalls located throughout Grey County. All are reasonably accessible and make for great day trips, and as well many can be combined if you only have a day to visit. This is an excellent resource from Grey County Tourism on the waterfalls located throughout the area.

If you get the chance, why not head over to Grey County and the Owen Sound area for the day or even a couple of days. There are plenty of outdoor adventures and activities just waiting for your discovery.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Jones Falls – Owen Sound…. Well Worth the Visit

After plans for our Thursday kind of fell through the cracks and put a damper on things, we gathered up Katie; put in her regular back seat spot in the car and made a day trip up to Jones Falls just outside Owen Sound.

IMG_20171102_130823143

Funny, it does seem at times Owen Sound and that area of Grey County is our default spot to head to….and rightly so!

Okay then…….what keeps drawing us back and back you ask…….Well, let’s see……. ten waterfalls located in and around the Owen Sound and the Grey County area; the Bruce Trail; quaint villages to explore; and all this coupled with countless restaurants…..like really…..who wouldn’t want to spend a day or even better a couple of days checking the area out.

Jones Falls can be accessed from a side trail off 10th Street W on the far west edge of town, or even better drive around the corner to Highway 6 and park in the parking lot of the Grey-Bruce Tourist Information building.

From the parking lot at the tourist information centre, it’s about a 400 metre hike to the falls themselves. There is a metal bridge that crosses the river close to the falls. So, its possible to catch a look of the rapids and falls from both sides.

The trails through here, which comprise a section of the Bruce Trail, are generally flat and very easy, although there is no fencing or other protection around the falls itself. So…..caution is always needed when close to the falls and the Pottawatomi River. The rocks and the trail can be quite slippery!

More information on Jones Falls can be found here.

Here’s just a few of the countless pictures Lynn shot from the day:

DSC_0171-Edit

 

DSC_0177-Edit

IMG_20171102_132420507

DSC_0181-Edit-Edit-EditDSC_0202-Edit-Edit-EditDSC_0203-Edit

IMG_20171102_130904841

DSC_0213-EditDSC_0216-Edit-EditDSC_0218-Edit-Edit

Two or three of the pictures, I took with my phone. They should be pretty easy to pick out.

The last time we visited, the volume of water in the river and flowing over the falls was quite low. With the amount of rain and water flowing in the system this time, it made for a way better “falls” experience.

After of couple of hours here and many, many pictures later, we drove about 100 metres up Highway 6 and had a late lunch at Elsie’s Diner. As the website says….“a taste of the 50’s.”  We both a burger and fries which were very tasty, with locally sourced products all the way from the beef, potatoes and vegetables.

Very basic meals, but bring your appetite because the portions are huge.

Our plan was to then head over to Harrison Park for a jaunt through there, including a quick photo side-trip to Weaver Creek Falls. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided rain was on the menu and coupled with this was a camera battery pack that was just about out of power.

So, somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00pm, we started the trek back home, side-tracking through Thornbury and the Beaver Valley.

I must say though, it was a good day out…………in fact it was much-needed day just to get away from everything.

We’ve been very busy this fall, with work; a trip out east; several day trips and a weekend up north; hikes along the Bruce Trail in the Beaver Valley and all this coupled with the general day-to-day things that create gray hair.

So, I would encourage you to get outside and soak up some “nature.” Believe me, you won’t be sorry and I can assure you, you’ll come home feeling much better.

Hey, thanks for reading and take the opportunity to check out the area in and around Owen Sound….. a great spot to visit.

 

 

 

Freedom Trail – Owen Sound

img_20170216_124306593

On one of my recent days off, we decided to head to Owen Sound, specifically Harrison Park which is one of our favourite places to visit in the Owen Sound area.

It was our intention to hike to Weaver Creek Falls with Katie and then maybe a short bit on the Bruce Trail which can be easily accessed through the park.

Once we got there however, things changed a bit – but for the better.

While I was getting Katie out of the car, Lynn headed off down a plowed trail that runs along the river towards the north end of the park. As she was happily snapping pictures, Katie and I continued along the trail eventually coming a small parking area at the park’s northern entrance.

What Katie and I were walking on is the “Freedom Trail.”

Much to Lynn’s bewilderment, I find great joy and excitement researching and if possible discovering the history of places that we adventure to. I find if we’re out on a trail and we come across old foundations or something like that, when we get home I try to “google” see if I there is any information on what they might have been.

For me knowing about something on a trail makes the adventure have much more fullfillment and meaning.

I had known that Owen Sound had history with the Underground Rail Road, but that was about the extent of it.

So, when I came across this sign post and an adjacent board which briefly outlined the purpose of the Freedom Trail, lead me to “surf’ around the Town of Owen Sound’s website to gain some further insight into the connection and history of the area and the Underground rail Road.

img_20170216_124255481

Owen Sound was the last northern terminus for the Underground Rail Road. The Underground Rail Road was the largest North American freedom movement, the secretly transported the majority of escaped slaves from the Southern States to the Northern US and Canada.

Not far from the marker noted in the picture above is a Black History Cairn explaining the route taken by those forced into slavery and their escape to freedom in Canada. The cairn was designed by the descendant of a former slave who sought freedom in Owen Sound. The cairn contains stones from Africa, slave and free states, and Canadian border points to mark the journey north.

The part that we were hiking on is part of a 10km self-guided walking tour to places within the town where former slaves and their descendants lived, worked, attended church and were laid to rest and Owen Sound’s memorials to their struggles.

Much more on Owen Sound’s black history can be found here.

These are a couple of pictures Lynn took just off the trail in Harrison Park.

img_20170216_125814118

img_20170216_125822899

img_20170216_125752559

I guess the point of this is, that history surrounds us where ever we are.

We don’t necessarily have to travel to the ends of the Earth to find it.

A simple hike through a park in Owen Sound opened an afternoon of researching and reading all the history you wanted.

In addition, reading and learning about Owen Sound’s involvment in the Underground rail Road, kind of made me feel proud to be Canadian.