I really should call our little hike days "regional explorations", or maybe just use the Britishism "day out". At Elora Gorge in April, and yesterday at Devil's Punchbowl, we didn't do all that much hiking. But it's lovely to take a drive, see more of the area, stop here and there, and just get a change of scenery and some time off together.
Thanks to M@, who grew up in Stoney Creek, we had good directions and several suggestions for stops. We had a brief, yummy, unhealthy lunch at Hutch's, then drove to Battlefield Park, where you can pick up a sidetrail that leads to the Devil's Punchbowl trail.
The sidetrail was nice, but as that portion of the Bruce Trail started to climb uphill, I realized we were about to climb a gorge. Cody can't really do that, and certainly not on a hot day. I'm not sure if Allan and I want to hike up the side of a gorge either! But with an elderly dog, we're not going to find out. The walk on the side trail was really enough for our old girl.
Next we drove up the Escarpment to the top of the gorge. From there, you can see the waterfall, and there's a viewing platform with a sweeping view of Hamilton, Lake Ontario, and in the far distance, Toronto. To my surprise, the illuminated cross that I've seen from the QEW was also there! But sadly, we saw no way to vandalize it without risking our lives.
From the top view, it seemed quite crazy to try to hike down the gorge with two dogs. So much for hiking!
At the nearby Punchbowl Farm Market and Bakery, we bought local corn - my first of the season! - and cherries, then drove along the Escarpment for more views. We stopped briefly at the Erland Lee House Museum, site of the first "women's institute", a support and development organization begun by rural Canadian women in the 19th Century.
After that, we had ice cream at the Stoney Creek Dairy, in business since 1929, and clearly a local institution. The whole Hamilton area really intrigues me. On this one little day, we passed through the site of a battle from the War of 1812, a rural and women's landmark from 1897, a very old local ice-cream hangout, a restaurant housed in a converted power station that once supplied an electric railway, and an oddly-shaped gorge and waterfall carved into striated rock.
The original plan had been to have dinner at The Old Powerhouse, but without a big hike, the day wound down earlier. Back at home, I was determined to make it a true day off, so we brought our laptops outside and spent the evening hanging out with other Red Sox fans, and ate our corn and cherries for dinner.
I'm really enjoying these little days out. (Day outs?) I still appreciate owning a car and being able to do this without too much advanced planning. It's a bit noisy, but we're used to that by now.
A few photos are here.