8.01.2008

devil's punchbowl and ice cream

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.


stoney creek 019

stoney creek 022

We can have Allan smiling, or Cody's face, but not both.

24 comments:

Ferdzy said...

Glad you got out and had a good day! We should definitely be up for an outing next week - and we can skip the hills.

M@ said...

we passed through the site of a battle from the War of 1812

Not just a battle -- the battle! Okay, so I'm a local guy and all that, but in the Niagara peninsula campaign, and in the war in general, Stoney Creek was a major turning point. It was a very daring night raid -- with 700 British soldiers attacking 3500 American -- that ended with the capture of two American generals and all their artillery, and began the part of the war where the Americans were driven right back past Niagara Falls.

The reason it's significant is that if the British failed to shift the Americans there, the plan was to retreat all the way to Kingston. They were going to concede the entire Niagara peninsula, as well as York and most of the rest of Lake Ontario's coast. In fact, the British were preparing for this retreat even as they were preparing to raid the American encampment.

Maybe they would have taken it all back, or gotten it back by treaty (since the British also ended up winning in the Detroit and Montreal campaigns). But still, I think Stoney Creek was pretty key in making sure Canada remained Canada.

It's really nice to read about your day trip though. Pretty much every place you mentioned had a childhood memory attached to it. I'm glad to finally return the favour for all your NYC recommendations, too...

L-girl said...

Glad you got out and had a good day! We should definitely be up for an outing next week - and we can skip the hills.

Cool! I'm not certain we can do it next week, but we'll try.

we passed through the site of a battle from the War of 1812

Not just a battle -- the battle!


Oh wow! I didn't realize. One day when I read all three of Pierre Berton's books on 1812, I'll visit a bunch of related sites.

Pretty much every place you mentioned had a childhood memory attached to it.

That's a weird feeling, isn't it? When people visit places that hold vivid memories for me, I always feel a little wistful.

I'm glad to finally return the favour for all your NYC recommendations, too...

Use 'em while you can! How long will it be until most of my NYC points of reference are gone? That city changes mighty fast.

john said...

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.

I can empathize with that! A bunch of "Defend Marriage" posters were put up in my place of work a few years ago, around the time of the Supreme Court decision. I wanted to get assorted highlighters and draw rainbow mustaches on the pictured "Ideal Family".

In the end, I downloaded something from equal-marriage.ca, printed it out at the same size, and put it up right next to the defend marriage stuff.

James said...

Stoney Creek Dairy's great. Lori & I stop by there whenever we do a run to Len's Mill Store for fabrics. Well, except for winter runs. :)

And it's "days out". :)

L-girl said...

A bunch of "Defend Marriage" posters were put up in my place of work a few years ago

Isn't that a violation of workplace standards?

L-girl said...

And it's "days out". :)

I kinda figured. Like passers-by.

tim said...

Sounds like a good day off! This post brought back fond memories of my childhood :-)

...I think I've peed on that cross as well.

L-girl said...

This post brought back fond memories of my childhood :-)

Oh yes, another Hamilton boy!

...I think I've peed on that cross as well.

Excellent. :)

You and M@ will appreciate this. You know Allan didn't really want to go anywhere yesterday b/c of the trade deadline and all the Manny stuff. But we had these plans, and I thought we really needed to get out of the house.

We brought our laptops thinking we
could sit in a cafe in the afternoon, but it turned out we were driving home on the QEW right around deadline time.

First we hear on WFAN that Jason Bay went to Tampa! (M@, they are our division rivals this year! An expansion team that has never made the playoffs!) We hear Manny is still a Sock, and that's that.

Then we stopped in a store, I was driving so Allan went in. I put the radio on - and immediately heard, "So to confirm, Manny Rameriz to the Dodgers, Jason Bay to the Bosox, and four minor leaguers to Pittsburgh." And Allan is in the store!

He came out and I was honking and waving, get back here quick!!

john said...

Isn't that a violation of workplace standards?

It probably was, but when does that ever stop anyone?

It's just like at my old high school, where the librarian was permitted to stock the periodical shelves with newsletters from anti-choice groups, and yell at students who suggested equal time for pro-choice publications. Ah, sweet Canadian bible belt of my youth...

Joe Mama said...

Between you and Lisann'e photo feed, I'm visiting my old stomping grounds. We lived in Hamilton in the early '70s. We made a few trips to the Stoney Creek Dairy bar, we would walk through the escarpment above Stoney Creek and pick cherries. I don't think it was an official conservation area at the time, but it may have been.

There was a traffic circle on the QEW at Stoney Creek and you had to pay a toll to cross the Burlington Skyway.

There was no lighted cross at the time. I wonder when it went up and whether it's a city project or is it on private land?

L-girl said...

The plaque on the cross says it has been there nearly 50 years. It's dedicated to some church elder who was a electrical worker. Or something like that.

redsock said...

I think the plaque said the cross went up in December 1966.

L-girl said...

1966? I thought it was earlier. But you're probably right, I only glanced at it.

L-girl said...

Isn't that a violation of workplace standards?

It probably was, but when does that ever stop anyone?


It doesn't stop them in advance, of course. But you'd be entitled to speak to Human Resources and ask them to remove it. Next step would be telling them you will file a Human Rights complaint. After that, filing one.

It's not a perfect system, but it's in your favour.

john said...

It's not a perfect system, but it's in your favour.

You are right, of course. I guess it's just not my first impulse. If someone pushes their views in my face, my typical reaction is, "Fine. I'll hear your point of view, but be prepared to deal with mine in return." If said person responds by trying to silence me, then it's time to get officialdom involved.

The biggest risk of my approach is that it may cause bad feelings among colleagues. That's why I always bend over backwards to let people know that I'm not trying to make an ad hominem attack.

L-girl said...

I guess it's just not my first impulse.

I am very sensitive to issues like that in the workplace. I see it as a labour rights issue.

I would always try to talk to the person first. And in fact, if you are going to file a complaint, you have to show you tried to solve it on your own anyway.

But going to your employer is not, in my opinion, officialdom. It is their responsibility to make sure their workplace is free of harassment for every employee.

I once had a co-worker who used to leave religious material on my desk. Working in a law firm in NYC, I was pretty fortunate, it was easy to handle. It's been a big problem for many people in US states like Texas and Arizona.

The biggest risk of my approach is that it may cause bad feelings among colleagues.

What about your feelings? Those are equally important. What's more, you are in the right. No one should be posting any political or religious material at work.

john said...

What's more, you are in the right. No one should be posting any political or religious material at work.

Like you, I would prefer that such issues never come up at all. I'm definitely not looking to pick a fight with my coworkers, and I'd never be the FIRST person to slap a poster up. Also, the incident I described has been the only one of its kind in my ten years here.

I guess what I did in response to the defend marriage crud was my way of saying, "Your opinion is not the only one here. You haven't made me angry, but you also haven't cowed me."

L-girl said...

Your way of handling it is just as valid as mine, and maybe more effective.

For me personally, it would make me too angry that they could get away with that at all. I wouldn't want my own posters up, either - I would want none up. But that's me, I'm not you.

What was the response to your material? Was there any?

john said...

What was the response to your material? Was there any?

To my pleasant surprise, both sets of posters stayed up until a while after equal marriage became law. Then they all disappeared. They were replaced by an announcement for a golf tournament and barbeque. And thus was harmony restored...

Nigel Patel said...

I would one day love to be as happy as a dog sticking his face out the window of a moving car.

9casey said...

Hey L , sorry to leave this here, but is something wrong with Allan's website or is it on my end?

Micro IE wont let me in??????

I am having withdrawals over here...If you any info that would be appreciated..

Thanks , 9c

L-girl said...

Hi 9C!

Blogger seems not to be working with IE on certain blogs. If you download and install Firefox, you'll get in. It only takes 5 minutes (not even).

Google "download Firefox", the first page that comes up is the Mozilla page with the download.

Good luck, see you soon I hope!!

9casey said...

Thanks, L ....appreciate it...