9.25.2008

lovely hike in hilton falls

There is nothing like walking in the woods to clear my head. Swimming makes me feel much better, too, but this brain-fry was too big for the Mississauga Y.

I found this very good resource: Toronto Hiking. It has a list of hikes in and around the Toronto area, and a separate list of waterfalls along the Niagara Escarpment. There are detailed descriptions of each hike, so you can judge in advance the terrain, degree of difficulty, or whatever features are important to you. Every hike is linked to a road map, a trail map, photos and other info.

Although all the Ontario parks and conservation areas have good websites, I haven't found a good way to judge the appropriateness of any given area until we're there. We're not into climbing, and we have a senior dog to think about, so if we feel like a nice long walk in the woods - as opposed to just getting out in the country - it's nice to be able to plan.

Yesterday we went to Hilton Falls, part of the Conservation Halton system. It's a beautiful area, with several overlapping loops (none very strenuous) and a small waterfall. At the falls there are remnants of an old mill that was constructed around it in the 1840s. It may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad... or not. The park is a big destination for mountain biking and cross-country skiing, too.

I love how the Escarpment forms these little waterfalls all over the area. I never knew about the Escarpment before I moved to Ontario, although I've intersected with it several times before. Most famously, of course, through Niagara Falls. Imagine the little Hilton Falls we saw yesterday is related to the mighty falls of Niagara. But I've apparently encountered the Escarpment at the Genesee River in Western New York State, where it forms waterfalls and gorges, and through the New York State town of Lockport. I knew a series of locks were built there for the Erie Canal - I love my New York State history - but I didn't know they were needed to get the Canal over the Niagara Escarpment.

In general, I'm still amazed at how quickly you can reach farmland in this area, how the sprawl ends like a knife edge and "the country" begins. In the New York metro area, you have to drive much greater distances to find the country (although there are pockets of country within the city and suburbs, same as the Greater Toronto Area). Here, you can practically see the sprawl pushing at the farmland in place like Oakville, Milton and other towns.

Hilton Falls is really very nearby, which is nice when you have a barking, spinning dog in your car. Tala barked the entire way there, walked around 10 kilometers, barked most of the way back, then wanted me to throw her ball in the backyard.

Allan and I are much more like Cody. She's content to relax in the car, go for a walk, then return to relaxing.

10 comments:

Amy said...

Sounds like a lovely day, except that part about Tala barking in the car the whole way. You guys must be made of something special to tune that out. I know it would drive me crazy, and Tala would stay home while Cody got to go on the trip!

I am glad you had a great day.

L-girl said...

Tala would stay home while Cody got to go on the trip!

I seriously doubt that.

I'm sure you accept all your children, faults and all. We would never leave Tala home alone for hours and hours while we went off and enjoyed a lovely autumn hike - and I doubt you would either.

(Also, she's in the hatch back, not right behind our heads.)

L-girl said...

I am glad you had a great day.

And thank you!

Amy said...

Yeah, I am sure you are right. I feel guilty when we take the dog for a walk, and the cats have to stay inside. But I also do treat my kids differently, not because I love them less but because they are different. Whereas I will go to a museum with one, I long ago stopped taking the other because all she did was whine and make us miserable.

You are obviously more fair-minded or tolerant than I am. Tala is lucky. :)

L-girl said...

But I also do treat my kids differently, not because I love them less but because they are different. Whereas I will go to a museum with one, I long ago stopped taking the other because all she did was whine and make us miserable.

But both my dogs love hikes. :)

Amy said...

Ah, but she hates the car!

L-girl said...

She LOVES the car!! She loves it so much that's all she wants to do. The car is her favourite part of the trip - she doesn't want to get out!

redsock said...

If Tala had to choose between (a) the open hatch in the back of the car and (b) a plate with a big juicy steak on it, I am pretty confident she would hop immediately into the car.

Amy said...

And sadly, I couldn't get my daughter to behave in a museum even if I offered her a steak or a trip to the gift shop!

L-girl said...

In that, they're very much alike. Tala has been offered every possible inducement to behave in the car, but she will not. She's just having too much fun spinning and barking!