Sunday, January 19 – 2008
12:00 – 16:30
Roads: Dry / Clear
Area: Beamer Conservation Area
Vehicle: Lada Niva
Weather: Overcast, Cold
Trail Conditions: Frozen Ground
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Chuck, Merlin, Morgana
Plan: Hike to the waterfall
GPS: 43.19 x 79.58
A few months ago, Chuck was driving along a road in Grimsby, Ontario by our dive instructor Eric’s place and came across a large waterfall. He took Tori and I there once and we always meant to go back. Today I took the day off work to relax as my job work me steady Saturdays at the moment. We got all bundled up to hike in the area. This was the first this is the first time we have had our Niva back in over a month as the repairs were extensive and all the parts had to be shipped to Canada from Hungary.
12:00 We arrived at the small parking lot at the top of the escarpment to find 8 cars in the lot. There was barely a spot for us. We parked the Niva and I put on my blue hiking suit, now embellished with my “Wolfmaan” logo overtop my camouflage pants and brown button-up shirt, gaiters Faded Glory boots, parka, ski-mask and sun glasses. Tori put on her black pants, rubber boots, parka, sweaters, and ski-mask and we hit the stone packed trails. Right away we came across a few hikers with a big black lab that Morgana snarled at. The lab had a muzzel on. We continued up the trail to find a small loop of gravel-packed stone with a large black lookout tower with steps leading up to it. At the far southern corner was a small trail map on a sign. We looked at it and Chuck noticed a small quarry listed on the map he had not seen the last time he was here.
12:18 We headed down th e stone packed trail until we came to a small beaten down path through the snow heading eastbound off to the distance. We followed the path, figuring it might lead to the old quarry.
12:24 We started to see a small depression in the escarpment, partially flooded but frozen over. There were quite a few young Birch trees and such growing in the rock where we could get right to the edge of the cliffs and observe the town of Grimsby below. We could even see Toronto across the lake. We took a few photos and headed up to a different trail we found – part of the Bruce Trail, taking it Southbound until we came to a large deck constructed of metal, wood, and concrete with a bench for sitting. This was one of the observation decks installed by the park for people to sit, relax, and take in the view.
13:00 We came to the beginning of a set of blue blazes indicating a Bruce Trail Side-Trail, and found ourselves descending some stairs made of packed stone with wooden sides carved into the top of the escarpment. Eventually we came across a hiker with black trousers, green jacket and white beard with a hat and gloves on. He said he loved Jack Russell Terriers.
13:!4 We decided to split off the eastern facing trail and take the plunge into the untreaded bush and towards the small, partially frozen river flowing east to west below us and have a closer look, and possibly follow it westbound to the waterfall. The waterfall was an unusual snot green color.
13:25 We started walking along the creek-bed towards the west. The low water levels made it possible to hike. The terrain was difficult but fairly quick to navigate and keep away from the frozen water.
13:40 I stopped to notice t hat the foam of the river had actually frozen in small piles! I scooped some of the frozen foam up with my hatch gloves to find it had a frosty, power like consistency. I brushed a little to my face to find it was indeed frozen. It felt very strange and was fascinating to see.
14:31 We arrived at the waterfall to see it was of course partially frozen. Our new hydration packs with military camelbak pouches had frozen up and we could not get any water to come through the hoses or bite valves.
14:44 We took a few photos of the waterfall and decided with frozen water tubes, -9C outside temperatures, we should head back to the Niva as quick as we could.
15:01 Chuck suggested an alternative to the long hike back – straight up the canyon walls! We reluctantly agreed and started the long climb back up the steep, canyon wall. About ¾ of the way to the top, Thirst got the better of me and I perched myself on a tree, opened my pack and exposed the warm hydration pack. I opened the fill cap and had a drink. The water went everywhere but at least I was able to drink.
15:22 We arrived at the top of the canyon to meet-up with a piece of the blue trail, to follow back to the trail head and then back to the Niva. This was the first hike with our new black hydration packs. It was very frustrating how they froze up on the trail. Even chucks Gatorade ended up with ice crystals in it.
16:30 We arrived back at the Niva and headed for home to warm up.