Saturday, May 03 – 2008
12:00 – 17:00
Roads: Damp from rain
Area: Queenston, Ontario
Vehicle: Black Sunfire
Trail Conditions: Slightly Damp
Hikers: Chuck, Wolf, Morgana
Plan: See The Queenston Caves
12:00 We arrived at the small parking lot in the rain, and geared up. I wore my shell pants, synthetic beige hiking shirt, and an old group 4 falck jacket underneath my water resistant coveralls, gaiters, and keen shoes with adventure hat and ESS v12 goggles.
We hit the trails around 12:15 and as expected, were the only ones on it. Morgana had a great time in the mud, and puddles.
After a few minutes hike, we came across the large old crane structure on the trails, leftover from when this was an active mine. Chuck suggested we come back some time with our climbing gear and ascend the crane to get a better picture of it and have some fun and a challenge.
Chuck and I could really feel the exertion as it took a lot of effort to hike in mud in our rain resistant gear.
Eventually we came to the “amphitheater” part of the trail. It was such a beautiful section and Chuck said when we do our big hike this year, if it wasn’t only an hour’s hike from the beginning of the Bruce Trail entrance.
We came to the slippery down-trail and kept to our right and went down the muddy wooden staircase and then came to the Y in the trail, hung a left. I was surprised on the Bruce Trail marker (the white rectangle) there was still the word “caves” with a left hand facing arrow written on it with my Fisher pen I wrote about 3 years ago, still on the trail.
We headed towards the old mine with Chuck in the lead and he said “I don’t know where I’m going – I’m just walking” but as soon as he said that, the mines came into view.
We entered the old mine to find the water very milky, although on previous visits it has always been crystal clear.
We took a couple of photos and Chuck made his way to the left where there were several dry areas in the mine. I went as well, and saw a bat fly by Chuck. Chuck only had his small head lamp which was almost out of charge, and asked to borrow my black Garrity LED lamp. Sadly it dropped into the water and I had to retrieve it. I was happy I found it as it was the first LED lamp I’ve owned and was a gift from my grandmother and has been greatly useful over the years.
We continued on, and the water was not as cold as I expected on my bare feet through my keen sandals. We got to the dry areas and Chuck with his rubber boots on, went into the water a little ahead of me. I stayed on the dry sections and saw on a rock a hug e12cm brown spider with a dark brown body and striped brown and dark brown legs. As Chuck and I have heard that our area now has brown recluse spiders, but have never seen one – we decided the best course of action would be to photograph then mush the spider good.
Chuck and I looked around a little while, then headed back. Twice during our time in the mine, Morgana ran off towards the entrance as she has not been in this kind of environment before and was somewhat nervous. We left the mine to the face and sat down for a while as it was raining heavily outside now.
A long time ago when I was here, I met an elderly woman who stated that the mine entrance was only about a 5 min. walk from a nearby road to park your vehicle. We decided to take off down the trail to see if there was any truth to this.
Sure enough, after passing a boggy, swampy, black watered pond Morgana had to splash around in – a pile of rooftops from houses came into view. We looked around to try and get our bearings then saw a woman, standing barefoot on her back porch with white shorts and blue blouse on. She watched us intently. I waived at her but she gave no response. As we turned around to head back, we came across a “LaFarge – No Trespassing” sign, took some photographs and headed back towards the old mine entrance to follow the trail hopefully to a loop out through the bottom of the old quarry.
We followed a muddy path up a good sized hill and came across some very low hanging power lines that Chuck could almost reach up and touch. To our right we saw a set of old, smelly, PCB leaking power transformers. All the tall grass and vegetation around them was visibly black and dead. They really smelled badly. As we turned to walk away, we caught Morgana walking in the area close to the old transformers, a quick yell from Chuck and she was back with us.
Eventually we made our way back throught he woods and somehow linked back up with the Bruce Trail and we came across an old capped-off natural gas line that was all fenced in and locked with a padlock. Chuck looked around to try to find a nice large rock to bust-off the lock to no avail.
Heading down into the floor of the quarry we came to a deep ditch which had all kinds of green algae growing in it. Morgana of course had to get in there and try on the algae. We followed the the deep ditch along to find a half-crushed oval shaped drain with a road built over it. Strangely the oval was upright and had been installed pre-crushed apparently. The ditch emptied into a large flooded section of the quarry which had a sign that read “Danger! Deep Water”. As we approached the edge of the quarry to find the water was quite clear with lots of healthy vegetation growing around it. We headed back towards the car. As we got to the far east end of the Quarry, we went to the south wall to look at some of the rocks left in the quarry which were all full of bung holes. On one section of the rock there was a very unusual graffiti of a flying saucer spacecraft in brilliant colors with the words “we’re coming” written in red letters on top. We took a few more photos and made our way to a steep, muddy path and ambled up he pathway and headed towards the car.
17:00 Arriving at the car, we stripped off our gear and I held a wet, smelly, swamp-donkey Morgana on my knee on the trip home.