Thursday, April 26. 2007
11:30 – 15:00
Roads: Damp from rain
Weather: Overcast with some showers
Trail Conditions: Light mud
Hikers: Wolf, Tori, Lupis, Dogs
Plan: Find the caves by the Queenston Quarry
According to a small map we found on http://www.infoniagara.com, The bruce trail has a small section near the beginning which goes on the North Side of the quarry and leads off to the caves. Although we don’t expect the caves to be very much, they may be worth a short hike to find out.
11:30 We set out to head towards the queenston quarry and will most likely park at one of the small parking lots listed on the east side of portage road up by the St. David’s horseshoe club. We found a small parking lot and put the truck there. M erlin refused to listen and injured himself jumping out of the truck. We got the dogs ready and set-out on the trails around 11:50. We headed down towards the quarry and descended to the quarry floor and walked along it to the North East side past lots of rocks and along a steep cliff. We stopped to take some photographs only to find we left the CF card for the camera at home. Angered – a quick flick into the hard rocks and boulders brought a quick end to the old HP 315 camera. We followed alongthe North wall of the quarry but did not come across any caves or even crevasses.
12:45 We stopped on the bleak but beautiful landscape to fill out our journal.
13:20 In a patchwork attempt to link back-up with the Bruce Trail and head back to the truck, we headed North West from the Quarry. Tori’s ankle has been starting to trouble her. Some time ago she severely sprained it in an accident at work and was laid off as a result. When we hike now, she always has trouble with it. There is no way she could stand for 8hrs per day at her old job. A short 3 to 4 hr hike will lay her up for two days afterward. The scenery where we stopped is totally different here. Several large rock piles and outcroppins have given way to a beautiful rugged grass covered field dotted with lots of small ponds. Merlin and Morgana headed off to explore while I sat and Tori rested her ankle for a while.
13:38 Shortly after a break we started following a large stone-packed trail. The trail led off to one side where we saw several dozen large boulders all lined up. Just behind the boulders led us to a startling discovery – the mouth of the cave system we had been seeking! I slipped off my pack and got-out my new silver LED torch I’d just bought yesterday and descended into the caves. They were dark and somewhat filled with water. Sadly no camera. We went in with the dogs as far as we could with our galoshes, then stopped to enjoy this amasing discovery. We used the LED torch to see off as far as we could, then headed out of the caves. I sat on a rock by an old campfire while Tori headed up to look for our position. She found this trail area links up directly to the Bruce Trail. We sat and relaxed for a while as we are both very amased and pleased at ourselves. The cave entrance has some trees around it – perfect for our lines. This place is defiantly what we were seeking.
13:58 We decide to head back towards the truck.
14:03 The cave-trail links up with the Bruce Trail at a section that splits off three ways like a chickens foot. To the far right trail is a small hill / slope. Wolf wrote the word “caves” with an arrow pointing in the direction for further reference when we come back in the future. We headed E.N.E. On the bruce trail back towards the truck. Songbirds could be heard on the trees in the distance.
14:06 We went up a staircase with a metal label “1000” on a tree beside them.
14:13 We passed a beautiful little valley covered with large boulders covered in moss A beautiful scene. A marker post marked “Niagara Falls Nature Club” stands at the nicest viewing area. This post will be our “almost there” marker when we come back with the proper equipment to explore the cave.
14:27 We passed by the ruins of what could be an old crane or water tower. The aroma of a recent campfire still lingers in the area.
14:42 We were very close to the truck when we passed a couple – the girl holding fishing poles and wearing blue nylon pants and bright green flip-flips with perfectly painted blood red toes.
14:45 Shortly after we arrived back at the truck and completed our hike journal. Wolf wore galoshes, camouflage pants, denim shirt, hiking jacket and adventure hat. Tori wore galoshes, black pants and red shirt with her hiking jacket and adventure hat. Tori used her Schratt 1803 hiking poles which she said helped prevent a few further injuries to her ankle but required more effort to use. Tori and the dogs are very tired. Wolf is a little tired, but still happy about the discovery of the caves. We will start making an equipment list and have to come back soon.
14:50 We packed the dogs and daypack into the truck and headed for home. Wolf brought along the Brunton Nomad electric compass for the first time since we bought it several years ago. Although we did not really use it, it was good to have although a G.P.S. Unit would have been more useful. We arrived home safely just as a very bad rainstorm dumped on us. Good thing we got off the trails when we did.