Mount Nemo Conservation Area
May 02, 2010
The bright, sunny day felt pure and fresh with clear blue skies. The highways were open and free with little traffic. The plan was for a quick day hike through Mount Nemo Conservation area in Milton, Ontario.
Heading off the QEW Highway, the road went through a small city then snaked its way up the side of the escarpment. The farmland, complete with old tractors sparkled in the sunlight, white rectangles known as “blazes” for the Bruce Trail criss cross the road as I head towards the conservation area.
Entry to the park seemed boring and common. A long road cut through the trees led to a building where a bright and cheerful woman was finishing her soup. I paid the entry fee and was directed to the parking area.
I let my husky Luka out of the back seat, locked the car and went round to the boot to get Luka’s pack and my Load Bearing Vest (LBV). The best part about the LBV is that I can reach all of my stuff in the various pockets without having to remove the vest. This makes it convenient to access food, camera, and satellite units.
The parking lot was stone packed, surrounded by long grasses and trees.
Leaving the parking lot, a good sized trail board was visible. There were few trails which ran through the area, with the longest loop being 4km. I looked at Luka who was just raring to go and thought it was going to be a boring day with only a few kilometres of trails.
Walking away from the parking lot, a wide stone packed main trail led off into the distance. To the left was a set of blue blazes, indicating a Bruce Trail side trail. The trail went through some thick brush which was nicely trimmed to create a trail. Overhead large powerlines followed along. Various wildflowers, shrubs, and raspberries could also be seen along the edge of the trail. The cool breeze kept the bugs at bay.
The trail followed beautiful Carolinian forest past ancient cedar trees. Although small in size, the cedar trees here are hundreds, if not thousands of years of age. The harsh growing conditions and thick rocks stunt their growth. You can see their age as the bark is all gnarled and twisted. A beautiful sight to see
Or so I thought.
Winding around more trees, the trail leads to a rocky ledge. What can be seen next is truly stunning! The edge of the escarpment, a sheer drop-off revealed a spectacular view of the valley below. I snapped a few photographs, but they did not do justice to this phenomenal area.
The entire experience along the edge of the escarpment here is enchanting. The wind roars through the trees with the sound of a raging fire. The warm sun beats down on your face. In the distance, giant turkey vultures glide the thermals and size you up as they silently pass by.
The countryside looks so square. Gazing out into the distance you can see man-made property lines which have been created by planting trees and ploughing fields. At 220m Above ground level (AGL) If I stare towards the horizon, I can actually see the curvature of the earth!
Wearing my trusty LBV, I took a giant stride, and lept over the 1m crevasse and onto the large, flat sun baked rock. Luka quickly followed so she would not get left behind.
After enjoying a relaxing lunch and enjoying the mind-blowing view, I decided to take a walk around and take a closer look at some of the deep crevasses in the area.
With my LBV providing a low centre of gravity, and my bare feet gripping the porous rocks, I scurried along the rock edge, and over to the platform. A large turkey vulture was resting on the platform. Almost as large as I was, the vulture took a look at me and spread his massive wings and took flight.
Packing up, I headed to the trail with Luka and continued past a very daunting sign. The sign read that the Oak trees in the area had been devastated by a bug infestation in recent years. This has made them unstable, and I should keep away from the area if it was windy. There was a light wind.
Heading away from the escarpment edge, Luka and I headed deep into the woods again. This time of year the woods are home to Ontario’s official flower – the Trillium. Many of the Trilliums here have caught a disease and made them genetically mutate. This mutation causes strange colour combinations including green stripes over their white leaves. Although beautiful to behold, these particular trilliums are diseased.
Like most areas of the escarpment, Mount Nemo is littered with caves. I took the time to examine some cave entrances, but did not go into them as I was not properly equipped. Although they certainly would warrant further exploration on another day.