Sunday, February 24 – 2008
11:00 – 16:00
Roads: Dry / Clear with Ice Patches
Area: Hilton Falls Conservation Area
Vehicle: Black Sunfire
Weather: Bright & Sunny, little Wind
Trail Conditions: Deep Snow Covered
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Chuck, Merlin, Morgana
Plan: Hike to the caves around the waterfall.
GPS: 43.5052 -79.9623
11:00 We arrived in Chuck’s black sunfire and kitted up. Faded Glory boots, gaiters, blue jumpsuit, black Molle backpack, paraka, ski-mask with several new pieces of equipment: My S&R Smith and Wesson survival knife, new ESS Tactical goggles, and a new first aid kit system we purchased from a specialty military shop in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Tori dressed in mud boots, black nylon pants, purple turtleneck and sweater with ski-mask and molle pack. Chuck in his Kodiak boots, black pants, coveralls and britches jacket with green Alice pack.
11:15 We headed out past the gatehouse onto the trails which were filled with people and cross-country skiers. We followed the yellow trail.
11:00 We could smell a fire off in the distance as we headed along the trails.
11:55 We headed towards the crest of the waterfall to find dozens of people, mostly foreign speaking people speaking their native tounge. Polish, Italian, German, and even a few Asians.
12:03 We headed through all the nicely dressed weekend-hike people and made our way to the base of the frozen waterfall and along the east side of the small waterfall canyon.
12:19 We came to a very small indent in the rocks about 3m deep and 1m high. We decided to keep going along the west wall just incase this was not the cave we saw several years ago when we hiked these trails barefoot in summer and didn’t have the equipment to enter.
12:32 We followed up longer until the trail started to climb ontop of the short cliffs and we saw another cave which was several metres deep but not very high. Chuck and I climbed into the small cave and I completed my journal, Tori grabbed some potos and we followed the trail onto a long patch of waist deep snow.
12:45 We came to a spot where we could gently get down to the lower rock face. As we descended to the lower rockface the area went North and South. Chuck headed south and Tori and I headed north. There was some great rock formations and unusual trees We took some photos then headed around to join Chuck who was trudging through the waist deep snow.
13:30 We arrived back at the section of trail near the shallow rut which led us to the waterfall.
13:48 By the waterfall there was a natural ice-slide which all of us went down. The slide was smooth and we got some great speed and even some air-time! Much to the amusement of the crowd. We even used our little Nikon Coolpix L12 to take some video of the tomfoolery. Near the waterfall I sat at a picnic bench I could overhear some people speaking in polish about how odd I looked with the knife on my pack and torch. We dress for extreme hiking and rough conditions. Sadly a lot of places we visit are groomed trails and require very little gear. This was also the first trip Morgana wore her new hiking backpack with attached strobe light.
14:00 We stopped along part of the trail where there was a large glacier pothole. We decided to toss Merlin and Morgana into the hole to test the thickness of the snow and then Chuck and I went in, we took a few photos.
14:155 We headed out along the trails th rough some panoramic views of the Halton Hills area and then the trail slipped back into the woods towards the trailhead.
14:40 We stopped to rest on a large log and I wrote in my journal. Chuck jumped on the log to make it bounce while I was trying to write.
15:50 We arived back at the car, removed all our gear – although disappointed at the depth of the caves. I must admit I was very impressed with the new ESS Tactical goggles performance in the field. Almost no fogging and extreme comfort with great field of vision.