Thursday, June 28, 2012

Webster's Revisited

My first post in this blog was one of Webster's falls, showing what it looked like in the winter. I went on an impromptu hike with a friend to visit it today, so I wanted to share some photos, but I also wanted to reassure everyone that you still can get to Webster's with the stairs closed!

The stairs to get down from the gorge have been the primary means of accessing the falls - there is a parking lot off of Fallsview Road, a huge lawn for picnics and lots of space to generally hang out, making Webster's a very popular destination in Hamilton.

The stairway has closed May of this year due to safety concerns, as well as to preserve the ecosystem in the area, since so many people have been visiting it. I certainly do not want to promote ways to circumvent this - and I don't think I'm doing that - because the Bruce Trail leads to the base of the falls, and since it is an established trail and all that, it should still be alright to use it to visit  Webster's. Just stay on the trail!

This is the same trail that I used to access the base of Tew's falls. You can access it by getting to the train tracks in Dundas, by the bridge where they cross King St. There is an entrance to the Bruce Trail on your left, after a few minutes of walking by the tracks.

This is just a really, really nice hike. Lots of big, mossy rocks and old trees. There are some roots and rocks to climb over, but it's pretty accessible. If you follow the main path you should get to Webster's no problem. You can also get to Tew's from here, but you'll have to hug the stream a bit more, and turn right when it forks.

The first sight of a waterfall when you are walking through the woods never gets old. The falls were a bit drier than usual, but it was still really great!


We also saw Baby Webster's Falls! I think it's adorable that it is called "baby falls." It's a lot more noticeable when you're coming up from the stream - it is a small waterfall, and I guess everyone just goes straight to Webster's.

Here are a couple other photos I have of Webster's:
Ryan in the winter

One of my Dad's photos!
Another one of my Dad's

Monday, June 25, 2012

Albion Falls and Buttermilk Falls!

I finally got some half-decent pictures of Albion Falls! If you live in or around Hamilton, you NEED to go here! I have a friend who claims that it is more impressive than Niagara Falls - not so much in a natural-wonder-of-the-world way, but in a hidden-treasure-beauty kind of way. It's definitely up there with Webster's Falls as one of Hamilton's best.

It is also extremely easy to get to if you're looking for a short hike. It is down a gorge, but there is a path and if you keep a lookout for roots you should be fine; there were a lot of kids there, so it is accessible for them too!

You can drive there easily enough - here are the directions according to Wikipedia: "exit on Dartnell Road from the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway. Go south on Dartnell, then go left onto Stone Church Road East. Turn left onto Pritchard Road, then left again onto Mud Street. You will find two parking lots available on either side of Mud Street where it connects with Mountain Brow Boulevard." You can also bike there if you feel so inclined! There is an exit from the Escarpment Rail Trail into a parking lot right across the street from Albion - hopefully I can orchestrate a bike trip later this summer! You can access this trail from Corktown Park at Young St. and Ferguson Ave. S.

There was a bit less water flow than usual, but it was still gorgeous! We visited earlier this spring and in this phone photo you can see that there is a bit more water:

Albion is also fun because you can get to the terrace pretty easily from both sides of the falls, and also access it from the top. If it's a busy day, there are people scaling all sides of the gorge - it is like a huge, rock jungle gym that doesn't require rock-climbing skills. It's also pretty easy to wade around in the water and check out the 'steps' of the falls. Also since it's not a long hike, it's a great place for a picnic! There are plenty of huge rocks to lounge about on. Basically what I am saying is...go to Albion.

At the top.

So pretty, right?

We had also read that Buttermilk Falls is very close to Albion Falls - just downstream even! But once again, we would soon discover that the directions given online are not as simple as they seem.

Apparently we were just supposed to follow the stream until we reach a fork, and follow the first stream on our left. We went downstream, which was a pretty easy hike - you can follow the riverbed, or there is a path right next to it. We walked for around twenty minutes before we started to think that maybe something was up. We came across a golf course that we had found during another wandering hike and through the magic of technology we discovered that we were way past where we wanted to be. None of us had seen anything resembling a fork in the stream, but who knows.

Buttermilk is along Mountain Brow Blvd., right before it intersects with Limeridge Rd. E. We could hear the road and there was a segment of the Bruce Trail nearby, so we decided to follow it up and out of the riverbed.

The trail turned parallel to the mountain brow, so we decided to make our own way up - as per usual, it turned out to be a bit of a struggle...

Breaking through the canopy.
Struggling to survive.

Hilariously when we broke through the top we saw a marker for a trailhead less than 10 feet down the road...

We walked down Mountain Brow until we reached Buttermilk - you can also drive here easily enough from Albion Falls - go north down Mountain Brow, turn left on Limeridge, and it should be on your right!

Let me be honest...we were expecting a bit more from Buttermilk are a few pictures that influenced our expectations:

Keep in mind, it is summertime so the falls will be a bit more dried up than we will give Buttermilk the benefit of the doubt. And I mean, it's always cool seeing the different ways that the escarpment is carved out. If you go, go in the spring, or after a rainfall - I won't give up on this, and I'll be sure to check it out in more ideal conditions!

You can get a bit of a view from the lookout, but with the low water level, it's not that much to see. It looked like a pretty steep journey down, so only a couple of us ventured down. We found a way that wasn't too challenging and actually seemed like a path...the rocks almost made steps for us!

View from the top.

We also found that the riverbed was almost completely dried up, which may have accounted for our inability to see the fork to follow from the base of Albion! Either way, I'm glad I got to see curiosity is sated.

Killing time at the top of the gorge...

Even if you don't venture to the bottom, it is pretty sweet to be up among the treetops! And there is a section of the Bruce Trail nearby which you could also explore!

We decided to reward ourselves with smoothies from a new place on James St. N, the Green Smoothie Bar - extremely delicious and trendy. All in all, a good day.