Thursday, August 9, 2012

Geocaching at Princess Falls! And some Mountview Falls.

I take no responsibility for how we signed the logbook - we don't actually call ourselves that. Just so you know.

I'm pretty excited right now - We were finally successful at geocaching! My friends and I have made a couple half-hearted attempts, but this was the first time we decided to really try with a gps - and it's pretty fun! It can be hard to tell whether you should give up or not, but it's a nice little thing to add onto a hike, especially if the waterfall you are seeing is less than spectacular (is that possible? I don't even know...)

We chose a geocache location near Upper Princess Falls, which is off of the Chedoke Radial Trail. There are a ton of waterfalls you can see off of this trail (Chedoke Falls, Cliffview Falls, Westcliffe Falls, Mountview Falls, Princess Falls, and Scenic Falls) so it can make for a great hike if you want to get a taste of what's in the area, and it's an easily bikeable path as well. It's also nice because it doesn't have to be an intense hike, since the rail trail is pretty straightforward, and many of the falls are close to the trail.

If you start at the parking lot of the Chedoke Golf Course and head right (looking at the escarpment), the first waterfalls you would come across would be Westcliffe and Cliffview Falls. Keep following the Chedoke Trail, and you will come across a large metal bridge and you will see another waterfall to your left! This is Mountview Falls, and even though it may not be the most scenic of waterfalls, it is actually pretty interesting!

We kept walking down the trail for probably around ten minutes, until we reached Upper Princess Falls. It is on the lefthand side of the trail, and you can also see Lower Princess Falls on the other side of the fence, down the escarpment. I don't think it's possible to get to the lower falls from the trail...we got to the other side of the fence and looked for a way to scale down, but no such luck. 

Upper Princess Falls

I love how happy we are with this extremely tiny waterfall...
This was near where our geocache was supposed to be, so we got out our gps and started searching! There is an app you can get that is specifically for geocaching, and you can search for any nearby, or search for particular coordinates - pretty nifty! I should add a spoiler alert - I will be including photos of where we found the geocache, so if you want to check it out, stop reading!

I won't bore you with the details of us walking in circles following the gps - although it was hilarious seeing our wandering trail marked on the app. Usually a geocache has a little code that you can decipher to give an extra hint to help you out, but I thought for sure we weren't going to find it. Not that geocaching is particularly difficult in principle, but sometimes it can be just as easy as not looking in a certain place even if you are standing right next to it. I did some awesome maneuvering to hang over the side of the "cliff" by the river and found a little container nestled in a little nook - success!

Needless to say, we were extremely excited at having found it!

Extreme joy

Signing the teeny logbook
One of the fun things about geocaching is that each one usually contains a little trinket or two, and you take something out of it and replace it with something around the same size. Sometimes it's random stuff from the dollar store, but I propose that if you go geocaching, you should put something in there that you yourself would be stoked to find! We took out a little bear toy and replaced it with something pretty cool that I will keep a secret. But it's awesome. If you want to try out this same one, here is the link to the coordinates!

After a granola bar to celebrate our victory we headed on down the trail to Scenic Falls. It is about ten minutes down on the righthand side, where you see a blue marker for the Iroquoia Heights Trail. It was a beautiful location, but there was not a lot of water, so I'm going to hold off on posting about it until I can do it justice!

There are a lot of geocache locations in Hamilton (or wherever you are!) and of course so many natural areas to explore - leave a few good treasures for me to find!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Westcliffe Falls, Cliffview Falls, and their Lower counterparts!

I hope you like waterfalls that come out of pipes! Because I've got a couple here for you. Actually, they were pretty cool, and fun to discover. We were looking for Upper Princess Falls but happened upon these four guys instead! (stay tuned for our geocaching adventure at Princess Falls!)

Getting to the Lower falls is pretty straightforward, but you'll have to do a bit of climbing and/or rummaging through the bush to get to the upper falls. You can start at the parking lot for the Chedoke Golf Course and if you are facing the escarpment, head right down the Radial Trail. It is right at the exit from the parking lot - what you are watching for is something that I am pretty sure is a sewer opening... it's fenced off and there is a big box, but you will hear water - follow that sound! It will be on the lefthand side of the trail. 

If you're coming from up the mountain, you can park at Cliffview Park (26 Upper Paradise Road, by way of Scenic Drive) and head down the Chedoke stairs. Once you are halfway down there is a break in the stairs where you will be able to follow the Bruce Trail to the right - when you see this, you need to get off the stairs and go left. There is no trail, but you will come upon the stream that leads to Cliffview Falls, and you will be able to follow it to the Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and to Westcliffe Falls as well.
It is not a huge stream, but if you follow it up only for a minute you will see Lower Westcliffe and Lower Cliffview Falls, and at the bottom of these falls their tributaries merge into the stream you will have been following. On the left is Lower Cliffview, and on the right is Lower Westcliffe. Neither of them have a ton of water, but what are you going to do...

Lower Cliffview Falls
Lower Westcliffe Falls

Kind of gooey...
It is a bit challenging to try and get to the top of either of these... there isn't really a trail, and even though neither of them are particularly high, there are just a lot of loose rocks and dirt that can make it a bit precarious to get up and over the ledge. 

Once we got up we followed the stream on the right side to Westcliffe Falls. Though not impressive in terms of waterflow, we actually really enjoyed it! It is a unique waterfall, and it's in a bit of a crevice, and it's actually quite tall!

To get to Cliffview Falls we followed the stream back to where we initially came upon the two lower falls, and followed the other stream. They are pretty close together, but again there is no path so you have to venture through the bush.

This one was a bit less exciting than Westcliffe Falls... I'm sure it would be beautiful with more water!

The rock face is actually pretty interesting in person. But maybe you just want to take my word for it...

From these waterfalls you can easily see at least four more off of the Chedoke Radial Trail... it is so perfect for a relaxing hike with some pretty cool scenery you can stop off at every once in a while. I finished off the rest of the waterfalls in this area, and even had a successful run at geocaching! More on that soon!

Nearby Waterfalls: Upper and Lower Chedoke Falls, Denlow Falls, Mountview Falls, Upper and Lower Princess Falls, Scenic Falls