Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Devil's Punchbowl (and Lower Punchbowl Falls)

Devil's Punchbowl is one of Hamilton's more well-known waterfalls - it's got a pretty interesting structure and is quite impressive if you can catch it at the right time! Of all of the waterafalls in the area, it seems to have the most unique feel to it, there is almost an industrial quality to whole area. There is lots of pale grey, purple and green soil, and slate rock covered in graffiti, and standing in the bottom of the gorge makes you feel like you are in a quarry.

You can get a pretty good view of the falls from the top, as there are a few lookout areas, and you can also look out over the East End of the city, which is always nice. Getting down into the gorge isn't necessarily a hike I would recommend to take children on, but it is also not too difficult. Facing the city, there is an entrance to the Bruce Trail along the right side of the brow that will take you down into the gorge. It's easily marked, and at most a ten minute walk.

This trail will take you first to the lower falls, which are pretty nice themselves! Lots of huge fallen rocks, which is always a plus.

a nice change of pace amidst the many confessions of love painted all around

I went hiking here toward the end of the summer, and mysteriously there was still water flowing over the lower falls, even though there was no water over the main falls - so if you get there and its dried up at the top, it might still be worth checking out the bottom! (I take that back. I just found the photo of me with the falls in the summer... not sure how I thought it was anything at all).

The trail gets a bit trickier past the lower falls. You have the option of scrambling along the riverbed (which is my mode of choice) or taking a trail slightly away from the river and although more established as a trail, there are still rooty areas or areas that kind of seem like they might slide down into the bank.

I had underestimated how awesome it would be at the bottom of the gorge. The falls are super tall and the gorge is so stark and empty.  It's actually a bit unnerving, because everyone standing on the edge could see me making my way down, but I knew I wasn't able to see them. It's definitely a bit eerie.

little me.

Naturally I started scaling the side of the gorge (there was a path that led up there...) but the sun had already started setting, it was slightly muddy, and I was wearing very casual sneakers, and if I fell there was no one to carry me out, so I started to rethink it. What ultimately made me abandon my increasingly steep course was deciding that had my friend Denise been there, she would most definitely be standing at the bottom of the trail shaking her head at me. I am glad I had her imaginary prudence to rely on. 

This waterfall is a Hamilton staple! You have to see it - also just down the road there is a Punchbowl Market and Bakery which I'm sure has many delicious treats to snack on while you look out over the gorge and the city.


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