Sunday, September 30, 2012

Picture the Fall

There's something about the air in the fall that makes for intense landscape images. Drama in the outdoors where everything seems crisper and imbued with meaning. This scene of Cootes Paradise from the Desjardins Trail bridge over Chedoke Creek. Low water levels have exposed the shallow sections, and revealed the deeper channel available for late season paddlers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Clean Up the Creek

Hands On work for Dundas Area Hikers!

Everyone is invited  to come join us in cleaning up Ancaster (Coldwater ) Creek beside University Plaza this Saturday September 29th.  We are going after 58 Shopping carts and 49 tires most of which are right in the creek!   Turtles have been known to get stuck in tires and die and shopping carts serve as little more than cages for all forms of aquatic life.
We'll be providing hip waders and working right in stream.  For those of you who prefer your feet on dry land we have plenty clean up to do there as well.  We have about 20 student volunteers from McMaster coming and all and all it should be a blast! 
We're running from 9:00 to 4:00 but you can drop in whenever you're available.  Lunch will be provided. 
If your interested let me know your shoe size and the rough time that you think you'd be there so that we can have waders set aside for you. 
We'll have some gloves available but bring them if you got them. 
All are welcome so by all means bring out your friends. 
On this particular clean-up there are unfortunately few ways for kids to participate so you're best to let them have fun at home.  Teenagers could muck in but they'd need you there to sign a waiver and keep an eye out for them. 
Parking is behind the Metro at University Plaza. The south east corner of the property.  The green arrow on this map shows the parking spot exactly.
Here, you'll find a trail head for the Hamilton/Brantford Rail Trail that runs behind the property.  Hang a left onto the trail and head east (towards Hamilton) for about 150 m.  As you get to the far end of the trial bridge ( under construction ? ) you'll head down the embankment on the leftside (North).  There is a switch back road covered in grass that leads down the embankment.  Enter the wooded trail at the bottom and 20 feet later you'll find us. 
Again the green arrow on this map shows you exactly where we'll be working  
This event is put on by our newly formed volunteer organization Stewards of the Cootes Watershed in partnership with the long established Field and Stream Rescue Team.  
If you'd like to know more about Stewards of the Cootes Watershed , I have included a little intro piece that will explain more about our objectives and activities. 
Hope to see you on Saturday 
Best Regards,  Alan

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hikers! Speak for the Future of Dundas Valley!

Hermitage Ruins, Main Loop, Dundas Valley, photo by Randy Kay

You can speak up now to have a say in the next 50 years of the Dundas Valley. There's an open house this Wednesday and an online survey about setting strategic directions. The Hamilton Conservation Authority wants to hear from you!

Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision Open House
Wednesday 26th September, 2012
6:00pm to 9.00pm
A brief presentation will be given at 7:15pm
Dundas Public Library-Allwood Room (18 Ogilvie St. Dundas)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Starts Low

Spencer Creek Trail, September 2012, by Randy Kay

I've always felt that autumn begins on the ground and works its way up. Meaning the yellow of the late blooming Jerusalem Artichokes and the Goldenrod heads deeper gold are signs that the autumnal equinox is upon us. The leaves on the trees for the most part are still mainly green, but the higher canopy will soon be touched. 

The autumn fire starts below and will catch the tallest trees in their blaze of colour. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Main Loop, Dundas Valley

The Main Loop. It's a big hike, but one you must take when in Dundas Valley. I rode my bike around it today and snapped some photos along the way. It's quite a diverse display of habitat, as you can see. Start at the Trail Centre and leave lots of time if you are walking (not riding) - Main Loop is 3.5km with lots of hills. The Dundas Valley Brochure is available from the Hamilton Conservation Authority for more details and maps.
Hemlock Groves in a valley by Sulphur Creek - quiet, moody sanctuary

The Old Oak at Main Loop and Monarch Trail

Merrick Orchard

Wood and Rock on Main Loop

Wood and Rock together near Hermitage Creek, Main Loop

Hermitage Creek

 Hermitage Cascade flowing
The Hermitage ruins

Historic Sulphur Spring just off the Main Loop (across Sulphur Spring Road) - strong sulphur smell

Sulphur Creek by Sulphur Creek Road and the spring. Strong smell of sulphur here

Friday, September 14, 2012

History Hike

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group is hosting a History Hike as part of their Alternative Welcome Week programming:

Coldspring Valley/Lot M Restoration Hike--1-2pm (MUSC 229)
This in-campus history walking-tour includes the founding of McMaster University in Hamilton in 1930, the original six buildings meant to be "indistinguishable from the neighbouring Royal Botanical Garden parkland;" an overview of the importance of the ecology of neighbouring Cootes Paradise; the H&D Railway (1880), Cootes Drive (1936) as one of the first "modern" highways in Canada; and in the west campus, the loss of Royal Botanical Gardens' land in the 1963 as McMaster expanded an ambitious parking plan (1969) into Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary (1958-1963)
The hike lasts an hour, comfortable walking shoes and weather appropriate clothing required.
Hike leader: Randy Kay of Restore Cootes. Restore Cootes' seeks ways to enhance and restore natural areas on the periphery of Cootes Paradise that have been degraded or lost to development. Randy is also OPIRG McMaster's Coordinator of Volunteers. 
This is a free event, no registration required. Rain or Shine! Meet at the McMaster University Student Centre room 229 for a 1pm departure.