Skating on the swamp

IMG_0944Tucked behind a neighbourhood in the town of Dundas there is a body of water that Google maps identifies as Lake Jojo but locals seem to just call the swamp. At this time of year it is frozen over, perfect for skating, skiing, or throwing a ball for your dog. Continue reading

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Skiing to Mineral Springs

The first cross-country ski of the year is always a treat. The route from Spring Valley to Mineral Springs in the Dundas Valley is the perfect start. It’s not long, not hilly, just a little hors d’oeuvre before the rest of the winter.

We got our first snow of the year this week, just enough to ski on if you got there early enough to beat the hikers who trampled down the snow. The parking lot at the Lions Club Pool at the Spring Valley entrance to the Dundas Valley was even ploughed. Continue reading

Smokey Hollow Falls

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Part of the Bruce Trail with Smokey Hollow Falls and the Grindstone Creek in the background.

The trail along the Grindstone creek in Waterdown is wild, beautiful, a bit tough to traverse at the beginning and totally unexpected. It must be a lot of work for the local Bruce Trail group to maintain because of what look like steep erosion-prone walls and switchbacks leading to the valley floor. Many thanks to them though, and the landowners who’ve donated to them. Continue reading

Sassafras Point and Caleb’s Walk

The network of trails behind McMaster University toddles through woodlands surrounding Cootes Paradise. It’s hilly and treed and speckled with wetlands and ponds. Sassafras Point extends out into the waters of Cootes Paradise, with more wilderness on the other side of the water in the Royal Botanical Gardens Cootes Paradise Sanctuary.

There are a few ways to arrive at Sassafras Point; I went via Caleb’s Walk, then Ravine Road Trail for a short distance before ending up at the Sassafras Point Trail. It’s only about 2.5 kilometres out and back.

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Bridge over Caleb’s

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Red Hill Valley Trail

Driving along the Red Hill Valley Parkway you catch glimpses of a trail between the trees, with bridges criss-crossing the Red Hill Creek. That trail is the 10.5-kilometre long Red Hill Valley Trail.

It has some nice hilly sections and there is free parking. It is also great for the many east Hamilton and Stoney Creek residents who are in easy walking distance. Although you can hear traffic on the parkway, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere in spite of being so close to homes.

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Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail

Hamilton has a beautiful shoreline, best enjoyed by keeping your gaze pointed away from the industrial port lands and steel mills.

There are paved trails skirting Hamilton Harbour for kilometres. The bay sometimes gets a bad rap just because it’s incredibly polluted, but we’ll walk alongside it without drinking a sample of the water.

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Today we’ll start off at Bayfront Park near the boat ramp. The first part of the trail is between the railyards (train cars loudly coupling and uncoupling can be unnerving the first few times, be forewarned) and the water. High water this spring caused some washouts of the paved trail and a few areas are still fenced off as of this writing, but the trail is open.

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