Monday, October 24, 2016

Falling Water Hike Part I

The longest stretch of the Bruce Trail in the valley that I had not hiked was the west side of the 'Falling Water' section.  It's named for the 6 waterfalls that can be found in the narrow south end of the valley, and there was one small waterfall that I had never seen, at least according to the map.  So a friend and I started out at Johnston's Sideroad and headed south.

Right from the moment we stepped out of the car the colours were brilliant, and as you can see we had a beautiful sunny day for it - 5 days ago now.

The first part of the trail has quite a few very large old Sugar Maple and Beech trees; it's a really pleasant walk along the side of the slope.

The woods was golden all around us.

Until we came out to the lookout, at Cuckoo Valley Overlook.  This is a repeat of yesterday's picture, so you can compare it to the more standard two shots below.  You may be able to pick out the small portion of the photo above represented by both photos below.

Looking north down the valley.

This shows you how narrow the valley is down close to the south end.  The small valley entering across the way is Cuckoo Valley, where Eugenia Falls can be found.  (The light bits in the shadow are open cliffs).

We enjoyed the spectacular view for quite a while, and then headed on down the trail.  I had been to the lookout, but never walked beyond this point.

We completely forgot to even look at the first waterfall on the way, and this picture of it about 3-4 months from now is the only one I could find.  Sorry!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Capturing Fall Colours

I'm glad you've enjoyed the shots I've posted of fall colours, at least judging by your comments.  Thanks for your encouragement.  It really has been a beautiful fall here, though it's rapidly ending.  But I always find that 'ordinary' photos (shot with my DSLR at the standard wide-angle setting), really don't quite capture the sense of being surrounded by fall colours, nor the bright fluorescent colours themselves, that sense that the atmosphere itself is saturated with colour.  So here are some of the alternative photos I've taken trying to really capture the richness of fall colours in the valley.

This is my favourite old stone schoolhouse, the Sligo School.  I take few pictures of buildings like this, but I think it gives some sense of what the view out their windows must be like.

I've tried a number of places to use my iphone's 'panorama' function, and I do really like the results.  This is the west side of the valley from the ski club north, though it makes the slope seem a bit too distant.

This is from a hike I haven't even told you about yet, but will starting tomorrow.  Cuckoo Valley Overlook is a high point on the Bruce Trail, and this is a 180° view of the colour you see there, one of the best views in the entire valley, after Old Baldy itself.

Here are two attempts to capture the inside of the woods, the top one from our Cuckoo Valley hike, and the bottom one from behind the house across the street.  They're fairly 'short' panorama shots, so they end up not so long and thin, and look more realistic to me, capturing about the width that my eyes see.
Here's another iphone panorama, perhaps my best this year, taken from the cliffs at Old Baldy.  It captures about twice as much as a 'standard' photo, but isn't too long and thin.  It also gives you a sense of the valley itself as you look upvalley to the distant left where a shaft of sunlight penetrated the clouds.  This one was at the peak of our fall colour.

Roads through the woods seem to me another place to capture fall colours.  The above one is one of our favourite drives; the lower one is now a walk, though you could still drive a car through if you wanted.  They do give you the sense of being surrounded by colour.

Still, none of those pictures above quite capture the brilliance or the depth of the colour we get.  This Fragrant Sumach in our meadow comes close.

I don't think I've ever posted a picture of our house, but here it is.  I noticed this shot when I walked over to the neighbours to get shots in their woods.  Maybe it gives you the sense of what we enjoy here in the valley for two weeks.  Funny that perhaps the most beautiful time of the year is also so short - it's short because it's special!

Saturday, October 22, 2016


The weather forecast called for 'graupel'!  I had never even heard of it before, but it turns out to be your typical late fall wet snow.  The weather folks who make up this stuff call it a cross between snow and hail, sort of like mushy hail, or splatty rain.  All I know is that you can see the tiny white bits in the air, and it splats wetly on my windshield.

But first, a few barns.  As I drive around the rural roads seeking pictures of fall colours, it's inevitable that a few of my pix will capture a barn or two.  They add a nice point of interest, and are set off nicely by a few fall colours.

This was my initial view; the one above was the picture I like best.

And without moving, but looking in a different direction, another barn.  This was a couple of weeks ago, so the fall colours were just starting; now they're almost over.

I really enjoy just driving down rural roads that I'm familiar with.  I know what farmsteads are coming next, what views to expect, and often, what was growing in the fields this year.

This barn, just south of the village of Kimberley, is no longer in use I don't think, but it was owned by an older friend of mine 30 years ago, and housed his small herd of cattle.  Just southwest of Old Baldy.

Roads provide lots of nice fall colour view themselves, especially when they disappear around a bend or over a hill like this.

And this is the hill - Sideroad 7 northwest of Kimberley.  Drove both directions down here and back last week when I was out leading a walk.

Today the leaves are well on their way to disappearing, except for this bright yellow Tulip Tree in our yard.  The forecast was for 3 days of rain, but we missed much of it because the very cold arctic air came marching south across the Great lakes and pushed that warm moist air moving up from the south away from us.  It stayed mostly dry here yesterday.

But then that arctic air got set up over southern Ontario, and brought frigid air straight down out of the north.  As it crossed Lake Huron and Georgian Bay it picked up moisture off the relatively warm water, and turned it into snow at high altitudes.  Down came the snow, turning to 'graupel' as it moved through the warm lower air.  And we ended up with one of those changeable fall days alternating between dark gray clouds and patches of blue sky, periods of rain and 'graupel' when the clouds were heaviest.

Can you see a few tiny bits of white in the photo above?  The warmer lined pants have come out of the closet, the winter coat has been retrieved from the basement, and it's hat and glove weather now.

Linking to:

The Barn Collective

Friday, October 21, 2016

Woodstock Fleece Festival

Last Saturday we drove down to Woodstock with friends to check out the Woodstock Fleece Festival.  It's a mecca for weavers, spinners, knitters and other crafty types, as well as a few avant garde quilters who are moving beyond traditional quilting into fibre art.  Mrs. F.G. fits that last group and she came home inspired to try more new and different techniques.  There were several groups of animals, as well as just about any supplies and tools you might need for pursuing your fibre art interests.

A couple of different farms had Alpacas there, Alpaca wool being prized for knitting.  Take a close look at their faces so you can compare them to the Llama below.

There were two or three Llamas, including this 17 year old male, who was trained as a pack animal.  You can't ride a Llama because of the way their spine is built, but they can carry packs slung over their back.  And they too have prized wool for knitting, but a head that is quite different from that of an Alpaca.

The sheep seemed like an afterthought to me - almost as if sheep wool was rather passe in the fibre art world.  Getting pictures of any of the animals was challenging, as they were all in a barn that was very dark and poorly lit.

And with sheep, you might be interested in sheepdogs.  I believe this is a Great Pyrenees, a great sheep guard-dog.

As well as the animals there were tools, from tiny puncture needles to spinning wheels and looms.  This is a rather modern looking spinning wheel.  And the man using it was presumably  invading this field traditionally dominated by women.

An interesting small loom being demonstrated.

And wool - did I mention this was a fleece festival?  There were all stages of wool, from still on the sheep through bags and bags of rovings all the way to brightly dyed woolen threads.  Of course, it was the bright colours that attracted me.  To be honest, the vendor area was so crowded and busy that I found it very distracting, so you have to take this photo as representative of a lot of different vendors of lotsa different stuff!

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This is the time of year when I actually the see the sunrises, because the sun rises so late!  It's not above the horizon here until nearly 8 a.m.  We had a couple of nice morning skies last week.

The first looked really promising, with widespread cloud cover, but then it was as if someone just shut the door!

The second faded to a blue sky, but the sun is rising right between those trees these days.  In a month it will be rising far to the right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fences in the Fall

A number of the fall colour shots I've taken have included fences in the foreground, so here's a selection of more recent photos.  If you're getting tired of fall colour, I'll be on to something else at least for a day or two tomorrow.

And this one is just to prove that we don't always have nice sunny days in the valley, though those are the best ones for getting fall colour shots.

If you look closely there is an old stone fencerow under that line of trees.

And this one is just a favourite road.  Got out for the longest hike in some years today, 6 km, which is a bit more than enough for me, but I'm building up my stamina.  It was the perfect fall hiking day, cool but warm enough and sunny.  Busy night tonight, turkey supper at the church.  Mrs. F.G. is already there, having peeled and cooked 10 lbs. of potatoes.  We all try to do our share.

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