Tuesday, December 12, 2017


My enforced vacation at this luxury spa is going as expected.  All those tubes and wires have been disconnected successfully.  But a lot of swelling, so I'm pretty uncomfortable.  And I thought spas were to make you feel good!  Missed two days and I've already fallen way behind on  my blog reading, but I will catch up eventually and when I can get out share some pictures of our SNOW!

All the best til then.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Moods of Georgian Bay

Even in the years before we moved here, on my occasional visits to Meaford, I've been impressed with the many moods of Georgian Bay.  I think you'll likely see a lot of different moods in my photos in the future as I watch to capture the changing skies and water.  At this time of year an awful lot of those skies seem mostly grey!

I've been down to the harbour a couple of times this week.  It makes a nice walk from one end of the public waterfront out to the breakwater lookout, and back again.

I'm slowly gathering photos of Meaford's 'Big Red Chairs' too.  Once I have them all, I'll tell you the story.

There's obviously a pair of geese in the beach area.  Nothing else would have tracks this big at this time of year - about 4" across.

I turned around and there they were, headed straight for me.  This one stopped a couple of feet away, obviously used to being fed here.

I left the geese behind and walked over to the main harbour.  What a change from two days ago.  Much of the harbour behind the breakwall is now frozen, not very thick, but it's ice.  These ice flows seem typical out in the area where the wind can break it up; they'll freeze, break and refreeze for the next 2-3 months.

This was the view two days ago.

And the same view today.

Looking the opposite direction, two days ago it was a little rough, with waves rolling in and splashing on the rocks.

But today it was almost like glass - the moods of the bay change constantly.

I ended my walk over at the Coast Guard Station, where these two Cape-class boats are out of the water for the winter.  The Cape Providence is based here much of the summer, and patrols Georgian Bay, while Cape Thunder patrols Lake Erie and lower Lake Huron.  It's only here for the winter.

I'm off for my enforced "vacation" tomorrow.  I hope to be back in about a week.  I'll be thinking of all of you.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Clearview Side Trail

After running some errands in Owen Sound the other day, I stopped to walk the Clearview Side Trail loop of the Bruce Trail, to get my daily walk.  Parts of it were interesting, but there were some limitations too.

The creek that flows down the valley is certainly a highlight.

The valley at this point is fairly narrow, and the water is very clear.

The Trail Guide indicates that spawning Rainbow Trout can be seen here in the spring.  That may be worth returning for!

The forest itself seemed to have a high proportion of Hop Hornbeam, or Ironwood, its seeds scattered all over the ground.  Took me awhile to figure out the seeds earlier this fall in another location, but the narrow shaggy bark is unmistakeable.

This is how the cluster of seeds is held on the tree before the individual seeds fall off.

There were a few other interesting things to see, like that mossy log, but unfortunately there were a lot of very muddy sections along the trail.  I was tip-toeing around the edges to try and stay dry.

Then I headed up a long gradual hill and came up against this limestone bluff before I could get all the way to the top. 

The trail followed the base of the bluff almost a kilometre back to where I had parked, and this was certainly interesting.  I expect there are some interesting ferns in the summer.

I`m still struggling with some of the geology though.  The upper two-thirds of this outcrop are the large blocky layers of Amabel dolomite.  But the narrow almost brick-like layers at the bottom are obviously something else.  I need to get the geology a little clearer in my head.

I was disappointed in the muddy trail here, and I found 3 different answers as to how far I walked.  Between the Trail Guide, the map, and the signs on the ground - this loop is something between 2.7 and 3.5 km.  The Trail Guide also says that the trail, and I quote - `provides excellent views over Owen Sound and Georgian Bay`.  That`s the main reason I chose to walk this loop, but sorry, I didn`t get a single `clear view` anywhere!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, the same snow as yesterday blew in, accumulating quite heavily in late afternoon.  But it`s also very windy, so we have anything from very little where it has blown clear, to foot deep drifts.  Such a refreshing time of year; makes it so nice to be inside a cozy house!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I Think It's Finally Winter

Winter appears to have arrived here today, with snow all day on and off, getting quite heavy this evening.  And the forecast suggests no temperatures above freezing for the forseeable future.  We have 5 or 6" on the ground now.

It started gently this morning, with a dusting of snow on the ground from yesterday.

But then it started blowing in quite steadily.  It appears snow does not 'fall' here, it blows in horizontally!  Hopefully the wind will help blow it all away so I don't have to shovel too much.

I have discovered that the local cemetery provides a nice walk.  It has two approach lanes through the forest, and then some mature trees in the cemetery itself.  By the time I got here after lunch, there was several inches of white stuff.

I always think the snow on the headstones makes it interesting.  It takes me just about 40 minutes to walk all the way around, and the roads are in good shape, but of course have no traffic.  Makes for a peaceful walk.

Down at the shore it was white too, and Georgian Bay was just a white haze in the distance.

In late afternoon it came down heavily for awhile.  The tall spruce across the road were a haze behind the heavy snowfall.  Waiting to see how much will be on the ground in the morning.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Beyond the Crevice

Picking up on the past two posts, we didn't quit our walk at the crevice, but continued west on the trail to find more interesting features along the way.

It was one of those bright sunny late November days with no leaves left when the green moss dominated the woods.  Mostly a young forest, but a few big trees here and there.

The next thing we found was an old cabin foundation.  Presumably an early settler's cabin.  No sign of old logs, but stone would have been easy to find!  How they cut those square corners 150 years ago with only simple tools is another question!

Some of the limestone ledges along the trail looked like they could have been man-made, such regular horizontal lines in the rock.

Then we reached the spring.  This is one of those disappearing streams that reappears at the foot of the escarpment slope as a spring.  Limestone tends to be full of cracks, so the water flows underground for a ways, and then re-emerges when it hits the impermeable layer of shale hidden beneath the limestone.

This is the main spring itself, pouring out of the rock.  In fact, this is an ephemeral waterfall, because in the early spring melt there is so much water it won't fit in the underground passageways.  For a brief few days the water forms a creek flowing over the edge of the hill.

Looking up from where we stood today, the hill was dry.  But my buddy and I had been in here a year ago March, to find the ephemeral waterfall, and our timing had been just right!

This is one of the water channels curving uphill, a dip in the rocks covered with moss at this time of year.

And here are a couple of pictures of the 'disappearing stream' when it was flowing, March 10th, 2016.  Not exactly the same view, because we had come from the west that time, and could not find a dry way to get across the stream.  This is the sort of unique time-limited seasonal feature I love to find along the trail.

After gazing at the spring awhile, and contemplating the comparison with our March visit, we turned around and headed back.

Straight into that crevice again, and out the other end.  The entire stretch here, from the village of Woodford to the township line will undoubtedly be one of my favourite hikes nearby, relatively easy walking, close at hand, and several interesting things to see!

Crevice Caves - a couple of commenters yesterday compared the crevice I featured to a slot canyon in the southwest, a good comparison.  Both are narrow 'slots' or 'crevices' in the bedrock, open to the sky.  But the southwest slot canyons are eroded by water, and many of them I gather are subject to flash floods which could be quite dangerous.  In contrast these limestone crevices are created by the bedrock at the edge of the escarpment separating or 'cracking open' along the fracture lines of the limestone.  I have never seen water in one, because the cracks probably extend down into the rock below and the water just disappears.  They can be quite wide and deeper, or narrow like the one I showed yesterday.  As I said, I'll pull together some more examples and post them sometime.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Woodford Crevice Part II

Picking up on yesterday's post, a few days later I dragged my hiking buddy out, determined this time to find our way through the Woodford Crevice.  It was a successful adventure.

We walked in from the road, and picked up the adventure from this intriguing sign from yesterday.

Although we didn't see white blazes beyond this point, we assumed the trail went straight down into the crevice, so down we went.  This is looking back at our entry point, so far so good.

The crevice ran straight into this rock wall, and took an abrupt left turn.

It started to get a little more rugged here, but still not very deep or narrow.

Looking back again at where we've come.  Notice the opposite view of that boulder in the middle?

Looking ahead it did look like it was getting narrower and deeper.  I could understand advising hikers with large backpacks to avoid it.

Once we got through that part, this is looking back again. This was the deepest point in the crevice, but the sky was open above, and not that far overhead.

Then we popped out at the far end and found this obvious white blaze at that end.  Success.  And not too claustrophobic.  I can think of at least half a dozen other groups of 'crevice caves' as they are known, in the Beaver Valley/Owen Sound section of the trail.  A number I know are deeper and narrower than this one.  I think I shall have to gather some of my pictures together and do some posts to share them with you.  Something for me to tackle after this surgery, when I won't be able to drive for a while.

Tomorrow, what we found beyond the crevice.