Rocky Mountain Horses

Rocky Mountain Horses

Rocky Mountain Horses

Fall Fun Taking Horse Photos

In the last two years, since moving to Ontario, I haven’t been taking as many equine photos. There are plenty of horses in the areas that I roam but life and routines changed. In Alberta, I had areas that I’d go knowing I would get some great shots of curious and friendly horses.

Yesterday we had scheduled to visit a friend that raises Rocky Mountain horses. She had to go out on an emergency but told us that it was quite fine to show up and shoot some horse photos. She knows that I’m comfortable with them, and they with me, so has no problem me going into the field and walk about. A few of the photos are below. The little one would hardly leave me alone. Loved having his hips massaged. Mama is a grey and you can start to see the colt losing some of his colour.

Lots of selfies which I’ll post separately on Instagram. @faffyrd or search my full name.

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Ball’s Falls Fall Colours

Ball’s Falls Fall Colours

Ball’s Falls Fall Colours

This is the perfect place to go whether you want a short or long walk or hike.  Parts of it are on the Bruce Trail.  And there is a short walk up the river to the Upper Falls that, in this time of year is quite spectacular with the Fall colours.  The reds are a bit late in coming this year, so I had to tweak the photos a bit.  I hope you don’t mind.  The parking is $8 a person.  We have been there at times past 4:30 when the office closes and ended up not having to pay.  Not sure if this is usual or not.  Seniors are $6 - that helps a bit.  Although, I don’t mind paying really as it goes to support these beautiful places.

There are a bunch of old buildings there - old mill, house, blacksmith barn, etc but none have been open any time we have been gone through the park.  We went on a 10 km hike a couple of weeks ago from this location -  north along the Bruce Trail but decided we just wanted a day of puttering around and enjoying the scenery and taking photos.  It was the perfect day for this.  

If you are ever in the Niagara region and want to check some of these places out, please contact us and we’ll try and go with you.

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More Wellandport Kayaking

More Wellandport Kayaking

Kayaking near Wellandport - Niagara Region

There aren't that many places to drop in the rivers around here.  Google maps helped me with this one.  There is a little park on the east end of Wellandport, just to the left of the Library when you are facing south.  Follow the road to the loop at the end, not very far at all.  Generally, it is not busy there and there is parking with an easy spot to put in your kayaks.  A couple of weeks ago my brother in law and I went upstream about 4 km so this time Yvonne and I tried the downstream stretch.  I wouldn't have tried this in the Spring when there was so much rain as this river was really moving then and I don't like coming back upstream.  Something to think about when you are planning a trip.

The river is really quiet right now and quite muddy.  We went in the evening - started about 6:30 PM and got back just after 8.  We didn't want to be coming upstream in the dark.  Might miss our exit!  Sun was low which was nice as it had been a very hot day.  Chatting with a fisherman on the edge of his property who told us that we could take a side route a little up on the left and on into Wellandport.  But we found the river too low presently to traverse it there.  So, did an easy one down the lazy river about 2 km then back.  No bugs as it is late enough in the season.  Pretty quiet in spite being near the road in parts.  When it is a bit cooler we'll start early enough that we can go further.

Here is a few second video.  You can see how muddy the water is.

And here are a few photos of the evening. You can see how muddy the river is.  The photo with the sun, yeah, that is tons of algae on the water.

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Kayaking Welland River

Kayaking Welland River

Wellandport Kayaking

Peter and I went out on the Welland River last evening for about 2 hours.  There are not that many places to put in a boat along there but a few weeks ago on a drive-a-bout Yvonne and I found the perfect spot near the Wellandport Community Center/Library just outside of Wellandport.  

If you are coming west along Highway 20, just past Fonthill go south on Canborough Road.  About half a mile before you get to Wellandport on the left hand side of the road (south side) is the Community Center.  To the right (west) side of that is a gravel road/lane that goes back along the park.  Follow that to the river.  There is a loop there with parking.  And a small spot to put in boats. 

We put the kayaks in about 6 PM - it was still very hot for the first hour.  We went up the river for about an hour - did just over 4 km going up the river.  Wind and current coming toward us.  Coming back was nicer as the sun was lower and there was some shade.  And it was a lot easier as we weren’t fighting the current.  

It was a very pleasant evening.  There were some houses in the town that back onto the river and we got some friendly waves.  And we got to watch a bunch of kids working on getting a pontoon boat unstuck.  It had been parked at their dock when the river was about a foot higher it looked like.  They were using boards to lever it out.  I didn’t think they would be successful but about 25 minutes later they were cruising along behind us. 

Generally a nice quiet evening. Total a little over 8 kilometres.

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Kayaking Welland River

Kayaking Welland River

Kayaking Welland River

We finally had some nice weather and got a decent few hours of kayaking in after a crappy Spring.  We didn't want to  make our first run in one of the swollen rivers in the area.  Just wanted an easy day of it.  Went to a small park along the river between Chippewa and Niagara Falls.  North side.  If you go south on Dorchester from McLeod and turn right when you get to the end you will follow Chippewa Parkway around.  Once you are going along the river you will see a small park with a spot to launch boats.  If you get to the Canoe Club (George Bukator Park) you have gone way too far.

The river is quite wide and open so if you are out on a sunny day long sleeves or some sunscreen might be in order.  And a hat.  Was a nice breeze so kept the bugs away whereas a smaller enclosed river at this time of year, with all this rain, well, makes for lots of mosquitos.  We went about 4km along the river. The first bit you are going with a current until you get to about the railway bridge and the QEW bridge.  Check out the bridge, though.  It is an old one that would rotate to let boats pass.  Past there it is pretty easy going both ways.  We saw nowhere along that stretch for putting up the kayaks.  There are a few private docks only.  Not too many people out on the water. The benefit of going out during the week, I guess.

Lots of bird life.  You can see the 'Egret' video below.  This video was done with Adobe Premiere Pro.  I just downloaded it.  I have no natural intuition with these programs.  I have a son that edits movies for a living.   He was a natural since he was 12!   Not me so much.  I do like the program.  One can do so much more that with simple free  programs.  Looking forward to really learning and using the program.

Below the video are a few photos of the river.

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Hiking Ithaca, New York

Hiking Ithaca, New York

Buttermilk State Park, Watkins Glen State Park

Buttermilk Falls, Watkins Glen and other waterfalls

Hiking Ithaca, Watkins Glen water falls.

Booked a concert to go see in Ithaca, New York this for this past weekend.  A finger picking guitar legend named Leo Kottke.  He played at the Hangar Theatre last Saturday night.

As my wife and I are avid hikers we thought it would be good to see some of the sights while we were in the area.  I did some research before leaving on the trip and found that there are an amazing numer of spectacular waterfalls in the area of Ithaca and Watkins Glen.  All around the Finger Lakes area.

On our way in to Ithaca, along the west side of Cayuga Lake, we stopped at Taughannock State Park.  We first drove up to the top overlook to see the falls from there – tall!  Then drove around the hiked in from the parking lot.  More of a walk than a hike really. Only took 10 minutes.  One of the highest drops of a waterfall east of the Rockies apparently at 215 feet.

From there we checked in to our AirBnB in town and got some dinner.  After that we hiked Buttermilk Falls.  We started at the top and hiked down to almost the park at the bottom then back up(obviously).  We take a lot of photos so going the first direction takes us about 3 times as long as coming back.  We were there on the Friday evening, a little while before dusk, which makes for much better light than the middle of the day.  I liked this one as there weren’t too many people as opposed to Watkins Glen – that was packed.

I didn’t have much choice of the weekend I wanted to go because of the concert but going again I would not choose the graduation weekend.  So many parents hiking about with their graduates.

Saturday was spent see a bit of the town, Ithaca Farmers Market in the morning where I was able to get my second breakfast of this delicious breakfast samosa.  We went to Robert Treman State Park but the gorge trail was close due to all the rain so we ended up doing a short walk about there.  Couldn’t really see much of the falls.  We circled around and were able to see a bit more at the base but not much walking about.  We went through the university and circled around Bebee Lake. Very Spring like with the students out on the lake in their canoes. If you make that walk around the lake, be sure to go up the short spur just past the bridge along the river and you can see a nice waterfall or two.

It was too early for much in the way of flowers in their botanical gardens.

On Sunday, Watkins Glen, even with the crowds, was amazing.  I have not yet done any research on what went into the construction of the walkways and bridges etc but they were masterful.  You are climbing a lot of stair but this is completely worth the effort.  If you are debating whether to take the rim trail back instead, it is not hard at all and should take you about a quarter of the time to get to the parking lot at the entrance on S Pavilion Road.  

Below are just a few of the photos.

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Rockway to Louth Falls

Rockway to Louth Falls

Bruce Trail End2End - Rockway to Louth Falls

Yesterday we hiked from Rockaway to Louth Falls.  We took only one car so had to hike there and back.  It was one of our more enjoyable hikes.  Well, it did rain for half the time…

We had the trail to ourselves and there was a fair bit of up and down.  More that a lot of the trails here we’ve done so far.  

It started raining about 15 minutes before we got to Louth Falls.  Took us just under 2 hours to get there from Rockway parking lot.  We tend to dilly-dally taking photos and such so if you are hiking in earnest it will likely take you an hour each way.  Total was a little over 10K the way we did it.  

My wife brought a walking stick/ski pole.  I should have brought something.  We have good walking sticks but most of the hikes we have been on in the Niagara region, there really has been no need.  As there was a fair bit of ups and downs on this hike and with the rain and all it made for some pretty slippery slopes.  Definitely would have made my life easier.  

Also, the rain made a good argument for carrying a dry shirt and even a light rain slicker.  I was once hiking Ha Ling, up behind Canmore, Alberta.   It was quite warm where we started and I was drenched with sweat by the time I got to the top.  Tough climb.  There were snow flurries at the top. Fortunately I had a dry shirt in my backpack that I could change into.  

I read in some adventure or spy novel once a very smart idea in case of rain when you are stuck in the woods.  If all you had was a large plastic back that was waterproof, you could place all of your clothes in that while it was raining, (yeah, if you are soaked, you are going to get freezing cold anyway), once the rain had stopped, you cold dress in dry clothes and you would actually be much better off than if you let your clothes get drenched.  A simple plastic bag of some sort is practically weightless.

By the time we got back to the car the rain had, of course, stopped.  

We likely only have a couple more good hikes that we can get in before the kayaks come out and we on the rivers and lakes instead of the trails.  

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Bruce Trail End2End Catch-Up Jan – April 2019

Hike #4 Bruce Trail End2End

Here is a little catch up.  We have done several hikes since last post.  A couple of reasons for doing these.  One is that I just like sharing our adventures and the other is that at some point or other, likely two or three years down the road… or much more, I’m going to want some sort of evidence that we hiked the whole damn thing.  So this is a bit of record keeping.  This kills two birds with one stone.  

My last post on this project was 11 Jan this year.  

So hike #4 goes along Glendale from near The Keg, across Highway 406 then up the hill - Tremont Dr.  I really hate is when hiking takes me on a road.  I’m more used to hiking in the mountains in Alberta and BC.  I like most of the Bruce Trail but having to walk streets kind of sucks.

Once past that, though, it is a pretty nice walk.  Still cold enough when we did it that it wasn’t too muddy.  You come past Brock University and they along Lake Moodie and then end up in the parking lot at Decew House Heritage Park. A little ways down from Decew Falls.  This is all just across from Lake Gibson.  I’m really hoping it warms up in the next few weeks enough for us to get out in the kayaks on this water.  

We used two cars with this one as we didn’t want to walk both ways.  

Hike #5 Bruce Trail End2End

The next section that we did goes from that parking lot at Decew Heritage park to Decew Falls.  Fairly short walk but was a warm enough day.  We took one car and came back part way along the road then back up the embankment along Decew Road.  Then we were back on the trail to Heritage Park.  We used just the one car as it was short and easy enough to do the loop.  We actually did this loop before we started to officially, in our heads, do the Bruce Trail End2End.  There is an old mill at Decew Falls that we have visited a few times.  Quite historic.  If you are lucky enough to  get there when it is open or someone can open it for you, it is worth looking around.  I’m including some photos of that here as well.

Hike #6 Bruce Trail End2End

Next is Short Hills.  We had hiked Short Hills previously but the section from Decew Falls to the parking lot at the north end of the park we had not done completely.  It was a snowy day and we hadn’t had much of chance to do any snowshoeing so we parked at that parking lot - north end off Pelham Rd.  I think we did part of it on a little side trail that paralleled the actual, official trail but we went to Decew and back. One car again.  

Hike #7 Bruce Trail End2End

The rest of Short Hills Bruce Trail hike we did much earlier.  We moved here in September 2017. In October/November that year it was one of our first hikes.  We started a bit late in the day.  There is a little parking lot west of Silver Springs Dr on Holland Rd.  We parked there and did the first loop going clockwise.  We didn’t know how long this hike would be and it was dusk when we were finishing up the last bit.  It was muddy and slippery.  We could barely see the last couple of hundred metres.  But we made it.  We carry flashlights now when we go later in the day. 



Hike #8 Bruce Trail End2End

We did another big loop a few weeks later.  Started at the north parking lot at Pelham Rd and south counter clockwise.  So about 2/3s of the hike was the ‘official’ Bruce Trail.  It is a pretty straight run going south for a bit.  A little more than half way down that stretch, we saw a deer carcass.  Partially eaten and coyote tracks all round.  Looked like a recent kill.  Likely the morning hikers scared them off.  Probably a good idea to keep your puppies on a leash if you are out there, particularly in the early morning or evenings.  That is also a very nice loop - brings you around and back up by the parking lot at the end of Wiley Rd.  We have snowshoed in from that parking lot a few times in winter and done a side trail in the centre of the park.  It is a well travelled but very pretty park.  

Hike #9 Bruce Trail End2End - Rockaway Falls

Our most recent hike/walk was a ‘there and back’ from Rockaway Falls to the edge of Short Hills.   This one is actually a pretty nice hike.  We did it last week, I think it was Tuesday the 26th March.  It takes you past some nice horse farms.  You may see some riders out there and possibly one big ass dog (the size of a small horse) may bark at you from a distance.  There were a couple of spots that were a bit mushy and wet but lots of leaves on the ground made it OK.  Took us a couple of hours but we tend to dilly-dally a bit taking  photos and such.  If you were on a mission you could do it much faster. 

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Winter Storm – Ajax, Ontario 2019

Winter Storm – Ajax, Ontario 2019

Cold walk to Lake Ontario

It has been bitter cold here in Ontario the last couple few days.  It has been very cold pretty much everywhere the last couple of days.  We drove along the lakefront earlier today and saw mist coming off the water.  Huge waves.  

So, about three o’clock I wrapped myself up in several layers.  Several.  Long underwear, pants and ski pants.  Temperature was about -15C or less but the wind was brutal coming off the lake.  Not much for it with hands getting cold when you are holding a camera but at least the rest of me could be warm.  

I mucked about for about 45 minutes or so before the cold really started getting to me.  It was totally amazing watching the mist, the waves, the clouds and the sun coming through giving an edge to everything.

I’ll try again tomorrow but no promises.  Check out the photos below:

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Bruce Trail End2End – Hike #3

Bruce Trail End2End – Hike #3

Bruce Trail End2End Hike #3

11th Jan 2019

Short, easy hike: 7.2 KM

This section of our Bruce Trail hike went from the west end of Woodend Conservation Area at Taylor Rd to the Mall where the Keg Restaurant is on Glendale Ave near Highway 406.  

I was a little cooler, not too cold, but enough so that the path was more frozen than muddy. As you walk along the first part, you go through a golf course.  Weren’t any golfers out in the snow. At the end of that part of the path, you come to water so you have to turn left or right. The Bruce Trail proper turns right but through the trees to the left I saw a bridge for the train that I thought may be somewhat photogenic with the sun shining and all.  So we headed up that way.  Glad we did, as this made for some nice photos.  

You have three options here: 1. Go back and do the trail along the east side the water way.  2. Cross the bridge and do the path on the west side of the waterway or 3. continue a little further and walk the road.  It is a side/service road - kind of boring.  If I was going to do this again, I would take door #1 or door #2.

From there you get to Glendale Ave. Walk that across the Welland Canal where you follow the white marks to the left (south).  The trail works along the Welland Canal Parkway and goes under the same railway as you encountered earlier.  A little past there you will start to uphill and there is a path on your right that kind of doubles back.  Take that - going back toward the railway.  Follow it up and to the left as you get to the railway again.  

As long as you keep following the trail markers - the white painted slashes, you should be good.  This wasn’t the most exciting hike I’d ever been on as I do like walking in the woods and there was quite a bit of roadway to walk on, but the parts that were woodsy were wonderful.  And winter is our favourite time to hike.  

We parked our second car at the mall of the Keg and as usual, because we tend to start our hikes somewhat late, we arrived there a little before dark.  

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