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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Bruce Trail Supplement – Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill

Bruce Trail Supplement – Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill

Bruce Trail: Decew Falls

Bruce Trail - Supplement - Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill

Got up to some new snow this morning so thought we’d go for a drive and maybe a short hike to catch some nice photos of the trees all white and all.  We are old so it took us a while.  I had to eat breakfast and all.  

We drove around a bit and ended up at Decew Falls; we had been there before and it is quite photogenic so we thought, with the snow it would be quite nice.  A fair bit of the snow had melted off the trees but it was still quite lovely.  

We were just beginning to walk about taking photos when one of the volunteers came out of the big house there and asked if we’d like to look inside some of the buildings.  We had never been in them, although we had been through there a few times, so said we’d love to.  

The place dates back to 1895. There is a sign that is now inside the building, you can see the photo below, that was up on the outside for 100 years.  As you can see from the photo below, the shot of the sign inside, it is still in pretty good shape.  Terry, the fellow that was showing us about, said the replacement sign they put up lasted about 20 years.  There is another one up there on the outside now.

It is called the Mountain Mill or Morningstar Mill (or both).  The original grist mill, still working, was built in 1872.  

Terry, our guide, was full of an amazing amount of information.  Can’t remember half of it but he also loaded us down with pamphlets so that it wasn’t completely necessary for me to remember every detail.  There is a photo below of the mill/grinder thingy where they actually make flour.  Apparently, you can’t buy it, they have to give it to you if you want, you can donate.  The mill is turned by the water from the river.  

(Rant: Amazing the bureaucratic complexities of any government at any level.  Terry tells us that it take ages to get money, if they get it at all and they are way down the list.  And here with the flour, they could actually make money to pay for some of the restorations and thus not have to wait for various approvals.  But no, the bureaucrats need a ‘raison d’etre’!)

Next door, at the back of the building they rebuilt the Mill part with old barn boards and beams.  Built last time in 1995 I believe.  They have the original cranks and shafts of the mill there as well.  Some cool views of the falls from the windows inside.  And one photo, if you cannot figure out what it is, looking straight down to where the water turns the wheel thingy for the mill.

The house, originally lived in by the Morningstar Family has been restored a couple of times.  All of the work is now done by caring volunteers.  

Lots more information about Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill and Family here:

This spot is on the Bruce Trail.  If you make it the beginning or end of one of your hikes, try and time it when they are open for tourists.  Depending on how many kilometres that you do each hike, this will be anywhere from your fourth to sixth segment.  

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Bruce Trail End2End – Hike #2

Bruce Trail End2End – Hike #2

Hike #2 Bruce Trail

Marty's Road Trip

Yvonne and I did our second hike of the Bruce Trail Friday the 11th of January 2019. Was a bit shorter than the first - was approximately 6 km. I say this in inexact figures as although I had two electronic ways to track our hike I kinda messed up both.

First my iPhone. I like the phone but it doesn’t like the cold. It died about 2/3s of the way through the hike. It was a pretty chilly day and I kept in an outside jacket pocket. I was using the Bruce Trail App on it so it caught the first part of the hike and because I thought I was tracking it also on my Garmin watch (hiking app), I wasn’t too worried. But then after a few hundred meters I checked the watch and realized, new app, and I forgot to hit ‘start’. So, the hike is mapped in parts as you will see below.

A point here on the iPhone. From my research, they generally don’t like the cold. If you are hiking with it, keep it close to your body and as a back up keep an external charger, if you don’t want to lose part of the data from your hike.

This hike, as I mentioned was about 6 km or so. It was cold, about minus 5 C so the trail wasn’t muddy. We have very good winter boots, coming from Calgary where hiking in -15C to -20C wasn’t that uncommon for us. It’s the wind that kills us. When it comes off Lake Ontario and hits you on that exposed part of the escarpment, it is harsh. It was a very nice sunny day and fortunately it wasn’t windy at all. Which made the hike quite pleasant.

We started on the east side of Fireman’s Park at the bottom of Dorchester Rd. There is parking at the very end and a secondary trail that starts there. The main trail starts up near the rail tracks. There are two concrete barriers there. We parked there but likely shouldn’t have although there aren’t any ‘No Parking’ signs.

Most of the first part of the trail is low and in the woods so is protected from the wind, if you are there in winter. The trail is always quite well marked. We did go on a secondary loop along the QEW for a couple of hundred metres coming up to the walking bridge by the railway. Didn’t matter that much. The bridge is where my phone died. I was taking a few pictures and kaput! A couple of hundred meters beyond that is the Howling Bridge. You have to walk under that. It was mostly filled with water/ice. There was an edge of gravel on one sight. Not much choice but to go through there, so make sure that you have waterproof footwear.

Once you are out of the tunnel you have a bit of a walk along the road. Don’t worry, there is a sign telling you where to turn right. You are going through someone’s property - be respectful. And it is quite a pretty property. Then back in the woods of Woodend Conversation Area.

If you are parking your other car at this end, you have a choice. You can park at the entrance to the park, near Taylor Road or go all the way into the park and park near the education centre/outdoor school. There is a parking lot there. It is a little bit of a walk from where you come out of the woods but not that far.

You can also cross the road when the sign is there and follow the trail through the woods. We had done that part of the trail 2-3 times so didn’t bother this time. That section is a nice hike as it looks over Lake Ontario. Can be windy but great views, particularly in the winter when fewer leaves on the trees.


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Bruce Trail End2end – Part #1

Bruce Trail End2end – Part #1

Bruce Trail End2End Hike #1


(Part of) Marty's Road Trip

Two days ago, at the pool, Anita, a good friend, told me that she and her husband are working on hiking The Bruce Trail end to end a little bit at a time.  This inspired me.  Yvonne and I have been here for almost a year and a half and have done some hiking but it has been different than hiking Alberta.  

So, yesterday, inspired with a goal, we started! We began at Queenston Park.  That is at the conjunction of Portage Rd and Niagara Parkway.  There is a little monument (cairn) that you will see in the first photo.  That is the southern end of the 890 km hike.  It is a decent sized park so to save you some wandering around looking, go to the eastern most reach of the parking lot. Right near the traffic circle you should see it.  If you then face away from the river, you should see the white trail markings on the larger trees.  Just follow those. At the other end of the park, you will see the actual trail head into the woods. 

We parked the ‘end’ car at a small parking lot at the very north end of Dorchester road.  It is at the end of the road leading north from Mountain Rd. running along Fireman’s Park.  Yesterday's hike was about 8.3 kilometers.  

It is January and the temperature yesterday was about plus 9 Celcius.  So it was pretty muddy.  Wear boots.  The majority of the trail is fairly easy going but there are a couple middle parts where there are some somewhat steep climbs down.  With the covering of leaves there were some pretty slippery spots.  

We were late afternoon, so the areas with leaves coating the forest floor and the sun coming through the trees made for some quite pretty hiking.  Those spots were generally out of the wind which made it quite peaceful.  

Speaking of wind, depending on the direction you can be protected or not. If you are hiking along the ridge and the wind is coming off Lake Ontario when it is a chilly day, you are going to feel it.  If it is cold, wear something that will cut the wind.

Below, you will see some photos from our first day.  I’m not sure how often we will get to hike this but as much as we can. Maybe we’ll get some sections done with our snowshoes.  Who knows?  There are some sections of the trail that we’ve done already, so we may or may not repeat them.

Also, we are using two cars, as advised by my friend but when we get a little further afield, we will likely make use of Uber for the short runs back to the car.

I downloaded the Bruce Trail app as well, to my iPhone to keep track of distances, and hike we do, etc. I may also track the hikes on my Garmin watch.  The hiking app on my phone will keep exact distances of the hikes.  And will keep track of steps.  

I went online and purchased the whole map thing.  I figured that we are going to hike the whole damn trail over the next couple (or more) of years, so the maps they supply should earn their keep.

Here is a link to purchase if want: Bruce Trail Map Guide

And thanks again Anita for the inspiration!

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Zombie Mud Run – Campark Resort – Niagara Falls 2018

Zombie Mud Run – Campark Resort – Niagara Falls 2018

Campark Resorts - Zombie Mud Run - 2018

Try and outrun the zombies but ‘alive’ or ‘dead’ you finish.  

Mud, water and zombies and lots of obstacles.  My first time photographing and enjoying this event.  Watching, it looked like all were having a really great time.  The whole even is wonderfully entertaining.  

Zombies are spread about the run periodically to try and take your lives - each ribbon is a ‘life’.  And there were a few spots where you could bargain for some extra lives.  Also, I there was some anti zombie dust(pixie dust?) available to some that could be used to ward off the zombies at just the right moment.  

This is now a once a year event.  Pretty obvious to the passing locals with a hundred cars parked along Lundy’s Lane outside the park.  With almost 400 participants and numerous staff and volunteers it looks like fun was had by all.

Here are a few photos of some participants, some zombies and a few of the obstacles.  Wonderful expressions on the faces!

Click the first photo to get to the slide show:

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Niagara-On-The-Lake in the Spring

Niagara-On-The-Lake in the Spring

Niagara On The Lake Walkabout

Niagara-On-The-Lake is one of our favourite walkabouts.  It is so pretty.  Buildings, flowers and people.  I like watching people and the downtown of Niagara on the Lake area particularly, is picturesque.  After loading our bikes up and driving to the bottom of the escarpment, we drove along the Niagara Parkway to the first parking lot accessing the bike path and parked.  We took off and after a few adjustments to Yvonne's brakes it was smooth sailing to this quaint little village. An easy ride of just a few miles.  The summer heat had not hit yet and it was quite pleasant.  You can see one of the photos below showing the blossoms on the Cherry Trees which bode well for a future of cherries and cherry pie. We do love pie.  After wandering around for a bit taking photos we stopped in and had some breakfast at the Sunset Grill.  Always a wonderful breakfast there. I’m of two minds on eating breakfast out.  I do love it but I could have it at home for pennies on the dollar and with my home made mango chutney and my favourite hot sauce.  Well, I guess eating out is not always about that; more the ambience and just the fact that you don’t have to cook.  

There is a little place in Niagara-On-The-Lake that I love. It is called Custom House Cigars.  That was our next stop.  One of many weaknesses.  He had a couple of Rocky Patels that I wanted to try.  His prices are pretty reasonable.  I get to shop at the cigar store at Rama: Cada del Humidor.  They don’t have a website but if you get up that way and you like cigars, it is worth the detour.  Yvonne and I took some more photos then went to the park and grabbed a bench and I got to smoke.  I chose a smaller cigar to smoke as we did have to bike back to the car and I couldn’t be forever.   I saved the Rocky Patels for later.  

Next stop with the Irish Design store.  About 9 years ago I purchased by far my favourite sweater, a Donegal Roll Neck.  I got it at the Irish Design Store in Niagara On the Lake.  

When we were in Niagara about 9 years ago, I saw the sweater in the store and fell in love with it but failed to purchase.  My thoughts were along the line of, “I’ll easily get it online.  Not so much.  I checked online, trade shows and could not find it in any stores in Canada.  

We lived in Calgary for years and I honestly could wear this sweater with a windbreaker at minus 20C.  BUT, as I wore it pretty much ALL the time, Calgary does get kinda chilly, I was due for another.  Yvonne had patched the elbows on my original one and repaired a few loose threads over time.  I was excited moving here because I knew I could some cool colours in this particular line.  

Alas, they were sold out and awaiting a shipment.  Being a few weeks before the main tourist season, this was not unexpected.  Staff are great there though and I left my email.  (Addendum: some weeks later - late June, I receive an email but again alas, I’m working in Calgary at the Stampede.  So, when I get home(after sleeping for three days), Yvonne and take a drive(her bike is in the shop getting the brakes fixed) down to have a look see. I have a couple of colours in mind and after digging through a couple of piles of Donegal Rollnecks and asking the clerks to check the basement for my size, I walked out of the store with exactly what I wanted.  So happy.  I like quality and I do like what I like.  This is one absolutely wonderful sweater.  It is pure wool and apparently will keep you warm even when wet.  No, it is not itchy at all.

If you come for the tulips, come early.  The season is short and it is early.  There are lots of them and they are out of this world wonderful.  And bring a proper camera.  Smart phones are OK but really won't do the flowers here justice. I don't know who takes care of the gardens here but they really do a fantastic job!

All roads lead to Niagara Falls. Everyone comes here eventually.  If you come to see the Falls, make sure that you take the time to see Niagara-On-The-Lake.  

If you check here periodically, we will have more photos and stories of our adventures in the area.


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Nickel Beach, Port Colborne in Winter

Nickel Beach, Port Colborne in Winter

That's Not Sand!

Went to Port Colborne for lunch and then a walk along the beach.  Yes, we know, it is winter!  The ice just out on the lake had built up about 10 feet in places from the waves smashing, then freezing higher and higher.  I managed to find a spot to walk out onto the ice hills and Yvonne took a few pics of me out there.  Always an adventure..

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I love paintings but don't have the patience or the time to properly learn how to apply paints to my photos.  I may someday.  I've been playing around with some software to get some cool watercolour effects.  (One oil in there as well.)  They are not paintings but it is fun nonetheless.  And with some software I found to add mattes and frames, I can get an idea what these would look like up on a wall.

Below I've listed a couple of apps and the software I've been using.


The two apps for ‘painterly’ effects are ‘Brushstroke’ and ‘Waterlogged’ – get those at the App Store.  The framing software is ImageFramer

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Niagara Falls in Winter

Niagara Falls in Winter

When it gets cold enough in Niagara Falls, the Falls freeze.  Well, they don’t freeze entirely, it has to be pretty damn cold for that to happen. And it has.  But recently it was cold enough for lots of ice to happen.  It was over the Christmas break 2017.  It was very cold and I was amazed/shocked at how many people were out braving the cold.  Likely because the Christmas break is the only time when some can get away with the children.  School and all.  Anyway, it was really cold; so taking photos wasn’t easy on the hands but the resulting photos made it so worth while.

This was all hand held.  Next time I’ll get some kind of gloves that allow me to handle my camera and bring a tripod.  That way I can catch some evening pics with the coloured lights on the ice.

No-one is doing the ‘under the falls’ walk!:

martin glyn jones
Above the Falls: 
marty's road trip

Long exposure without a tripod:

yvonne matheson

These really show the ice and snow:

gwen van kleef

Gwen Van Kleef

Martin Glyn Jones
Evening Lights at Niagara Falls: 
martin glyn jones photos
Cars lined up at the Falls: 

martin glyn jones

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