The latest in my series of solo hikes on the Bruce Trail took place last Saturday. I started from where I left off on June 21st: at Felker’s Falls Conservation Area in Hamilton. My destination lay 17.2 kilometres away, where the Chedoke Radial Trail reaches the top of the Niagara Escarpment at Scenic Drive (those point is very close to the “border” between Hamilton and Ancaster, a distinction most of those who live in the area, including me, still make).
The trail followed a mixture of paved and more natural terrain up to where the trail passes under the Red Hill Expressway (a most contentious highway). Along the way I saw a cute little rabbit along the closed section of Mount Albion Road, and a lot of American Goldfinches; three of which were in a thistle bush quite close to the trail. They’re my favourite bird, with the brilliant yellow of the males (in breeding season) and their delightful, undulating movements while in flight.
Surprisingly, there were quite a few rugged (very rocky) sections of the trail between the Red Hill and where the Bruce Trail follows a section of the Escarpment Rail Trail. Even with the the urban surrounding, the trail is quite enjoyable here. Although nothing can be worse than the section of the trail that passes by the Pen Centre in St. Catharines; it’s unfortunate that the Conservancy isn’t able to route the trail through a more natural setting in that region. Walking down the Jolly Cut I was treated to a fantastic view of the Hamilton cityscape; in hindsight I should have stopped to take a picture. I should really find some way to hook the case I use for my Canon point-and-shoot to my pack for easier access.
Stopping for lunch just past where the trail crosses Beckett Drive, I was treated to a symphony of goldfinches, cardinals, and robins. I believe I saw a pair of gold-crowned kinglets as well.
Compared to my last solo hike, this one went by quickly. The final hike in my Iroquoia series, which I’ll undertake in September, will be 10 kilometres longer! It’ll be tough, but I’ll take my time and enjoy the more rural setting. It will see me complete the Iroquoia section of the trail; and takes place one week prior to the 2-day Toronto end-to-end hike (49.5 kilometres over one weekend). It’ll be a good warm up!