Adventure Journal

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Elora Gorge Car Camping 200805-27

Sunday, April 27 - 2008
08:00 – 14:00
Start: 08:00
Roads: Dry / Clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: +20C
Area: Elora, Ontario
Vehicle: GMC Suburban
Weather: Overcast
Trail Conditions: Slightly Damp
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Lupis, Merlin, Morgana
Plan: Get away for the weekend
GPS: 43 40.65N 80 26.77W

08:00 We awoke to the burning stench of petrol fumes as apparently the truck must have a small petrol leak in the tank somewhere as it does not have such a strong odor when it is less than ¾ full. We didnt get much restful sleep during the night.

10:00 We finally got out of bed and Tori made some "gorp" mix which is a raspberry peanut freeze-dried food. It was quite good actually.

12:00 We packed up camp and headed out for a while to explore the campsites. Yesterday the girl behind the counter stated that at the end of a long road, there were two tyre tracks that led off into the distance and was the start of a long trail. We thought we might be able to find it.

12:53 Taking almost an hour to find, we did find the trail, and re-bandaged Lupis's hand and hit the trails. The trail was a little muddy from the recent spots of rain, but was really nothing special. It led out to a stream, and rough, poor deer-path led along the stream bank. It wasnt barefoot friendly at all with lots of washed-up debris from the overflowing stream. Off in the distance, near a form of concrete dam or bridge, there was a great cave which might be worthy of exploring in the near future, on a next trip.

14:00 We arrived back at the truck, undressed Lupis's hand, used the serviced washrooms and headed towards home. This was the first camping trip we have had in a few years, if you could call it camping. Perhaps next time we will be able to stay longer.

17:20 Arrived back home in the Niagara Region, safe and sound.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Elora Gorge Car Camping 200804-26

Saturday, April 26 - 2008
06:00 – 22:00
Start: 06:30
Roads: Dry / Clear
Visibility: 20km
Temp: +18C
Area: Elora, Ontario
Vehicle: GMC Suburban
Weather: Light Rain
Trail Conditions: Slightly Damp
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Lupis, Merlin, Morgana
Plan: Get away for the weekend
GPS: 43 40.65N 80 26.77W

We woke up early after packing up the truck for the weekend and decided to head out really early after a quick circle-check of the truck for our week-end getaway to a place called Elora Gorge.

Arriving in Elora around 08:30 to find the place was almost empty. Apparently this was the first weekend they were open in the summer. The girl behind the counter was very pleasant and advised us there were very few people in the park camping, take the truck and drive around for a while until we found a spot.

We drove around for about 1/2hr and Tori found a great little campsite, and a couple of other "backup" sites incase that one was taken. Sure enough, out of the 500 empty campsites, Tori chose one that had been taken.

After renting our campsite (490) we slipped into the little town of Elora to buy some bug spray and visit a couple of the little shops there, including a medieval shop which had a lot of armor, swords, whips, floggers, and such in it.

Returning from our short visit in the town, we parked the truck at the campsite, and as it looked like it was going to rain, set up a suspended tarp over the rear of the truck so we would have a great shelter for the night or two we were going to spend here.

With the "campsite" set-up, we decided to go for a nice barefoot hike around the edge of the gorge. From the campsite we could see the gorge below and hear the water flowing. It wasn't the best campsite we had seen, but would certainly be our home for the next couple of days. We followed along the edge of the gorge which had a great little pathway which went through the woods behind all the vacant campsites. This place is very beautiful here when it's empty like this.

The rain started around noon, and although we were protected by the canopy of the forest, decided to go back to the truck and suit up in our raingear and explore some other paths.

The little pamphlet said that there were some hiking trails which went around the gorge. We suited up and headed out in the rain and crossed a small bridge over the gorge, then to the paths. Sadly the hiking paths were very juvenile and all packed stone with an ugly black fence off to the side of the gorge so you couldn't accidentally fall in.

Eventually we came to a big overpass that looked like it had recently been completed. We were about to see if we could cross over it when an elderly gentlemen went to pass by and said the best is yet to come, ahead there was the ruins of the old Elora Mill to explore. Assuming he was right, we kept along the trail.

Around 13:30 the large ruins of the Elora Mill came into view. Resembling an ancient European castle with just four walls with no roof, and trees growing inside. We took quite a few photographs of the old structure then decided to head back to camp as Lupis's right hand was troubling him. It was red and swollen but we checked and there was no slivers.

We hiked back to the bridge and crossed over it to loop around to another trail heading back towards the campsite. We headed back to the campsite to find some amazing views and areas to photograph. Even a very small little stream which cut through giant rocks over thousands of years – unfortunately the photos did not to it justice.

15:00hrs we arrived back at camp, drenched not from rain, but our own body heat generated by wearing rain gear when it was not raining – and changed into dry clothes.

Tori cooked up some of our freeze-dried food of Chicken Terryaki and a great blueberry cobbler desert.

21:00 After spending the afternoon relaxing, we put the dogs to bed after bandaging Lupis's hand and stuffing between his fingers with Bactigras material to keep it disinfected for the night.

We headed to bed around 22:00hrs as it was a long, long day.

Friday, 18 April 2008

I Am Wolf

I am a Wolf
I am as old as the mountains I call home.
I have seen mountains grow from small hills,
valleys form from small ravines
and rivers born of trickling streams.
I have walked with the great ones of eons ago
The Great Mammoth, Saber Tooth Tigers, and many
others who have been long lost.....
I have seen the beginning of mankind.

I am Wolf.
I am a predator
A hunter
I hunt for food
I do not collect trophies to be mounted on the
walls of my Den.
I do not hurt for enjoyment, but out of necessity..
For Survival.
I hunt to feed my children...
So they can one day walk upon Mother Earth
And become part of the Circle of Life.

I am Wolf.
I have watched for many years my hunting grounds
Trees replaced by buildings...
Game replaced by humans.
I have been driven highter and higher into the
Yet the humans still come.
And I'm driven even further from the hunting grounds
of my father's father,
And his father's before him.
Yet, I survive.
My children survive.

I am Wolf
I am a loyal, devoted, and loving parent.
Our children are our future...
Just as human children are the future of
all human beings.
I am protective of my children
And take responsibility of their nurturing
as seriously as any human parent.
I provide food for my children and provide
them with a safe home.
Until they are ready to walk their own path.

I am Wolf I do not choose to hunt in the presence of humans
But I have been given no other choice.
My land has been taken from me.
And, now so shall my life....
And the lives of my children, and in doing so...
Our future is doomed...
We will go the way of the old ones...
Only in memories of distant pasts shall we
live again...

I am Wolf
Wolves are beauty without vanity..
Innocence without naivety..
We are ones of the Creator's children,
And deserve to live our lives in peace..
We were created for a purpose..
And it was not to be hunted down and slaughtered

I am Wolf
Tonight, I will lay and sleep with my mate and
our children...
This may be the last night we will share together,
upon Mother Earth.
For tomorrow, many of our brothers and sisters
will be slaughtered.
And perhaps ourselves, as well...
Our songs will be only a distant memory...
Fading into the past.

I am Wolf.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Camden Ontario Hike - 200804-13

Sunday, April 13 - 2008
13:15 – 16:00
Start: 13:20
Roads: Dry / Clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: +4C
Area: Camden, Ontario
Vehicle: GMC Suburban
Weather: Bright & Sunny
Trail Conditions: Mud & Flooding
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Lupis, Merlin, Morgana
Plan: Find the old rock climbing spot
GPS: 43 09.00N 79 26.55W

12:00 We left home bound for Beamer Falls conservation area
12:40 Arrive at Beamers Falls with keen sandals, gaiters, thermal pant bottoms, hiking shirt and coveralls. Sadly I misplaced my ESS v12 goggles and had to wear my old safety sunglasses which I recently found in my hiking jacket when I pulled it out for spring.
The weather was warm and there was little wind. I would have cooked here being as there were several girls in shorts and flip flops on the trail. We decided to go somewhere else as this was not a good spot for the gear we brought with us.

13:15 We decided it would be safest to goto Camden at a place we read about in a rock climbing magasine and visited one many years ago to find a great rock climbing wall. Upon a return trip to this site we found an overturned and abandoned Suzuki Sidekick on the trails.

13:15 Arrive on-site to find it was cold here, and empty. At least I wouldn't cook here this time. As we readied ourselves an elderly man on an ATV approached us advising us it was muddy and we'd have fun hiking the trails. This was the first time I had decided to go hiking with my Ipod Nano 4gb that me mum had won at work a few weeks ago.

13:30 The trails were so full of water, we had to head across the woods tro hopefully find the Bruce Trail which runs along this area.

13:35 We hit a decent trail and head northward

13:50 The dogs find something to roll-in, it turns out to be a skull of a dead animal. We took some photographs and insisted Merlin no longer roll in it.

14:10 We came past more flooded trails to the edge of the escarpment, there – in front of us, was a large, steep drop-off. As we got closer, it turned out to be the exact area we had hoped to find. 2-4m rock faces which would be great for climbing practice. We sat barefoot on the rocks and were joined by a large, all-white Malamute with one blue eye and one brown eye. Wolf set-up the old Magellan Map410 GPS unit & we waited for it to initialise and get th exact GPS co-ordinates for today. Unfortunately this older GPS unit only uses lat/longs and not standard GPS co-ordinates which came up as 43 09.00N by 79 26.54W. I could type the numbers in google maps and it would auto-convert it for us.

14:35 Head to the base of the cliffs we are standing on top of.

14:49 The base of the large rock cliffs reveals some incredible sheer rock cliffs. Almost 1km in length. I texted Brian to tell him about it and gave him the GPS co-ordinates so he could check them out on google earth before we came home.

15:10 After heading southbound on the trails, we started to realise that we may have crossed two trails – not one. We were lost.

15:14 We came to a series of power lines which we had not passed originally.

15:20 Wolf checked around for footprints or hike-pole marks in the ground to which there were none. Off in the distance we spotted a road, the only road in the area which we knew our truck lay at the end of. Also farm buildings could be seen in that direction.

15:45 Crossing through the woods we came upon the trail and could see the local road and Tori spotted the truck very close by. We bee-lined it towards the truck. Merlin had been rolling in dead animal carcasses and who knows what else and needed a quick wash in a ditch. We relaxed in the beauty and solitude of this place for a while, then packed up and headed for home.

16:00 Shortly before heading for home I decided to boot-up the Magellan Map 410 GPS unit on the tailgate of the truck and get a GPS reading of where we were parked for future reference – 43 8.60N by 79 26.33W

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Niagara Gorge Waterfall - 200804-06

Sunday, April 06 - 2008
10:00 – 15:00
Start: 10:15
Roads: Dry / Clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: -18C
Area: Niagara Gorge
Vehicle: GMC Suburban
Weather: Bright & Sunny
Trail Conditions: Some mud and snow
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Brian, Chuck
Plan: Climb to the upper waterfall
GPS: 43.1591, -79.0473

This will be our third visit to the waterfall in an obscure section of the Niagara gorge, far away from the tourist traveled sections. We were very close to one of the old power plants and almost underneath one of the big bridges spanning the gorge between the Canadian and United States Border. This time, however we are fully prepared for the hike. We brought with us climbing rope, beeners, ascending tools, line brakes, and a plethora of other climbing gear to properly get to the base of the upper waterfall at this location.

10:00 We arrived at the far eastern end of York Road in Queenston, Ontario and parked the truck in the same spot we did the last couple of times. I suited up with my keen shoes, gaiters, blue jumpsuit with thermal underwear bottoms and a summer hiking shirt, ESS v12 goggles, and adventure hat.

10:20 We hit the trails. Tori forgot her nylon shell pants so she decided to stay in the truck.

10:40 We arrived at the base of the two-tier waterfall. As we’ve been here several times now, it seems that the hike here gets shorter and shorter every time. Brian put on his climbing harness and we started our ascent up the steep, muddy, slippery slopes past the lower waterfall and onward to the upper waterfall.

11:00 After quite a climb – we arrived at some sturdy trees we could perch ourselves on. I got some nylon strapping and tied it off to a tree and to Brians harness, then put on his harness and tied himself off to another tree to work safely at the steep angles of the gorge. Wolf and Brian then set-up the main rope and Brian tied off-to it.

11:20 Brian slowly made his way across a steep, muddy, treeless part of the canyon where we had been unable to cross safely on previous visits. Wolf kept a safety-belay line on Brian as this was the first time doing any rope work in a few years.

11:45 Wolf went on the ropes and skipped across the treeless steep section and made his way over to Brian. With the belay line tied-off to a tree, Wolf and Brian made their way over to the base of the waterfall.

12:00 Staring up at the waterfall, Wolf realised he had left the GPS unit and Camera on the other section they just used all the ropes to navigate over.

12:10 Wolf navigated his way using rope and harness back to the other side and collected both GPS unit and Camera.

12:20 Arriving the 2nd time at the base of the upper waterfall, Wolf had to remove his Keen shoes as they were full of water. Surprisingly the water was very warm at this time of year, considering there was still some snow patches in the area. Brian & Wolf took some photographs.

12:38 Wolf and Brian rappelled down to the edge of the first waterfall, and approached a dried up section. Brian rappelled over the edge with the last words of "What do I constantly let you make me do!"

12:40 Arriving safely on the ground, went off belay, and cleared the area.

12:45 Wolf worked his way back up to the mount point of the rope, tied himself off, disconnected the ropes and checked to ensure there was no one at the base of the waterfall, then let go of the rope and it sent itself down with a quick zip. Wolf could hear the "ka-thump!" when the rope hit the ground at the base of the 2nd waterfall.

13:00 Wolf packed up the gear and made his way back down to the base of the lower falls. Brian and Chuck were collecting the ropes from the day, and Tori was sleeping.

13:30 Tori woke up and got quite upset because we did not wake her up when we were gathering all our equipment and got quite angry and upset and headed back to the truck.

14:30 Packing up, we sat around and discussed how much fun we all had today, and had hoped Chuck could get some rope training and join us for a similar adventure in the near future. The ropes and harnesses were very muddy from the trip.

14:55 We arrived back at the truck where Tori was sleeping in the front seat, and began to strip off our muddy gear.

15:00 Head for home feeling quite accomplished that we finally made the upper falls on this hike.