Sunday, September 25, 2005

The ups and downs of the Niagara Escarpment

This weekend I visited my folks, who live in Hamilton, and who are about to go to Myrtle Beach for the next month. I brought my Rebel XT with me in case I decided to stop and take some pictures along the way. There's nothing to spectacular in all this, I guess, but if you're not from around here, it might give you an interesting idea of what the backroads of Greater Toronto are like in late summer or early autumn. Notice that at this point, the trees have not yet begun to change colour in a big way... but will, within the next couple of weeks.

My parents live in a part of town called "the Mountain" by the locals. It's the part of the city up on the Niagara Escarpment. Though it wasn't my intention, as it turns out, the Escarpment provided most of the show for the trip home.

The picture below is Rymal Road... or it might be called Garner Road now, I'm not sure. It's also known as Highway 53. This is picture I took not too long after setting out for home, about two in the afternoon.

Looking west on Hwy 53

Ordinarily, I would get on the 403 off Hwy 53, and take it to the QEW to cross Burlington and Oakville, reconnect with the 403 in Mississauga, and take that to the 401 home. But this time, I decided to go a more pleasant backroads route for part of the trip. Below is a shot of the 403 just after merging off Hwy 53. I'm about to cross under the Link, named for Lincoln M. Alexander, local resident, and Ontario's first black Lt.-Governor (for our non-Canadian readers: this is the Queen's representative in a province, the person with royal signing authority).

Heading northward on the "eastbound" 403

The Chedoke Expressway part of the 403 leads down the face of the Mountain and snakes through the west end of the downtown. So here I am, down off the Escarpment, heading past Main Street.

On the 403 passing Main Street in Hamilton

As I indicated, the most direct and (usually) fastest route is to stay with the superhighways. But I was in no hurry, so after I got around the tip of the lake, I decided to take a more leisurely path. I left the 403 and headed back up the Escparment via Hwy 6 northbound.

Exiting the 403 at Hwy 6, climbing the Escarpment to Hwy 5

At the lip of the Escarpment, Hwy 6 intersects with Hwy 5, also known as Dundas Street. I headed east on Dundas through Flamborough and into Burlington, where, once again, I descended the Escarpment...

Hwy 5 (Dundas Street) eastbound -- about to descend the Escarpment again

Guelph Line is the distance of the view above. In the view below, I've turned up onto Guelph Line and climbed back up onto the Escarpment again (!)... what's that now... down... up, down... up. Okay. Now in the shot below, the view faces south (looking back the way I'd just come from). This looks down into the urban part of Burlington, out into the lake, and out across to the south side of Lake Ontario, which is the Niagara Peninsula itself. My parents live at the very edge of the peninsula where it joins the rest of Ontario, on the right in this shot. Off to the left would be where Niagara Falls would be found. That finger of land represents the only significant stretch of Canada on the south side of any Great Lake; it's on the same side of Lake Ontario as Rochester, New York.

Looking south down Guelph Line towards Hwy 5 and Lake Ontario

On my way back to the car from taking the shot above, I noticed this abandoned, half-eaten banana. Honest, it isn't mine! There are nearly six million primates in the GTA... and you know how fond primates are of their bananas. :)

This isn't mine

I headed up Guelph Line northward. Generally, I'd head east again when I got to Britannia Road, but I missed the turn and decided to head east on Derry Road instead. I remembered that Rattlesnake Point, with its excellent vistas of the floor of ancient Lake Iroquois, was along Derry. So I headed for that. Getting to the Point required me to turn off Derry and head -- you guessed it -- but up the Escarpment again. I got to the park, realized I was a quarter shy of the $4.25 admission, but the woman in the booth said it was no big deal and waved me in anyway. I got some nice shots of the forest paths in there, as well as some really pleasing ones of the Milton farmland below.

The view of Derry Road from Rattlesnake Point, looking west


Looking north from Rattlesnake Point


Rattlesnake rocks, I guess

On my way back to the car, I happened to notice this trailer, apparently belonging to the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. I wondered what in the world army cadets would be doing here... then it occurred to me that Rattlesnake Point is prized by rock climbers. No doubt our future soldiers preparing for the next assault on Normandy. :)

Your tax dollars at work play

When I left the park, I followed the access road north till I got to Steeles Avenue, which actually ends at the road I was on (or begins, depending on your perspect, I suppose). Steeles eventually forms the north boundary of the City of Toronto, but I was still most of an hour west of that. Steeles also took me back down the Escarpment, one last time. I took this shot just after the descent.

This posting's obligatory artsy shot

As a closing shot: this is the intersection of Steeles Avenue and Trafalgar Road. At the moment, it's still a rural intersection, but, as you can see, already reworked for the large volume of traffic already using it. I expect that this same intersection, photographed in 2015, will be under construction, and by 2020 will be highly suburbanized, and completely unrecognizable.

Steeles Avenue at Trafalgar Road, September 2005

A point of fun: see the license plate on the truck? "JKES RD", it says. I assume that means "Jake's ride"... though I had fun as I drove away wondering what else it could stand for... "Jacky's hard"? "Juke's Road"? "Joke's rude"? Damn, I should have asked him.

5 comments:

katherine said...

There's nothing to spectacular in all this, I guess, but if you're not from around here, it might give you an interesting idea of what the backroads of Greater Toronto are like in late summer or early autumn.

Some of the photos remind me of Arkansas in a way, and Indiana. Interesting.


On my way back to the car from taking the shot above, I noticed this abandoned, half-eaten banana. Honest, it isn't mine! There are nearly six million primates in the GTA... and you know how fond primates are of their bananas. :)

I think thou protests too much. It's yours, isn't it? ; )


A point of fun: see the license plate on the truck? "JKES RD", it says. I assume that means "Jake's ride"... though I had fun as I drove away wondering what else it could stand for... "Jacky's hard"? "Juke's Road"? "Joke's rude"? Damn, I should have asked him.

"Jake's Rod"? "Jake's Rad"? "Jake's Red"? Yeah, just grasping at straws now ... guess we'll never know for sure.

Lone Primate said...

Some of the photos remind me of Arkansas in a way, and Indiana. Interesting.

Well, if we hadn't gone the other way in the Revolution, southern Ontario'd be just another chunk of the Midwest today, twisters and all...

I think thou protests too much. It's yours, isn't it? ; )

Uh uh... I always finish my bananas. ;)

"Jake's Rod"? "Jake's Rad"? "Jake's Red"? Yeah, just grasping at straws now ... guess we'll never know for sure.

"Jake's Rod". :D You know... I've heard suppositions about the inverse proportion of the size of a man's chosen vehicle and... something to do with bananas. I forget now...

katherine said...

"Jake's Rod". :D You know... I've heard suppositions about the inverse proportion of the size of a man's chosen vehicle and... something to do with bananas. I forget now...

Some people think of their cars as rods ya know. ; ) Though, I find it difficult to imagine he's think that truck was a hot rod. Anyway...

Lone Primate said...

Some people think of their cars as rods ya know. ; ) Though, I find it difficult to imagine he's think that truck was a hot rod. Anyway...

Well, I have a friend who definitely bought a pick-up truck as a statement (though not of the sort of I was just implying). The statement it's primarily making these days is "I'm broke paying to feed this eight-cylinder iron pig". :)

Your replies are coming as fast as an ICQ session... lurker! Lurker! :)

katherine said...

Your replies are coming as fast as an ICQ session... lurker! Lurker! :)

Yep, I am. Caught, guilty as charged. Meanwhile, I'm also replying to the pitterpatter. : )