Sunday, October 02, 2005

Waterfells of Halton

It's not a typo; I really did say "waterfells". I've invented a new word. Isn't English grand? You'll understand as I go along.

A friend of mine, photojournalist by trade, has of late kindly agreed to help me learn a little more about a camera that challenges me as being well beyond my current abilities. I mentioned that I've always wanted to make timed exposures of waterfalls in daylight; the water seeming to fall like sheets of silk over the rocks. Very hard to do, but she demonstrated it was possible.

Yesterday in Halton Region I thought I'd try my hand at it. I had a look on the map and thought I found a place out in the countryside that seemed to promise a spot where a creek tumbled down the Escarpment. I decided to head out there and try out what I'd learned.

It took me ages to find the place! Up one road, down another, along this sideroad and across the next... I literally spiralled in on the place until at last the turns of the road as compared to the map told me I was on the right track. Roads in that part of town alternate paved and hard-packed dirt. This particular road was dirt. The steep hills coming down the Escarpment made me wary of losing traction on the gravel... I've done that before and it's not a nice feeling hanging upside down in the seatbelt.


Looking south along the road, about to head into the forest at the left


Looking north, back the way I came


Too cliche, do you think? :)

At the bottom of the drop, which is just a little valley, there was a place to pull in off the road. I parked the car, and crossed the road, since the map suggested the creek was on the other side. I stepped into the woods and began my search. I didn't think it would take long. The map suggested the creek was just off the road no more than a few dozen yards away.


The first of the waterfells

I guess I was about fifty yards from the road when I found what I can best describe as the bones of some ancient waterfall. A number of little pockets like this one, with smooth drops of several metres bottomed by cups of sediment, met me as I scoured the hillside. Hundreds of years ago, it looks like a creek used to make its way the Escarpment here. This particular one, as you can tell, is a little over the height of a grown man. I wonder if an Algonquin or Iroquois ever crouched under the cool tumble and spray here, bathing the sweat and dirt of the hunt away. But I had arrived far too late for that. Water no longer falls here. As I stood there lamenting and feeling let down, I coined the term "waterfell" for such situations. That made me laugh. I don't think it'll catch on, but it was a nice moment.


If only that crack were a mouth, the stories it could tell

All across the hillside are the tumbled-down boulders that speak of the long-ago passage of water... both as a liquid in streams and a solid in the millenia-long torture of the Ice Ages. Imagine what this particular boulder has seen. Laid down in sediments at the bottom of the ocean hundreds of millions or even billions of years ago, forced to the surface, thrust hundreds of feet into the air, and now the slow motion plaything of water again, the same 'element' under which it was formed. If this rock could only speak... imagine the things that have passed it by. We mammalic mayflies can't even imagine.


Intruding in the nature shots again. :)

It's autumn now, but it's not really cold yet. Of course, I'm hiking in the manner to which I'm accustomed and prefer, while the weather lasts. :) The moss on this rock was a half an inch deep... it was like Mother Nature's plush carpeting. I couldn't believe how soft it was. I wish I could carpet my place in this stuff.


A glorious hillside

The hillside is steep, steeper the higher you go. The stuff at the bottom is what's settled from above over the centuries. It would be a challenge to get to the top, but I was looking for waterfalls near the base so I never climbed more than about thirty yards up the face. Still, what a magnificent view it all was.


Imaginations and mouse attacks

I can just imagine a broad, shallow series of cascade falls tumbling down here, long ago. Can't you? Doesn't it seem like it might have been like that not all that long ago? But while I was marveling at it all, something started me and brought me back from the heady heights of imagination. It was more or less at this point that a mouse ran across my right foot. It was an unusual sensation to say the least, but didn't freak me out the way I might have expected it to. Just one more thing that would have happened anyway that I would have completely missed by hiking shod. I can't complain; after all, the whole philosophy behind barefoot hiking is to experience nature... and that sure qualifies! :)


Maybe I've been out here too long...

This has to be one of the most interesting trees I've ever seen. What in the world could possibly have happened to it to make it grow this way? Aren't trees amazing? They can't move. They have to play whatever hand is dealt them and make it a winning hand every time. They're phenomenal. Though I have to admit, this particular tree reminds me of an erotic sci-fi comic book cover from the 1970s in which a tenticled alien, whose body looked very much like the human female pudenda, demanded, "Earthman, give me your seed!" Sorry, I guess being out nature brings out the animal in this lone primate. :)


October the 1st. It begins...

Well, I never did find a waterfall to try out my long daylight exposures skills on. I wandered in the forest for most of an hour without success in that regard, but I had a fantastic hike and was intrigued by the possibilities of what might once have been there. On the way out, I happened to notice some of the leaves were turning. Won't be long now before hikes like this will be the province of a long-awaited April or May again.

8 comments:

Masnick96 said...

Beautiful! You've got a great eye.

I miss woods like that...sigh

Lone Primate said...

Miss? How come?

katherine said...

At first, I was a little bummed that you didn't find a waterfall. Then, suddenly I was thankful you recorded the journey that allowed us to come along. You didn't find water, as expected, so you documented the place it was before. Allowing for the mind to imagine the place as it once was, where water fell. : )

Little bit glad I wasn't there ... for the mouse part. Though it seems you don't mind critters using your feet as stepping stones, I might have. He probably never even knew you where there, "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date". A Lone In Wonderland.

This has to be one of the most interesting trees I've ever seen. What in the world could possibly have happened to it to make it grow this way? Aren't trees amazing? They can't move. They have to play whatever hand is dealt them and make it a winning hand every time. They're phenomenal

I often think the same thing about people. Not that they can't move, though some are dealt cards they didn't choose. But what is it that caused them to grow (emotionally not physically) in the way they did. Sorry for the segue from nature, just crossed my mind so I typed it. ; )

Anyway, once again ... a great post! : )

Masnick96 said...

Woods out here arn't the same like they are back east. It's just Aspen and Evergreens and they are all in the mountains...not accessible like back east.

Lone Primate said...

Little bit glad I wasn't there ... for the mouse part. Though it seems you don't mind critters using your feet as stepping stones, I might have.

It was literally over before I knew it was happening. A light scramble over the top of my foot, a rustle in the leaves, and he was gone. I suppose if he'd lingered I might have reacted more fervently, but it was already over with by the time I was even looking down. Just one more mild brush with nature. :)

PelaLusa said...

I just visited your city last week. Enjoyed myself immensely this time, the first in many years. It was a travel group get together put on by a bunch of interesting local Torontonians. Though I laughed at this article on the plane ride home: http://pocketpollster.com/rw/photos/Canada/Toronto/Torontonians.jpg

Lone Primate said...

I just visited your city last week. Enjoyed myself immensely this time, the first in many years.

Wow, some of those shots are fantasic. DSCN5637_t.jpg is a magnificent composition. Enviable. I don't recognize the building in DSCN5641_t.jpg! Where is that?

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