Monday, May 05, 2008

Rain, rain... we went away

Well, if I wanted some rain for the hike on Kirby Road and didn't get it, I got it in spades this Saturday. It would have been nice if we could have averaged out the two.

My friend Larry, who also likes to hike lost places, got in touch with me and said he was game to explore this weekend. As it turned out, the unseen but world champion of finding lost places, Bassmentbeats, had sent me a new assignment just days earlier. It was in Halton, north of Milton, just up on the escarpment in the vicinity of a quarry. In fact, from the looks of things, the reason the place has been so extensively abandoned in recent years is that the quarry plans to devour the place. Exploring it in the short term looks to be the only option... soon, it won't be there to explore, it seems to me.

Bassmentbeats said he'd traveled the road before, back when people were still living in the homes at the southern end. Today, half the road's blocked off and the houses that once were there are gone (there are still some nice ones being lived in at the north end of the road, however). We parked the car and set out, in what was initially a light rain, to explore what BB figures was probably a campgrounds.

The temperature was in the mid-teens; comfortable enough, even with the light rain. The uncomfortable element, really, was the wind. If it hadn't been for that, we probably could have persisted longer, even when the rain really kicked in. But at least initially, it wasn't so bad. We turned off the road and onto the driveway leading into the grounds. We noticed some fresh truck tracks entering from a south turn, and assumed they must have been affiliated with the quarry since there's no other way to get to that end of the road. We followed them along, leaving tracks of our own in the mud as we explored.

It wasn't long before we came to some hints of what had been... some plastic chairs, a desk, and a ruined canoe. The former items were neither here nor there, but the canoe strongly suggested some kind of camping activity. There were no rivers or major lakes handy, just a couple of ponds BB had seen and shown us using GoogleMaps.

We came to a fork in the road and followed the left fork down to a concrete-bottomed artificial lake. It was full of algae blooms and its central drainage system had seen better days. The place has probably been abandoned for 15 or 20 years at this point. As we stood looking it over, Larry spotted headlights through the trees. It was the truck coming back from whatever mission it had been on. We were either hidden by the copse of trees or they just didn't care; they drove on without stopping.

It was right around then, though, that the rain began to pick up. I usually carry an old outer shower curtain with me for times I want to sit back for a while in the forest without getting all covered in leaves and dirt. We found a couple of trees and attached the curtain to the branches and stood under it. It was fine at first, but the rain quickly became semi-torrential, and eventually soaked through the fabric. It wasn't doing us any good just standing there, so we elected to do an Apollo 13 and abandon the mission to get back to base. It pretty much rained on us the whole twenty minute walk back to the car. We both remarked to one another that it really wasn't the rain, or even the saturated clothes, that bothered us. Even the ground water and the mud were comfortably warm enough as we made our way through them. No, it was the wind, blowing over our sodden shirts that was the downer. Larry even said that, had there been no wind, he probably would have be in favour of continuing exploring in the rain. But it was just unpleasant enough to chase us back to shelter.

We had to sit naked in the car for about half an hour while things dried out, at least a little. We listened to the radio tell us about the rain and watched a couple of other lost cars come to the end of the road and turn around. Eventually, we got back into our clammy things and headed into town to get something to eat.

Above is a beautiful Anglican church in Milton. Larry liked the church so I took the shot for him.

Incredibly, we found Breyden's in Milton. Breyden's is a place I've been a number of times with P-Doug down at Jane and Bloor. I had no idea it was a chain. We ordered the nachos and a couple of sandwiches; it was more than enough to satisfy us. I did manage to dump my pop on the table and partly onto Larry at one point, which only added insult to injury, but we both found the irony pretty humourous. The young waitress must have wondered what she'd done to have a couple of wet, bumbling assholes visited upon her. We tipped apologetically.

And that was it. Come more favourable weather, we're intending to go back and extend the mission.

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