This was my first hike since my long End to End hikes four weeks ago. I was admiring Fall colours on my hikes back then, and now, the trees were all bare as they displayed a sense of ethereal beauty on this foggy morning.
My hiking group set off from the Hilton Fall Conservation Centre and our goal was to explore some of the overlapping trail loops in the conservation area before reaching the Hilton Fall. (For any visitor who just wishes to visit the Fall, there is a trail of about 1 Km in distance that leads directly to it.) For us, we first entered the Philip Gosling Side Trail and after a short walk, I was attracted by the moss-covered rocks which jutted from the brown fallen leaves. Middle Earth, anyone?
We joined a short section of the Bruce Trail Main Trail and turned into Red Oak Trail, which also was a Bruce Trail side trail. This was probably the most beautiful and challenging section of the hike. It rose above the Hilton Fall Reservoir, that we caught a glimpse of it occasionally from among the trees. All around us was moss-covered landscape. There were caves and cliffs and rocks, but photography was impossible, because with this terrain, it was easier to keep going than to attempt to balance and focus into a camera. In fact, I possessed neither the balance nor the photographic skills to even attempt.
Next we joined the Hilton Fall Trail, towards the direction of Beaver Dam Trail on the right of the fork; the left trail should lead directly to HIlton Fall.
The ground cover on the trail was a mottled brown and silvery grey.
One of the hikers who knew about forestry explained to us that the trees were planted in “military formation”, as they were straight and orderly.
We crossed the Beaver Dam, from which the trail was named, but there was a dam no more, because what used to be a beaver dam had blocked the flow of the water. Instead, we walked over a structure which served the purpose of a bridge and at the same time should prevent beavers from building a dam here.
The stream here is one of the feeders of the Sixteen Mile Creek.
We took a rocky side trail following the Bruce Trail blue blazers and arrived at the picnic area of Hilton Fall!
As a result of the persistent rain the previous month, water was rushing down the cliff edge of the Fall.
I was finally able to take a picture of the Hilton Fall in clear weather.
Just beside the Fall was was remains of a sawmill which dated back to the 19th century.
Besides heritage remains, another landmark revealing the history of the area was the pothole formed by the glacial swirl millions years ago.
We broke for lunch and then made our descent back to the conservation center.
I paid attention for the first time to the tamarack (larch). I always learned something when I hiked with this group of experienced hikers. In spite of its coniferous shape and needle-like leaves, the tamarack is a deciduous tree which shed their leaves in autumn. Its wood is used by the Algonquian natives to make snow shoes. Its golden glow transported me to a sense of satisfaction and peace as we concluded this hike.