Exploring the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Region

March 21, 2016 23:36 – 23:36

Today, I’d planned on hiking in the Laurel Creek Conservation area, but discovered that it’s basically closed until May. That seems to be the case with lots of park in this part of Ontario. I did find a conservation area open, however, over in the Guelph/Eramosa area—Rockwood Conservation Area. It was practically deserted, but I paid my $6CDN and took a lovely—and I really do mean lovely—hike.

On the way to Rockwood, I decided to stop and try The Great Canadian Bagel, which should be named the Not-So-Great Canadian Bagel. I tried their poppy seed and cinnamon raisin bagels. Now, just about any bagel can be made to taste good if you put enough junk on it. But, the real test of a bagel is how it tastes naked. The bagel, not me.

I started with the poppy seed bagel. It was too dry… tasted more like a piece of bread with lots of seed on it. I gave up before eating even half of it. The cinnamon raisin bagel was slightly better—but only because of the raisins, which added a little bit of moisture. But, it was too dry, too. So, most of it went back into the bag, too. Some time, I’ll have to see if I can find some Montréal bagels without having to go all the way to Montréal.

After bageling, I headed up the road towards Rockwood. Along the way, I passed the arboretum in Guelph University, and made a mental note to stop there on the way back.

Rockwood’s fee station was unpersoned. So, I put $6CDN into an envelope, filled out the necessary info, and ventured inside. I was skeptical. I didn’t see any follow-through signs saying where the hiking trails were. So, I sort of followed the only other person I saw, who was walking a dog. This ultimately led me to the Pothole Trail.

The trail is named this because it leads by geological formations known as potholes… the first definition.

Some of the potholes were on [currently] dry land, while others were in and along the Eramosa River.

Here, you can see how the water has carved away rock, leaving other rock, which now serves as home for trees. In time, this rock will also get worn away, further widening the Eramosa River. But, you can see the pothole in the rock.

Here, you see other islands on the remaining rock.

Below, a tree stump now resembles the head of a dragon! Can you see the eye and snout? There’s also a sheet of ice clinging to the stump.

And here are more water-carved rocks, which I believe are limestone.

And, not all potholes are parallel to the surface of the water.

I also found a few grottos. No stoned saints were in residence. I guess they were persona non grotto.

There were also a lot of icicles still clinging to the “walls” of the canyon that now forms the trail bed.

I did see a couple of downy woodpeckers, but I didn’t have the good camera with me. After getting back to the car, though, I retrieved the camera and walked the trail a second time. No peckers on that loop, but I did manage to see this red squirrel… which seems to be about midway in size between the gray squirrels in Virginia and chipmunks. The face seems to have a slightly different shape, too… giving this guy a significant overbite.

The islands in the river aren’t the only place where trees are growing out of the rock.

Showing the historical action of the river, there were several islands that are more like high plateaus. This one stands about 20 to 30 metres above the river level.

There were a lot of Canada geese in the river (well, duh… this is Canada), but there were a lot of seagulls, as well as a few common mergansers. The latter were way out, and even at 300mm, I could just barely make out what it was.

At the end of the Pothole trail, I found something unexpected—the ruins of a woolen mill! Built in 1867—the same year as Confederation—the mill has a very European look to it.

Below, you can just make out the date above what use to be an entrance.

From the grounds of the Harris Rockwood Woolen Mills, you can also see some good views of the Eramosa River.

I’ll have to come visit this park again sometime when it’s warmer and more birds are in residence. Leaving the park, I set a course for the Guelph U. Arboretum. About 200 metres into the Arboretum, however, I decided that the winter-worn road wasn’t meant for normal cars. I turned around and carefully beat a retreat.

At this point, it was almost 15:00, and I was getting a wee bit hungry—my abbreviated bagel lunch wasn’t filling. So, I decided to stop at Wendy’s and get a cheese burger. Why the eff do they feel the need to put salt on the damn thing? I don’t use much salt, so standard amounts seem like way too much for me. In any case… that was linner—lunch and dinner—along with a Caesar salad I’d bought from Sobey’s the day before.

Back at the hotel, I processed the day’s “catch” of photographs, and uploaded the best of the bunch to the Book of Faces. A glance out the window, however, told me that it was time to venture out one more time with my camera. My computer’s time was in the wrong time zone—no idea why. It’s set on automatic, and it “thought” I was on Central time. I almost missed sunset because of this. Thank you, window, for the reminder.

So, I headed down and out and around the hotel to the western side, where I found the buildings across the road were blocking the view! So, I hoofed it across Benjamin Road and behind the buildings, where I found a hill and a retaining wall blocking the view! So, I climbed the hill, and finally could see the sunset.

That’s when I spotted the tree on the left with the colorful background. So, I cranked the zoom up to 300mm, and snapped a few shots.

Above is the whole horizon at 16mm. Here’s the left 3rd at 300mm, after cropping.

So… that was today. Tomorrow, a friend and I plan to venture to the west to the shore of Lake Huron (Pinery Provencial Park), and stop in Stratford along the way for lunch. I sure hope the weather cooperates so I can take some more pictures.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.