Part 15: Mount Nemo to Crawford Lake
Date: Monday 6 August 2018
Start: Mount Nemo Conservation Area
End: Crawford Lake Conservation Area
Distance covered: 13.1 km
Total distance covered: 186.6 km
175. The Trail, crossing Guelph Line, runs along the south side of Colling Road. Here we’re grateful that the Trail is well mowed and separated by a hedgerow from the roadside itself. The fence and sign on the left warn hikers not to stray near the lip of a gigantic 218.3-hectare quarry.
176. It’s possible at certain points to see over that fence. This is the main site of a quarrying company that produces aggregate, the crushed stone used in building roads and manufacturing concrete, among other things. Some years ago, the company planned to expand its operations to a large section of adjacent farmland. It was thwarted when it was discovered that the land was inhabited by endangered Jefferson salamanders. Parts of this quarry look as if they are being returned to nature: the pond above, for example. The conveniently exposed rock of the Niagara Escarpment has been quarried ever since the area was settled. Pressure from the quarrying industry will not cease until the whole Biosphere Reserve is fully demarcated and protected. Meanwhile, the industry will surely improve its case for future expansion if it can return quarried-out land to nature effectively.
177. It’s only early August but already there are hints of oncoming fall, as with this sumac. The autumnal colouration isn’t the result of cooler days, however: the current heatwave is one of the longest in memory.
178. Nick stands on a bridge over Bronte Creek. This waterway arises in Beverly Swamp, makes its way through Bronte Provincial Park, and empties into Lake Ontario at Bronte Village. People with literary pretensions (e.g., the guy in the hat) probably assume “Bronte” commemorates the famous novelist sisters. Actually the fishing village of Bronte, which gives the Creek its name, was founded in 1834, well before Charlotte, Emily, and Anne started publishing. Now in Oakville, Bronte was patriotically named for one of British naval hero Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson’s honorary titles. In 1799 Nelson had been made Duke of Bronte, a town in Sicily, by the grateful local King!
179. A beautiful display of ferns (the sensitive variety?) here in Cedar Springs.
180. Here the Trail runs along a short boardwalk across a swamp. What looks like bamboo (actually it’s phragmite) has almost overgrown it, giving this area the look of a southeast Asian jungle.
181. A silk web woven by tent caterpillars is suspended in the lower branches of a tree. The “tent” protects the caterpillars from predators and the elements. It has many different compartments, all at different temperatures.
182. The tent in close up: the caterpillars move from one compartment to another to regulate their body temperatures. They need warm sunlight to digest their meal of leaves, and are notorious for defoliating whole trees. The tents are often seen in roadside trees, as here, presumably because trees in gardens are more likely to be sprayed against such infestations.
183. In Yaremko-Ridley Park, something we haven’t seen before: graffiti on a Bruce Trail blaze! We may need a motto a bit tougher than this one to keep us going all the way to Tobermory … perhaps Nietzsche’s maxim, “What does not kill us makes us stronger.”
184. As we emerge from the forest, an enormous vehicle lumbers by us, literally shaking Twiss Road …
185. … it’s a combine harvester towing its removable head. This huge machine, operated by a single person, and retailing for more than $300,000, reaps, threshes and winnows grain. Such machines are one of the main reasons why less than 2% of the current Canadian population works the land. Two hundred years ago it would have been closer to 90%.
186. Here rocky outcrops form giant steps. The Trail soon levels out but remains very rocky as we make our way to rejoin Guelph Line at Crawford Lake Conservation Area.
187. Narceus americanus, an American giant millipede, shares the Trail with us in the Crawford Forestry Tract. This monster is about 3 inches/76 mm long.