Part 35: 6th Line to Grey County Road 2
Date: Thursday 5 September 2019
Start: North end of 6th Line, east of Ravenna
End: Grey County Road 2 north of Kolapore, The Blue Mountains
Distance covered: 10.0 km
Total distance covered: 434.3 km
425. At the start of our hike at the northern terminus of a section of 6th Line, a downy woodpecker loudly hammers its short stubby bill into a high branch.
426. “Oh, what a beautiful mornin’!” This is our first hike since late July, as once again the hard facts of life, this time in the shape of Mike’s back, intervened during August. We decide that after our long hiatus, we’ll restart with a relatively unchallenging section of Trail, which means skipping the high land of the Blue Mountains and fast forwarding to an early stage of the Beaver Valley Club Section. “There’s a bright, golden haze on the meadow,” and Georgian Bay is at our back.
427. And this is the view to the west, the Beaver Valley hidden in the fold of land beyond the silo. “Oh, what a beautiful day!”
428. A bee gets stuck into a white aster. I hesitate to offer a more specific identification, given the multitudinous aster family, but these are I think panicled or lance-leaved asters. (You’re wondering what on earth a panicle is? It’s a compound racemose inflorescence. Thanks for asking!) This is the time of year for asters and goldenrods, the latter of which are, surprisingly given their total lack of resemblance to the former, also part of the aster family.
429. Mike is standing among the corn to show how tall it has grown.
“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye,
And it looks like it’s climbing clear up to the sky.”
I’ve been quoting, of course, from the musical Oklahoma (1943) by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
The eye of a fully grown African elephant is reputed to be ten feet (3.048 m) off the ground.
430. Clusters of brilliant red berries of the mountain ash. These berries ferment on the trees over the course of the fall and winter, causing drunkenness in birds, such as cedar waxwings, that feed on them.
431. This section of the Trail is lined with regular clusters of these multi-stemmed tree trunks, evidently intentionally planted. They are, I think, eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides), whose leaves are broad and heart-shaped.
432. The Old Mail Road was in use from about 1846 to 1855, that is, from when the first settlers moved into Beaver Valley until the grid of concession roads was laid out. An 8 km section of the Old Mail Road still exists as a road for vehicles between Griersville and Heathcote west of here. We are on a very short section of the now disused remainder of the former road that is shared by the Bruce Trail.
433. This bug-eyed monster is sitting on an upright post of the stile that leads the Trail over to Grey County Road 2. It is actually about an inch long and sits there daring me to touch it. I engage it in a staring contest that it wins.
434. There are wild apple trees everywhere on today’s hike, and their fruits are coming to the peak of their ripeness. The painter Paul Cézanne said, “Avec une pomme je veux étonner Paris” (“I want to astonish Paris with an apple”), knowing that to depict successfully this most common, but also most symbolically laden, fruit was an attainment beyond the capacity of most artists. To take a decent photograph of a wild apple is a lesser challenge, but I’m quite pleased with this one of a rosy windfall lying in the sun exactly where it fell.