Part 4: Short Hills to Louth
Date: Monday 7 May 2018
Start: Black Walnut Side Trail, Short Hills Provincial Park
End: Staff Avenue, Louth Conservation Area
Distance covered: 12 km
Total distance covered: 49.8 km
39. A tree swallow perched on its nesting box. In spring, this bird has an iridescent blue head and back, though these turn greenish in the fall.
40. Swayze Falls, a ribbon-type falls 15.2 metres high, on a tributary of Twelve Mile Creek in Short Hills Provincial Park. The dolostone cap over the layers of softer shale, typical of the Niagara Escarpment, can clearly be seen. This Falls is dry much of the year, but we were fortunate to catch it during spring runoff.
41. Lunch break in Rockway Conservation Area! Nick is perched on a particularly mossy lunch log overlooking Fifteen Mile Creek. Surely that cannot be a cell phone in his hand? Well, if it is, he is no doubt checking our position on the Bruce Trail app.
42. After lunch: the Trail turns sharp right and crosses the bridge over Fifteen Mile Creek just below Rockway Falls.
43. A great white trillium. Also known as wakerobin and birthwort, this beautiful member of the lily family is the official flower of Ontario. There was a bill in the Ontario Legislature in 2009 that would have made it illegal to pick this plant, but it never came to a vote.
44. Trilliums carpet the forest floor early in spring, as they need the sunlight that later in the season would be blocked by leaves. They’re a favourite food of white-tailed deer. Trillium seeds are dispersed by ants in a process called myrmecochory.
45. The common blue or wood violet, Viola sororia, is sometimes called the ‘lesbian flower.’ The association goes back to a reference to violets by Sappho (630-580 BC), the Greek lyric poet from Lesbos. More immediately, the phrase derives from a 1926 Broadway play, The Captive by Edouard Bourdet, about a lesbian romance involving a gift of violets. The subject was so controversial that police closed down the theatre. Thereafter New York lesbians wore violets in their buttonholes as a sign of solidarity and protest!
46. We love the Escarpment and its woods, but it’s always nice to have an occasional change of scene. Here the Trail runs along the edge of an open field of stubble under a cloudless blue spring sky.
47. At the exposed edge of the field, a fallen giant, snapped like a twig by strong winds earlier in the month.
48. Louth Falls, the second waterfall on this leg, on Sixteen Mile Creek. A small but attractive 6 metre high plunge falls.
49. This lady is a hero of the Bruce Trail. One of the maintenance crew on this stretch of the Trail through Louth Conservation Area, she is retouching the white blazes on this tree so that we hikers don’t get lost.
50. The Bruce Trail white blaze is 51 x 153 mm (2” x 6”), based on the Appalachian Trail standard. The “Tuxedo” blaze, in locations where extra visibility is important, has a 26 mm ( 1”) black frame around it. All this stuff is in the Guide for Trail Workers in case you feel like volunteering, or if you just want to know why Bruce blazes are white rectangles rather than, say, purple circles.