Part 44: Sideroad 16C to Sideroad 25
Date: 4 November 2019
Start: Sideroad 16C, Grey Highlands
End: Webwood Falls, Sideroad 25, Grey Highlands
Distance covered: 12.8 km
Total distance covered: 545.1 km
533. We begin at Sideroad 16C west of the Beaver Valley. It’s raining hard enough that it’s impossible to keep the lens dry enough to stop drops becoming visible on the image … not a good sign. More on this later.
534. Now here’s an interesting sign: the Bruce Trail commemorates Shell Canada for its contribution to conservation! Shell Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s third-largest company, whose revenue was US $388.4 billion in 2018. According to the Guardian, Shell’s activities have contributed 34 billion tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent to the atmosphere since 1965, making it the seventh-largest contributor to the current climate crisis. Shell are also involved in what has come to be known as greenwashing: i.e., deflecting attention from heavy investments in fossil fuel extraction via cosmetic environmental initiatives. In 2002, the year this sign was erected, Shell Canada began a five-year corporate sponsorship of the Canadian Environment Awards, in which community activists received an award of $5,000 to donate to the environmental initiative of their choice. $5,000 may seem generous until you discover that Shell Canada’s current annual revenue is about $1.6 billion.
No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day …
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –
– from “No!” (1844) by Thomas Hood (1799-1845).
536. The view along Sideroad 19 near its junction with Grey County Road 7 at Epping.
537. The rain continues as we approach beaver ponds through an open marshy area where the trail is lined with red osiers (a.k.a. red-osier dogwood, Cornus sericea), a common native North American shrub. Its stems, red throughout the winter months, bring a welcome touch of colour to the dour landscape. “Known as cansasa in Lakota, the inner bark was also used by the Lakota and other Native Americans as ‘traditional tobacco,’ either by itself or in a mixture with other plant materials. Among the Algonquian peoples such as the Ojibwe, the smoking mixtures, known as kinnikinnick, blended the inner bark with tobacco” (Wikipedia). And my camera is getting very wet.
538. The large word STOP has been whited out on the sign. Can there really be some local person who loves wind turbines? Rural resistance to them is strong, and currently seems to focus on the noise they make: not just the audible deep hum, but the infrasound that one can’t hear. Many claim that the constant vibration causes health problems in both humans and animals.
539. This image of a wayside patch of snow is somewhat poignant. That’s not just because it shows that the weather is getting decidedly wintry, suggesting that we won’t be doing too many more hikes in 2019. It’s because …
540. … it’s the last photo Nick ever took with his trusty Canon PowerShot. Immediately thereafter the camera, which has been responsible for almost every shot in this blog so far, permanently ceased to function, probably because it had got too wet. The Bruce Trail will do that to the best of us. Requiescat in pace, SX510 HS! Images 541-545 below were taken by Mike with his smartphone, and very fine they are too.
541. The Trail passes the Kimbercote Centre on 3rd Line. This would seem to be a retreat owned by a children’s charity named “Elephant Thoughts.” Here they introduce vulnerable urban youth to the natural world and aboriginal traditions. But no one’s around today.
542. Apples clinging on when the leaves have gone is a common sight in these parts. Why? Google gives apple tree owners lots of advice about avoiding premature “June drop” but offers no explanation about the opposite condition. But then perhaps it’s not unusual. A British newspaper recently devoted an article to an apple tree in Devon that still had all its fruit in place on 19 December. Of apple types, I gather that the fuji is typically ready to be picked as late as the end of November or early December.
543. This may look like a close-up of the skin of an elephant …
544. … but actually it’s of the damp bark of a beech tree. The little white thing on the left halfway up is a caterpillar, and if you look carefully at the previous image, you can see tiny white mushrooms growing from the bark.
545. The endpoint of today’s hike is Webwood Falls on Sideroad 25. In 2011 “The property was donated by Mr. James Horwood, a longtime supporter of the Bruce Trail Conservancy. It now stands in permanent protection as part of the Bruce Trail Conservation Corridor. Two small streams converge on the property and pass over a significant drop in the Escarpment, creating a spectacular waterfall. The stream continues through a deep, forested river valley that cuts through the southern portion of the property. A diversity of habitats, including regenerating fields, mature Sugar Maple forest and meadow marsh support 261 documented species, including 219 plant species and 42 faunal species” (Visitgrey.ca).