Part 5: Louth to Cave Springs
Date: Monday 14 May 2018
Start: Staff Avenue, Louth Conservation Area
End: North end of Campden Road, Cave Springs Conservation Area
Distance covered: 12.9 km
Total distance covered: 62.7 km
51. As we walk along Seventeenth Street, a vineyard stretches far to the north and west of us. That line of trees on the horizon marks the edge of the Escarpment.
52. This impressive flight of steps leads the Trail up the Escarpment into Ball’s Falls Conservation Area.
53. Ball’s Falls was founded as “Glen Elgin” in 1783 by Jacob Ball, a Loyalist from New York State. In its heyday the village had a population of 19. A grist mill, sawmill, and woollen mill exploited the power of Twenty Mile Creek as it raced toward the edge of the Escarpment. But in the 1850s the Great Western Railroad bypassed the settlement, which subsequently went into decline. Now the site is a tourist attraction, boasting several period buildings including this log cabin and church.
54. Something seems a little odd about this graveyard behind the old church. Those people seem to be erecting fake gravestones! And what’s that powerful spotlight doing there on the left?
55. A large film crew have taken over the site! The board on the right indicates the name of the production: “Green Harvest.” We ask a crew member what’s being filmed, and he answers curtly, “Star Trek,” as though to shut us up with an absurdity. Well, it seems that he wasn’t joking. “Green Harvest” is the industry code name for the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery, currently being filmed in Toronto. (Sci-fi fans will tell you that “Blue Harvest” was the code name for Return of the Jedi, the third film in the legendary Star Wars original trilogy.)
56. Star Trek at Ball’s Falls! The episode being filmed must surely involve time travel to the past! This is the picturesque grist mill, dating from about 1809. British troops were stationed here during the War of 1812 to ensure that the invading Americans didn’t burn it down and destroy their chief source of flour for bread.
57. And here is lower Ball’s Falls itself, looking pretty impressive with all that spring runoff. A classic plunge falls of 27 metres (just over half the height of Niagara), this is the larger of the two falls on this site.
58. The Niagara region is not just known for grapes. Here a peach orchard is just coming into blossom.
59. Wayside moss phlox (a.k.a. creeping phlox) is just beginning to open. Soon this area will be a mass of bloom.
60. In a farmyard next to the Trail, a goat, looking like a lord of the underworld, presides over a bunch of hens.
61. Here the Trail crosses Victoria Avenue (Hwy 24) just before it starts to descend the Escarpment. This is the view north towards to the shore of Lake Ontario, 5.8 kms away in an almost straight line. The settlement at the foot of the Escarpment is Vineland.
62. At last the woods are showing signs of coming into leaf:
“I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing …” (D.H. Lawrence, “The Enkindled Spring”)
63. And here’s today’s endpoint, the north end of Campden Road on the eastern border of Cave Springs Conservation Area. As the Trail is close to the bottom of the Escarpment and we’re parked on top, we have a steep extra kilometre of rather muddy unmarked side trail to negotiate before we manage to locate the car.