Thursday, August 29, 2019

Inglis Falls, Owen Sound, Ontario, August 21, 2019

Inglis Falls via Harrison Park, Hub and Bruce Trails, Owen Sound ON, 8/21/19.

Mileage: 4.2 miles RT

Elevation gain: 270'

Directions to trailhead: Hike begins at Harrison Park, 75 2nd Ave E, Owen Sound, ON, Canada. Once in the park, access the trail via Mile Drive Trail or through the campground.  Trail entrance is adjacent to a park bridge (see map below).

The Bruce Trail is a 550 mile long point-to-point footpath in Ontario that stretches from the Niagara River to Tobermory.  It is the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada. The trail offers spectacular bay and cliff viewpoints as it follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. Click here for more information on the Bruce Trail.

Hiked with Toby today.  We did a quick hike in Wiarton in the morning (to Spirit Rockbefore heading southeast to Owen Sound.

At Harrison Park we parked the car and walked past picnic tables and playgrounds looking for the entrance to the trails. The camp office helped us out with directions and a park map. (This map is limited to park amenities and shows only the entrance to the trail system.)   

Instead of passing through the campground, we opted to cross a lower bridge and walk "Mile Drive Trail" to the end, where we crossed a second bridge and found the trail entrance on the left.

Park entrance (Photo courtesy of Woodall's).

Just past the bridge is a sign. Turn left.

Trail starts slightly uphill.

The route to the falls is well marked and getting there is easy provided you pay attention to blazes and signs.  There are plenty of lefts and rights; a labyrinth of trails - all lovely paths.  

There's a left up ahead.

Blue blazed side trail connects to the Bruce Trail. Turn right.

We crossed power lines - with beautiful wild flowers.

The route is an entertaining combination of woods, streams, fields and power lines - and an arboretum!

There's not a lot of uphill trekking, particularly in the first half of the hike.

After you pass the buildings and parking of the Grey Sauble Arboretum, the trail swings left and downhill.  There are cross trails in this area but the main trail is pretty obvious.

Approaching the arboretum.

Slight downhill.

Cross the Sydenham River here.

There's a trail junction here where the side trail from Harrison Park (blue) meets the Hub trail (red). Follow the red and blue to the junction of the Bruce Trail.

And just like that, we were on the Bruce Trail.

It's exciting to be on the Bruce Trail -  I wanted to follow it to the end!  (That would take us weeks.) But today Inglis Falls will be our turnaround.

This portion of trail briefly follows the river; very cool and soothing. Salmon make the swim from Georgian Bay to here to spawn in the fall.  Many come to view this event.

There are several boardwalks over wet areas.

And just as we were feeling zen, the path turns rooty and rugged, giving us our first serious incline. 

One of a series of uphills (got our blood going).

Love this little path between a mini "escarpment."

The uphill is short lived and we're back on the flat in no time.  We'd pretty much topped out; the falls is a few minutes' walk from here.

We passed restrooms and the Discovery Center, crossed the parking lot and continued for a few hundred feet to an overview of the falls.

The approach.

The Discovery Center is housed in an old mill.

The falls are a spectacular 59 feet tall. Beyond the falls the Bruce Trail continues with a series of stairs leading down, allowing visitors access to the bottom of the cascade.  

Witness the Sydenham River spilling down the Niagara Escarpment.

View from the top of the falls.

After many photos, we headed back to Harrison Park, following the signs and blazes through the many rights and lefts that led us back to our car. On the way back we stopped in at Big Bay General Store for ice cream!

The falls are a must-see and for sure I will be back on the Bruce Trail in the future.  

Map of Harrison Park.  Trail head is at the top.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Black Cap Mountain (2,369') via Black Cap Trail, Conway, New Hampshire, June 28, 2019

Mileage: 2.3 miles (lollipop loop)

Elevation gain: 610'

Directions to trail head: Trail head is located on Hurricane Mountain Road in Conway approximately 3.5 miles from Route 16 (aka White Mountain Highway). Hurricane Mountain Road sits just north of the Intervale Scenic Vista and Rest Stop, 3654 White Mountain Highway in North Conway. Trail head and parking are on the right - well signed. (Note: this route is on the portion of Hurricane Mtn Road that is closed in winter.)

Today I hiked with Rich. We arrived in North Conway around 5 pm and were dying to do a quick hike before dinner.  

The Black Cap Mountain loop is what my friend Sandy calls a "Coffee and Cocktail" hike - a nearby short hike that one could do before breakfast (coffee) or just before settling in for the evening (cocktail). We'd heard about this small peak with its stunning views and just had to check it out!

Trail head is well marked.

The trail is in the Green Hills Preserve, part of 5,500 wooded acres owned by The Nature Conservancy.  The Black Cap Mountain trail head is one of two trail heads providing access to the preserve (the other trail head accesses Peaked and Middle Mountains - see previous report). On this network of trails one can meander up and down the picturesque hills and peaks that make North Conway that special hiking and skiing destination!

It's no mystery as to why the higher portion of Hurricane Mountain Road is gated in the winter.  It's curvy and steep with two particularly tight hairpin turns.  The trail head is located at the height of land.

Parking lot.  Mountain bikers also use this trail.

As soon as we stepped out of the car we were blasted by black flies.  After applying a few ounces of skin-dissolving Deet we were on our way up the wide gradual path.

This trail system goes to Mts. Cranmore, Peaked and Middle!

The ascent is very gradual in the first half mile - too gradual. I kept wondering when we would start to go "up."

At first we leapfrogged with a group of mountain bikers, until they went right at the Cranmore trail junction.

How mellow is this trail?!

Click here for more information about the Green Hills Preserve.

We soon reached a trail junction which marks the beginning of the loop.  Left is the more direct route and where the real ascending starts - not exactly scrambling but the angled slabs provide for a more interesting hike.

We'll take the "alternative" route on the way down.

The path is marked with red blazes on the rock. 

Fun to zip up these!

We topped out at a small cairn and a rock with an inscription; a tribute to Anna B. Stearns, a benefactor to the Conservancy.

Spectacular view!

With Anna B. Stearns' help, the Conservancy purchased this land.

Puny summit cairn but effective nonetheless!

The views are spectacular especially considering the short walk up.  

It was time to leave and we wanted to continue on the loop but it wasn't totally clear to us which way to go so I pulled out my phone and checked Alltrails to make sure we were heading in the right direction (on the loop and not over to Cranmore and Peaked!). 

To the left of the summit cairn (facing the view) is a small staircase off the rock slab.  Take these steps and bear slightly right and you will see the wide trail down.  We continued on this trail following the signs until we got back to our car.

Easy trail down!

Bugs were still hanging by our car so we quickly jumped in and headed to the Moat for a beer.

If you have just a few hours, perhaps on your way home from a wonderful hiking weekend and longing for one more hike, this peak is for you: close to Route 16, a quick up and down with fantastic views!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Woodall Mountain, MISSISSIPPI (State High Point #32), 3/23/2019

Woodall Mountain, Mississippi (806'), March 23, 2019.

Mileage: Drive up.

Directions:  US-72 to MS 25 to Fairground Road/Old Highway 25 to County Road 176 in Iuka, MS. Turn onto Woodall Mountain Road. The roads are well signed; the final approach is steep.

This is the third highpoint visited on this road trip (see trip reports for Arkansas and Louisiana).  Yesterday, Sandy and I drove through the farmlands of Louisiana and across the Mississippi River into Mississippi.  We stayed at a hotel in Corinth and got up early to visit Woodall Mountain.

Pretty amazing bridge and view of the river!

Lots of signs. This highpoint is easy to find! 

Though there's history in this area (Civil War battle), the actual highpoint is quite understated.  Woodall Mountain no longer has a tower; just remnants of the foundation remain.

The real excitement is getting there; the last short push to the top is on a steep gravelly road.  Going down this road was fun too.

Foundation posts for the tower are in a fenced in area.

We took a few photos, signed the register, got back in the car and headed east toward Alabama (click here for Alabama highpoint visit).

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Driskill Mountain, LOUISIANA (State High Point #31), 3/22/2019

Driskill Mountain, Louisiana (535'), March 22, 2019.

Mileage: 1.85 miles RT

Elevation gain: 121' 

Directions: The trailhead to the summit of Driskill Mountain is located in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.  The easiest way to find directions is to Google "Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church, Bienville, LA." From Ruston, take US 80-W to LA 507 South; the church (and Driskill Cemetery) is on this road.  Parking is at the church.

The trails described here are on private land, please be respectful of this.

Sandy and I drove the six hours from Magazine Mountain, Arkansas' highpoint (see trip report) to Ruston, Louisiana where we stayed the night. We drove past forests of tall pines adjacent to acres of stripped land.  Logging is big here; we'd pass the trucks hoping they'd stay in their lanes (they did) and the loads wouldn't shift while we did so (they didn't).  

Parking is in the church lot in front of the cemetery fence.  We were the only ones there but by the time we left there were several other cars in the lot; apparently this is a favorite spot for local families.

The church and cemetery.

LOTS of Driskills buried in the cemetery!

Sign is on near the road - easy to spot.

Avoid hiking here during hunting season (Nov/Dec).

I'd read that finding this highpoint could be tricky as the route is not well marked so I brought Don Holmes' highpointing book with me for directions.  

I didn't need it.

Each turn and option was met with clear signage. James Driskill's great great granddaughter Melba had installed signs and painted trees with interesting circles and bands to point the way. 

Gate at the beginning, go through it.

A road walk is first, followed by a slight left turn, all signed.  We opted to get there via the false summit, and return the standard route - 1.85 miles of walking.

The area is pretty wet - my shoes are orange from the mud.

"Designated trail."

False summit route is more of a path; the direct route is old road.

Lots of blazing!

The highpoint is marked with a sign and register (pictured below), along with a large cairn and three chunks of wood with pins in them.  


We couldn't find a USGS marker but did find a county marker further down the path (the path continues left of the sign).

County marker.

When facing the Driskill Mountain sign, look left and you will see benches for the overlook of Jordan Mountain - a nice place to rest and reflect. 

Back to the car.

We arrived back at the car before noon, pointed the car east and headed to Mississippi (trip report is here).