Hiking is something I’ve enjoyed for sometime now but certainly rekindled love for it during the pandemic. It’s absolutely refreshing and rejuvenating mind experience to spend quality time out in the woods and nature while having telepathic dialogue with elements within ambient environment. Grateful to be living near Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, containing one of the oldest forest ecosystem with oldest trees in North America preserved through time by the most recent Ice Age that shaped the Great Lakes region of North America. Simply put, the earth rebounded back as the enormous glacial weight lifted, or rather melted, off the surface carving out the escarpment and five interconnected freshwater bodies that came to be known as the Great Lakes of North America.
Hailing from Kenya, Africa; I grew up next to the Great Rift Valley that is one of the longest geological feature on the planet which forms dual escarpments. The two geological entities are different in their formation nevertheless. Niagara Escarpment resulted, and continues to do so, from the process of erosion whereas the Rift Valley is a geologic fault feature caused by planar fractures causing ‘rifts’ as the name suggests. A blog entry (and possibly a trip back to document that feature soon) but back to the subject for now.
In essence, beautiful scenery takes shape around escarpments due to formation of vertical shifts. Hence, gorgeous water falls, scenic landscapes draped with serene beauty captures the mind as you tread along the pathways. As a young kid, I remember driving out to various ‘view points’ along the East African Rift Valley to absorb the beauty of this one-and-only known and amazing planet we call home. The journey, thus, continues regardless of shift of residence at different continent and latitude. There are countless viewpoints along Niagara Escarpment that have yet to be personally discovered.
Rockside Trail lies within the Credit Valley Watershed part of the Niagara Escarpment located near Erin, Ontario. This loop trail snakes through Caledon Hills connecting to the Bruce Trail. The hike on this moderate-effort trail will take one through a hardwood forest with tall stands of Yellow Birch, Wild Strawberry bush, Poison Ivy that are aplenty in Summer of course! The winter trek on this trail kicks the beauty of this landscape a notch or two for sure.
There are several ways to access the trail but the one most preferred for a loop perimeter of around six and a half kilometers begins off Boston Mill Road. There is a connection to Bruce Trail off Heritage Road in Caledon that connects to Terra Cotta Conservation Area. Following clip shows breadcrumb navigation from my most recent excursion. There is a fair amount of elevation gain on this trek, hence, rated moderate for effort.
Was hoping to see some exotic native wildlife during my trek but managed a little due to frigid weather. Managed to capture a Red-headed Woodpecker carving out an old tree at considerable height. An interesting fact about these birds, their teeny weeny brains sit within a jelly-like encased material that protects it from damage while they strike the wood at reasonable force and strike rate. Also, they have a special protective membrane protecting their eyes each time they make contact with the wood, which could be on average 12,000 times a day or so!
It’s not uncommon to sight a Snowy Owl in this neck of the woods during these months but was quite unfortunate to have not encountered one. Fingers definitely crossed for the next time! 🤞
I shall end this blog post with some pictures I managed to capture along the way on a beautiful, bright sunny frigid day. The pictures do not do justice to the beauty of this place but a few memories to keep the motivation up high to revisit this gem again!
Link to Alltrails footprint for this trek. Please do leave your feedback!