Growing up on Grimsby “mountain” I was lucky enough to be surrounded by farm land and had the Niagara Escarpment for my playground. Being in nature for me has always had a soothing effect and even with all the growth in population Niagara still has its natural sweet spots. Whether sitting by the two lakes on either side or walking through the bush on the Bruce trail it is everywhere.
If hiking is your thing Niagara has a lot to offer. The Bruce Trail being the most famous of the trails. Running from Queenston in Niagara Falls all the way to Tobermory if you keep walking. It provides a sometimes challenging trail. Winding up and down the Escarpment the Niagara portion is 73 km long. Walking through forest, along creeks and rivers and seeing beautiful waterfalls and views it showcases the beauty of the Niagara Escarpment. You can even see all 4 Welland canals as well as stop in at a few wineries. The trail will take you through conservation areas, Provincial parks and the 1000’s of private land owners who have shared a piece of their land. As with all hiking bring out what you bring in and be respectful and we can keep it forever.
The Escarpment which growing up we called the mountain is about 375′ in hight so its not really a mountain but I will tell you pushing your bike up Wolverton Road after a fun day in town it felt like a mountain! Lol! The Niagara Escarpment actually runs from New York to Illinois. Ontario is just the middle man. Named after Niagara Falls which is the largest waterfall on the Escarpment it is a piece of nature that no matter what time of the year is a beautiful place.
In the fall when the leaves change it is a line of beautiful color. Sometimes in a busy life, living amongst it you forget that. Let me tell you a story of when my youngest daughter was young and reminded me to see the beauty.
Katelyn was about 9 years old and we were driving up Casablanca Blvd in Grimsby. It was October and the trees were bright with colors of yellow, orange and vibrant reds. As we drove she looked up and said “look Mommy we live in a picture”. Yes we do darlin! Yes we do! It was a reminder not to forget the beauty around you.
The Niagara Escarpment is special in more than just beauty. In 1990 it was named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Named for the diversity if the flora and different animal species it truly is a magical place. There are 13 of these Biosphere’s in Canada and the Niagara Escarpment can boast it has the highest level of diversity if all of them. With more than 300 bird species, many different mammals and reptiles as well as 100’s of varieties of fauna it truly is a unique natural phenomenon.
Speaking of birds have you have seen a Hawk Migration. At Beamers Falls Conservation area in May you can experience that. They have a hawk watch tower and you can see 100’s of species of hawks that stop to rest on their way north. It is a sight to behold.
In the middle of the Peninsula is a Provincial Park called Short Hills. It has many trails and loops. Make sure you know where your going and pay attention to the markers or it could lead you to a parking lot on the other side of the park. Lol! Following my oldest daughter we found that out.
The beauty along the way was so worth it. Even a turkey vulture stopping to rest.
Winding roads and beautiful beaches also dot this beautiful countryside. There is nothing like a trip through Jordan Hollow on #8 Highway or the windy road of Effingham road in Pelham to calm the soul. The backroads that lead to nowhere are getting fewer but still exist.
With Lake Ontario on one side and Lake Erie on the other you have many beaches to choose from. Now I am not really a crowded beach kind of girl or a sit and bake one either however I love the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the cool and refreshing breeze it has to offer on a hot day. There is a little spot on lake Erie I love to go which ironically is right across the road from a cemetary with a legendary haunted tomb. Haha! Perfect. It has a small parking area and a pathway to the beach. I can sit in the shade in my van under the tree or take my lawn chair down to the beach and sit with my feet in the water. It is a nice relaxing place to go and sometimes you can even watch the horses walk by as it also on a riding trail.
Whether you are out for a scenic drive down Niagara Parkway or a short hike through Malcolmson Woods in St. Catharines nature is peaking around every corner in Niagara.
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure
See you next Sunday for my 4th and final blog The Hauntings of Niagara. You knew I would save the best for last.