Today is the day I get myself out of the house again! I managed to convince myself to get up and go to Dundas Valley Conservation Area. I actually headed out to Christie Lake, but apparently all those gates are closed. “Closed for the season” – it’s practically April out here!
I have been hibernating in the house for the past two days for absolutely no reason. The weather hasn’t been overly terrible, apart from some rain yesterday. I just didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Ever have those days where even the thought of getting dressed is taxing? Whatever, it’s my vacation and while I’m not spending it the way I had originally planned, I am getting a lot of reading done, so there’s that!
Enough is enough though, lest I really hate myself for wasting the end of the year. So out I go to a very muddy Hamilton, to climb down “the mountain” – I don’t know, that’s what they call it. I see an escarpment, sometimes, but no mountains.
Do be careful if you come this way – this is actually a live CN railroad crossing. If you bring your dog, leash it for this portion at least (ignoring that you should have it leashed at all times, despite how wonderful your dog probably is and I want to to pet them all, but you are the reason I can’t take my dog out of the trail because I can’t prevent your loose dog from approaching my controlled leashed dog /rant).
Anyway, Google pointed me to this access point so I can’t be sure of it’s officialness or whatever. It looks pretty well used, even some fresh slip tracks from this morning before me. And bridges. I love bridges.
I also love posted trail names, so I don’t have to pretend to remember where I am when I tell you about my adventures. Anyway, that railroad crossing trail brings you down to the Bruce Trail, which brings you down to McCormack Trail and Dundas Valley Conservation Area proper.
I took a right here, without even thinking that it was anti-clockwise. It’s so automatic now.
I did pass quite a few people more than I had expected, including two couples and their army of offspring – three of which ended up on their butts down the mud hills, and loved it.
On my list, I had this section of Dundas Valley as its own hike. Turns out it’s a tad smaller than I had anticipated while looking at it on a map, so I ventured south across Governor’s Road. The entrance at this end of the park is much busier – and along a much busier road, so watch yourselves.
The mud slide to get in to the north end of this piece of Dundas Valley is a little intense. Luckily there are a lot of trees to hang on to. And then you’re on to flat (ish) land, and grass. Probably really green in the summer.
At the first junction, I take a left and follow Sawmill Trail towards the east. I definitely missed the Sawmill, but I did see a pond. At the time, I didn’t know it was Sawmill pond. Well signed trails, not well signed ponds.
Sawmill Trail loops the entire northern piece of Dundas Valley here, but I take a left where it meets John White Trail to add a bit of distance to what is shaping up to be a short hike.
I passed another few hikers, one a photographer that was very interested in what I was shooting. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I shoot from the hip and hope for the best haha. Instead I told him about the three deer I saw further back on the trail.
Another bench shot for my collection. There are several benches throughout Dundas Valley for your leisure, but I liked this one’s view the best. None of them are glaringly blocked, like some others I’ve passed.
Spring Creek Trail was the driest of the entire trip, except for that first bit at John White where it’s washed out. Can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
I do love a good evergreen-lined trail. Dundas Valley has a couple of them along Sawmill Trail, leading back to the Bruce Trail at the north end of the park.
The entrance to McCormack Trail from Governor’s Road is also a driveway. I couldn’t decide if it was a private or corporate farmhouse beyond the gate.
The main trail running between the McCormack loop is the main Bruce Trail that turns at “the mountain” and follows the escarpment to the east.
I messed up when attempting to complete the smaller east loop of McCormack Trail but it ended up alright – at the far end of that loop is an access trail to the subdivision next door. From there, there is another access trail back to the Bruce Trail around the corner.
I do love how connected Hamilton is to the Bruce Trail. It almost makes me want to move here. Almost.
More mud along the way back to Dundas Valley, and here is how far I made it without slipping. And then a dog came by to say hello, and my mind forgot about mud. I didn’t go down hard, thankfully. I was able to catch myself on some grass – not even a muddy glove! AND I got to pet the dog. Winning.
412m elevation gain