ah...it is a religion in Hamilton ...more than it is a custom (or donut shop!)
If you dropped out of the - anywhere in Hamilton - you would be no more than 100m away from a Tim Hortons donut shop.
Hamilton is the capital of Tim Hortons ( or vice versa...)
Exploring Smokey Hollow Falls downstreams
The track leading down the gorge was difficult but the entourage managed to negotiate it (picture 2). The walls of the gorge were heavily vegetated (picture 3), but seemed unstable as many evidences were seen of landslides on the other side of where we were located, even uprooting trees at ridge (picture 4).
The river flowed through a rocky terrain filled with dead trees (picture 1). Even under this hostile environment, some flowering plants were showing their colours off in the most majestic of ways (picture 5). We also saw some trash that visitors had left after picnicking and we found the culprits. This falls is very popular with teenagers who we saw coming in groups for a quick dip in the pool. Some of the youngsters threw the paper glasses in the river that got caught amongst the rocks.
Activities galore at Christie Lake Cons Area
Christie Lake Conservation Area, with its 336 hectare of one of the most beautiful lake settings on the Niagara Escarpment, has activites for almost everyone. We joined two other families to enjoy our two favorites - canoeing and hiking.
In order to avoid traffic jams on Highway 403 / QEW we took Dundas Street all the way, crossing Highway 8, to the Christie Lake. The Conservation Area comes on the left hand side.
We hiked through 10 kilometres of trail. These trails pass through green meadows and tall pine forests. A wide range of wildlife makes it home. In the summers trails are open for hiking, but more adventurous can try snowshoes or cross-country skis.
360-metre sandy beach can get crowded, but when we reached the area on a hot day, the crowd was thin that suited us. Children rented out tubes and flutter boards from the nearby Beach House.
One of the families were fishing enthusiasts and they immediately went for one of the nine ponds that were reportedly stocked with rainbow trout. We stationed ourselves halfway between the lakeshore and one of the fishing ponds. Although the family had brought their own bait, they ran short of it soon and had to buy it again at the gatehouse.
Unlike the other family, we took to canoes, which are available for rent (see pictures). Exploring the lake on canoes was the most thrilling experience of our lives.
Christie Lake has plenty of parking space, but be careful to park your vehicles closer to the picnic tables.
Other attractions that we missed visiting due to our preoccupation with hiking, canoeing and fishing are many historically and environmentally significant landmarks, including Crook's Hollow and Spencer Gorge/Webster's Falls Conservation Area.
Royal Botanical Gardens III
Hendrie Valley -The slopes of Hendrie Valley are comprised of mixed deciduous forest. Its sheltered, southerly exposure provides a reasonably warm, dry microclimate, creating a unique habitat that is home to several rare and uncommon plants and animals including many Carolinian species. A 50-hectare marsh lies in Hendrie Valley where the lower portion of Grindstone Creek flows.
Rock Chapel- a 72-hectare nature sanctuary located along the Niagara Escarpment, is part of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This south-facing forested habitat features Borer’s Falls and the escarpment valley. Here is one of the best places for birdwatching, especially for uncommon birds.
Berry Track -Berry Tract lies to the east of Rock Chapel and is also part of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It is more than 30 hectres of rolling hills with scrubs, small trees and grasses.
As you can see, there is a lot to see at the Royal Botanical Gardens, so plan your time wisely and enjoy the blessings of mother nature.
Flowers in Bloom:
January to May - Spring-flowering bulbs, Mediterranean plants, orchids, cacti, Clematis, spring wildflowers, flowering cherry trees, lilac, flowering crabapples, cherries and magnolias, rhododendrons, synoptic hedge collection, native trees
June to July - lilac, Roses, clematis, spring wildflowers, annual flowers, tree and herbaceous peonies, hostas, perennial beds, ornamental grasses and monocots, heritage plants, boxwood, azaleas
August to September - chrysanthemums, Hostas, perennial beds, ornamental grasses and monocots, Roses, Medicinal Plant Garden, annual flowers, herbs, Perennial Border Gardens
September to December - Poinsettias and holiday plants, indoor tropical plants, Fall colours, dahilias
There are also 30 km of walking trails, & more information can be requested from the RBG centre.
Hike the Bruce Trail
The Bruce Trail is a hiking path that extends for over 700kms along the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara Falls in the south to Tobermory, Ontario in the north. Here at Spencer Gorge, you can hike a small portion of the Bruce Trail for a wonderful day's outing.
From the Tews Falls lookout, follow the Bruce Trail to a lookout at Dundas Peak. From here, continue until you reach a blue side trail and follow this back to Tews Falls. The complete trip is less than 5kms, with little to no elevation gain. From Tews Falls, you can follow the Bruce Trail back only 10 minutes to Websters Falls.