Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Easter Weekend pt2


I woke up to a day diametrically opposed to the previous one. The sun was making a glorious sunrise, the wind restrained to the perfect refreshing breeze and a gentle warmth that promised a day well spent was to come.

At breakfast I trialed my camping coffee filter and was pleased by the results. Admittedly this was not the coffee of a swank metropolitain bistro but morning coffee being an absolute must I'm happy with my investment.

Hitting the road I continued west away from Oakville and along the lakeshore to Burlington where I sought out information on the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail. In the Tourist Information Office I was commended on chosing to be on a bike in the lovely weather as people in their cars just don't know what they're missing. I couldn't have agreed more, at least not without sounding a bit silly.

Furnished with a map I pressed on into Hamilton, a city whose reputation I now think exceeds it. My previous experiences of the city involved drving past it in order to get to the Niagara Falls. Your principle view from the motorway as you pass it is of a massive industrialised area pumping smoke and steam into the atmosphere. However, Hamilton, as I now know is home to a Royal Botannical Garden, a very reputable University and as pleasant an urbanised area as I have witnessed elsewhere in North America.

The Hamilton Brantford Rail Trail is a 40km stretch of disused rail with an interesting history of fragmented development, social and industrial usages and finally falling victim of rampant petrocentric economics. To the credit of the current owners it didn't rest long before being turned into a local centre for recreation from which sprouts a number of other walking and biking trails.

As you escape the suburbs of Hamilton heading east you become surrounded by a mix of marshy woodland and farmland that is reminiscent of the works of Lovecraft and Poe. Farms appear beak and foreboding and in the woodlands deciduous and pine fight for space along the trails edge as if eager to escape a terror and occasional ponds are occupied by bare and twisted stumps cautioning you not to stray too far from the path.

I took a few pictures with my digital camera now uploaded to a flickr account. I really like the way that the old railroad cross has been reworked for the trail.

Mindful of the time I turned at the halfway point in Jerseyville and headed back into Hamilton via the Chedokee trail for Lunch at the farmers market (big and very impressive). after that I picked my way through some slightly more dilapidated suburbs to reach another section of the Waterfront Trail. Edging Lake Ontario there is a thin strip of rocky beach and pathway that lead the nearly 12km through to Burlington. No doubt unbearable popular during summer but not too crowded on this day. There was a fair headwind going on and local knowledge informs me that one way or another you're going to get caught by it. Luckily for me it was on the first half of this crescent and made for easy passage on the latter part.

Back in Burlington I returned to camp the way I came for a hearty dinner and an early night. Much needed after 77 very enjoyable miles.


Anonymous Trepid Explorer said...

Oh c'mon. Give with the flickr.

Blogger Tanya said...

I think this is the Hamilton-Brantford rail trail is it not? And you would be heading west not east from Hamilton into the countryside? Since Jerseyville is between Hamilton and Brantford. I rode from my house to Brantford before but I only did it the one direction. I found the rail trail nice and quiet but kinda bumpy, I think another nice alternative is Jerseyville Road, its a fairly quiet road on a similar route, supposedly popular with cyclists but I've never tried it. There's another rail trail running from Brantford to Cambridge so all in all you can get pretty far rail trailing.

Blogger Across Canada said...

I have no idea how I managed to come up with two alternative names for it.

Difficult to edit when one is hanging ones head in shame.

Anonymous Trepid Explorer said...

Pass the map.

Blogger Across Canada said...

I have no problems erading and using the map, I simply have a few issues translating it to this new-fangled intermawebnet.

Blogger Derth Vadoor said...

Greetings Andrew,

I just stumbled across your blog via the Canadian Journals and Resources page. Very nice to hear another person attempting the same trek as I at approximatly the same time. I fly out on May 25 to Vancouver. Perhaps we'll cross paths.


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