For me, a "quest" or journey of discovery is a compelling idea. The object of any quest, wether the best pizza in your home city, or some rare species, is less important than the journey itself. Discovery is the thing!
This particular quest began with a simple brochure that I inadvertently picked up along with a few area road maps and summer event listing from the local tourist bureau. The fanfold "Cascades and Waterfalls of Hamilton" brochure, with its striking picture of Borer's Falls, informed me that:
"In a year long scientific study, the Hamilton Conservation Authority identified 65 waterfalls within her boundaries, so Hamilton could well be known as the City of Waterfalls."
Wow! Who knew that we were living in close proximately of so many natural wonders? And I had always thought of Hamilton as an industrial city. Just think of what we had been missing in our brief, cursory explorations of this nearby city!
I turned to my husband and partner in crime, who was driving at the time, and said, "Did you know that there are 32 accessible waterfalls all listed in a chart in this brochure! You know...", I unfolded the brochure to see the chart more fully and continued to outline my quickly hatching plan, "it would make for an interesting project to visit every waterfall on the chart and photograph it. We could do the photo series in, say...", I paused to calculate, "the course of the summer."
I looked over at him and did my best to sound convincing, "It could be kind of fun!"
While I did succeed in signing us both up for this waterfall odyssey, we did not manage 32 waterfalls in one summer. In fact, that was 2 summers ago. The quest continues to this day.
So far we have seen and photographed 6 waterfalls. Here today, are the first 5.
Our first stop in this post, is Albion Falls. A large waterfall with a cascade of 19 meters, Albion Falls tumbles down a series of shale steps to a gorge far below.
There is no organized walkway or staircase, and I can tell you, we had to call upon all our very best mountain goat skills to make our way down the steep, muddy slope. (A good set of hiking boots and a walking stick for balance and support are definitely recommended for all these sorts of adventures!)
On the left: a view of the valley below. On the right: Pancakes of shale lie stacked on top of one another.
Huge boulders of shale, which have broken off and fallen down the gorge, lie at the bottom of Albion Falls.
2. Borer's Fall lies at an unassuming bend in a secondary road and we would never have found it without extra assitance from area residents. Above, you see the falls in the spring, and below in the winter.
In winter, the outer surface of the 15 meter curtain freezes into a huge column of ice. Underneath this translucent pillar of ice, you can still see the shadow of water, as it falls from the top of the escarpment.
3. With a crest of 30 meters, Webster's Falls is one of the largest, most stunning waterfalls in the Hamilton area. The couple seated on a park bench on the upper left can give you a point of reference as to the magnitude of the scene. In the background, you can see a stone bridge that crosses the Spencer River and surrounding park.
There is a steep staircase that leads to the bottom of the Spencer Gorge. The figures on the upper right can again give you some perspective as to the grandeur of Webster Falls.
In this view, you can see the falls in the depths of winter.
The forest trail leads between Webster Falls and its cousin Tews Falls, provides some amazing vistas. In the picture above, the city of Hamilton is just visible in the distance.
Below is another view of the steep terrain that lies along the edge of the forest trail that meanders between the two waterfalls.
4. Logi's Creek tumbles 41 meters over the escarpment to form Tews falls. In the winter months, water seeping through the thin layers of rock form long, sharp icicles.
5. I've left one of the best waterfalls, (so far anyway) for last! Sherman or "Fairy Falls" is not the most spectacular in terms of size or depth, but the setting deep in a secluded, wooded ravine, is unsurpassed.
So, 5 down, 27 waterfalls to go! The quest continues...