Saturday March 30 2013
Distance: 10km
Terrain: Desert, rocky, canyon
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (moderate if you climb Banshee canyon)

After my brother & I visited Red Rocks we headed south to the Mojave National Preserve. The preserve lies minutes from the Nevada border south on I15 in California. We briefly stopped in the ghost town of Cima to check out the old abandoned buildings. From there we took a dirt road to the Hole-in-the-wall campground and decided to head out for a hike around the perimeter of Barber Peak. It’s a gentle stroll through desert like terrain with plenty of cacti and mojave yucca. We opted to do the Banshee canyon return which allowed us to do some more scrambling.  I’ll let the pictures describe the rest.

Entering the Mojave National Preserve

Entering the Mojave National Preserve

the roads are long in the preserve

the roads are long in the preserve

Abandoned Union Pacific building at Cima, about 35km south of the I15 entrance

Abandoned Union Pacific building at Cima, about 35km south of the I15 entrance

And here is the train at Cima! Oh, and I'm holding on to a Joshua tree

And here is the train at Cima! Oh, and I’m holding on to a Joshua tree

Here was our campsite at Hole-in-the-wall campground

Here was our campsite at Hole-in-the-wall campground

Settings out on the Barber Peak loop trail

Settings out on the Barber Peak loop trail

Barrel cactus and Indian paintbrush

Barrel cactus and Indian paintbrush

The preserve is actually home to many cattle ranchers, lots of cow pie dodging on this hike, but no cows...

The preserve is actually home to many cattle ranchers, lots of cow pie dodging on this hike, but no cows…

Dangerous looking prickly pear cacti

Dangerous looking prickly pear cacti

the very abundant Beavertail cacti

the very abundant Beavertail cacti

Only hiking, the way it should be!

Only hiking, the way it should be!

Adrian walking towards Banshee canyon

Adrian walking towards Banshee canyon

The rocks in here form some interesting profiles

The rocks in here form some interesting profiles

Adrian climbing up into the "lost world"

Adrian climbing up into the “lost world”

Climbing up into the "lost world" brings you to the namesake of the campground, lots and lots of holes in the wall

Climbing up into the “lost world” brings you to the namesake of the campground, lots and lots of holes in the wall

Hole-in-the-wall

Hole-in-the-wall

After scaling the canyon, Adrian decides to sit in that very hole

After scaling the canyon, Adrian decides to sit in that very hole

Atop the banshee canyon

Atop the banshee canyon

Cool pose

Cool pose

Near the edge, but not really

Near the edge, but not really

On our way back down towards the campground

On our way back down towards the campground

Bit of a scramble coming down off the beaten path

Bit of a scramble coming down off the beaten path

Sun is setting on a long day out in the mojave

Sun is setting on a long day out in the mojave

Back at the campsite, simply incredible clouds over Barber peak

Back at the campsite, simply incredible clouds over Barber peak

Friday March 29 2013
Distance: 2km
Terrain: boulders, desert, rocky
Difficulty: Moderate-strenuous – ascending the red rocks off the beaten track

My brother Adrian and I met up in Las Vegas, not for a week of sinful pleasures but for a week of blissful outdoors.  Our first stop along the road was Red Rocks Canyon.  Only a 20 minute drive from Vegas, it’s a climbers paradise with sport, trad and bouldering in abundance.  The desert makes for some dry but very hot conditions in the summer.  We were both unfortunately injured, me with a strained flexor sheath, and my brother with a torn rotator cuff, all we could do was hike up the Calico hills for the best views.  It was a perfectly sunny day, as you would expect in the desert so we had some grand views.  Afterward we drove the 13 mile scenic drive.  My wife and I were here only in September of 2012 but we didn’t manage triumph over the canyon that time.  Here are some pictures of the TRULY red rocks!

DSC_3658

Entering Red Rocks Canyon

Driving towards the canyon walls

Driving towards the calico hills

Adrian ready for some rock scrambling

Adrian ready for some rock scrambling

Reveling in the rocks

Reveling in the rocks

Up, up and away!

Up, up and away!

We chose not to follow any discernible track

We chose not to follow any discernible track

Even with our injuries we couldn't help ourselves!

Even with our injuries we couldn’t help ourselves!

Yeah! Made it up! V0 strong!

Yeah! Made it up! V0 strong!

Adrian attempting a rather dicey scramble

Adrian attempting a rather dicey scramble

This is why they call it Red Rocks

And this is why they call it Red Rocks

Look Ma, I'm on top of the world!

Look Ma, I’m on top of the world!

Definitely worth the scramble

Definitely worth the scramble

Saturday May 12 2012
Distance: 5.5km
Terrain: forest, escarpment
Difficulty: easy-moderate – the escarpment portion is undulating, the rest is easy

It’s Mother’s Day weekend so I decided to head up north to the Bruce Peninsula to visit my Mom. This is the second visit up to the Peninsula this year. I came back on Easter weekend and we did 3 separate hikes, unfortunately I forgot my camera for two of them and only snapped a few for the third so I opted out of making a 1001 entry. This time around I made darn sure I brought my camera and snapped lots of pictures.  It’s the perfect weekend for it!  The Trilliums are in full bloom and many other flowers are on display which make for a far more scenic and enjoyable walk.

My Mom decided that we should head over to the Jack Poste side trail – she was there just last week with the Bruce Trail club and wanted to show me the fat Trilliums that grow along the trail, and she was NOT exaggerating!  The trail starts at the end of Cathedral drive. It’s a nice leisurely jaunt towards the escarpment. Flowers abound along the path and the forest floor is greening nicely.

We headed left on the Don Irish side trail for 200m. This meets the main Bruce Trail and brings you to a nice lookout over Hope Bay.  The escarpment trail is undulating and yo-yo’s the escarpment. After what felt like 5km, but was only 2, we reached the glacial potholes and the blue blazes of the Jack Poste side trail. The walk back was easy and painless through a magical forest.  Here are some pictures I took along the way:

At the trail head

Primulas along the trail

The nice trail heading to escarpment

Primulas on either side AND in the middle of path

Violets along the path

Squirrel Corn

The elegant Trillium

Foamflower

Among the Triliums

Red Trillium

The fungus creeps up this dead tree

a pair of Trilliums

Ostrich Fern

Fiddleheads

Ma sitting near the edge

Don’t push me cause I’m close to the eeedge…

Poison Ivy growing close to the escarpment edge

Here’s one of the fatties

Choke Cherry near the cliff edge

Glacial pot hole

Cool fungus filled tree

the amazing forest greenery and trilliums

Ma walking along the trail

Some red tinged Primulas along the path

Driving home a thunderstorm was coming. Whitebluff is in the distance

Sunday October 9 2011
Distance: 4.5km
Terrain: forest, farm, country lane
Difficulty: easy

I came across some pictures of my wife and I when we went for a jaunt at the Scotsdale farm. It’s a very nice easy walk and the round-trip will take you no more than 1.5 hours to do.  We entered from Trafalgar Rd and finished at Eighth Line and backtracked a bit.  It was a gorgeous fall day and was a splendid walk.  I was here a few months before with my buddy Hilary for a much longer walk, starting at Trafalgar, through Scotsdale, passing Great Esker side trail (which is nice loop) and back along Bennett Heritage Side Trail.  Here are some pictures.

Janet on the boardwalk, boardwalk!

Cool looking fongus

map of the area

Striking fall colours

Janet picking an apple

Gorgeous day, gorgeous colours

Janet & I in front of the main Scotsdale barn

Janet sitting in front of a quaint little cabin at Scotsdale

Another nice looking building at Scotsdale

The Scotsdale pond packed with ducks

Scotsdale barn hayloft

Janet in fall colours

This leafless tree is in the middle of one of the fields at Scotsdale

a baby red bellly snake

Janet on the road again

Enjoying a nice day outside

A vacant? bee hive

Milkweed meadow

Scotsdale farm

Saturday October 16, 2010
Distance: ~4km
Terrain: forest, escarpment
Difficulty: moderate – more difficult in the fall due to fallen leaves!

Janet & I decided to head up North to see my Mom for her birthday! My Mom’s birthday fell on the 15th of October so to celebrate we decided to head out for a nice hike on Saturday the 16th along the Bruce Trail at Sydney Bluffs.

Access to the start of the hike is through Cape Croker Indian Park, the gates were open and no fee was required. We parked at the bottom of the escarpment and had a nice heart thumping ascent to the top. The top of the escarpment follows an undulating trail over less than ideal terrain made treacherous by the dumping of leaves. This made for a slippery, slow tramp over to the Sydney Bluff lookout side trail.

The lookout is stellar and we had ourselves a small snack before heading back to the car. The return trip seemed a lot shorter and more pleasant. The fall colours were stunning and the weather could not have been better! All in all it was a great birthday hike! Here are some shots…

map to Sydney Bluff lookout

A look from the car park up at the Sydney Bluffs

Ascending the escarpment - nice fall foliage

Ascending the escarpment - a short stint to get the blood pumping

Reaching the bluff there are some handy metal stairs to the top

Nearly there!

Lots of blooming Aster

First good view of Georgian bay

Even though I'm injured I had to get on this boulder along the trail

Mom & Janet along the trail

Sitting near the edge

The two of us along Sydney Bluff

The Trail sign for Sydney Bluff lookout

The view from the Sydney Bluff lookout

Standing close to the edge - it's a 100ft drop, not like the heart stopping 1000ft drop of Cape Pillar

Mom & I walking back along the trail

Descending the escarpment made difficult with all the freshly fallen leaves

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