We didn’t let the mornings dull cloud cover deter us as Pheebs and I slipped through Bayfield picking up a coffee to go along the way. With our two destinations being the Bannockburn Conservation Area and a Casino in Clinton we took our time ambling through the countryside putting in some time.
HOW NICE THE SMELL OF NEW MOWN HAY
WE TOOK THE LONGER SCENIC ROUTE TO BANNOCKBURN AND SPOTTED THESE IRIS FLOWERS ALONG THE WAY
PHLOX GROWS WILD JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE
PHEEBS RESTS IN A PATCH OF CLOVER
IN 5 SHORT MONTHS THESE TREES WILL BE RIPE WITH APPLES
STOPPED BY THIS POND ON BANNOCKBURN LINE
Luckily there were no cars in the parking lot at the Bannockburn Conservation Area so after spraying on a bit of Mosquito spray Pheebs and I enthusiastically hit the trail. We did encounter a bicyclist and his dog along the way but that was it.
PHEEBS IS ABOUT TO MEET ANOTHER NEW PAL
THE BICYCLISTS DOG TAKES A DIP IN THE CREEK
Over the past 30 years I have probably walked the Bannockburn trails maybe half a dozen times and I'd have to say in my opinion it is one of the best walking and hiking spots in our area. And it's only about 10 minutes from our house. Bannockburn has boardwalks over swampy areas, several small rivers converging, cedar and hardwood forests, meadows, forested hills and dales. It is definitely not a flat land walk and is a good work out for anyone's legs.
THIS BRIDGE CROSSES THE STEEP RAVINE BELOW
WE HAD A HALF HOUR BLAST OF SUNSHINE WHICH MADE TAKING PHOTOS IN A FOREST VERY DIFFICULT
I LOVE WALKING THROUGH THESE CEDAR FORESTS
WELL NOW WHAT’S THAT UP AHEAD IN THE TREES
FOREST DWELLERS HAVE BEEN HERE
SOME OF THESE BOARDWALKS LOOK BRAND SPANKING NEW
It had been awhile since I last hiked the entire trail and much of it I didn't remember simply because of the change in plant growth. Seemed like things had really grown since my last walk. At one point we came across a map sign with a trail I had never seen or been on before. On the map was marked an old stone foundation from a log cabin. Well that perked my interest of course and off we went to find the foundation. Should mention here that trails are not well marked and one has to really pay attention to where the trail is. It's easy to get turned around in here.
HAD NEVER BEEN ON THIS PART OF THE TRAIL BEFORE
Had I not been watching for the old foundation I could have easily walked right past it despite it being only about 6 feet off the trail. Jungle like vegetation had all but covered the stones but there it was alright. Made a note to myself to come back here next Spring before all the green vegetation has once again overgrown the foundation for the summer.
VERY NEARLY WALKED RIGHT BY THIS
I’M IN THE SHALLOW BASEMENT AS PHEEBS STANDS ATOP THE WEST FOUNDATION WALL WITH THE TRAIL RIGHT BEHIND HER
THIS IS THE WEST FOUNDATION….THE SOUTH, EAST, AND NORTH WALLS WERE COMPLETELY GROWN OVER WITH VEGITATION AND NOT VISIBLE
STANDING ON THE WEST WALL LOOKING DOWN INSIDE WHERE I HAD BEEN STANDING
THIS MAY HAVE BEEN A SLAB OUTSIDE THE FRONT DOOR
LEAVING THE FOUNDATION RUINS BEHIND US WE STRIKE OFF DOWN THE TRAIL AGAIN
Less than a minute after leaving the old foundation we lost the trail in a darker area of towering cedar trees. I could see sunlight through the trees showing me a field to the west but it was not in the direction I knew we had to go. Poked around a bit but no trail to be found so we had no choice but to backtrack towards the foundation and pick up the trail again which we did. We had missed a left turn amongst the trees.
WE WERE SOON INTO ANOTHER OLD GROWTH CEDAR FOREST
AND THEN WE LOST THE TRAIL
WHEN WE REACHED THIS POINT I DECIDED WE HAD BETTER BACKTRACK
A FEW MINUTES LATER WE WERE BACK ON THE TRAIL AND SOON CAME UPON ANOTHER NEW BOARDWALK
Back on track again we headed south along the western edge of the area then east in the direction of the main trail and trail head where the Jeep was located. Temperatures had come up bringing humidity with it so by the time we reached the Jeep my shirt was damp and sweaty. But no matter, it felt good to have done that hour long walk and I was surprised at how well my legs had powered me up the hills without the usual soreness, aches and pains. Must admit though it felt mighty good to sit down in the Jeep's cushy seat.
BY THIS POINT WE WERE WELL OVER HALF WAY AROUND THE TRAIL
WE HAVE US A HILL AHEAD TO ASCEND
HEADING BACK DOWN OUT OF THE BIG FOREST
ACROSS THE LONG BOARDWALK BRIDGE SPANNING A CREEK AND MARSHY AREA
AT THIS POINT WE ARE ABOUT 300 FEET FROM THE JEEP
From Bannockburn we headed on into Clinton, picked up some gas and headed for Clinton's Gateway Casino. What!! A Casino?? Yep a real live slot machine Casino alright. A lady who works there does our Income Tax every year and I had an envelope for her and she had an envelope for me. It was the first time I had ever walked through the doors of that Casino and sure enough there were all the blinking lights and rows of slot machines. I made several observations with the first one being the large number of cars in the parking lot. Upon entering I saw a line-up of people at a counter and I don't think there was one person in that line up under 80 years old. Some had canes, two were in wheelchairs. The Casino is Government owned and I figure it's the Governments way of retrieving the benefits it dolls out to all the Seniors. The Seniors in turn head for the Casinos and pour much of that money back into the slot machines which in turns flows back into the Governments coffers. Quite a well thought out merry-go-round I’d say. Thought to myself how fortunate I am that I have never picked up the gambling bug. I have been in a number of Casinos over the years including many of those in Las Vegas and have enjoyed seeing all the glitts and glam but I've never understood how all those people can sit at those machines pouring money into them over and over and over again.
SAW THIS NICE CHEVY ON THE WAY TO CLINTON
WITH THE CLINTON CASINO IN THE BACKGROUND THESE FELLAS ARE ALL WAITING TO TAKE THEIR DRIVER’S LICENSE TEST AT ONTARIO’S MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE CASINO
PEOPLE COME ALL THE WAY FROM TORONTO TO DO THEIR DRIVER’S TEST IN CLINTON BECAUSE IT IS OBVIOUSLY EASIER TO DO THE TEST IN A SMALL TOWN AS OPPOSED TO TORONTO’S BUSY TRAFFIC
Pheebs and I were back home before noon and the rest of my day was again spent puttering around outside. Clouds finally cleared out by mid afternoon and we ended the day under sunny blue skies with warming temperatures.
GROANER'S CORNER:(( The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747... call sign Speedbird 206
Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206! clear of active runway."
Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."
The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, And I didn't land."
My family has a tradition of naming the cruise control on our cars. We were used to hearing my father proclaim, “Take it, Max,” as he flipped on the cruise control during long trips in our station wagon. Recently, I was travelling with my parents in their new car when we hit a wide-open expanse of highway. My dad leaned back and said, “I think I'll let Tom drive for a while.” “Tom who?” I asked. My mother translated for me: “Tom Cruise, of course.”