Friday, January 08, 2016

January 2013: When I got lost in a blizzard in the most exciting hike of my life in Canada

So I am back on the photo blogging trail. Some changes going forward unfortunately. First is that I have now moved to a mac. With a 5k screen. Which is spectacular when viewing the photographs. But not so good for blogging I am afraid. My trusted livewriter doesnt work on a mac, at least not easily and I cant be arsed to faff around with it. The native blogger functionality sucketh a donkey's hind legs. So I am still trying to find a good application but in the meantime, I will not be writing notes for each of the photos. Also, there will be more photographs..difficult to select and edit..bah.

Anyway, here goes the first one. I had to go to Toronto for work. I love Toronto and Canada and Canadians and and and, one of my dreams is to spend more time in Canada and visit its beautiful mountains and take the train! anyway, I found out this lovely hike, not too far away from Toronto, on the upper escarpment of the Niagara Falls. There are 7 waterfalls. So like an idiot, I packed up my stuff, including the ice hiking spikes, dried fruit, two bottles of water, and loads of cold weather outfits. The temperature was showing a usual -15c with an afternoon possibility of a blizzard with temperatures dropping down to -25c. Was I bovvered? no way I was bovvered, i can take care of myself. So took the early morning train from Toronto to Hamilton and then a taxi from there to this drop off point at Tiffany Falls.

it was a tough walk, lol, the hiking spikes just wouldnt dig into the sheer icy surface and would slip around. I was wearing thermal trousers and when i would fall on my proverbial patootie, those trousers wouldnt help cushion...but it was a spectacular sight, absolutely amazing. from there I walked to see the other falls, and then went off piste to see some historical buildings.

then it was around 1pm and I wanted to have something to eat, well, forced myself to eat. It was so frightfully cold...the temperature had dropped further, now it was -19-20c...and i was sitting on a bench outside this little log cabin, trying to shake out the nuts on to my palm with freezing fingers. Yikes, not fun.

Then I discovered my second problem. The two bottles of water which I had in the pockets on the sides of my bag had frozen solid. now here's a pretty pickle. There was a bit of sweating and I was worried about dehydration a bit. So put one bottle inside the parka to warm up. finished all of that.

the weather was closing in. And sod's law, I needed to take a pee. it was in the middle of the forest, so I wasnt worried about anybody seeing me, but in that frightful cold, to try to remove the draw string and pee...lets just say that I havent had an experience like that before.

and then came to a sulphur spring...nice tiny little place and by this time, the temperature was diving like a dingo down its hole. For the first time in my life, my camera stopped working due to the extreme cold and I got worried, the map was useless, it had become wet (forgot to put it into a plastic pouch/bag) and all the paths were gone, the snow was pretty heavy indeed with the wind picking up and swirling around the trees - must have been around -25c or even lower. I would be walking under the trees and suddenly, whomp, a whole mess of snow will be dropped on my head. I have to say it was getting hairy and then I fell over a rail. So followed it...checked the erosion marks on the rail and then walked for about 30m...and then crossed a trail. Guess what? the Canadian forest rangers were out, and one chap gave me a lift on a snow-mobile up to the trail head camp. The camp's heater's were out...and there was no transportation. There was a chap there who very kindly said that he's happy to give me a lift back to the train station. What a gentleman.

bestest hike evah! love it.

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