Date – June 26, 2011
Location – Map 6, Stoney Creek to Map 7, Hamilton
Distance – 11.9 km
Total Trail Distance – 108.6 km (785.4 to go!)
Hikers – Steve, Simon, Dean, Marlene, Benjamin, Harold and Janette
Start – 15.6 McDui Road, Stoney Creek
End – 27.5 Mohawk Access Trail, Hamilton
Direction – West (North)
Weather – Hot and sunny.
Details – Elza has informed us that she doesn’t hike when it’s hot, so she volunteers to stay home and cook supper for us. We resist her suggestion, but relent when she mentions cold beer.
At the meeting point, we spend a few minutes watching para-gliders launch themselves from the mountain brow at the site of a former ski hill. We leave two vehicles at the end point and then, because the Lincoln Alexander Expressway is closed for paving and traffic is heavy, and because there is no quick or direct way to get around the Red Hill Valley, we take almost an hour getting to McDui Road and our starting point.
We are hiking through the most-populated section of the trail. There are many backyards with swimming pools and fences that stretch up the escarpment to the trail, and there is the sound of traffic noise for almost the entire hike. We also encounter graffiti, garbage and a still-smouldering campfire with beer bottles, and we interrupt a partially-clothed amorous couple. We cross train tracks, we are dwarfed by the Red Hill Valley Expressway that towers overhead, and we cross under the four-lane Centennial Parkway, yet it’s remarkable that with the lush vegetation, we really still mostly feel like we’re in a giant forest. There are streams, rocks, and waterfalls, and we are also grateful for the leafy canopy overhead that keeps the forest floor remarkably cool for such a hot day.
The same vegetation that keeps us cool and blocks the sight of most of civilization also means the views are no longer as expansive.
In some places, the trail is paved and wide and in other places it is very narrow. Harold says "I like to wear shorts on a hike because I like the feel of foliage brushing against my legs." We are grateful that today’s hike is much less muddy than the last one, and we make good on our resolve to improve on our previous pace of about 3 km an hour, successfully completing the 12 k in about three hours.