Best of the Bruce – Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

This is the last of my hikes on The Bruce for 2017. I’m planning to return in 2018 to hike  the Bruce Trail Peninsula section, a maximum of 8-9 days averaging 16-20 km per day.

A trail runner friend had recommended the Halton Region area close to Toronto.

I parked at Rattlesnake Point, one of best and most popular destinations on the Bruce.

People come on a nice day to enjoy views from atop the Niagara Escarpment.

It’s popular with rock climbers though I saw none the day I was there.

The trails are well signed. Some would argue there are too many signs.

Still … this sign maker managed to bungle Buffalo Crag.

Rattlesnake is on the Milton Outlier, a section of the Niagara Escarpment that has eroded away from the rest.

I took the Nassagaweya Canyon trail down and then back up to the Escarpment on the other side. I did this hike as a trail run. Boardwalk in the canyon much appreciated.

Arriving at the Crawford Lake Visitors Centre first I was immediately attacked to the Iroquoian village longhouses.

Circa the 13th – 17th centuries over 10,000 artefacts have been recovered from this location.

Artist Robbin Wenzoski has some impressive chain saw sculpture on the lake trail.

Crawford Lake

From here I decided spontaneously to make up a lollypop loop heading back towards Rattlesnake on Woodland and Escarpment trails.

More great views this time from the other side of Nassagaweya Canyon.

By connecting trails it’s to decide how far to hike based on the weather and how you feel. I did about 20kms altogether in a half day.

By the way, you’ll only find harmless garter snakes here. There are no Rattlers.

See my photos on Flickr.

related:

• Bruce Trail app | Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed

• BruceTrail.org

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Hike Hong Kong blog

Guest post by Jean-Christophe Clement:

 

When I moved to Hong Kong in 2008, I had this idea of a concrete jungle. This was indeed the case. However, foreigners usually don’t realize that Hong Kong territory is less than 10% urbanized, and over 40% of the land is designated as country parks. I soon discovered that there was a world of outdoor adventures for me to discover. However, the information that was available back then on how to get to the nicest trails, waterfalls, and other lesser known spots was scarce and mostly in Chinese. Furthermore, the instructions on how to get to the trails, and stay on the trails were approximate, at best!
 
That’s how the HikeHongKong blog was born; out of a desire to make access to the wonderful Hong Kong trails easy and accessible to all.
The response from hikers has been beyond my greatest hopes; as of July 2017, HikeHongKong gets over 100,000 hit a month, mostly from Hong Kongers, but also from the U.S.

 

Today, I have over 150 documented Hong Kong hikes with full instructions on how to get there without a car, difficulty ratings, cel-phone reception, maps, etc.
 
There are 3 ways to get to all the goodies:

 

 In closing, I leave you with my Top Hong Kong hikes.
 
Happy trails!

best hike – Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

For hikers Göreme is probably the best base for Cappadocia. You can literally go off hiking in any direction.  It’s got a good variety of restaurants and accommodation too.

On arrival in Göreme someone will hand you a FREE hiking map.

Most wander around with this thingfrequently getting lost. We could find no decent map nor guidebook in 2017.

For 6 days I hiked and cycled many of these trails, often lost, before finally deciding on what I felt was the best hike.

Ask the people at your accommodation in Göreme how to get to the Rose Valley Panoramic viewpoint. They’ll likely recommend a taxi and tell you the price. It’s about a 15 minute drive uphill from town.

There is a small entry fee for Panoramic viewpoint. The taxi may drop you outside the gates.

Here begins the Rose Valley trail. 5km to Caveusin. Most feel Rose is the best hike of all. And I’d agree.

Note that most of the trail signage is in Turkish.

There are many twisting and turning trail options. All are good but the very bottom of the valley might be muddy.

Rose is popular with cyclists, too.

Gorgeous, surreal scenery.

End of the trail is the village of Çavuşin.

If you haven’t yet seen enough Church caves — you might want to visit the World Heritage site Caveusin Kilisesi.

From Çavuşin you need to get to the Love Valley trailhead. Ask in town. It’s about 1km up the highway towards Goreme. (There are shortcuts.)

If walking the highway here’s the turn-off. These pink signs are the best of the admittedly poor and confusing trail signage in the area.

From there you can’t miss it.

Love Valley is the second best trail in my opinion.

Why they call it Love Valley I can’t imagine. 🙂

You can see here how those columns erode away from the valley wall.

It’s about 4km uphill to the end of the Love trail. If not lost you’ll finish at this tourist trap.

Bus tours stop and parade their unwilling passengers through the souvenirs.

Cross the highway and make your way up to the top of impressive Uchisar Castle. There’s a small entry fee.

Exiting on your way down ask for the Pigeon Valley trailhead. Look for these pigeons. It’s not difficult to find.

Some have reported seeing no pigeons in Pigeon Valley. We saw plenty.

Historically farmers built roosts for pigeons in the valley wall in order to later collect their guano.

It’s downhill to Göreme. A nice but often crowded walk.

Looking back to the Castle.

You might spend 4-6 hours including stops on this best hike.

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

click for larger version

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A shorter alternative would be to loop Pigeon to Love Valley. It’s a 2km walk up the highway back to Göreme, however.

We really need someone to put together a decent map of trails out of Goreme. Hundreds of thousands visit every year and almost all do some hiking.

related – Hike Bike Travel – 21 Photos That Will Make You Want To Hike In Turkey’s Rose Valley

Mt. Tâmpa, Brașov, Romania

Tampa is almost entirely surrounded by the city of Braşov. …

A lit sign bearing the name Braşov was restored in 2006. It’s very Hollywood. You can’t miss it from town.

A number of routes to the summit exist: there are 25 winding paths cut in 1837 by Brașov’s forest administration …

A cable car makes the journey … in under three minutes. …

This hike is super popular with tourists. Most take the cablecar up. Hike back down via the RED trail. It’s the shortest and easiest option.

There’s not much at the top. Best fun is hanging out at the sign, wondering if you could sit on top at night. (You could.)

hiking the Bermuda Railway Trail

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

The Bermuda Railway was a 21.7-mile (34.9 km) common carrier line that operated in Bermuda for a brief period (October 31, 1931 – May 1, 1948). …

Construction and maintenance proved to be exceedingly costly, as the Bermuda Railway was built along a coastal route to minimize the amount of land acquisition needed for the right-of-way.

In so doing, however, extensive trestles and bridgework were necessary. More than 10 percent of the line was elevated on 33 separate structures of timber or steel construction spanning the ocean. …

Click for LARGER version.

In 1984, 18 miles (29 km) of the defunct rail line’s right-of-way were dedicated as the Bermuda Railway Trail for hiking and, on some paved portions, biking. The Bermuda Tourism Department publishes a pamphlet describing the Trail’s highlights …

I enjoyed the sections close to the water

… and the sections cut into limestone.

On the other hand, there are many places where you must detour to regain the trail. Coney Island, for example.

And there are many sections where you must walk busy roadways to regain the trail.

All in all, pretty as it is, I’d prefer to mountain bike the Bermuda Railway Trail rather than walk / run it.

You can rent a bike in Bermuda.

NEW – Backbone Trail, California

the Backbone Trail, stretches about 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains that ring Los Angeles, and opened in June after more than 50 years in the making.

The trail, which connects Point Mugu State Park in Malibu to Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades, has evolved slowly over the years. Non-government volunteers worked with state and federal park employees to fund and build the path, and to acquire the land necessary to connect the pieces….

USA Today

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backbone-trail-hikers

hike Dipping Springs, New Mexico

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

The #1 thing to do in Las Cruces is a visit to nearby Dripping Springs Natural Area.

From the city the peaks look impressive. I saw mule deer on the drive up.

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This is part of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument designated by Obama in 2014.

From the Visitor Center I headed straight up to Dripping Springs Resort built as a tourist attraction in the 1870s.

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When it went bankrupt the new owner converted it to a sanatorium. His wife had tuberculosis.

Today I was mostly reminded that the works of man are fleeting. The environment will retake this part of the desert, given time.

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I backtracked then connected to the La Cueva loop.

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The best part was this hermit cave.

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There are a number of stories told of the man who lived and died here.

“John Mary Justiniani, Hermit of the Old and New World.” He died the 17th of April, 1869, at 69 years and 49 years a hermit.”

Better in the early morning would have been to visit the cave first, the ruins last. I would have gained sunlight.