The Bruce Trail Day 5: Beginning of Iroquois

On March 9th, 2019 we started the Iroquois section of the Bruce Trail. The trail head was a little tricky to get on, starting along side a residential property with an old barn at the back of the property. The Iroquoia Section of the Bruce Trail is ~114kms according to AllTrails app and ~122.9 kms according to the Bruce Trail Guide Book. We planned on covering ~20 kms today from Grimsby to Devils Punchbowl in Stoney Creek.

There are some pretty rustic/steep stairs going up part of the escarpment that were covered in ice at the start of the trail. The trail was still pretty slick in places and we had to wear our cleats but overall the trail conditions were much better than last time

The views over Stoney Creek from the Escarpment were fantastic.

Entering Beamer Memorial Conservation Area there was awesome views and a tower in the middle of a clearing so people can come and observe the Spring Hawk Migration. What’s that? We didn’t know either, but Google did and here is what we know now:

  • According to the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch, the cold air over the water of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie force migrating raptors to fly over to the warmer air of Niagara Peninsula 
  • The migrating birds include Bald Eagles, Black Vultures, American Kestrels and several kinds of Hawks  
  • You can follow HawkCount 2019 here for a running list of the raptors that have been spotted so far

We found some pretty cool & weird animal footprints all along the trail & the escarpment.  They are about the same size as my size 10 boot & have 3 claws at the end of each print.  The only thing I can think of is a wolverine, but do they even have wolverine’s in this area? Then we seen a cool “bird angel” in the snow.  There was a bit of blood & fur in the middle of the imprint as well. 

Again, there was a lot of walking up the escarpment then back down, then up again…… 

Closer to Stoney Creek we came across an old car that was starting to become part of the landscape it had been there so long. It was a tough 21.6 kms with snow & ice making it all the more treacherous. We finally made it to the Devil’s Punch bowl where we had parked our vehicle, the only problem was we didn’t see any trail up to the Platform Viewing area of the Punch Bowl. In front of us were very rickety ice covered stairs to the very bottom of the escarpment so we decided to make this our starting point next trip. Our problem now was how to get up the escarpment to the parking lot. My wife the Trail Cat decided to make her own trail straight up the escarpment covered in ice & snow. (full disclosure – I was following a path that appeared to be the way up to the parking lot. It was not the trail. Not even close.)

Chipping away ice & snow so we could get a better grip on the rocks, we pulled and climbed our way to the top teetering on exhaustion at this point it was all we could do to muster up the last of our strength & pull ourselves up onto the snowy ground.  We were done for the day! lol

Next up we tackle Stoney Creek & across the Ham!

Elk Balls and Trail Cat

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