Saturday, March 16, 2019
When we previously visited The Devil’s Punchbowl we had noted the Dofasco 2000 trail that runs east from the falls. With all the rain and melting snow it seemed like a good time to revisit the falls and hike a section of the Dofasco 2000 Trail.
For parking you have several options. The Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area has parking for $5.00. Alternately, there is parking for at least a couple of cars where the Dofasco 2000 Trail crosses each of the four roads east. Depending on the length of walk you desire you can continue on Ridge Road as far as Tapleytown Road. Second Road East has the most parking places. We decided to walk the full four side roads to the Punchbowl and back.
This was our final hike of winter and the day wanted to prove that the season wasn’t over yet. The trail was hard packed with ice in a few places and open in others but the fresh snow made the walking challenging. The trail follows an unopened road allowance and was pretty much ours alone with the exception of a couple of dog walkers. While we’re on the subject of dog walkers, do people really think that dog poo will just melt away with the snow? This trail was marked with several months of deposits as well as dozens of Tims cups. Certainly one of the messier trails we have visited in recent times.
An old building stands in the woods along the side of the trail made out of prefabricated concrete blocks that were designed to look like cut stone. There is a date of 1943 etched into the concrete in the doorway and inside it appears to have been used to house a generator. More recently it housed someone who slept in one corner and kept a small fire in the other.
Sections of the forest have been tapped for maple syrup production and both new and old equipment is strung through the trees. Nature has a way of adapting and has started to grow around this old metal sign on this tree. We saw plenty of evidence of last year’s fungi which suggests a healthy forest as this is the natural way of breaking down the wood as it begins to decompose.
As we continued along we were treated to patches of blue sky and sunshine. Spring is just around the corner and the weather was attempting to give us a preview of the new while reminding us of the old season.
Half a dozen old tires are rotting on the roadside with rusted rims and degrading rubber. The rubber will take between 50 and 80 years to disappear but the metal rims are destined to be there for up to 200 years.
The path runs through a vineyard with rows of grape vines stretched out on either side of the trail. Ridge Road is home to several wineries as is the entire southern portion of the Niagara Escarpment. There are an average of 205 frost free days per year in the region allowing production of 71,000 9-litre cases of wine annually.
A small bridge carries you across Stoney Creek. This is only a short distance above the waterfalls at The Devil’s Punch Bowl and the high water levels in the creek suggest that the falls might have a good flow of water going over.
The Devil’s Punch Powl Conservation Area provides the most scenic point on the trail. Recent weather conditions suggested that the water flow might be near the peak level. It turned out that there was quite a bit more water plus a bonus ice formation in the bottom of the cone. The falls are interesting from a geological point of view because they expose all the layers that make up the Niagara Escarpment. The geology of the falls along with plenty of other pictures, including the lower falls, can be found in our story The Devil’s Punch Bowl.
Given the 37 metre height of the falls, the ice cone at the bottom has to be about 20 metres tall. This is truly spectacular to behold but is limited to late winter and early spring viewing, depending on the type of winter season that we get.
The Dofasco 2000 Trail continues east of the fourth road on pavement for one concession before entering a closed road allowance again for another five side roads. It passes through the Vinemount South Swamp on a 1.7 kilometre boardwalk that likely needs to be explored before or after mosquito season.
Google Maps Link: Dofasco 2000 Trail
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