Last Saturday, we opened the fall season of microadventures with a trip to Hilton Falls. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. It had that special early fall quality – just the right combination of leftover summer heat and fall’s fresh breath.
In the fall every warm day feels like the last, and it is my deep belief that it is a terrible waste to spend it anywhere but outside. It looked like a lot of people agreed because there was a huge line-up of cars in front of the park entrance. It took us close to twenty minutes just to get to the gate. We visited Hilton Falls once before back in the winter. This time, dressed in fall colours it looked so magically different from the monochrome scene we encountered last time. With the sun seeping through, multicoloured foliage glowed against the blue sky.
Our first trip to Hilton Falls was during our son’s early geocaching days. He didn’t even have his GPS unit and was relying exclusively on his observation skills and, in his own words, his sense of smell. Even with that he managed to locate one actual cache. Plus three earth caches, which are basically famous landmarks that one needs to visit and answer questions about them. So that meant there were a bunch of undiscovered geocaches waiting for us. He planned the whole route according to their locations. Good thing he was in charge of navigation because I seemed to be getting disoriented all the time even with all the maps and signs posted throughout the park. My own internal GPS must have been down that day.
So we followed him through a network of trails and paths until we got to the falls. The area around it was quite busy. People were enjoying their picnics, roasting marshmallows over the fire, kids playing by the falls, which had been reduced to a trickle after such a dry summer.
Once we ventured past the falls, we got the park all to ourselves, except for some chickadees and nuthatches. Good thing we had some seeds and nuts in our backpack. So we devised a game: who can get more birds land on their hand. Each chickadee equaled one point, a nuthatch – two since they are not as tame and harder to get. At some point it got really competitive as they tried to shoo away birds from each other. In the end, our younger son won 9 to 6. My husband seemed to have eaten all the nuts himself.
We followed Bruce Side Trail markers into the northern part of the park, then looped back to the entrance along Beaver Dam and Red Oak trails.
Our last stop was the reservoir. Multicoloured forest lining the edge and reflecting in the perfectly still water. Milton Outlier looming in the distance.
All in all, it was a perfect little adventure that ended at Hero Burgers. Here is to a great season of microadventures.
Hilton Falls is one of Conservation Halton parks located in Milton, about 30 minutes west of Toronto. The park has over 30 kilometers of trails, including several excellent mountain biking trail. Most of the trails are fairly flat and wide and can also be used for horseback riding and cross country skiing in the winter. Bruce side trail, which is less developed and rougher, runs through the park.
The Falls is a famous attraction. There is a fire ring and several tables neat the falls, a great place to have a picnic. Bird feeding is a popular activity, especially in the winter so make sure to bring seeds.