Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The New Stew Hilts Side Trail

I've spent the last two days writing an article for the local Bruce Trail Club's newsletter, so that's what you get today.  Hope it's of interest even if you don't live locally.


The New Stew Hilts Side Trail


First of all, let me express my deepest appreciation to the club for naming a new side trail in my honour.  It goes through some beautiful forest and ends up at a ‘secret’ waterfall, so it’s pretty special.  The Cuckoo Valley Overlook property owned by BTC is a wonderful place for other reasons too, beautiful big trees, a wonderful view of the valley, and spectacular fall colour.

We had a grand gathering in early June to officially open the trail, with speeches that were far too long, but it was a memorable occasion for Maria and I, with many of my Bruce Trail friends.

 The gang at the official opening.
(Stew, Maria and his sister Marilyn centre front)

The main trail through Cuckoo Valley Overlook runs from the Johnson’s Sideroad parking lot (km. 70.1) east and then south into the forest along the western slope of the valley.  The forest extends south to the waterfall and the stream that feeds it, but you only get a limited view of the falls disappearing over the lip of the rock.  The trail then turns uphill and follows the stream for a short distance before turning south again and heading up to the crest of a hill.  This is the ‘overlook’, and the view is spectacular.

Looking east to Cuckoo Valley

Cuckoo Valley is the narrow cliff-bound valley rimmed with cedars below Eugenia Falls, showing up in the photo as a dark valley on the upper right horizon.

The new side trail leaves the main trail while you’re still in the forested section, and dips east, further downhill, before turning south again.  Marked by the usual blue side trail sign and blazes, it takes you through the woods to the base of the waterfall.

Stew’s sister Marilyn and the new side trail sign.

Through the Woods 

 The waterfall itself is small, but it drops about 30 feet over first the Manitoulin dolostone, and then the Queenston Shale.  Erosion of the softer Queenston Shale under the very hard dolostone is what has created the waterfall.  You can clearly see first the blue-gray and then the red of the Queenston Shale.  For those of you who know it, this is geologically identical, although with less water, to Webwood Falls.


The Falls

Adding this new side trail makes much more use of the large Cuckoo Valley Overlook property, and adds some extra interest for hikers.  It also makes a shorter hike if you don’t want to go uphill all the way to the overlook!

The idea for this side trail was floated several years ago by Cathy Little, the Land Steward then, and myself.  In fact the first time I found my way down to below the falls, I had snowshoed in during the winter.  The falls I found was a spectacular sheet of ice!  The slopes beside the waterfall are impossibly steep, as you can see below, so the plan is to build a viewing platform from which to view the falls, as soon as funding can be found.


The trail through Cuckoo Valley Overlook is great at any season, and with both the crest of the hill and the waterfall as destinations, it’s a great hike.  The main trail among those trees on the upper right of this photo skirts the waterfall, but with no view of the falls, you don’t even realize that this is down below you.  Now there’s a way to get down and see it.  Hope you get to enjoy the new side trail sometime.

Photo Credits to Marilyn Hilts, Ned Morgan and Stew Hilts
Transferred this from a Word file, so there may be some spacing issues.

22 comments:

  1. I'm so happy they named a trail after you! Well deserved.

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  2. Amen to Linda's comment. Maybe there needs to be a fund established for the overlook so some of your online followers could contribute.

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  3. What a wonderful way to honor you and your love for this beautiful part of the world! Are you able to manage at least parts of this trail in your electric chair?

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  4. Wow. What a lovely challenge. How long is the trail to the falls. That overall trail is long one! I am so glad that they honored you! Well deserved with your many efforts to promote this beautiful area. I hope someday I may visit.

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  5. You did a great job on writing the article. What an honor to have the trail named after you.
    The pictures are fantastic.

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  6. As I have said before with all your personal time and commitment involved in scoping out the area you are well deserving to have that trail named after you.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the fanfare.

    It's about time.

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  7. What a great honour for all you dedication to the Bruce Trail area. I'm so glad you have continued to work with the group and get out in nature the way you do. - Margy

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  8. Truly a well deserved honour. I'm curious to where exactly the trail is. Longitude & Latitude. Maybe a Google Map aerial view of the area showing where the trail is and how to get to it from the nearest town, etc.

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  9. The name of the trail is testimony to your many hours and previous travels there. Love that frozen waterfall, and the autumn colours on the wider view to Cuckoo Valley.A beautiful part of your area, and so many thanks for sharing this with us.A dream to come and visit, and that is probably all it will remain to be, but I can enjoy so much from your photos and words.

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  10. What a fine honor! Congratulations. Beautiful scenery.

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  11. It's such a beautiful area, loving the waterfall and Autumn scenery.

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  12. What a nice way to honor a dedicated trail volunteer. The waterfall must be quite beautiful in spring.

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  13. Such an awesome honour for you , looks like a wonderful trip to explore.

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  14. Wow, you are definitely a celebrity now, Stew. Although I am more comfortable calling you FG. Congratulations to all who organized and made this happen. :-)

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  15. Such a great tribute to someone who loves the trails. I love the picture of Cuckoo Valley!

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  16. what an honor, you are so deserving!!!

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  17. Hi Stewart! I was so happy to find your blog. How wonderful to have a trail named after you! So well deserved!! You and María have been on our minds. Ginger has been at Meaford’s Sailing camp this week and we would love to stop by to see you (Aug 23rd is her last day). Let me know!! Erin

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  18. شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر

    شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر شركة المثالية هي افضل شركة تنظيف بالخبر يمكنكم التواصل معها للحصول علي افضل خدمات تنظيف المنازل والشقق والفلل والبيوت والمجالس والكنب والسجاد والموكيت والمفروشات بجودة عالية ومواصفات قياسية حيث تعد شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر اولي الشركات التي التي تخصصت في مجالل التنظيف بالخبر ولديها خبرة كبيرة وعمالة ماهرة وادوات تنظيف حديثة وطاقم عمالة مدرب علي اعلي مستوى فلا تترددوا في الاتصال بشركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر وسوف تحصلون علي افضل الخدمات المنزلية من نظافة ومكافحة حشرات بارخص الاسعار

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  19. شركة المثالية للتنظيف

    شركة المثالية توفر علي ربة المنزل عناء التنظيف، والمواظبة علية بإستمرار، خصوصا وأن ربة المنزل الآن يكون عليها مهام كثيرة شاقة ولا يكون لديها مساحة من الوقت للقيام بمهام التنظيف، وليس فقط التنظيف هي من مهام الشركة بل أن الشركة أيضاً تُقدم مجموعة مُختلفة من الخدمات الأخرى التي تخدم راحة عُملائها، بالإضافة إلي تقديم مُستوي عالي من الكفاءة في تنفيذ الخدمة. خدمات شركة المثالية: ولأن شركة المثالية تقوم علي راحة عُملائها في تقوم بتوفر مجموعة مُختلفة من الخدمات مثل: • تنظيف الستائر. • تنظيف المفروشات. • تنظيف السجاد والموكيت. • تنظيف الكنب. • تنظيف المجالس. • مُكافحة الحشرات. • رش مُبيدات. • تسليك مجاري. حيثُ أن لدينا مجموعة من أكفأ العمُال والأيدي العاملة، بالإضافة إلي اننا يوجد ليدنا أحدث أنواع الأجهزة والماكينات التي تُساعدنا في عملنا، بالإضافة إلي أن المساحيق المُستخدمة في عمليات التنظيف نقوم بإستيرادها من الخارج، وهي مُصرحة من وزارة الصحة ولا ضرر عليها. كما أن شركة المثالية تستقبل تليفونات عُملائها علي المدار اليوم لإستقبال طباتهم وإستفسارتهم بإستمرار. عزيزي العميل نُحاول أن نوفر لك جميع ما تحتاج إلية، علاوة علي ان أسعارنا لا تقبل المُنافسة.

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