Since I am soon leaving the Central and Southern Ontario regions.. I decided I must visit as many locations as I possibly can! You would be surprised how many conservation areas you can find by simply opening your maps app and typing in “conservation area”. I want to see as much of this beautiful province as I can while I am here!
One location that stood out to me was the Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area, because it runs along a secion of the Prince Edward Escarpment. Seeing how beautiful the Niagara Escarpment was, I had to check this one out too!
I did some research before I made the hour long drive, and found some visitors had said that the paths are poorly blazed. I downloaded a map and pre planned the routes I would take. Packed my pack with a warmer coat, my first aid kid, a flashlight, and my headlamp. I only expected to be a few hours.
I made the road trip with just my pooch Lincoln, as Kiefer was spending the day in Toronto with some friends. Solo hiking can be very rejuvenating, unless youre like me.. agoraphobic. So I set out with a positive mind set and an “I can do this” attitude.
I arrive at the parking lot which has an amazing view of the Escarpment, and immediately get excited. I love exploring new places, and this would be my first time exploring the Prince Edward Escarpment. When I walked up to the map (to make sure I pre downloaded the correct one), I see a sign stating ‘Keep your dogs on leash, as the area is home to coyotes, foxes, and skunks’. So here I am with Lincoln as my only companion.. walking into this wilderness that I dont know too much about.
First off, the map shows all these clearly laid out trails.. but none of the trails were blazed. I hiked up the first path I saw (which was clearly a maintnence trail and beyond muddy), at the top I heard running water. Now me being horribly curious, I followed the sound and soon found myself using my climbing gear (my dogs leash is made out of climbing gear) to descend down the side of the Escarpment and along this cascading waterfall. This I highly recommend doing, if you have the right gear.
A few times I came across a green line painted on a tree, and then a red circle nailed to a tree. When I came to a map that displayed “you are here”, the maps didnt line up. So I found myself lost in a forest, again. I came accross many trails and couldnt line anything up with the map I had. After a breif mental breakdown, I heard car doors slamming from the parking lot! I followed the path that lead towards the sounds, and managed to find my way out.
Lesson learned today : Dont hike alone in Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area. And perhaps bring a compass.