Wednesday, 23 October 2013

DeCew Falls

 Hello, I haven't updated for a long time. I'm not really sure about who exactly reads my blog but I very much appreciate the few out there who do! My family hasn't really gone leaf-watching this year so we decided to go to DeCew Falls in St. Catharines.
It was a suggestion from one of my mom's friends. We expected a nice trail to view the waterfall from the bottom, but we were met with one of the most challenging hikes we've ever done. It was also raining the night before so the slopes were muddy and slippery.  
The entrance to the trail starts at the Morningstar Mill. The mill is the top of the DeCew falls and where the source of water drains into the falls.  
I'll show you the inside of this mill near the end of the post. 
This is definitely one of the most memorable trails I've done. I'm not the most experienced hiker but I've gone up "The Crack" at Killarney and I gotta say, this trail matched or even surpassed the difficulty of "The Crack."
These leaves were seriously pink. Probably faded by sunlight?
 On the way down the trail. We took the "long" way, where you follow the trail until it forks, then begin to descend to the gorge. There is a shorter way down where you have to descend into the gorge using a rope tied to a tree. Considering that this was our first time we took a slightly "safer" route though at points it was still pretty treacherous. 
We proceeded deep into the trail and descended through a steep, rooted pathway to the bottom. 
We got to a cool swimming hole. However, we were still very far from the actual falls.  
I don't know how clean the water is but on a hot summer day I'd definitely jump in there.  
Really liked this arching log along the river. 
Fungus lining the log. I touched this stuff so I hope it's not poisonous or anything. 
 
It is definitely a beautiful trail. As you can see, there is no defined path here and the slopes on the sides are pretty steep. 
Hiking shoes are very essential if you want to attempt going down to the falls. 
Nice colours. Here you can somewhat see the slope we had to navigate on. 
If you decide to proceed by following the river banks, it's probably the best option. However, the riverbank narrows at some points, which means that you're going to have to risk getting your shoes wet. 
There's a lot of fallen debris in the river. 
My parents. Kudos to them since not many other parents would even think of doing this type of hike. 
It can be pretty difficult to find a suitable path. Some trees grow right out into the river and can block your way. 
At this point we could see the Lower DeCew Falls in the back. 
It took us around an hour or more to get here. 
It is a really beautiful place. Hard work to get there but it was worth it. 
This is the lower part of the DeCew Falls. 
I think I got about 1 second of exposure time down here. Not bad for midday. 
I gotta say that this is one of the nicest waterfalls I've gone to. 
Since there is a substantial climb to get past the lower falls, someone has conveniently tied ropes to trees to help visitors navigate out. This was pretty difficult to climb because everything was so muddy. The sides of the gorge are also very, very steep. There are some points where you have to climb above rocks as well. 
At this point we could have gone to see the upper part of the falls if we continued on to the right. We opted to call it a day since we've been down there for 2-3 hours. We started to climb up these roots to get back to the main trail at the top. This picture doesn't do it justice but I have to say that it was an intimidating task. Perhaps we will climb down next summer to see the upper falls. 
We used the roots as crude ladder steps. 
We made it! Not sure why my brother tied a scarf around his head. He was probably imitating Snake (from Metal Gear Solid).  
The aftermath of mud everywhere.  
At least mine wasn't as bad as his.  
 Some of us could've had better footwear but honestly, we didn't think it would be this difficult. 
It was cloudy by the time we got out of the gorge, which means better lighting for portraits!
Little furry guy we rescued from the path. 
Photocred to Inez
Overall, it was a pretty rewarding hike. I would definitely do it again to see the upper falls when it is a little drier. 
The lip of the upper falls as seen from inside the mill. 
They had some old tools inside the mill. I thought they were pretty neat. 
I guess this was used to mend leaks. 
Plenty of wrenches and saws. 
Cool looking light switch there--probably a modern addition. 
I really liked this wall. It had a bunch of pictures of the falls and some old tools and solvent cans from back in the day. Overall, an awesome place to visit. 

It took me a while to edit all the pictures in this post. I wasn't happy with the way they were turning out so I edited them over and over again. To be honest, I'm still not happy with how some of them turned out but I'll live with it. I think I need to find a consistent editing style and stick with it but this is easier said than done. Anyways, if you're up to it, definitely give DeCew Falls a go. The road is tough but the rewards are a'plenty!

-e.m.

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