Monday, August 29, 2005

Don hike shows good and bad sights

I planned to go for a hike yesterday on the Bruce Trail. The Toronto Bruce Trail Club offers bus tours. They rent a school bus which picks hikers up in Toronto, delivers them to the Bruce Trail and then picks them up at the end for the trip back. A good way to spend a weekend day. One of my friends called it day camp for adults. Unfortunately there are no reservations so it is first come first served. When I got to the bus pick up at York Mills the bus was already full. That's the way it goes.

Rather than waste a good hiking day I decided to go on a self guided hike through the Don Valley. I walked down to Lawrence and Bayview and entered the Don Valley at Glendon College. From there I made my way through Glendon Forest to Sunnybrook Park. Glendon Forest is one of the few undeveloped areas left on the West Don. Of course it suffers from the usual problems such as overuse by mountain bikers and dog walkers, and the spread of invasive species but these are nothing special for the Don. It is still a nice place to hike.

After cutting through Sunnybrook Park, I decided to take a look at Wilket Creek. Wilket Creek runs through a narrow ravine that parallels Leslie between Eglinton and Lawrence. At the north end is Edwards Gardens, a manicured valley known for a good place to take wedding photos.

What a mess! The ravine area suffered heavily from the storm two weeks ago. At least one bridge was swept away entirely and two others heavily damaged. In one place the asphalt path was lifted up off the ground like a piece of ribbon and dumped downstream. One meander is now an oxbow as the creek cut itself a new path. The garden area next to the creek is no longer a pristine garden but an ugly rent in the valley. Sod grassed areas have been gouged out, an interlock brick path destroyed, a duck pond now just a muddy hole.

It's going to be awhile before the weddings return to this place. On the upside, Saturday's rain washed most of the flood's crud away so the valley at least looks more presentable.

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