There Is Always Something New

Travelling along the Trans-Canada Trail in Southern Ontario could be described as pretty bland.  In fact, I’ve said worse on many occasions.  There are no grand vistas to be appreciated from mountain tops, no spectacular rock formations, no towering waterfalls. If there are, we haven’t found them yet.

The truth however is that there is rarely a *typical* day on the trail, and I can almost always count on something new or unusual to catch my attention.

Oh, we see lots of trees … sometimes where they aren’t supposed to be.

Helen navigating the detour

… and this year, we’re seeing many bloated streams from the high water levels.

Duffins Creek

We also see lots of different bridges, both big and small.  I do love bridges, especially when they include trains … and on this day we caught 3 trains in the span of a few minutes.


However, what made this particular day interesting were the unusual signs we found along the trail.

While warnings about poison ivy are a common sight on Ontario trails, we were surprised to see one that went well beyond the normal caution to hikers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poison Ivy sounds serious by its name alone, but Giant Hogweed makes me think of Hagrid and his Magical Creatures from Harry Potter.

However this plant isn’t as benign as Hagrid.  The Giant Hogweed is an invasive species introduced from Asia as an ornamental plant.  Its sap can cause burns, severe blisters, and even blindness if it’s in contact with the eyes.

Meanwhile, in the water we have another invasive species … the Sea Lamprey. They migrated into the Great Lakes from the North Atlantic many decades ago through the canal systems.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They have had a devastating impact on native fish species, so culverts and dams like the one on Duffins Creek have been built to prevent the lamprey from travelling upstream to spawn.

Because of the small dam that was built, a portage is required for kayakers and canoers navigating the waterway.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

… and this little structure?  I don’t have a clue … but it gets points for being both unusual and rather intriguing.






    • I actually thought about those worms while we were hiking on that trail. I had my eyes peeled for the slightest hint that there would be a repeat of that horror show. “Thankfully” there were only ravenous mosquitoes.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I find it interesting to read about, and see photos of, all the things that might be out to get you as you go on your travels. I’d never thought about how what you’re doing could get you hurt in the ways featured here. A twisted ankle? Yes. But the Attack of the Parsnips? That’s a new one for me.


  2. Oh do tell me you climbed those steps and looked in to that ‘thing’. Small bird hide? Chicken house? As for Hogweed, we have it here and I swear one that ‘popped’ up in my garden this summer is verging on the giant side. I shall wear body armour when I go to chop it down!


    • Duh! I’m so slow. It never occurred to me to climb the steps. Truth is, I was more than a little distracted by all the mosquitoes. Stopping to take photos – even for a few seconds – resulted in a full-on attack by the vicious little vampires.

      Definitely wear body armour if you suspect it’s Hogweed!! I read up on how to dispose of it and they recommend double-bagging it separately from other garden debris. It’s definitely not wanted in compost.
      Removing the seed head is really important and ensuring seeds are not left behind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bridges, trains, signs and a nice path to ride on – it doesn’t get any better. The invasive species are a common threat. When I was visiting our Town Hall recently, I saw a poster, detailing over 45 invasive plants in Connecticut (the 3rd smallest state!)

    The thing at the end might hold some sort of measuring equipment. The USGS has water level and current monitoring equipment near the canal trail that I like to bike on.

    Beautiful photos !


  4. Introduced as an ornamental? What in the world were they thinking?? That stuff is scary! I came across some near St Jacobs – a mature plant that dwarfed me. Think “Day of the Triffids” on steroids.

    And: I sure do want to know what’s in that box – monitoring thing? Scientific study? A well head?


  5. Interesting to see what poisonous plants you have to be wary of while on the trail. We don’t have Poison Ivy here, but we do have Poison Oak. I’m not allergic to it, but still am careful not to touch it. I hear if exposed to it enough my natural immunity will wear off. I don’t know if it’s true, but I don’t want to find out the hard way it is.

    That is a unique structure with the little house like topper, and step ladder. Some kind of vent, or Well perhaps?

    The trail may not have sweeping vistas, but it’s not boring!


    • I’ve been told that poison ivy is similar. Every exposure to it is worse than the one before. I don’t ever want to find out!!

      I really don’t have any idea what that little structure was for although I suspect it’s related to the dam somehow. Hopefully someone will be able to clue me in.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not surprised that you two can find interesting things on an apparently bland trail – seems in your natures. Have been seeing stories about the TCTrail over the past little while – probably because it’s a Canada 150 project. I feel a special connection to it because of your blog – thanks!


    • I too have been reading many stories about the TransCanada. I’m jealous because of all the great places they’ve seen while I feel I’ve been spinning my wheels here in Southern Ontario. I’m just itching to get further afield!!


  7. This trail looks very interesting to me. (Which might be influenced by my Southern Ontario roots and you and your camera’s great eye for detail)! Thanks for sharing this.


    • Meanwhile I want to get out into your neck of the woods!! To me, BC terrain is so much more interesting!!
      In the meantime, I know there is a lot to enjoy in my own backyard.


  8. The Parsnip family is surely getting a bad wrap aren’t they? Although, Hogweed is such an intriguing name for a plant. That structure….are those cables going from it into the ground? Electric Giant Hogweed?!


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