My husband and I took decided to take short trip away the last couple of days to the Collingwood/Wasaga Beach area on Georgian Bay. Collingwood is right at the eastern edge of the Blue Mountains which is a part of the Niagara Escarpment. Wasaga Beach is just a few kilometers further east and boasts the world’s longest freshwater beach. The image above is at the norther tip of Nancy “Island”.
One of the places on our list to see was the Scenic Caves on Blue Mountain. The distance that we could see was limited by the clouds and haze but was still spectacular. The Scenic Caves are on a no longer used part of the the original Bruce Trail which runs along the Niagara Escarpment.
The Huron People called this place Ekarenniondi – the place of crossover to the Village of the Souls. These limestone and dolomite cliffs, covered in sugar maples and lush forest plants, are designated by the United Nations (UNESCO) as a Biosphere Reserve. After climbing to a some rather remarkable views, the path descends into the caves on very narrow and steep steel stairways.
The air in and around these deep cuts of rock is very damp and cold. Moss and ferns are plentiful. There is one area called the “natural refrigerator” which maintains a temperature of 4 degrees celsius, year round. The Native peoples would use this place to preserve food. Some of the gaps are extremely narrow.
The last part of the tour was across a long suspension bridge. The view was very similar to the trail view. The bridge itself was rather remarkable.
Clouds began to gather again as we settled at out campsite at Craigleith Provincial Park. The shoreline here is shale and it is extremely flat and fractured in very geometric patterns. The shale is full of invertebrate fossils that are 455 million years old.
The wind was blowing in a storm and the waves were rushing in. It made an exciting place to sit for a while. We had brought a snack down with us to watch the clouds come in and we were joined by a feathered guest who was none too shy!
It ended up raining again for much of the next morning, but when it finally did clear up, we headed straight for the Collingwood Terminals. Here, there only remains a little evidence of what was once a booming Great Lakes Shipyard. I was fortunate enough to attend the last ship launched in this harbour in 1985. Now all that remains are the giant silos and a few large slips. A marina has grown up out on the spit under the shadow of the grain silos.
There is a little park on the far side of the massive building that allows you to get up close.
We drove back along the shoreline and returned to Wasaga Beach on our way home. My husband was bold enough to go for a swim. The air was very cold but the water was warm. Sitting on the sand in the sunshine was a wonderful way to start to say goodbye to the Summer of 2008.