Summer weather has continued into September making the Saturday September 7 conditions idea for the Black Hole Road to Benmiller Hike. Seventeen hikers joined in with Hike leader Meg Westley to experience a superb adventure along our 11.5 km hike.
Eight of this year’s hikers participated in last year’s hike in September on the same trail. I was told that the scenery along the Maitland River, especially the bedrock sandstone and limestone in the river and along the shoreline would be very special to see.
But before getting to this view there was some hiking to enjoy through hardwood lots and elevations to overcome. It is a challenging hike for those, like me, not accustom to the steep up and down sections we needed to complete.
Having a hiking stick with me improved my chances of completing the climbing and descending parts of the trail (and keeping up with the other hikers).
This trail follows the Maitland River’s meandering route, through the gorge, along a hog’s back ridge, through mature woodland, Morris Tract and Falls Reserve Conservation Area.
In the Morris Tract section through which we hiked we encountered steep valleys fronting the Maitland River. In this sheltered microclimate, you see Sycamore trees that are common much further south in Ontario, alongside the Maple, Hickory and Beech trees.
As we descended into the lower portion, we passed the OOH AWH scenic lookout site. It overlooks a water bed (dry at this time) that must be spectacular to view in the spring season.
In the lower portion of the trail we encountered in the Morris Tract Conservation Area nearing our picnic area we could see the outcroppings of bedrock in the river. With the water level low, we could see some potholes in the bedrock in the river.
Climbing out of this lower portion of the valley to higher elevation and back to the Benmiller Community Center where we had left parked cars) tested our resolve but we won and reached the road leading to the community center.
Story by Tom Kimber