A clear sky and 19 degrees were the start to my second day in the Grey Bruce Valley adventure. The goal, to photograph Inglis Falls from the base at an angle similar to my Falls Colours Tour of 2013, although slightly different as I was able to cross the river much easier at this time of year. Instead of the typical start from the parking lot above, I chose to take the 5km round trip from Harrison Park; the location of Weaver Creek Falls.
After a quick stop at Weaver Creek Falls, I made my way over to the start of the Bruce Trail to Inglis Falls. At this point in the trail network there are various pathways that are a part of Harrison Park and considered a blue side trail of Bruce Trail system. These is the easiest section of the area which meant it was quite busy. Once past the first kilometre any signs of other human life ceased to exist; infrequently the odd person would come walking from the opposite direction.
Up through the first sizable hill, I found myself coming out of the tree line and into a meadow filled with tall grass. This was the Owen Sound Arboretum, a beautiful natural site built by a consortium of volunteers, local businesses and the city of Owen Sound. The main purpose was to rehabilitate the area with natural, domestic vegetation to create a landscape of learning and awareness of such an eco-system. The groups involved have done such a spectacular job of creating this delicate and stunningly beautiful valley meadow.
Working my way through the backside of the Arboretum I found myself back on the official Bruce Trail, where the landscape changed into a moss-covered, craggy forest floor. A couple trail closures in this section make you bypass certain sensitive areas, adding an extra 500 metres or more to the initial 5 kilometre route. These trail closures are setup to protect areas of concern, sensitive undergrowth, erosion issues and some times are based on new owners of that section of land. Although it can be a pain, avoiding theses areas is paramount to their survival; Exposure Studio values all the natural areas and believes in a Leave No Trace principal.
The thunderous rush of Inglis Falls is sounding off in the near distance, signalling my entrance into the Inglis Falls Conservation Area. The trail system here carries you up the valley Ridge and onto a network of flat, easily navigable trails throughout the park. A few short minutes and I'm at the top of Inglis Falls where I will need to work my way through the parking lot and down the west side to my access point. After squeezing my way through the crack I use to access the lower valley, I begin scrambling, jumping and precariously working my way through the piles of boulders found at the bottom of the valley. Crossing the river flow by using the large boulders as stepping stones, I arrive at my destination; a large relatively flat boulder on the west side of the falls. Yes, I just crossed back over to the side of the valley which I originally started, but there isn't an appropriate access on the west side due to sensitive undergrowth and it's delicate eco-system. Protection and respect of these eco-systems is very important to their survival; take only photos and leave no trace.
After getting the shot I sat there in awe, inspired by the magnificent and powerful simplicity of Nature's most beautiful eco-system. The raw power of the waters flow, meandering through the rocky pools, slowly carving a pathway that changes over millions of years. Basking in the glow of the sunlight as it pierces through the limited cloud cover, I gather my things and makes way back across the valley floor to explore some of the lower river regions. Following the trail along the rivers edge, I come to a dead end in a beautiful forest canopy, reminiscent of a micro rainforest climate. A few quick photo opportunities, then it's time to turn back and climb out of the valley. Quickly making my way back to the vehicle at Harrison Park, I reverse my steps. Time is fading and I have planned to visit Indian Falls for an night sky shoot.
A few hours later and I'm found getting my gear ready to hike into Indian Falls Conservation Area for an evening of shooting the starry sky over the waterfall. That means hiking in while the sun is still up, finding the perfect location and then getting the shot setup before the sunsets. Starting out from the vehicle at 8pm, I'm in a hurry to beat the 8:40 sunset, but still find myself stopping to snap a few quick photos with my Sony Xperia M2 smartphone. The area is beautiful, rocky and lush with vegetation. Scrambling down the rocky face of the valley, I make my way to the base of the falls where I will be shooting. A few quick scouts of a good location and I found the perfect spot to setup for the evening; a flat spot between two boulders no more then two by three feet. Cramped yet comfortable, I arrange my equipment and sit there waiting for the sun to set and stars to shine. A couple hours pass and my goal is accomplished. I pack up my gear and make the awkward climb back up the valley then work my way down the path my vehicle.