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Published: February 13th 2019
After a relaxing breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and fruit we left Toronto to enjoy Crawford Lake, a park and tourist destination on the Niagara escarpment. The drive took us along the relatively busy highway 401, and when we finally turned off, the fields and groves seemed even prettier in their spring green.
Against my usual practice, at Crawford Lake
I dipped into the visitor centre shop. It was fun because there were lots of low cost items, inviting me to indulge in a two-dollar polished black magnetite
ring, plus maple sugar candies for us both. Thus fortified, we went out to the recreated Iroquoian
village. I was glad to see the two long houses
, because I have often read of them but never seen them. One was open and furnished in the traditional way. The exterior was shingled in large pieces of somewhat flexible elm bark. The interior showed the curved poles that made the structure and three fire circles were along the length (about 40 feet perhaps). Several families and generations would live in one house. Sleeping platforms built out from the walls were covered in furs for warm and comfort. Dried vegetables and fish would have hung from the
Jack in a Pulpit
Usually capped, unless helped by a friend
rafters and cross pieces. Men would go out on trade routes for much of the year and women grew, gathered and preserved food. It was quite easy to imagine a lively village life.
Next we found the path to the escarpment. Although initially a well-curated path, the way soon became a forest path crisscrossed with roots and rocks in slightly muddy patches. Bright wildflowers poked above the soft new grass. Almost chartreuse in colour, the new growth of moss coated the old round rocks in blankets. The clean air delighted us, scented by the flowers and by soft wood decaying gently in the humidity.
The view of the escarpment came gradually, first a lightening of the tree canopy that opened into the full Nassagaweya Valley
, full of trees pushing their way ever upwards. In the distance, turkey vultures floated on air currents, appearing and disappearing amongst the tree tops.
The path improved considerably as we returned, and before reaching the park building we diverted to the path around Crawford Lake, a meromictic
lake, similar to Minnow Lake we saw Thursday. With no breeze, the water acted as a highly polished mirror, reflecting the sky and greenery as more
Seeing double in the most beautiful way
beautifully than the objects themselves. A boardwalk preserved the wetlands, letting us enjoy the bird song and the frog habitat. In places, large imaginative animal wood carvings gave us a laugh, and we joined in picture taking with other walkers.
After lunch in an unexpected Thai restaurant just outside the park, we made our way to Kitchener
, negotiating the rapidly changing highway names and exits. Our accommodation at the Green Gables Guest House
was nostalgically perfect: long enclosed veranda with wicker chairs, enormous sitting room with Victorian style sofas and antiques, dark original wood wainscoting, and a generous winding staircase to the big comfortable old-fashioned bedrooms.
Great was the contrast at the ultra-modern penthouse condo where Greg and Jeanette were hosting a party for Elizabeth's fellow tour participants who would be embarking for the Azores in two weeks. Everyone was imbibing sangria on the roof-top patio, and we joined them. Later we had a pot-luck dinner and watched the sliver of new moon in the evening sky.
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