Da Pubu, Xiao Pubu

I’ve been doing my best this last week to get out and see this place where I live with fresh eyes. It started with me looking at things and going, “What would Maggie think of that?” and now has me giddy in the hopes that next year, as my wife, I’ll be able to bring her here.

Growing up here, it’s easy to forget what a beautiful place is just outside my door. I’ve long said that Welland is a shithole I was happy to be out of. And well, though that’s not completely baseless, the perspective that world-travel has brought with it has endeared the place to me a bit.

The best part of Welland is not the city, which divides itself between small-town charm and past-glory rundownedness, but the fact that it’s surrounded by excellent places to go.

Most notably is its proximity to Niagara Falls. Though a tourist mecca, and as such a zoo of people from every nationality that graces this planet, the Falls are a sight to see – repeatedly. Only 20 minutes from my door, it’s a wonder us Wellanders don’t go all the time. We get itchy around outsiders.

I managed to convince Vanessa to haul my ass down there the other day so I could take in the spectacle of one of the world’s most famous waterfalls. We lucked out and were treated to some wonderful rainbows coming off the mist the falls creates. Here are some photos:

Click the pic to see the full-sized version

Yesterday I got another opportunity to revisit one of my favourite areas in the Niagara Region – Rockway Waterfall. This bit of the Bruce Trail, just north of Short Hills Conservation Area, is a great place to go for a hike. Sadly, the otherwise pristine environment tends to be scarred in areas with broken beer bottles and Timmies litter.

We followed the path I’ve done a hundred times before, but still enjoy. Basically you hike for about a kilometer through the woods, and meet up with the creek. Depending on the water level, you then hike back up the creek towards the waterfall – jumping stone to rock, to loose stone to soaking shoes to bank.

The water level was low yesterday so we were able to hike up the creek bed without any difficulty – stopping along the way to grab a frog to feed to my friend Scott’s little pet alligator. We also stumbled across one of three turtles Scott had released in the creek the previous year. The thing was massive, and a bit banged up (a chunk of its shell was missing on its side and looked pretty nasty). Feeling a little paternal, Scott offered to take it home and try to nurse it back to health.

I only just thought of it, but it’s great to see the frogs back. When I was a kid everywhere I went there were frogs and toads. An indicator species for environmental pollution, they’re often the first to go when the water or woods are unhealthy. Most my adult life frogs have been sparse when I’ve gone on hikes… but they were out in full force yesterday.

Here are some pics:

Click the pic to see the full-sized version

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