be the change | Albion Falls, Ontario

I pack lunches and we pile into the van. In a city with 100 waterfalls, it’s high time we visit another. Setting the GPS to Albion Falls, we leave the campground and head southeast. We pass the travel time by listening to Mr. Poppers Penguins.

DISSAPOINTING DESCENT

Twenty minutes later we arrive, exit the van and begin our hike to the falls. The sign near the trailhead warns of poison ivy. Ironically, we feel well prepared to identify and avoid the dangerous flora, thanks to our time in Connecticut. Making our way cautiously down the embankment, we meet the down-flow from the falls and begin to track it to its head.

Characteristically, we hear the falls before seeing it. As we approach, stepping gingerly from one dry rock to another, it becomes immediately obvious that we are not the first ones to traverse this trail. The breathtaking chiaroscuro* filtering through the trees and refracting off the water does nothing to detract from the garbage lying about. Try as I might, I cannot not see the trash. It’s everywhere. Plastic water bottles are piled up in heaps. Empty firework casings from the recent 150-celebration float in the water, helplessly trapped behind a rock. Dirty socks and Tim Horton coffee cups are peeking out from the bushes.

Undaunted, our kids seek out pools of water in which to peer and boulders and rocks begging to be stood upon. In my efforts to take a photo sans garbage, I succeed. Yet I know when I look at the picture in the future, my brain will auto-insert the trash that was so carefully omitted. Continue reading “be the change | Albion Falls, Ontario”

sweet birthday story | Hamilton, Ontario

I wake and know immediately where I am—a sure sign that we’ve been firmly planted for some time. Although our surroundings are not new, today’s agenda is: it’s Trent’s birthday. This man is at the quintessential tippy-top of my favorite people list. While previous plans had us celebrating his birthday with family in Minnesota, it’s here and we’re not there—time to get creative.

SWEET BEGINNINGS

In Minnesota, Trent would wish for a breakfast of Bismarck donuts, fresh from the local store. Here we will improvise. I’ve been trying out a new bread recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. It allows me to make dough in large batches and store it up to two weeks in the fridge. Whenever I’m ready for homemade awesomeness, I simply pull off a hunk, let it rise on the counter, then bake till golden. It’s heavenly. This morning we need a taste of heaven. I use the dough to make gooey caramel rolls and our day begins with sugar-laced gluten and a happy birthday song.

SAILING

The middle of our day is filled with a waterfall hike and eating samples at Costco. Like a tourist, I take photos of the ketchup-flavored potato chips in the snack aisle and poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds) available at the food court.

Continue reading “sweet birthday story | Hamilton, Ontario”

faith escarpment | Hamilton, Ontario

Our truck’s old engine is out and the replacement is ready to go in. Mr. Mechanic is hard on the job. We are left playing the waiting game.

A sunny forecast beckons us to pass the time outside. I pack a lunch, the kids change into swimming suits, and we all climb in the van. Continue reading “faith escarpment | Hamilton, Ontario”