Tag Along Thursday, Devil’s Hole State Park

Devil’s Hole State Park

Where the trek is started and off in the far distance, where the trek ends. So let’s get started…ready…. it is a really long hike. This is the view below, looking down into the basin. See the long, narrow, ice-covered stairs in the dark basin? That is where we are headed. Still want to go?

It will take a long slow walk on the ice.

Down into the gates of hell, no, just kidding.

The Niagara Gorge extends from the Falls for 7 miles to Queenston. Here is an excerpt from the Niagara State Parks in Canada about the formation of the rock you are seeing above.

“Our river is a young, freshwater system born of ice. But when the Falls tore through this section of river 4,500 years ago, it exposed rock layers laid down as sediments in tropical, saltwater seas approximately 400 to 440 million years ago. These layers of clays, muds, sands and shells were then “cooked” under pressure into sedimentary rock.

You will find an excellent view of the strata, one of the most extensive Silurian exposures in southern Ontario, by looking across the river to the American side as you move out from under the shade of the trees. (See my image above)

Fossils (like in my image above) in the Gorge include annelids (worms), bryozoans (look like twigs, branches, crusts, mounds or networks), brachiopods (clam-like), molluscs (clam-like, limpet-like, and snails), echinoderms (flower-like crinoids, still exist in seas today), graptolites (feathery), corals, sponges, fish”.

These are very pretty rock formations, but notice how winter erodes the face of the Gorge. The rocks you see below are all broken from the face of the Gorge.

If fact, here are some recent rock side boulders blocking the stairs. It is hard to climb over these huge rocks. And it is steep.

Let’s turn around and look from whence we came.

Yikes, I am tired just looking back. The photos do not do it justice to how far away the top of the Gorge really is, and that is where I started.

Or how incredibly inhospitable this is for plant life. Look at these cedar growing from the side of the vertical cliff. You have to be in awe of nature and its ability to adapt.

I will try to get this shot tomorrow when it is snowing, the overcast day will help for you to see this much better. Plus with the expected snow, it will be a prettier image.

I am very leery here because at any moment another slide can occur in winter, especially on a day like today. The sun heats up the rock face and expansion and contraction take over.

Even the trees fight for survival here, roots gripping rock and sprouts growing from the roots. These two trees are right on the paths edge.

We are almost at the river after hundreds of steps.

The water has a green cast . And here is why, again from the Niagara Parks Department.

“The startling green colour of the Niagara River is a visible tribute to the erosive power of water. An estimated 60 tons of dissolved minerals are swept over Niagara Falls every minute. The colour comes from the dissolved salts and “rock flour”, very finely ground rock, picked up primarily from the limestone bed but probably also from the shales and sandstones under the limestone cap at the Falls.”

If you remember from one of my previous posts on the Falls, I explained how the river can be bluish one day and green the next. This is why. It depends on what sediment is stirred up or if any is at all.

The seagulls bask in the sun waiting for their next meal to swim by in my photo above.

This is as far as I go down the into the Gorge. There is still hundreds of steps to go, but these are in the worse conditions, barely enough room to place your foot and with ice, it is really not safe at all, especially alone.

So I climb back up.

Up we go. Some steps have a riser almost 24″ high. They are a bear to climb.

And if I fell, I may be in big trouble, especially if I fall on my iPhone and crush it. I am the only one here in this vast expanse.

I made it back and took this photo to prove I returned in one piece.

Come back on Sunday, and I will post images of the cave. My husband agreed to take me to the cave tomorrow as I do not want to go there by myself. Plus I will give you more facts on Devil’s Hole. It is very interesting.

Tomorrow for my post, a huge rainbow and images of the frosty Falls in winter. Here is a taste… and put on your raincoat and boots. It is a wet one.

Please go to Carloyn’s Shade Garden. She has a cause worth participating in.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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11 Responses to Tag Along Thursday, Devil’s Hole State Park

  1. Geez, Donna…I was starting to get worried about you being out there alone! I’m glad you made it back and will have your husband on the next tour! Please be careful out there! I don’t think I could even show this post to my mother…she’s deathly afraid of heights!! Your photos are stunning and what a beautiful place this must be. Thank you for sharing your adventures. Happy New Year.

  2. Ginny says:

    I would love to make that hike – but maybe not in winter – though it is so incredibly beautiful.

  3. One says:

    Donna, Aren’t you a little too adventurous? I imagine you with thick clothings and hands pre-occupied with a camera, balancing yourself on those steep, slippery steps. That’s kind of dangerous. Why do you do this? You could opt to have a warm cup of coffee at the ‘fire place’ and read a wonderful book instead. 🙂 Thanks for sharing those great photos anyway.

  4. Donna, After the first post I wanted to know more about the Niagara Gorge, thanks: fascinating and beautiful. I have visited the falls (well worth the trip), but how did I miss the Gorge? Thanks for mentioning my plea. I am going to send Kartik links to your Niagara posts so he can show Tara. Stunning (I am going to run out of adjectives). Carolyn

  5. I’ve hiked this trail often (I believe I counted 308 stairs to the bottom, or top, depending on your outlook). I would never consider it in the winter! It’s one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on, and I’ve hiked in redwood forests, climbed the Masada by the Dead Sea, the hills of Ireland, the forests of England, sweatily tromped through tropical jungles in the Caribbean, panted up hillsides in the Alps of Switzerland and Germany, and breathlessly crawled up the hills around Lake Como in Italy and many more that I can’t even remember. But the Niagara Gorge’s old-growth forest, power-producing dams, cable car, rapids, whirlpool, jet boats and scenery are hard to top. Here’s my post on hiking the Gorge (in much more pleasant weather): http://artofgardeningbuffalo.blogspot.com/2009/07/hike-in-niagara-gorge-ous.html

  6. Beautiful hiking photos! We have a place near me called Devil’s Fork State Park, some of my family’s ancestors donated the land for it. It’s funny how popular “Devil” is for natural formations and landmarks.

    Thanks for propagating the cause over at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, too!

  7. Wow, I feel like I’ve just worked off all those calories from supper. Thanks for the virtual hike!

  8. Cat says:

    You live in an amazing place – how fortunate you are to have such beauty surrounding you!

  9. Linda says:

    The plants/trees growing on the side of the cliff reminds of the quote from Jurassic Park the movie. “Life will find a way…” 🙂

    thanks for the tour. Loved it. I like hiking also, not rugged hiking but I do love the woods.


  10. Stunning walk, but as you said, not one to do alone in those conditions! I’ve been to the falls, but never hiked along the gorge – wish I had now!

  11. Karen says:

    Donna, thank you for sharing this fantastic scenery. But I am worried for you being there alone! Luckily, you must have the footing of a mountain goat, because I am certain it must be very slippery. The perils you go through to bring us such great posts, be careful, my friend!

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