:: Saturday, April 22, 2006 ::
exploring: Those of you in London probably know that the Thames River is quite low this year as the conservation folks have the dam down by storybook wide open so the levels will be no where near 'normal.'
For a good chunk of Thursday afternoon, I spent some time exploring the river from the water level. You can walk along the rock strewn edge which would have normally been well and true submerged for many years prior to this. You can walk - all be it not without a good pair of hiking boots - the length between the footbridge to the thames Valley Golf Course, past the old dam and right down to the new dam near Boler Road. The river side of the 1871 era pump house on the sSuth side of the old dam location is also accessible.
I parked up top near Springbank Drive, walked down to the building and shot some pics over the edge and then descended to the river's new level. It was quite fascinating seeing a bit of history exposed. For example, there are the remains of wooden posts all in a row which were used to retain the wall near the dam. Some have bits of 19th century iron rebar sticking out all rusty. A century of erosion has exposed others on the old dam itself, with some wooden posts and beams still having the square plate that went on top of the embedded rebar. The plates acted as a big nut or lock for the rebar. I picked up a loose piece about 3 inches square, rusted and rounded on the edges, and with bits of concrete stuck to it. A nice keepsake.
Below the retaining wall - where the pungent smell from where the sulphur spring lets out, you can actually walk underneath the structure through two large square intakes. At the least I think they are intakes. Logic says they were old water intakes, for power generation, but that would require more research. And more water proof boots as it was slimy down there in the muck. I shot a full memory card, but it was one of the small 512s so I had to go back to the CRV.
I brought the CRV down closer to the Pumphouse and then went back at it from the downstream side of the dam. This is where I found the bench above. As near as I can tell, the bench must have been pitched over the side of the high retaining wall near the pumphouse and stayed submerged till the water level dropped. Then someone dragged it out to where it was on the sand bar. The pegs on the ends of the seat and back were done - probably rotted away - and so whoever reassembled the bench used strips of tee shirt to anchor the edges. And then someone smashed the seat slat. This perch would have only been good for scuba divers here not too long ago but the view - minus the tiny little flies - was a good one.
This was a good find and I would have been happy with just this, but a little further down stream I came across three or four Canada goose nests with mother gooses - I know it's 'geese' - heating up some eggs. No eggs visible, but lots of downy feathers and the mother wasn't going anywhere. I didn't go too close - as the guard geese were getting rather pissed at me and for the obvious reasons of not wanting to harm the things, but it was cool.
Then my Atlantis moment below. Or my Planet of the Apes moment. There were three or four of these vintage lamp posts strewn about the riverbed close to the South side about 100m down from the old Dam. Probably dumped to shore up against erosion - or perhaps by lazy city workers. I felt like an archaeologist discovering some ruins not seen by modern man. I know it was only the Greek influenced Ionic style of these early 20th century shafts, and not exactly Atlantis, but not what you normally expect to find in a river in South Western Ontario.
I took some shots from the far side on Friday - it was too much of an exercise to get around to there on Thursday. And found that Hyde Park Road stops right at the old dam. And also discovered that if you are the only person walking about on the river bed, people will call you on your cell to ask if it is really you and wave at you from the far side - like Leanne, Chris and Hannah did to me. :)
It was a lot of walking and exploring and was a great deal of fun - well for me - perhaps not everyone.
I topped off the weekend getting together separately with Kelly, and then checking out someone who is going to model for me at the place where she works. More on this later. Suffice it to say not my normal Friday entertainment, but with lots of potential. :)
:: Mike Wood 02:10 [+] ::
You have the best adventures and manage to find the coolest stuff! I always love finding what I consider to be remains of a different way of life... Thank you for thinking to take the pics - lol - like you wouldn't..