One of my favourite pastimes is hiking and where better than the lush, bucolic 20 Valley? With its foliage and the mighty 16 Mile Creek keeping one company, hiking this little pocket of the Niagara region is the perfect way to while away a morning or an afternoon.
But stray a little ways from the trodden path and what should one find but a wonderland of detritus and refuse. I'm not just talking a few pop cans strewn about. I'm talking about a veritable scrap yard, replete with tires, rusted boilers, refrigerators, stoves, sinks, old busted television sets, wire meshing, first aid kits, and what looks to be the abandoned chassis of something that might have once been described as vehicular (I'll have to consult Andrew on that one). All in all, it reminds one of The Secret Garden except with rusted trash.
To be sure, it's ugly, it's unsightly, but I personally find it intriguing. There's a great human history in things and in things discarded. And there's something almost profound in seeing these manufactured products wrested from their usual places and returned to "the original quarry" (one of my favourite Faulkner quotes).
These ruminations aside, what really puzzles me is how it was that these disparate items came to make a home for themselves in the valley. For all the trouble it would take to dump a boiler or a part of a car in the 20 Valley, you'd think someone would be more inclined to simply go to the dump and drop it off. I imagine most of it was likely thrown down the valley walls from the road. But what kind of person thinks to do that? It's a real mystery to me.
((Because you probably won't find any of these collector's items pictured in any of Niagara's myriad tourist brochures (or on the 20 Valley website), I took the liberty of taking the above photographs myself this afternoon.))