Cheltenham Badlands that is. A few trees have begun the change of colour as we come into the fall season. For now though most trees remain green, lush with leaves that will not feel the cold chill of autumn weather for at least a few more weeks. Until then the countryside around Belfountain and Caledon remains relatively under appreciated by tourists as they await the coming of bright splashes of orange, yellow and red.
Once upon a time the Olde Base Line Road, west of Hurontario Street, leading to the Badlands was a narrow, two-lane country road with little available parking, much like most of the area still surrounding the natural wonder - the countryside is beautiful, you just can't stop and visit most of it. Now the road has been widened, with large SLOW signs painted onto the road which is smart because the winding and hilly roadway adjacent to the bare slopes becomes full of cars and people heading over to the rolling hills.
The warm weather bakes the Queenstone Shale in the hot, dry sun cracking some of the exposed surfaces. Red shale is interspersed with grey, green streaks of shale whose colour has been changed due to the influence of groundwater. Small, rolling hills are cut into the slope by the effects of rain. Erosion changes the face of the Orange Hills of Caledon as time goes on, so that much like the Queen Street bridge over the Don River the Badlands I saw months ago is not the Badlands I see today.
Under the management of the Bruce Trail Association and owned by the Ontario Heritage Federation since the year 2000 this site is doomed to feel both the gaze and the footsteps of the thousands of visitors that walk the site. The Association and the Federation may feel that they have no choice but to fence off the site.