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Healey Falls

44°22'39.9"N 77°47'22.0"W

44.377750 -77.789440


Only about fifteen minutes south of the highway 7 stretch of the Trans-Canada, it’s worth stopping on a hot day. Over the course of two consecutive days, my visits to the dam left me with vivid memories, each day offering a stark contrast in experiences. This journey was characterized by the allure of exploration, the discovery of hidden gems, and the unpredictable nature of the elements. On the first day, I embarked on this adventure with my brother, unaware of the extraordinary encounters that awaited us or even where we were going. As we stopped to look at a property, our attention was captured by a group of kids in swimsuits with towels, hiking a nearby trail. Curiosity piqued, we approached them and asked where they were going. They told us about the falls so we followed them on their journey. Our trail eventually brought us to a remarkable discovery—a closed dam on the Crow River/Trent Waterway, formed an exquisite natural swimming hole we never would have seen from the road. The sight was breathtaking; approximately a hundred people had gathered, lounging on the flat rocks along the pool. The falls, spanning over a hundred meters in width, were impressive in their own right, but what truly captivated me was the vegetation thriving beneath the rock shelves created by the cascading water. It resembled the meticulous artistry of bonsai trees, creating an enchanting ambiance around this remarkable swimming hole. The following day, I decided to return to this location, venturing out on my own, fueled by the desire to explore the site further. However, this visit provided a vastly different scene. The dam, which had been closed the previous day, was now open. While only two gates were ajar, the force of the water flowing through them was nothing short of stupendous, sending plumes of water soaring twenty feet into the air. It was an impressive spectacle, but from a distance, and no people. I’d brought my phone to take pictures so I continued to explore the surrounding area, finding a boat launch on the opposite shore and even crossing the dam itself. Though the experience was intriguing, it lacked the tranquil charm and swimming that had gripped me the day before. As I ventured further, I couldn't help but ponder the unpredictability of nature and the importance of timing when exploring. Unfortunately, there is no set schedule for the dam's operation that I could find, making each visit a good guess. The trail around the falls, extends for a total of 2.4 miles and presented a manageable hike. Despite the contrast in experiences between the two days, I found that the journey was well worth it. There were two small parking areas, and a brief hike was required to reach the falls, but the fun that waited at the end of the trail made it an adventure worth taking. In conclusion, my two-day excursion to this natural wonder was a testament to the ever-changing and unpredictable nature of our environment. The first day introduced me to the serendipitous beauty of a hidden gem, while the second showcased the dramatic power of nature. Both experiences, so contrasting. I’d have enjoyed it but never planned on going back if I’d only seen the second day. Hopefully you find it on a day the dam is closed. if not no biggie, we found lots of swimming on the crow river AND spots you could easily camp over at.

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© sleeping under the stars 2021

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