Ok, so -5 degrees Celsius might not seem like the ideal temperature to venture outside, but after several days of -15C and snowing, the sunshine today will pass as a beacon to bundle up the dogs and head lakeside.
My aging dog Victor is slowing down – and tearing his other ACL (find out about the first one) hasn’t helped. He’s been fitted for a custom brace (more on that soon), so his walks are shorter.
That doesn’t stop us from picking up his BDF (Best Dog Friend) and heading down to Confederation Park Beach and trails along the shores of Lake Ontario in Hamilton, Ontario. Snow-covered sand and sand-dune-like ice peaks make this walk look a lot different than when we came out here during the Hamilton/SPCA walk-a-thon several years ago.
Even though there are few people and no other dogs, I start both pups on leashes because for some reason someone in a van is taking pics of us. Hmm. We don’t get far on the lakeside trail heading toward the wooded area when a bundled-up walker tells me,
“You likely don’t want to go that way. Packs of coyotes have been spotted down there. That’s why I’m carrying this big stick.”
I remember the tragic case last spring of a small dog being ripped from an extendable leash by coyotes. That must have been near here. So…
We go the other way, flanked by the road on one side and expanse of water on the other. It’s colder than I thought, and we don’t walk long, particularly since Victor can no longer roughhouse with is best bud as he once did.
Some how, though, we end up further down the trail at Hutch’s, iconic in this area as a black-and-white tiled beach-side canteen known for fish and chips and milkshakes since 1946. Hutch’s on the beach is open all winter – who knew? Well, the other cars pulling into the parking lot, apparently.
Did the dogs get hot dogs to go? You bet. Couldn’t drag them down here for nothing.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Confederation Beach Park, along Van Wagners Beach Road, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is open seven days a week, and clearly is most popular in the summer when the nearby Wild Waterworks, water park is open.
The area is part of the Hamilton Conservation Authority. Pet friendly, and yes, dogs are supposed to be leashed. Hutch’s on the Beach is open all year, 11 am to 10 pm (midnight in the summer) and is surrounded by outdoor picnic tables. In the summer, wait for food is up to one hour. It’s that popular.