The high winds on Sunday February 25th were one of the few occasions where I did not venture out with Chewy after lunch. There are a lot of small branches on the trails. At Naftel’s creek trails I only found one windfall that I had to cut and there were none on the Front road trail. At Varna there was a lot of debris including two downed ash trees that fortunately are easy to step over. Bannockburn suffered very little damage. I heard there was quite a bit of damage in the Maitland Woods. One thing common to all our trails is ice. On Friday at Naftel’s one hiker while going to the edge of the trial to avoid an icy patch, tripped over a branch and fell. On Tuesday on the Sifto loop a hiker avoiding the obvious ice in the middle of the trail, fell on ice at the side that was covered with a thin layer of snow; both hikers breaking an arm. Therefore take extra care on the trails even when you have icers. The section of the GART between the rock and the turn off to the Tiger Dunlop tomb on Tuesday Feb 26th was an exception in that most of the trail was free of ice and, where there was ice, it could be avoided by going along the edge of the trail.
I was going to feature the Bayfield Sawmill trail this week but found it is closed due to heavy ice blocking the trail beside the river. However, I just heard that has been reopened except for the portion covered with blocks of ice. On the bank of the Bannockburn there were piles of ice but these were well clear of the trail. This week I will feature the Woodland Arboretum trail ( #16 in the Huron County Hiking Guide). This trail starts at the Woodlands Golf Club parking lot and takes about half an hour to hike. There are a large variety of about 100 identified trees at the start of the trail. I find it very useful to check out the leaves and bark of trees that I am unfamiliar with, especially those found nowhere else in our area. The photo shows a Serbian, Colorado and Norway spruce.
As you have to cross the fairway twice I prefer to hike the trail in winter or at other times when there no golfers out. Sometimes the access to the parking area is impassable if the driveway has not been ploughed. In the fall I often find golf balls on or near the trail. Especially in spring waterproof footwear is an advantage as there are two places which are often wet. The trail has a bridge across a pond where fish can often be spotted, but only in spring are ducks likely to be seen on the pond. On our Wednesday hike on the Mavis trail there was the unusual sight, on that part of the Bayfield river, of a merganser floating down the river.