Trail Talk 59 March 27 2019

The featured trail this week is the MacNaughton-Morrison Trail, Exeter (#26 in the Huron County Hiking Guide).  The trail starts at the parking area in MacNaughton park at the end of Hill Street. The trail surface is excellent and there are no big hills.   Alternatively the trail can be reached from the Morrison Dam parking lot by crossing over Morrison Line.  If you start at the west entrance and only want an hour or so hike then the new Jones bridge allows access between and northern and southern sections of the trail.

Hikers on Jones Bridge

There is also a bridge about a third of the way along for those who want a shorter hike. You may wonder about a small footbridge at the edge of the trail. This is a welcome addition installed  several years ago when this part of the trail was occasionally impassable due to the torrent of spring runoff across the trail.   There are a lot of nature signage illustrating “ Life on the Forest Floor”, “Life in the Forest Canopy”, “Life in the River” and “Test your Nature Knowledge.” This trail is where you are most likely to spot white squirrels.  It is also the only place I have seen Lizard’s-tails (also called Water-Dragon) which bloom in late July.

Life in the Forest Canopy

On Thursday March 14th I saw my first robins, red winged blackbirds and 2 tundra swans while hiking.  On Sunday March 17th on my morning hike on the Mavis trail at Varna I saw three buffleheads floating down the Bayfield river, the first time I have seen buffleheads on the Bayfield river. In the afternoon on a drive to Kitchener, near the junction of Perth 44 and 119, there were over 200 swans in a field. On March 19th after admiring the first snowdrops in our garden, we checked out the swans reported by Lambton Museum to be near Greenway road  and saw about 2000 of them. Later that day while hiking the Woodlands Nature trail I did not find any golf balls, however that afternoon on the Millennium trail I found one.  The Millennium trail was mostly free of snow and ice, but where the trail is close to the river there were two huge blocks of ice on the trail both about four feet cubes, plus an ice barricade, luckily it was easy to take a side trail and go around that part of the trail. Keep a lookout for the first spring wildflowers, last year I spotted violets on April 12th.