The featured trail this week is the Maple Keys Sugar Bush Trail (#4 in the Huron County Hiking Guide editions of 2006,2010, 2013). This trail is not in the 2016 edition of the Guide. The trail is 6 km southeast of Molesworth on Maple Keys Line at 85745. There is a pull off place at the side of the road but no large sign indicating the Sugar Bush trails. As Maple Keys Line is gravel it is better to take Molesworth Line, turn east on Browntown Line, then SE on Maple Keys Line. The trails are on old logging roads with a linear and loop trail. However, the loop portion has two boardwalks which have broken portions so has been closed (though when I was there on April 9th the closed signs were missing.) The trail is mostly through hardwood bush with some trails not marked in the guide map. ATVs and horses are not allowed as they damage the trails, so it is unlikely that the windfalls across the trail will be cleared. Hunting is permitted except between Feb 15th and April 15th. The Sugar bush shack has not been in operation for many years. Altogether it was a pleasant 45 minute walk exploring the trails but at 50 km from home I have only hiked it twice.
On Thursday April 18th I felt that spring had fully arrived. The daffodils were in bloom and I saw violets, coltsfoot, periwinkle, marsh marigolds and hepatica flowers by the Maitland trail. The most common hepaticas in our area are white sharp-lobed ones, they are also sometimes pink, lavender or blue and some are round-lobed. On Sunday April 14th the Lobb trails were free of ice and I was delighted to spot a Pileated woodpecker, the first time I have seen one on these trails though they are obviously in the area judging by the large holes they make. It was interesting to watch the rainbow trout being caught, measured and released upstream at Port Albert. Not being a fisherman I did not realize how big rainbow trout get. The Tuesday tromp at Morrison Dam had another first for me, a common loon on the lake, previously I had only seen loons when in Northern Ontario.
If you want to volunteer to help the Nature Conservancy with Tree Planting on May 4th or Pulling Garlic Mustard on May 11th go to http://events.natureconservancy.ca then go to below the map and click Ontario and select “Trees for Maitland” May 4th or “Good riddance, Garlic Mustard” May 11th (both from 10 1.m. to 1 p.m. come rain or shine) and sign up.
UPCOMING HIKES etc.
Sunday April 28th 1 p.m. Millennium trail 2 hours Moderate pace
This is a beautiful trail with several scenic outlooks following along the south bank of the Maitland River along the north edge of town. We will hike the whole length and back again. Contact Carolyn at 519-524-5181
Heads up for the following events details in a future Trail Talk
May 3-5th Jane’s walks details in Maitland Trail Web site.
Saturday May 4th 1:30 pm Lobbs Wildflower walk Level 2 leisurely pace
Discover the many beautiful spring flowers. This walk is slower than most hikes because of frequent pauses to view and identify blossoms. Lots of scenery, forest and riverfront and a couple of long inclines. Remember your water/juice, snack, hat and camera. Hike Leader Faye 519-524-2070
May 4th 10a.m.-1p.m. Nature Conservancy tree planting near Hopkins Creek
Sunday May 5th Hike for Hospice at Lobb trail 11a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday May 5th 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Compost and Plant sale and walks in Maitland Woods at 1p.m. and 1:30 p.m. If you love your garden, you won’t want to miss the Plant and Compost Sale from 10 till 3 pm Sunday May 5th, rain or shine, at the Knights of Columbus Parking lot, 390 Parsons Court, in Goderich. Guided family friendly Jane’s hikes in the Maitland Woods, will be led at 1:00 and 1:30 pm. Proceeds go to the Maitland Conservation Foundation to provide funding for environmental projects.
Thursday May 9th 6:30 to dusk bird watching on the Maitland River with Roger Goddard 519-612-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MID WEEK HIKES
The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at 9 a.m. Contact Al Sanders at email@example.com
The Wednesday hikes start at 9 a.m. for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:10 at the Betty Cardno Centre in Clinton and hike for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours, one group at a moderate the other group at a moderately fast pace. Contact email@example.com
If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at firstname.lastname@example.org.