Winter has arrived a bit early this year so it is a good time to think about icers. Do you remember how slippery trails and pavements were last year? The demand for the Lee Valley ones was so great that they were often back ordered. I have used the cheapest ones which cost under $10, shown in the photo, but finally paid the steep price of $54.50 plus tax for the Lee Valley version that have the most studs and are easy to put on and take off. I have known hikers who have lost other ones after they did not realize they had come off. Intermediate priced ones look as though they should work well such as Marks Stabilizers at $29.99, Canadian Tire GripOns at $21.99, Home Hardware Ice Traction $29.99, and MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop) Stabilicers at $29.95.
On Friday November 8th the LIFE hikers hiked the GART and Sifto loop. I lead the way with snow shoes that made it easier for those with just hiking boots. Diane took a photo of me on the steps of the Maitland trail that lead off from the GART. This gives you an idea of the snow conditions which decided us to stay on the GART. I loved the picturesque trees covered with snow and the patterns of leaves on top of the snow. There were a lot of shrubs leaning across the Sifto loop trails, the worst offenders being the common buckthorns.
On Saturday’s hike on the Exeter trails I was pleasantly surprised to find that we did not need snow shoes and that, as the wind had been light, there were not any of the deep snow drifts that are often found on the north trail there. We did manage to see one white squirrel and tracks of at least one deer.
The Maitland Woods, as of writing, still have six step over windfalls, but this pales in comparison with the 32 windfalls on the Bayfield woodland trail. On Tuesday I joined a big Bayfield Valley Trail Association work crew that cleared all these windfalls. On my way back to the car I heard some bird calls. It took me a few seconds to realize that they were from two flocks of over a hundred swans flying overhead and heading South.
We were very grateful on our Wednesday hike at Lobbs that Murray Lobb was out on his snowmobile and Groomer so we did not need snowshoes, however it was still a good work out walking on the snow. We saw many Canada Geese on the river and three ducks that were not mallards nor mergansers. Next day on Stone School Road a flock of over twenty turkeys were crossing the road.
UPCOMING HIKES etc.
Oct 1 –Dec 31 the Maitland Trail section from 9.4 to 10.5 km will be closed.
December 2nd to 8th the Maitland Trail, Bayfield Woodland Trail and Lobb trails will be closed for deer gun hunting.
Saturday December 7th 9 a.m. hike or snow shoe depending on conditions on the Varna trails
Contact Patrick Capper firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-606-0016
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 Uneven Hikers meet on Wednesday or Thursday. Hikes start at 9 a.m. for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. We hike only on the odd dates. e.g Thursday Nov 21st and Wednesday Nov 27th . 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.