Trail Talk – August 29, 2018

Ragweed pollen is a common allergen. A single plant may produce about a billion grains of pollen per season, and the pollen is transported on the wind. It causes about half of all cases of pollen-associated allergic reactions. (Hay fever). Common culprits are common ragweed (Ambrosia. artemisiifolia) and great ragweed (A. trifida). Goldenrod is usually flowering at the same time as ragweed so some people mistakenly believe they are allergic to golden rod when they are in fact reacting to ragweed. The great ragweed can grow to 15 ft or more and is found in wet areas, the common ragweed (not in the photo) has similar flowers but has dissected leaves (a bit like feathers), and is common at field edges.  There are well over 20 different varieties of goldenrod, the commonest one is in the phtoto.

The monarch caterpillar on the milkweed, is quite similar to the black swallowtail caterpillar shown last week, but the monarch caterpillar  has stripes while the swallowtail one has stripes and yellow spots, and is also on a different plant. On Wednesday we found a milkweed tiger moth caterpillar on a milkweed, it was somewhat similar to a monarch caterpillar but is very hairy.

The puffball I saw on August 15th has kept close to doubling its volume every day  i.e. a 4”  diameter puffball should have a diameter on following days of 5.04”, 6.36”,8.0”, 10.08”, and 12.7” and 16” if it kept on growing for that long.  On Sunday it was just over 10” so right on the expected size but then it stopped growing.

On August 18th six hikers enjoyed a river walk at the falls, the water was very warm and no one had to go in water above their knees so it was a pleasant outing. Unfortunately the concession was not open so we could not enjoy their treats afterwards. Talking of treats only two hikers braved the rain on Tuesday, but 12 more hikers came afterwards to enjoy treats at the Worsells home.

At the railway trestle on the Bayfield river I saw two mink frogs, the first time I have ben able to photograph and positively identify this frog species, they are smaller than green and leopard frogs and their ‘dorsolateral lines do not extend the full length down the back.

            UPCOMING HIKES  etc.

Thursday August 30th  1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Turtle hatchlings release at Morrison Dam in Exeter.

See Goderich Signal Star August 22nd for details or visit –turtle release event August 30th  or (news).

Monday September 3rd 10 a.m.  Sifto loop and Tiger Dunlop Leisurely pace 1.5 hours

 We’ll start by walking over the Menesetung Bridge with its always interesting vista and then around the Sifto Loop with its lake view and view points over the Maitland River. We will finish the hike with a visit to Tiger Dunlop’s Tomb. Contact: Carolyn Brown (519) 524-5181 for meeting arrangements.

Sunday Sept 9th Cycle the GART 1.30 p.m. Easy Pace – 2 ½ hrs

Starting from the big rock on North Harbour Rd. in Goderich, we will cycle to the Maitland River and back; a total of 27k. Rain or shine, meet Cecile at the rock with appropriate garbs and  gears, water and a snack if needed.

Saturday Sept 29th Sunday Sept 30th 2 day MTA El Camino registration is now open Cost $25 adults $10 if under 18 detail


 The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at  9 a.m. Contact Al Sanders at

 The Wednesday hikes start at 9 a.m. for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact

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


If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at