Photo of the white spiny blooms of a Button Bush

Trail Talk – July 25, 2018

The long dry spell has resulted in many plants getting that wilted look, and the Bayfield river has been just a trickle, however the mosquitoes don’t seem to be as bad as usual due to the lack of puddles in which to breed. On the Mavis trail when looking down on the Bayfield river from the bench the river was good foot below the Beaver dam.

Photo of the purple blooms of the Purple LoosestrifeThe Canadian Invasive Species (a non profit) list Giant Hogweed, Common Buckthorn, Japanese Knotweed, Phragmites, Garlic Mustard, Purple Loosestrife and Dog Strangling Vine as invasive plants. The Nature Conservancy plan on removing purple loosestrife from the River Bend area on July 14th. Many years ago there was a great deal of purple loosestrife in Sault Ste Marie at Bellevue Park but recently there was not nearly as much. I have noticed patches of it locally by the Maitland river when hiking on the Lobb trail. One way to be certain that the flower is purple loosestrife is to check the flower stem which is square. I have seen Phragmites plants on the Naftel’s trail also on the Millennium trail from Nelson Street and near where the trail passes under the Hydro Line.

I have never seen Dog strangling vine which has bean-shaped seed pods, nor have I seen Japanese knotweed or a live Giant Hogweed. Garlic Mustard is all too common and is especially widespread on the John Goldie Reserve. Common buckthorn is a small tree at the side of many of the local trails. There is one labeled in the Maitland Woods between junctions J and K. I checked out the plant at the entrance to the Naftel’s parking lot where there is a very large patch of the two foot high plant thinking it might be a knotweed, but when I cut a sample for further study I was surprised to see two seed pods about six inches long – it was Indian Hemp of the dogbane family, which although a native plant, can be invasive. The plant’s fiber can be used and the plant is a larval host for the hummingbird moth. Probably the most invasive alien plant, the dandelion was not listed, I suspect this is because it is so widespread there is no hope of controlling it.

On our Tuesday hike on the Black hole loop we saw a tiny American toad on the trail, it was only 0.5″ long and was an unusual pale yellow colour. On Photo of a green frog in river waterour Wednesday hike on the Sugar Bush white trail near the button bush were about eight frogs which I think were all green frogs. I had spotted the button bush on my Saturday walk and had to look it up as it was the first one I have ever noticed, its seeds are popular with mallard ducks.

Upcoming Hikes

Sunday August 5th Hike the Maitland Woods after eating a pancake breakfast at the Goderich Fire Station.
Meet at 8:00 AM in the Knights of Columbus parking lot at eh trail entrance nearest to the trailer. We then walk on the trail to the fire station, have breakfast and then finish the Maitland woods loop at a leisurely pace. Leaders Al Sanders and Patrick Capper.

Sunday August 5th 7:15 PM. Port Albert
A parade of bagpipers and drummers makes a grand entrance across the foot bridge to the area in front of the general store where a crowd of people wait in anticipation. Then they proceed down the road to the main beach with everyone following. Every year has a theme if you wish to augment the fun by creating a costume. This year it is SHREK. At the beach the band plays until sunset then walks into the water while finishing with Amazing Grace. Meet in the fisheries parking lot just below the bridge to sign in and you may have time to grab food, ice cream or a drink at our funky general store before the main event. Contact: Anne Storey 519.529.3050 to register.

Saturday August 18th River Walk at the Falls Reserve 1:00 PM Total time about 3 hours
Park at Falls Reserve entrance (using your Maitland Trail Membership card for free admission). We will hike down to the falls and walk in the river for about an hour before hiking back to the entrance. Bring refreshments and suitable shoes to change into when walking in the river. (This outing will be cancelled if the water level is high). Contact: Patrick Capper 519.606.0016

August 26th 8:00 PM Join the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association on a night hike on the Woodland Trail.

Saturday Sept 29th to Sunday Sept 30th MTA El Camino registration is now open Cost $25 adults $10 if under 18 detail www.maitlandtrail.ca/mta-el-camino-2018

Midweek Hikes

The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at 9:00 AM. Contact Al Sanders at allan.sanders@hurontel.on.ca

The Wednesday hikes start at 9:00 AM for 1.5 to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact pcapper99@gmail.com

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:10 AM at the Betty Cardno Centre in Clinton and hike for 1.5 hours to 2 hours, one group at a moderate the other group at a moderately fast pace. Contact cphillips@onecaresupport.ca

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at pcapper99@gmail.com.