Trail Talk – July 4, 2018

I was reminded while walking on the Lobb trail of my walk last July 1st when I took Chewy there at night to get him away from the noise of fireworks. We were welcomed by lots of fireflies (lightning bugs) which are part of the lampyrid beetle family which is unique in that they can flash their lights on and off. So this is a time of year you might see them.

Photo of blossoms on a Northern CatalpaI am particularly fond of trees that have a mass of flowers so enjoy seeing the black locusts and catalpas when in bloom. A Northern catalpa was in bloom near the parking lot at the start of the Exeter trail on June 20th. There are two very large ones on the George C. Newton trail, and one on the Woodlands Arboretum trail. The photo was taken on the Huron Hospice Tranquility trail where the Catalpa had both flowers and last year’s pods. The catalpa’s pods are often 14 or more inches long and full of tiny winged seeds. Much shorter pods are found on other local trees e.g. the locusts and Kentucky coffee tree. Cherry trees and apple trees also have white blossoms but are not as spectacular as the black locust or catalpas.

Magnolias have spectacular blossoms but are garden plants native to the Southern U.S.A. The tulip tree, so called because of its yellow tulip shaped flowers, only occurs naturally to the South of us, as does the red bud. As far as I know only, the Woodlands Arboretum trail has them, except for recent plantings in the Maitland Woods. Tulip tree flowers only occur in trees over 15 years old and so are often high up and difficult to see. Tulip trees are also known as yellow poplars although they are related to magnolias not poplars. Lilacs and horse chestnuts are European plants so are not usually seen on trails. The only trails with lilacs are the Clinton Conservation area, the George C. Newton and Woodlands arboretum trails.

The hemlock varnish mushrooms are seen on several area trails, the photo was taken on the Lobb Trail. Many Michigan lilies were in bloom on June 25th on the Clinton Conservation area trail, I have seen them in other places but nowhere near as numerous as on the Conservation trail where they are about six feet tall. On crossing over the culverted Bayfield river I was surprised to see three or four fish darting about, as it is unusual to see fish in that area.

On Monday morning I saw a Painted Lady butterfly while hiking the Lobb trail, The Painted Lady is perhaps the most widespread butterfly in the world, found throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, Photo of a Painted Lady Butterflyand America. In the afternoon I cycled part of the G2G from Hardwood Line and saw a couple of Monarch butterflies,(89-102mm) the first trail sighting this year. There were also several American Painted Lady butterflies, a slightly smaller butterfly (45-54mm) than the Painted Lady (51-57mm) that I saw on the Lobb trail.

Upcoming Hikes

Saturday July 7th 9:00 AM Jenkins to Morris Tract Line moderately fast pace, about 2 hours. This section is from 7.9 km to 14.7 km followed by a 0.7 km side trail. This section has quite a few hills and is fairly close to the Maitland River for much of its length. Meet at 36833 Londesboro Road where it meets Morris Tract Line at 9:00 AM and then we will car pool to Jenkins. Leader Patrick Capper

Sunday July 8th 2:00 PM Join the Bayfield Trail Association on the Lobb Trail approx 7 km. Leaders Peter Jeffers, Jack Pal and Adriaan Schreuder will accompany hikers on an active Hike (rather than a casual stroll) along the Lobb Trail. This is a beautiful well-groomed trail with several river side locations, gentle hills, scenic rest stops and some heritage interpretation plaques. The nature trail winds over an old pottery kiln and through a homestead area, whilst there is also a Carolinean forest with flora and fauna typical of this type of habitat, a mature woodlots with mushrooms and a variety of tree species.

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

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

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

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:15 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

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