Trail Talk – June 13, 2018

On Friday June 1st we saw great displays of barberry which is a prickly shrub with yellow flowers, later on it has oval shaped red berries which are sharply acidic, rich in vitamin C but edible and are a good winter source of food for grouse. Common barberry is a host plant for wheat rust, and, although many varieties of wheat are resistant to rust, cultivation is prohibited in Canada. (The ornamental Japanese barberry is not a host for wheat rust.)

We also saw a Midland painted turtle which was laying eggs at River bend. Another sight on this hike was about seven yellow lady slipper orchids at about the 10.7 km mark. There are large groups of lady slippers near the bench on the millennium trail and I counted 31 near the 33 km mark, they are also found in smaller numbers elsewhere. When I lived in Sault Ste Marie I only saw pink lady slipper orchids and occasionally found the rare white ones.

On Saturday June 2nd while driving to Exeter we saw many black locust trees covered in blossoms, so I checked on Sunday and found about thirty black locust trees in blossom in the Clinton Conservation area. There is also one at the Woodlands Arboretum trail and one next to the Maitland Trail Association trailer in the Maitland Woods. There are a few huge ones at Lobb’s near the site of the Evans log cabin which have blossoms near the top that are difficult to see. My tree books say the maximum height for a black locust is 100 feet and the I think that the ones at Lobbs may even be a little bit taller. (The honeylocust has inconspicuous flowers).

A common sight is dame’s rocket, that is usually white, purple or pink and often mistaken for phlox. However, dame’s rocket has four petals and is a mustard, while phlox (a common garden plant) has five petals. There are some much less common native blue phlox near the 48 km mark on the Maitland trail.

On Tuesday June 5th the Trompers hiked on the Wawanosh Nature Centre trail, it was great to see that the new boardwalk was nearing completion, thanks to the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority work crew.

Upcoming Hikes

Sunday June 17th 9:00 AM Taylor and Mavis Trails at Stanley complex Varna with option of driving to Bannockburn for the trail there. Moderate pace Total time about 2 hours. Leader Patrick Capper

Sunday, July 1st 6:00 AM Welcome to Canada Day sunrise walk Level 1, Leisurely Pace, 2+ hrs

Start the day by enjoying the beauty of the early dawn awakening the river valley and the cool, early morning air to remind us why we are so lucky to live here. We will start at the St Christopher’s Beach pavilion Cancelled if wet. Contact: Wendy 519.525.6976 or Anne 519.529.3050

Saturday July 7th 9:00 AM Jenkins to Morris Tract Line moderately fast pace Leader Patrick Capper

Sunday July 8th 2:00 PM Join the Bayfield Trail Association on the Lobb Trail Leaders Peter Jeffers, Jack Pal, and Adriaan Schreuder

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

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