Trail Talk – June 20, 2018

I enjoyed a week up in the Sault Ste Marie area, the big difference is that there were more bugs and they have a tent caterpillar infestation, which was not quite as bad as the one in the Sudbury area where many poplars had all their leaves eaten and were just starting to get a second set of leaves. Years ago I hiked on the Soo’s Hub trail when it was only a narrow unpaved path and rarely met other people, but now that it has been widened, paved and signed, it is unusual not to meet both walkers and cyclists. Therefore I’m sure that when the G2G is finished it will be become a mecca for hikers and cyclists.

When walking on a section of the Voyageur Trail I saw only five pink lady slipper orchids where there were usually over twenty, a friend said he had only seen two in one area where there were usually 100. I also saw several clintonia (named after a New York State Governor). At the Sault Ste Locks trail there were two very tame beavers who were unperturbed by the nearby walkers on the boardwalk. There were also a lot of geese on the ponds with their families.

On my return here on Thursday evening Chewy and I stretched our legs after the long car journey with a walk at Lobb’s where we saw a deer crossing the trail.

This year’s El Camino del Rio Maitland is scheduled for September 29th and 30th. The first one was held on the summer solstice weekend in 2013. It was inspired by Susanna Reid before her walk on the El Camino de Santiago and planned by Susanna, Wendy Hoernig and Kate Procter as part of the Maitland Trail Association’s 40th anniversary celebrations. It proved to be very popular and so was repeated in the following years, limited to 250 participants and moved to September with less risk of very hot weather.

300,000 pilgrims participated in the El Camino de Santiago last year, and there are especially high numbers on the years when July 25th falls on a Sunday. About 20 years ago I had not met any North American hikers who had participated, but now I know many hikers both in Huron County and in the Sault Ste Marie area who have hiked part of these network of trails.

Some details of the local El Camino are:

For those doing the Longest Hike (49km): On Saturday morning, you’ll check in at the Benmiller Community Hall (BCH), then shuttle to Auburn to begin your hike back to the BCH (29km). When you’re finished hiking for the day, check out at BCH, so we know you’re safely off the trail. On Sunday morning you’ll check in at the beach pavilion in Goderich, then shuttle to BCH to begin your hike back to Goderich (20km). For those who would like to do a Long Hike: On Saturday morning, you’ll check in at the BCH, then shuttle to your start location – either River Line (16km hike), or Sharpe’s Creek Line (11km hike). When you’re finishing hiking for the day, check out at BCH, so we know you’re safely off the trail. On Sunday morning, you’ll check in at the beach pavilion in Goderich, then shuttle to River Bend (13km hike) to begin your hike back to Goderich. Cost is $25adults $10 18 and under. Shuttles will be available for those who need it. If you can arrange to shuttle with a friend, that would be greatly appreciated. Along the route there will be check points where water and snacks will be provided. Full details at

Upcoming Hikes

Sunday, July 1st 6 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:


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