Trail Talk – March 14, 2018

On Friday March 2nd I joined the L.I.F.E. hikers on the Varna trail. Fortunately there had been only a little snow overnight. This made for some very interesting patterns of snow on the trail.

On Saturday March 3rd I hiked the Maitland Trail starting at 80918 Sharpes Creek Line. Most of the trail was free of snow, but “Snowdrift Hill” was true to its name with a deep snow drift of over six feet deep at the top of the hill, however I had a spade and cut steps to get down to the bare trail. This is the last part of the Maitland Trail to be covered with snow usually until late March. There was also up to a foot of snow at the fence at the edge of the field but had a hard firm crust on Saturday morning.

I was rewarded with sights of two deer, a hairy and downy wood pecker, some chickadees , two white breasted nuthatches and, on the river common mergansers, common golden eye and Canada geese. I saw some other birds I did not see long enough to identify. If you like birding or need help in identifying birds, plan on joining Roger Goddard who will lead birding outings on May 10th and 17th at 6:30PM at the rock on N. Harbour Road. This is usually the best time for bird spotting as warblers are back and the trees are not yet covered with leaves making them easier to spot.

The March 4th hike on the Newton trail brought seven hikers out who were rewarded by seeing some snowdrops and five deer.

On March 5th and 6th I hiked most of the Maitland Trail between Sharpes Creek Line and Cherrydale road and saw a rabbit , quite a few birds and a baseball (carried down by the flood waters). There were only a few patches of snow and any flood debris that I could not clear was easy to get round.

On March 5th most of the Maitland Woods trail was clear of snow and generally good walking.

Conditions can quickly change and by the morning of March 8th all the trails were snow covered at Lobbs the snow was typically about eleven cm deep.

On March 5th Huron Stewardship council coordinator Rachel White gave an excellent presentation at the Goderich Museum on the Eastern hog-nosed snake which has in the last few years been discovered in the Goderich area. It is a threatened species and is harmless. One of its many tricks is to resemble a rattle snake (which is not found in our area). They like shoreline sandy habitat where toads can be found but are known to travel up to five km. If you see one make careful note of the location and call Rachel White at 519.440.2210. If you find a dead one put it in a bag and into your freezer and call Rachel White.

The flood water has damaged the Olde Menesetung trail, part of which is now closed.

Brian McCulloch reported that in the lower part of the Morris Tract there are quite a few trees blocking the trail in the which he will later be clearing with a chain saw.

If you hike the Bayfield Woodlands Trail please note that the Eastern end has been closed and so there is no longer an entrance from the East part of David Street. A loop has been created but the maps have not yet been changed to reflect these changes.

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