Trail Talk – May 2, 2018

Finally we are enjoying Spring weather.  However, on the hike on Saturday April 21st there was still a snow drift over six feet deep on the trail at about 30.8 km at the top of the hill going in from Sharpes Creek Line towards River Line. My guess is that there will still be snow there well into May, perhaps May 7th, what is your guess? There were two deer carcasses near the trail, one near the chicken manure pile at the bottom of the field near Sharpes Creek Line and one just before Fisherville. Thursday April 26th was the first day when all the patches of ice on the Lobb trail could be easily avoided.

There was a beech tree with fresh nibbles at the base, I wonder if this was caused by a porcupine, does anyone know? So far I have not seen a porcupine in our area. Beavers leave much larger shavings when chewing at trees and they favour poplar trees. This pattern of nibbles seems to be exclusively to beech trees.

On Saturday evening April 21st I met a small raccoon on the Lobb trail, it just looked at Chewy and me before slowly deciding that perhaps it should climb a tree.

On Monday April 23rd I saw the first coltsfoot in bloom, they were near the steps at Cherrydale Road and I have also seen them at Naftel’s Creek and by the Maitland Woods trails. Coltsfoot are an alien species. There was an orange butterfly in the Maitland Woods which I believe is one of the fritillary butterflies.

On Sunday I dropped my cell phone while hiking on the Lobb trail, and when I went back I found it lying on the trail. I was reminded of finding a cell phone on the Mavis trail a couple of years ago when I had great difficulty tracing the owner as it was password protected and had no other ID. Since then I have stuck an address label to my phone in case it is more permanently lost.

On the Tuesday April 24th Tromp at Naftel’s creek there were quite a few fish in the creek. The first blooming hepaticas were seen, these were round-lobed ones as opposed to the sharp-lobed variety which have pointed leaves. There are now a lot of violets in bloom (there are a spectacular number of white, yellow and purple violets on the George C. Newton trail). In places such as Naftel’s and Lobb’s people have planted domestic flowers such as snow drops, crocus and daffodils which will now be in bloom. On my Tuesday evening walk on the Front road trail the spring peepers were in full voice. The spring peeper is a small tree frog no bigger than 3 cm. The call is a single loud high pitched peep repeated over and over. I have yet to actually seen one.

The Wednesday (April 25th) hike the trail from Cherrydale road to Sharpes Creek line was free of snow but quite wet and mucky in places, and no sign of flowers in bloom other than coltsfoot.

If you walk in the Maitland Woods on May 6th see how many of the 40 species of trees and 9 species of shrubs you can spot. Most are visible from the main white trail except for the Manitoba maple, nine bark, mountain ash and black locust which are next to the parking lot and a hackberry which is on a blue cross trail. Some are easily missed as they are not very close to the trail and others such as the red maple, being close to a boardwalk, is often missed.

Roger Goddard commented on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1918, to protect birds from wanton killing after an Xmas holiday competition to see who could kill the most robins, the winner filling three sack fulls.

Note that the Bayfield Woodlands Trail is closed April 25th to May 31st for Turkey Hunting. There is also a closure until May 21st on the Maitland trail between 44 and 46 km due to a landslide.

Upcoming Hikes

Saturday May 5th 1:00 PM Jenkins to Black Hole Road; Leisurely pace about 3 hours.

Another chance to check out the wild flowers. Contact Beth Ross at 519.524.8144 by the night before if you want to join this hike

Saturday May 5th 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM Jane’s Walks in Goderich Pipe Organ Walk from Lakeshore United church steps to Knox Presbyterian church, includes organ recitals

Sunday May 6th 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM  Compost and Plant Sale at the Knights of Columbus Hall parking lot on Parsons Court in Goderich. Drop off your labeled plant donations between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM. This is a fund raiser for the John Hindmarsh Environmental Trust Fund and the Maitland Trail Association.

Sunday May 6th 1:15 PM Short “Hike for Hospice” at 37857 Huron Road on the Tranquility trail. Registration at 12:30 PM. A pig roast will follow the hike costing $20, free for children under 10 and registrants raising over $100.

Sunday May 6th 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM. Guided leisurely paced walk in the Maitland Woods. These are part of the Jane’s Walks. Fill in an “I Spy Nature” card for a chance to win prizes. (I believe the 3:00 PM hike has been cancelled.)

Sunday May 6th 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Jane’s Bicycle Ride from 43 West Street Goderich to Square Brew. Leader Con Melady; 10 km some grassy bits not suitable for skinny tires.

Thursday May 7th and 10th at 6:30 PM Bird watching walk; led by Roger Goddard. Meet at the Rock on N. Harbour Rd. Very slow pace, bring binoculars if they have them.

Saturday May 12th at 1:30 PM; hike at Point Farms moderate pace 1.5 hours. Leader Anne Storey 519.529.3050.

Saturday May 12th Spring on the G2G Trail

Mid-Week 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