Trail Talk – November 14, 2018

The featured trail this week is Point Farms Provincial Park (#6 in the Hiking Guide). The hike on Sunday afternoon on November 4th was well attended by 19 hikers and three dogs who enjoyed a nice dry fall afternoon. The park was open for day use and camping from May 11th to October 9th but most hikers prefer to hike the trails in the closed season, parking near the entrance gate. The trails are now well marked with maps at most junctions and the trails with grass are frequently cut making a great hiking surface. The South Farms Trail is subject to flooding, and when using the ravine trail and going along the beach to meet up with the other trails, it is often difficult or impossible to cross the creek without getting wet. On Sunday it would have taken quite a good leap to get across. I would love to see a bridge across the creek similar to the one near the South end of the park. On Sunday as we were starting our hike we met two hunters leaving. There is no mention in the current Hiking Guide of hunting as a use although it was mentioned in the 2006 edition. I tried to find out details on the internet which eventually showed that hunting is permitted in about 130 Provincial parks including Point Farms, which site indicated small game hunting is permitted after the park closing in October. Point Farms staff (519.524.7124) told me hunting is permitted from Oct 10th to Dec 31st. Personally I would love to have no hunting in all provincial parks (except, where due to lack of predators, culling is necessary), failing that perhaps hunting should only be allowed on certain days of the week.

My memorable moments in the park include leaping over the puddles on the S trail and also getting a bit lost before there were maps at the junctions. There were great sights of ice build-up on the beach in winter and on one outing a hiker slipped on the ice and broke her wrist.

Point Farms has an interesting history. The original 60 guest hotel was built in 1870 but burned down in 1872. The new Point Farms hotel opened on Dominion day in 1874 with 200 guest rooms, and a dining room which could seat 300 persons at a time. The Goderich Illustrated Signal Star write up of March 1889 stated,” We are quite justified in saying ‘The Point Farm’ is a household word throughout the Dominion and in every State of the Union.” David Yates’ article in the May 13, 2011 “Focus” reported that the hotel at its peak in the 1870s played host to North America’s elite including Labatts, Carlings, General W.T. Sherman and future US President Chester Arthur. The hotel closed in 1915 and the property was sold in 1920 and dismantled, a salvage company selling off the parts including the valuable hemlock boards. You can read more about the history in the above mentioned articles or in the MTA 2017 Winter newsletter.

On November 1st in Goderich I counted ten black squirrels scuttling around. On my drive back from Sarnia on Nov 3rd I noticed a flock of several hundred geese flying near Northville. Birds are now more obvious with the leaves off the trees but usually while hiking it spoils the exercise if you keep on stopping to check every bird sighting (we leave that to the keen birders). However I enjoy watching birds at our feeders and recently have seen an Evening Grosbeak (unusual for us but apparently many have been sighted in S Ontario this fall) and we also saw six pine siskins (also unusual for us).

Notes

The whole Maitland trail will be closed for gun deer hunting from November 5th to 11th and December 3rd to 9th (However, there is no hunting in the Falls Reserve or GART sections)

The Lobb trail is closed on November 5th and 6th for hunting then closed on November 7th for a week or more for logging the dead ash trees.

Duck hunting season is from September 22nd to January 5th

The Olde Menesetung trail is partially closed due to landslides. The new South entry point in about 380 m along the GART, North of the bridge, where it then descends towards the river.

The section of the Maitland Trail from about 9.5 to 10.5 km is closed for hunting from October 1st through to December 31st.

Upcoming Hikes

The November 17th 9:00 AM hike at Lobbs may be moved to another trail depending on when logging has been completed. Contact Patrick Capper 519.606.0016 or pcapper99@gmail.com

The November 24th 1:00 PM River Line Balls Bridge hike has been rescheduled from November 10thLevel 2 leisurely pace about 2 hours. A less-travelled section of the Maitland Trail ending with part of the Ball’s Bridge side trail and a visit to the heritage bridge and its historic plaques. Approx. 5 km. Contact: Beth Ross 519.524.8144

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 allan.sanders@hurontel.on.ca

The Wednesday hikes start at 9:00 AM for 1.5 to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact pcapper99@gmail.com

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:10 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 cphillips@onecaresupport.ca

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