Trail Talk – November 21, 2018

The featured trail this week is the Front Road Trail. The trail is on the West side of Front Road between the Bayield river and the Railroad tracks. (Front Road is the 1st South off Hwy 8 heading East from Clinton.) The Trail is a loop trail that takes about 35 minutes to hike through a mostly pine forest where the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority have recently planted some deciduous trees. It was developed several years ago and is not yet in the Huron County Hiking guide, there are some nice views of the Bayfield river. This is the only public trail where I have seen a train. On one occasion a train was on the nearby tracks and seven deer were running away towards the river, (no hunting is allowed). There are a few small holly plants near the trail – the only trail where I have seen them. There is a good parking area across from the trail in summer, but this is not usually ploughed in winter.

After I discovered the trail I added shingled boards so that I could hike it without getting my feet wet.There were occasional red blazes on the trees, but after some other hikers could not find part of the trail I put white blazes up. I find that red and dark blue blazes are difficult to see at dusk. I also believe flagging tape should only be used as a temporary measure otherwise it adds to plastic pollution.

Chewy and I will be celebrating ten years on the trails on November 23rd. I got Chewy as a two year old when the owner developed a handicap and had trouble looking after him. We have been on the trails about twice a day for all but typically 2 weeks in the year when he goes to his favourite dog sitter Jennifer Black. This means that we have hiked the trails in Huron County about 10,000 times. Some memorable moments with him include the time he was attacked by two dogs at the Optimist park adjacent to the millennium trail. I had him on the leash and two mastifs? attacked him as I shouted and tried to kick them away, Chewy slipped his collar and was bitten and spent a couple of days at the vets. Fortunately the dog owner paid the bill. Another visit to the vet was when he disappeared and would not come when called for about five minutes, finally I found him eating the remains of a deer leg left in the bush by a hunter. He was very sick for a few days.

Chewy loves to chase rabbits and squirrels, though soon abandons the chase. Once on the millennium trail there was a young squirrel who did not know he was supposed to run away, so the puzzled Chewy just looked at it!

He does not get very excited about going for walks and now positively refuses when it is below about minus ten Celsius. He does bark excitedly when he gets out of the car at the start of a walk and also when he gets out on the return home.

On Tuesday November 13th while enjoying the beauty of the first snowfall in the Maitland Woods, the Witch Hazel flowers covered in snow caught my eye. I had no idea how many Witch Hazels were there until I saw these flowers which bloom after the leaves fall.


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.

The whole Maitland trail (apart from the GART and Falls Reserve sections) and the Bayfield Woodland trail will be closed for gun deer hunting from December 3rd to 9th

The Lobb trail may be closed for Logging – no dates known at this time.

Friday November 23rd 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Maitland Trail Association membership renewal and social at the Livery. The talk is by Cristen Watt on “Where do they all go in the Winter” Reptiles and amphibians along the Maitland. Brian McCulloch will talk about “Behind the Scenes with the Trail crew.”

Upcoming Hikes

Saturday November 24th 1:00 PM River Line Balls Bridge (This hike has been rescheduled from November 10th) Level 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

Sunday December 2nd 1:30 PM Level 2 moderate pace about 1.5 hours at Point Farms Provincial Park
We will plan to do a circuit, following the Old Farms north trail, then the Ravine Trail, descending steps to beach level. We follow the trail in the trees with lovely views of the lake, but protected. We then ascend to the top of the bluff and return on the south Old Farms trail. There is lovely variety to this hike. Park at the entrance, but please call Anne to register. Contact: Anne Storey 519.529.3050

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 8:10 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

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at