The featured trail this week is Naftel’s Creek Conservation Area maintained by Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (#12 in the Huron County Hiking Guide). This is one of the trail gems of Huron County. It has many things going for it, included year round access without any hunting and a good sized parking lot recently improved with more gravel. There is a mens and womens outhouse at the parking lot. The trails are wide and the main ones are blazed, and this year, maps have been added at several intersections. It is suitable for hiking and snowshoeing and skiing in the winter when there is sufficient snowfall. Thanks to the new neighbouring landowner a second bridge over Naftel’s creek has been added giving two access points to the blue loop trail, half of which is now purple instead of blue. You can do loops from 1.1 to 3.1 km but if you explore the unblazed and unmarked trails you can increase this.
The trails are in a mixed forest with a lovely creek which is usually clear and in spring you may be lucky enough to spot some trout, or even a great blue heron. There is a large patch of Indian Hemp at the North edge of the entrance to the parking lot, although there are some spring flowers this is not a prime spot for seeing them.
There are two memorial rocks on the yellow loop, one for John Hindmarsh 1918-1995- “His love of nature inspires us all.” He built a few log cabins in the area including the one on the adjacent property. The other rock commemorates Thomas Roche Lee 1915-1977 “He planted trees.”
The boardwalk, which I believe is being considered for replacement, was shingled about 10 years ago by the Tuesday Trompers after several hikers found it was very slippery when wet. My memorable moments on the trail include finding a wallet by a windfall many years ago, which I was able to return to the owner. A few weeks ago, again on the blue trail, there were about 100 monarch butterflies in the pine trees.
The notice at the entrance includes a caution about the trail being slippery when wet, some poison ivy and flooding is possible. The trails in my experience tend to have more than their fair share of windfalls across the trail. When I first hiked the trails I was often uncertain about where I was in relation to the parking lot, especially when on the unmarked trails, this is now less of a problem with maps at various intersections. The most common problem with hikers who are first timers to Naftels is to miss the turn off to the parking lot 911 # 79152 between Union Road and Kitchigami road. When coming on Hwy 21 from Goderich I now slow down as soon as I see the collection of log cabins, and if coming from Bayfield slow down after crossing Naftel’s Creek .
Talking to other hikers I learned that a swan has been seen on the Maitland river at Lobbs and sandhill cranes were seen flying South.
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 work on the bridge at Morrison dam has been started. This will allow hikers to cross from the South to North side without walking along Morrison Line.
The Lobb trail will be closed on November 5th and 6th for hunting then closed on November 7th for a week or more for logging the dead ash trees.
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 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 November 10th 1:00 PM River Line Balls Bridge hike has been rescheduled to November 24th
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at 9:00 AM. Contact Al Sanders at email@example.com
The Wednesday hikes start at 9:00 AM for 1.5 to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at firstname.lastname@example.org.