Trail Talk – October 24, 2018

On Saturday I hiked down the Black Hole road hill to River Bend. The pond is usually empty of birds but that day there were over 100 Canada geese on the pond. Along the road I spotted two late season flowers, chicory and herb-Robert.

I once tried drinking a chicory based drink but found it too bitter. The drink is based on chicory roots that have been baked, roasted and ground. Chicory leaves are edible but bitter, the bitterness can be reduced by cooking and discarding the water. I think the chicory drink was one response to the war time rationing in Britain of tea, 2 oz per week per person. In the USA coffee was rationed for eight months during the war.

Another war time response to the lack of citrus fruit was to make rose hip syrup, which I remember my mother making. The recipe on the internet requires 500 g of chopped rose hips, 1.5 litres of water and 250 g of brown sugar.

Herb-Robert is so named as a reference to abbot and herbalist Robert of Molesme (1028 – 17 April 1111) an abbot, one of the founders of the Cistercian Order and is honored as a Christian saint. Freshly picked herb-Robert leaves have an odor resembling burning tires when crushed, and if they are rubbed on the body the smell is said to repel mosquitoes.

On Sunday afternoon (Oct 14th) there were many walkers and dogs enjoying the sunshine on the GART. I could see a school of about 20 large fish from the bridge and several fishermen, one of whom managed to catch a large fish.

On Sunday evening at the Bayfield river there was a whole procession of small insects flying upstream. They were about two feet above the river and typically two or three feet apart. They were a bit like balls of white pollen all heading in the same direction for several minutes.

On Tuesday morning on the way back from the eye vets with Chewy I walked on the Exeter trail, my first sight was a dozen hikers from the Thames Valley trail association about to set off on a hike. Along the trail I saw first one, then two, then five Shaggy Mane mushrooms a cylindrical white mushroom that gradually expand as the gills liquefy. They are described as choice eating when unexpanded and white, making an “excellent substitute for asparagus”. They are not very good when the bottom has started to turn black. There were also some shaggy manes near the G2G trail on our Wednesday walk.


Duck hunting season started on September 22nd

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 Lobb trail will be/or is closed for logging the dead ash trees, the operation is expected to last about a week. Before logging begins the Soy beans need to be harvested .

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. (However, there is no hunting in the Falls Reserve or GART sections)

Upcoming Hikes

Sunday October 28th 2:00 PM Join Bayfield River Trail Association for a hike on the Naftel’s Creek Conservation Area trails. Expect about 1.5 hours Leaders: Chris and Pam Bowers 519.525.8850, Gary Mayell 519.441.0141, Peter Jeffers 519.933.4555

Saturday November 3rd Owl Prowl at Morrison Dam Conservation area. Two sessions 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM see for details.

Sunday November 4th 1:30 PM Point Farms Provincial Park Level 2, Moderate Pace – 2 hrs

We’ll begin the hike on the north trail and go down to the beach level. Depending on conditions of the south trail, we’ll hike back up either keeping to trail or taking the road back. For those who wish to take a shorter, more level hike, there’s the option of returning before the rest of the group descends to beach level. This is a delightful hike for the variety it affords. Contact: Anne Storey 519.529.3050 to register

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 occurs.

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