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Trail Talk 300 - February 21, 2024

This is my 300th Trail Talk, which I think is a good time to review Trail Talk’s history.  Wendy Hoernig started Trail Talk in 1999 where it was published in the biweekly Focus.  These included outing descriptions and also showed her enthusiasm for hiking, as an example,  “One of the best aspects of hiking is that it is something that the family can enjoy together – often for free!! There are usually lots of things that appeal to different ages, genders and interests, AND you won’t have to travel many miles, anxiously looking for a service station while voices in the back seat get louder and more desperate; the kids won’t be seeing things that will set them to bargaining for advances of their allowances; nor are they likely to be bored. Tired perhaps, but not bored. We’ll feature some ‘hiking with kids’ tips in a future column, but the first step for those who aren’t yet avid hikers is to – yes – take the first step, and find out just where all those trails are!”


             The first Maitland Trail Guidebook was published in 2000 and an enhanced version with colour maps was first published in 2007. After 11 years, Wendy passed the torch to Kate Proctor, and after a gap, I took on the job in 2017. My first one was published in the Focus on Dec 17th 2017.  However, I was having little response from the editor of the Focus, so was glad that the editor of the Signal Star, Kathleen Smith, offered to publish Trail Talk, with #2 appearing on Feb 7th 2018.  Trail Talk was usually published weekly including four photos, but sometimes less due to space limitations. 


In my efforts, I am deeply indebted to iNaturalist which has enabled me to identify many plants, and insects, which I could not have done just using my reference books.  I am also indebted to Thyra Knudsen for proof reading and editing my copy.

            The first photo published on Feb 21st was of MaryLyn Krauter and Pat Healey in front of the 240 year old Red Oak tree on the Sifto Loop on Feb 13th. I have picked three other photos published over the years. One is of the LIFE hikers at Naftel’s Creek in April 2019. On the right of the photo you can see Murray Lobb and Dorothy Bogie who unfortunately are no longer with us except in spirit.   LIFE hikers stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the Betty Cardno Centre has been unavailable due to renovations. Hopefully they will resume the Friday Morning hikes for Strollers and Striders before too long if enough hike leaders can be found.         The other two photos represent two of my favourites - a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail and an uncommon Fringed Gentian.

            My recent bird sightings include seeing 22 Pigeons and two Bald Eagles at Forsters

Bridge and a Belted Kingfisher on the Bayfield river on Feb 15th.



            The Coldest Night of the Year Walk is on Saturday February 24th. I know many Maitland Trail members are taking part; Shelley Worsell as part of the Manchester United team,  Brent Bowyer and Don Proctor as part of Wingham’s Willing Walkers, Dianne Wood as part of Seaforth Community Circle.  I have formed a Team “Maitland Trail Hikers”.  Instead of walking around Goderich Square, the team will hike the Maitland Trail at 80918 Sharpes Creek Line at 4pm Saturday 24th to hike  just over 5 km for about 1 ½ hours.  Everyone is welcome to join any team and/or sponsor a team member. Details at    

            Friday March 8th 4 pm the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association are hosting a heritage walk

 All participants taking part in the Maitland Trail events should sign the waiver for 2024, preferably the online version.

            Tuesday Trompers meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to hike for about an hour. If you wish to be on this email list, send an email to

            Midweek Hikers hike for 1 ½ to 2 hours on Wednesdays or Thursdays, contact Patrick Capper.

Both groups meet at 9 a.m. and are open to non-members provided they sign the MTA On-line waiver.

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



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