Trail Talk 104 February 5th 2020

On Sunday Jan 26th the Maitland trail hike at Sheppardton tract had the largest turn out I can remember (other than the Camino and candlelit events). Due to the mild weather the trail was unusually wet however nearly everyone was well prepared with rubber boots. Joe Freeman and his sister Lois Straughan grew up next to the tract and remember planting some trees

Crossing the Wettest spot at Sheppardton Tract

there when it was just a bare field.  We were treated hot apple cider at a bonfire organized by Dave Pullen and his Huron county helpers.

Sheppardton Tract was purchased in 1946 for the purpose of restoring forest cover on marginal farmland. In partnership with the County, the Province of Ontario, and local community groups, planted over 395,000

Hikers at the Sheppardton Tract parking lot

trees between 1946 and 1954.  The 280 acre tract is the largest of the 14 Huron County forest Tracts was named for the nearby settlement of Sheppardton. The high water table and soil profile of sand over clay would have made farming very difficult for the early 1870s settlers.  The tract has more red pines than any other Huron County tract. The tract also has numerous white pines and white spruce trees and some large European Larch trees which normally prefer dryer soil.

The Friday 27 LIFE hikers enjoyed the Varna and Bannockburn trails, this also being the highest number I can remember for a Friday hike.

On Monday along a trail by the Bayfield river there was evidence of a murder, some small pieces of grey fur, a little blood and wing marks on the snow which indicated a bird- probably an owl had swooped down and caught a rabbit.

I am hoping that the candlelit walk will have good conditions, some snow but not too much – this makes the woods quite enchanting in the glow of the candles and lanterns, and I hope it is not too cold as this makes the job of lighting the candles more difficult. The long term forecast is for snow on that day with a nighttime low of -6 degrees which would be ideal.  It is well worth the 30 minute walk to see the results of the creative artwork from the  lantern making workshops.


Friday Feb 7th 7:30-9:00 p.m. Candlelit Walk in the Maitland Woods . See details on the Maitland Trail website If you have never been be sure not to miss this walk and enjoy the cider and snacks afterwards in the Knights of Columbus Centre.

Sunday Feb 9th 2-4 p.m.  Roger Goddard will give a talk “All about Birds” at the Goderich Library  Contact: Roger Goddard (519) 612-1236

Saturday Feb 15th 1:30  to ski at John Goldie Reserve  at a moderate pace for 1 ½ hours. If conditions are poor this will be  hiking instead of skiing.

Contact Con Melady (519) 524-8730 to pre-register and for details about location and carpooling.

Mid Week Hikes

The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at  9 a.m. Contact Al Sanders at

The Uneven Hikers meet on Wednesday or Thursday. Hikes start at 9 a.m. for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. We hike only on the odd dates. e.g Wednesday Feb 5th and Thursday Feb 13th .   Contact

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:10 at the Betty Cardno Centre in Clinton  and hike for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours, one group at a moderate the other group at a moderately fast pace. Contact