I love this time of year for hiking, few if any bugs to bother you, no problem with heat stress, lots of interesting fall flowers to see and some lovely colours as the leaves turn to all different shades of yellow, orange and red. If you are into bicycling this is a great time to get out on the G2G trail with the great new surface and no time for any weeds to have come up.
Some of the flowers seen during the past week include Jerusalem artichokes (they look like a tall sunflowers) there are large patches on the Maitland Trail near the 25 km mark- ( enjoyed on the Maitland trail outing on Saturday). There is an even larger patch near the Maitland Cemetery trail ( enjoyed by 19 Tuesday Trompers) -you take the trail to the east of the lookout and then go down the hill until just before you reach the river. New England asters can be seen in a lot of places (mostly violet but some paler). Closed gentian were at about 28.9 km on the Maitland Trail, fringed gentian on the Bayfield Trail Zavitz loop. There were some autumn Crocus , colchicum a domestic plant, commonly known as naked ladies by the side of the Blyth Greenway trail and at the Redmond Tract, where there were many white snakeroot. At Forester’s bridge on Sharpes Creek line I saw bouncing bet (soapwort) and bur marigolds.. On the Bayfield and the Front road trail there are the fruits of the white baneberry (dolls eyes) and red baneberries (reddish berries). There are about nine varieties of golden rod in Ontario, tall goldenrod being the most common in our area. Jewelweed, also known as touch-me-not, has two species, the one with yellow flowers is pale jewelweed, and the one with orange flowers is spotted jewelweed. The touch-me- not name is due to the seed pods springing open when held. Himalayan balsam is closely related to jewelweed as part of the impatiens family, it is an alien invasive as is spotted knapweed both are common on many of our trails at this time of year. There are also a wonderful variety of mushrooms including giant puffballs .
On Thursday Sept 10th I had an easy day hiking the 4.2 km on the Lobb trail using the third cut off. This is the best trail for Chewy as it is wide, and due to Murray Lobb’s work, there are virtually no plants with seeds that stick in Chewy’s hair near the trail. This was important as he was getting a haircut that afternoon.
On Friday I hiked 4.3 km at Naftel’s Creek Conservation area. I followed the trail close to the creek and saw one fish that had so far escaped the fishermen’s lures. I am always amazed at how fish manage to navigate up the creek as there are so many windfalls etc. blocking the way upstream. I noticed quite a lot of red oak acorns on the blue trail. I suspect this must be a “mast” year. A mast year is when trees such as beech and oaks produce a very large crop of nuts or acorns. The term “mast” apparently comes from an old English word meaning fat or food. By producing a huge crop there is too much food for squirrels and pigs to eat so more acorns are likely to become saplings. However I have never seen beech nuts in Huron County but beech nuts were a common sight when I lived in England.
On Thursday Sept 17th as I had not checked their website so we found that Wawanosh Nature trails were closed as they were removing the invasive buckthorns. Therefore we went to the Redmond Tract and explored many loops and so at one point we wondered if we were lost ( O4 on the bingo card).
This is the time of year when you are most likely to be stung by yellow jackets or wasps. They often nest in holes on the ground and the first sign is when you step on the hole and they come out and sting you. It is interesting that on the reroute in the Robertson Tract some hikers have been bothered by wasps, but although I have walked it many times I have never been bothered.
One afternoon I was surprised by a groundhog dashing right in front of me as it left a soybean field, this was the first groundhog I have seen for a long time. I still see some Monarch butterflies, but the hummingbirds seem to have left for the south. When checking out an egret at Forester’s bridge, I did not get a good look at it before it flew away but saw two leopard frogs.
Notes Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others
The Woodland Arboretum Nature trail is closed across the bridge at the pond for an unknown time.
There is now a reroute on Maitland Trail between 9.6 and 10.2 km. This directs hikers onto Black Hole road until rejoining the old trail near River Bend.
Turkey Hunting season is Oct 1-31st for bow hunting, Oct 13-25th for gun hunting, when the Bayfield Woodland trail will be closed.
The logging at Lobbs is now not expected until after the Soy bean crop has been harvested.
Saturday October 18th at 9 a.m. Hike the Hullett Sugar Bush trails. Meet at 80602 Wildlife Line for a hike of about 1 ½. Bring your own pen to sign the waiver sheet. Leader Patrick Capper.
Saturday Oct 25th at 2 p.m. Join the Bayfield Trail Association for a hike at Naftel’s
Tuesday Trompers meet at 9 a.m. every week at different trails for a one hour hike.
Uneven day hikers meet at 8:30a.m. for 1 ½ to 2 hour hike on Wednesday or Thursday whichever has an odd date, e.g Thursday October 1st. Contact pcapper.
If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at email@example.com.