Trail Talk 143 November 4th 2020

The Scott Robeson bridge
Some of the thousands of mushrooms

The Taylor and Mavis trails are so much better than when I first hiked the Varna trails in 2006.  At that time the trails were listed as Municipality of Bluewater trail – the Front trail and Back trail. The Front trail (now renamed the Taylor trail) did not have the semi asphalt surface and, one stretch of it, was often very wet.  The trail on the East side of the road was totally different, you had to jump across a creek and then part of the trail was so close to the garbage dump that garbage had been blown onto it.  I was so glad when the new route was created. The Mavis trail that replaced it, used to go down to the creek and up the bank on the other side before the Scott Robeson bridge was installed. The trail had a few tripping stump hazards, now the only thing to be wary of is the natural tree roots.  These improvements were made possible by landowner permission and  the hard work of the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association work crew.

The Bayfield River From the Mavis trail

On the loop section, there is a bench where there is a spectacular view of the Bayfield river.  On my Wednesday walk there were thousands of grey mushrooms among the pine trees, I had never seen so many, often I could count 200 without moving from one spot. I am not sure of the species.

Memories of the trail include seeing plums on a tree by the Hills Crossing bridge, the only place I have seen wild plums.  One day on quite a calm day while hiking the Mavis trail, I heard a noise and watched a tree fall over (it was not near the trail). I had never seen a windfall in action before.  On a winter’s hike I came across a iphone on top of the snow.  As it was password protected I had great difficulty tracing the owner, which I finally did through the Bayfield Breeze.

There are many colourful leaves on the trails, but few wild flowers still in bloom. An exception were some thin leaved coneflowers still in bloom on Monday October 26th on the Clinton Conservation area trail.  The culverts where the trail crosses the river had been blocked by beavers, but after clearing the debris I managed to cross over without getting wet feet.

Thinking about wild plums reminds me that in Diana Beresford Kroeger’s  book , “To Speak for the Trees”, mentions that the red haws from hawthorns are sweet after a frost and are good for heart health, and are used in production of modern vasodilators.  The Rowan tree – otherwise known as the Mountain ash has red berries that are poisonous if not cooked,  but after cooking they can be used as a stimulant. Apple skin when eaten is an important emulsifying agent for digestion. However, I wonder if they are not “organic” apples if this is more than offset by any pesticide residue they might contain.

Notes:  Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others.

Deer gun hunting began on Monday November 2nd and continues to Sunday November 8th when the Maitland Trail, Bayfield Woodland  and Lobb trails among others will be closed. The GART, G2G, Maitland Woods, Millennium, and most of the other local trails will remain open.

Tuesday November 17th 2 p.m.  Join the Bayfield Trail Association for “Take a Hike Day” on the Taylor and Mavis Trails. Meet at the Stanley Complex near Varna.  Leaders: Gary Mayell 519-441-0141, Wayne Nielsen

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 29th   Contact pcapper.

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