Trail Talk 146 November 25th 2020

Lobb trail on Nov 18th

On Friday Thyra was hiking on the G2G near Monkton and saw a garter snake on the trail, this may be one of the last sightings of a garter snake this year, as it is round about this time that snakes retire to a hibenaculum. This is typically a place over six feet deep filled with rocks where they can overwinter above the frost line and above the water table.  Unfortunately on our property the water table is only about three feet below the surface which makes it unsuitable for a hibernaculum.  The most famous hibernaculum is at Narcisse which is about 1 ½ hours drive north of Winnipeg, where around Mother’s day about 50,000 red sided garter snakes emerge. Garter snakes are harmless and, in the unlikely event they bite, there is no venom, unlike the Mississauga rattle snake which can be found on the Bruce peninsula.

On Saturday I resumed my bicycle ride on the G2G and have now reached Elmira with about 30 km left to reach the end, which I plan to do in two more rides – cycling in and back to the car.  The trail was being very well used by individuals and families walking and cycling. There were still some apples on the trees along the trail, but I suspect the strong winds on Sunday will have brought them all down.   I have to admire Diane Livingstone who ran 114 km from Guelph to Blyth on a recent weekend.

Periwinkle at River Line Nov 14th

On Saturday morning at River Line there was lovely fern and four periwinkle flowers in bloom, but there were no flowers on the patch on the Lobb trail.  Part of the upper trail at Lobb’s has been closed due to the risk of limbs falling from the dead trees.  (After a short while, look for the sign and stakes crossing the harvested field and then down the lane to rejoin the upper trail.)

Lately I have been watching hundreds of geese, which fly over in the late afternoon in several quite large flocks heading westwards, still seem to be in training flights.

The Clinton Conservation area trail was again inaccessible across the path as the culverts were partially blocked with debris washed down after the recent heavy rain, causing water to overflow the path. However after clearing the debris we were able to cross over on November 18th.

Windfall on the Mavis Trail Nov 17th

The Bayfield River Valley Trail hike on the Varna and Taylor trails was cancelled due to 3 windfalls across the trail and concern about a leaner over the trail

The Tuesday Tromp on November 17th was at Lobb’s with 13 hikers out braving the cold.  There was only an occasional patch of snow, before the significant snowfall starting around noon.  The weekend wind brought down three trees across the trail, which were cleared on Monday (I assume by Murray and Boris-thanks).

I am stepping down from being in charge of the Tromper sign-up sheets.  I took over from Wendy Hoernig in 2011.  One problem is that in winter the Tuesday Tromp is often in the Maitland Woods.  Chewy now has little eyesight left and finds boardwalks very difficult, especially if the boards are not close together and evenly spaced. The result is that I have to carry him over many of the Maitland Woods boardwalks.  He is also very slow when hiking on narrow trails making it difficult for us to keep up with the group. In the cold weather he is also reluctant to go on long walks.  I have enjoyed the company of the Trompers and miss the snacks and social time at the end of the hikes. When moving to the area in 2006 I found there was a wealth of local information in the group from the members, so if no one knew the answer to a questions someone always seemed to know someone who would know the answer.  Faye Ribey has kindly offered to take over the sign-up responsibility.

The Tuesday Trompers started in 1998. That spring the Newsletter stated “ We have heard that people would like to have a specific time and place during the week where they could meet other ‘walk minded’ people and walk in different locations- around the Town/Village, perhaps sections of the Maitland Trail or other conservation areas.” I started keeping track in 2011 when average turnout was 16.which is typical for most years and peaked at 23 in 2016, when 85 people participated visiting 34 different locations throughout the year. So far in 2020 the average is 13 per week and a maximum of 20 on one occasion with 45 hikers taking part. This reduction is mostly due to Covid-19 concerns which included a 13 week shutdown.

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

The Maitland Trail and the Lobb trail among others will be closed from Monday November 30th  to Sunday December 6th due to deer gun hunting season.

The Woodlands Nature trail is still probably closed past the bridge due to uncleared storm damage.

The Lobb trail may be closed for logging, timing uncertain.

Tuesday Trompers meet at 9 a.m. every week at different trails for a one hour hike.

Uneven day hikes meet at 9 a.m. every week on Wednesday or Thursday whichever has an odd date, e.g. Wednesday Dec 23rd.

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at pcapper99@gmail.com.