Trail Talk 150 December 23rd 2020

Front Road trail Dec 9th 2017
Front Road trail Dec 13th 2020

When I hiked the Front Road trail on Sunday,  I noticed that the Bayfield river was well up and nearly reaching the little bench.  I recalled that I had taken a photo at that location in December 2017, for the first time that I had been the author of Trail Talk.  It was submitted to the Focus, but the photo was never published.  I thought it interesting to compare the picture from 3 years ago. The 2017 photo shows that there was a lot more snow then and the river was significantly lower (The date stamp of 2016 is incorrect).

I love the effect of snow on the landscape whether it is on the tree branches or making pattern on the forest floor.  There can be amazing drifts which are quite beautiful, unless they are across your driveway when you want to get your vehicle out.

The first Saturday hike by the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association, unsurprisingly, had a low turnout due to the steady rain. I hiked the trail a little earlier when the rain was only light and watched a Hairy woodpecker flying from tree to tree.

On Thursday Brian McCullough and his helpers had a busy morning cutting the many windfalls on the Morris Tract and River Bend trails, and reported that despite the Black Hole road being flooded by the gate they managed to walk across the beaver dam without getting wet feet.

On Wednesday at Lobbs it was quite chilly with the East wind, and floating down the Maitland river, which did not yet have any ice, were about 100 Canada geese.

Now that we are in the early stages of winter it is time to think about snowshoes or icers.  There are many types of snow shoes, my advice is to make sure you check out how easy it is to adjust and fasten the straps, some otherwise excellent snowshoes have very tricky bindings.  Please try them out before joining any snowshoe outing, it is not fair to keep other members waiting  in the cold, while you try to figure out how to put them on and adjust the bindings.

Sometime in the winter and/or spring our trails get icy, this is especially true of the trails that get a lot of traffic such as the GART.  Icers make a huge difference in the likelihood of falling. I have noticed that the design of most icers is a big improvement over the ones commonly available a few years ago.  I still find the Cadillac version is the ones sold by Lee valley, however they are much more expensive at $59.50 than most other ones such as Maxxdry Gripons at $21.99 or Stabilicers at $26.83.   I prefer the ones with studs rather than ones with coils which tend to clog up with snow.

Notes:  Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others. Please don’t attend if unwell.

 Saturdays Dec 12th – Feb 27th at 10 am. Hikes at Varna (Taylor and Mavis Trails)

The Bayfield River Valley Trail will lead guided hikes every Saturday except Dec 26th, for groups of up to 10  people after signing appropriate waivers etc. Sign in sheets are in the Stanley complex.

Friday January 1st at 2 p.m. at the Falls Reserve . Call Wendy Hoernig 519-525-6976 or Faye Ribey 519-524-2020 is you plan to come

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 one hour hike, alternating between the Sifto loop Dec 29th, Maitland Woods Jan 5th, Sifto Jan 12th etc. If more than 10 people attend the group will be split into two groups

Uneven day hikers meet at 9 a.m.  for 1 ½ to 2 hour hike on Wednesday or Thursday whichever has an odd date, e.g Thursday December 31st.    Contact pcapper.

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