Trail Talk 152 January 6th 2021

G2G trail near Blyth

This is the time to review the past year.  I have pleasant memories of all the significant trail improvements made during 2020.  The biggest improvement has been on the G2G (Goderich to Guelph) trail which now has an excellent surface thanks to the Red crew and the many volunteers and donors that made this possible.  This work resulted in a record number of hikers and cyclists completing the whole 132 km G2G.

Bannockburn bridge half way through board replacements

The Maitland Trail crews were also busy.  There were two major reroutes, the one at around 8.5 km reduced the trail length by nearly 2km and involved a style and dog gate, the other reroute near the 45km mark that resulted in an extra 2km. The Maitland Woods trail has seen a splendid replacement of the Huckins Street area bridge and the replacement of the bridge at #6 boardwalk and the #16 and #17 boardwalks  and the addition of 3A boardwalk.  There is still ongoing battle with the beavers who like to flood the bottom of Black Hole Road.  A homeless camper set a significant fire in the Maitland Woods resulting in the removal of the camps there and a fire burnt down the cottage at River Bend.

One of many windfalls on the Maitland trail

There has been a lot of work by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation area crew at Bannockburn, as they replaced boards on the bridge and completed many other  boardwalk improvements.  The Maitland Valley Conservation Area group significantly improved the wet spots on the Naftel’s creek trail and replaced a boardwalk there. The Huron County Forest crew has also been busy with trail improvements at the  Sheppardton Tract and installing many short boardwalks at the Bannockburn Tract and other improvements such as at the Moreland Tract.  I should also mention the welcome addition of maps at Naftel’s, and at many Huron County Forest Tracts. The Bayfield River Valley trail crew was busy replacing broken boards, cutting windfalls and rerouting part of the Sawmill trail etc.  Many thanks also to Murray Lobb and Boris Decker for their ongoing improvements on the Lobb trail.  The Goderich Boardwalk suffered severe damage from a storm surge that required a massive rebuilding by the Town of Goderich.  Many of these improvements would not have been possible but for the hard work of many chain saw crews, both cutting down dead ash trees before they could fall and clearing the many windfalls, I am sure Brian McCulloch must have cleared over 50 windfalls from the Maitland trails.

This has been the first year that I have hiked every day exclusively on Huron County trails.  I have been out 740 times on 33 different trails and completed the whole Maitland Trail with some parts up to 22 times. I did venture out occasionally outside Huron County, but it was in my car or cycling on the G2G. Due to Covid restrictions the LIFE hikes stopped on March 13th, The Tuesday Trompers stopped from March 24th to June 16th inclusive and the Uneven hikes stopped from March 25th to June 17th inclusive. The Trompers averaged 14 hikers max of 20, The Uneven hikes averaged 8, max 14. Many of the LIFE hikers continued hiking in informal group.

Covid restrictions did result in some temporary trail closures and also resulted in having to schedule hikes that did not involve any carpooling.

There is a new Waiver form that is sufficient for all Maitland trail outings for the whole year.  Go the Maitland Trail web page www.maitlandtrail.ca and click on Scheduled Hikes & Waivers tab. You can then Complete the “Sign our online waiver for 2021 events”, or “Download and bring the annual waiver…”  The first option is recommended and is preferable as all hike leaders will be able to see that you have signed the waiver, and therefore you will then not need to bring a copy to every event that has a different hike leader.

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

Saturdays Jan 2nd – Feb 27th at 10 am. Hikes at Varna (Taylor and Mavis Trails)

The Bayfield River Valley Trail will lead guided hikes every Saturday in groups of up to ten, after signing appropriate waivers etc. Sign in sheets are in the Stanley complex.

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 for a one hour hike, on the Sifto loop on Jan 12th , Maitland Woods Jan 19th in groups up to 10 people.

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 Wednesday January 13th.    Contact pcapper.

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