Trail Talk 159 February 24th 2021

Another clue to the unidentified trail

How well do you know the Huron County Trails? Which trail are these on?

What trail is this bird house on?

Last week’s photo was of a decorative bird house (probably not used) on the Mavis Trail. If you did not recognize the bird house, you might have recognized the little blue arrow that is used by the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association on the trails they maintain.   If you look closely at these signs you will see that they are not tightly fastened to the tree, so that the tree can grow and not imbed the sign.   At various places on our trails you can see barbed wire that is thoroughly imbedded into the tree.   There are several viewpoints about trail signage. One is that only paint should be used on living trees, and nails or screws should only be used on dead trees or posts.  The reason is that any hole in a tree is a potential source for a disease or an insect to get in.  Another view point is that all nails or screws used should be aluminum so that if the tree is ever logged and goes to a sawmill an aluminum nail will not cause problems compared to a steel nail.  The Voyageur trail used to only paint blazes, but with so few maintenance workers they changed to use vinyl blazes installed with aluminum nails. The advantage being they lasted much longer than paint and, when an injured hiker was rescued at dusk the vinyl blazes made it much easier for the rescue party to find the trail.  However I have seen some of the Voyageur trail logos very imbedded into some trees.  One other viewpoint is that blazes should be minimized as too many are a visual pollution.  Unfortunately this makes it easier to miss a turn off a wide logging road and hikers are used to not having a blaze always in sight.

The Taylor and Mavis trail start at the Stanley Complex just 1.6 km West of Varna.  (The Features image is also taken on the Taylor trail).

A bridge on the Taylor trail

One advantage of these trails is the excellent parking area at the Stanley Recreation complex that plowed all winter.  The trails also remain open during the hunting seasons.  The only time I remember them being closed was after a windstorm caused many windfalls. Guided hikes are offered again by the Bayfield River Trail Association members starting on Saturday Feb 20th at 10 a.m.  The Bayfield members have done an excellent job of installing many bridges and trail improvements and maintaining the trails..  On Sunday morning Feb 14th I was the first person on the Taylor trail at just past ten, but some animal had walked the trail before me- probably a fox. I also saw three cardinals.     On Tuesday I was snow shoeing the trail round our garden and nearly stepped on a vole. I don’t know who was the most surprised, it hurried away above the snow before I could take a photo of it.  The Monday night’s (Feb 15th) snowfall made for a good workout snow shoeing, but Boris was out early Tuesday morning grooming the Lobb trail. I now often see several Golden Eye on the Maitland river and sometimes a few common mergansers.

I was typing up my aunt’s journal including a visit to the London zoo in April 1922. She learnt from a giraffe’s keeper, that it ate elm leaves, in fact they were the only leaves in England that the giraffe could or would eat and that she also ate potatoes. I wonder if this is still true of all giraffes in England which could be a problem with the prevalence of Dutch elm disease.  I wonder what the giraffes in Canada eat.

Be careful where you park. Someone parked on Cherrydale road near the Maitland trail access point. The problem was that the snow plough could not get past and so Cherrydale road was not ploughed. A similar incident happened on Pinery Line. Please be careful where you park and make sure that there is room for a snow plough to get past. Even on School House road it is better to park on the North side as several times I have seen a long truck turning onto Maitland Line which is difficult when vehicles are on both sides of the road.

I certainly don’t hike the Cherrydale section of the Maitland Trail when there is a lot of snow as 104 steps covered with snow are too hazardous for my liking.

The Coldest night of the year walk is on Feb20th and is a fund raiser for support those who are homeless s, precariously housed, etc. in Huron County.  I suspect that this year our coldest night will have been on Feb 16th I see that 190 walkers are taking part and many teams have already exceeded their fund raising goal.

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

The Tuesday Trompers and Uneven hikers are back to a normal schedule as are the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association hikes on h te Taylor and Mavis trails on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m.

Trails are all open but snow shoes may often be advisable. It is always good to get out and enjoy nature but the Woodlands Nature trail is still probably closed past the bridge due to uncleared storm damage.

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