Trail Talk 196 November 24th 2021

A Cucumber Tree

I rely on the Huron County Hiking Guide for much of my information on the local trails. I have been checking out the 2021guide at htpp//issuu.com/huroncounty/docs/2021_hiking_guide. This now lists nine more trails than in the old guide.  Most of the new additions are from the listing of Huron County Forest Tracts that were not in the older guides.  These are: the Taylor Tract, the Stingel Tract, the Sheppardton Tract, the Moreland Tract, the Robertson Tract, the Rea Memorial Tract and the Bannockburn Tract.  Two short trails were also added : The Tranquility Trail (0.4km) and the Bayfield River Flats trail (0.7 km). The only trail I have never been on is the Taylor trail, which is 2 km long and near Fordwich , making it too far for me to travel for  only a 2 km hike.  One omission for the guide is the Front Road trail which is one I often use (118 times in 2020), as it is only 4.8 km from where I live.  If you head East from Clinton on highway 8 then the first road to the South is Front Road.  The trail entrance is on the West side just after crossing the Bayfield River and before crossing the railway. It is an Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Trail which does not allow hunting. The loop of 1.6 km takes about 30 minutes to hike.  It contains some deciduous trees and a lot of pine trees many of which have died. One tree recently planted by ASCA had me puzzled, it turned out to be a Cucumber tree (magnolia acuminate). The name Cucumber tree refers to the unripe fruit, which is green and often shaped like a small cucumber; the fruit matures to a dark red color and is 6–8 cm long and 4 cm broad. It is the hardiest magnolia which can grow to 80 feet, and, like other magnolias, has tepals which are intermediate between petals and sepals.

Hiking at Lobbs recently  I saw two windfalls. One cedar fell across the trail, and another large maple tree including its large root ball, fortunately fell away from the trail.  I watched a hawk fly along the Maitland river and settle on a branch, but as I got my binoculars out it flew off and was pursued by a much smaller bird.  The only other birds on the river were eight Canada geese which were unusually quiet.

On Tuesday November 16th there was a big difference between Clinton which had about 2-3 inches of snow and Goderich which had very little.  I hiked in the Maitland Woods with Sadie, Sharon Johnson’s dog . The trail was very wet and muddy in many places with a little snow on a few of the boardwalks. The culvert from the pond at #8 boardwalk was partially plugged so some water was overflowing the trail, but the Maitland Trail Work crew quickly remedied the situation,  before resuming their work or improving some of the boardwalks.

Anne, Ria, Paula and Richard on the G2G west of Blyth

On Wednesday 17th we hiked on the G2G West of Blyth which unlike Goderich and Port Albert had quite a bit of snow on the trail.

You may see some small blue flags along the Maitland Trail.  These were installed to guide ‘The Bad Thing” runners .

Notes:

The Maitland and Lobb trails are closed from November 29th  to December 5th due to gun deer hunting. This does not include the Falls Reserve, GART, Maitland Woods, Millennium or Sifto trails.

The remains of the bridge on the Hullett blue trail

The Hullett blue trail from the parking lot at 80602 Wildlife line has the broken boards from an unsafe bridge removed, so it is advisable to avoid this trail unless you wear waterproof footwear.

The Bayfield Trail is closed until January 1st

Duck hunting season started on September 25th

The section of the Maitland trail from 7.9 km to 10.5 km is closed until the end of the year.

Tuesday Trompers hike for about an hour, contact Al Sanders at allan.sanders@hurontel.on.ca.

Uneven Hikers hike for 1 ½ to 2 hours on Wednesdays or Thursdays, contact Patrick Capper. Both groups meet at 9 a.m.

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 pcapper99@gmail.com.