Trail Talk 201 December 29th 2021

“Get Outside and into Nature” is a recommendation from the David Sukuki Foundation. It states in their Newsletter that, “Research shows that time spent in nature makes people happier, healthier and less stressed. It increases creativity and lowers the risk of heart attacks.  It even makes us nicer and more empathetic.  A 50 minute walk in nature – even in colder months- can improve memory and focus by 20 per cent.  As little as 10 to 20 minutes a day can make a big difference. It suggest:  Exercise outside, Snowshoe, Watch for wildlife, Find footprints, Play -skate, run, toboggan , Look up-cloud watch. This pandemic has been a reminder that people trapped inside in windowless settings are more anxious, hostile, depressed and less productive.  Even if you can’t get outside, uncover your windows so you can look out and let natural light shine in.”

Skunk Cabbage coming up in the Maitland Woods

So why not try to explore as many of the 38 Huron County trails listed in the Hiking Guide available On-line or at the local library.  If you are snow shoeing or skiing you should avoid those trails or parts of trails that have stairs or steps.   These include the Bayfield Woodland Trail, parts of the Maitland Trail such as that between Sharpes Creek Line and B. Edgar (Boundary) bridge, and the steps down from Cherrydale road. The Exeter trails on the South side of the Ausable river are fine but there are stairs on the North side of the river.

On a hike at Exeter on Friday I was surprised to see no evidence of windfalls from the recent high winds. On Thursday when we again had strong winds I hiked at the Clinton Conservation area which I thought was fairly safe for windfalls, and noticed no windfalls across the trail but a few that were well away from the trail, evidence of the proactive felling of  dead ash trees that were near the trail.

Linda and Jan and other Trompers in the Maitland Woods

On Tuesday December 21st  twenty Trompers hiked the Maitland Woods to celebrate the winter solstice.

There were still quite a few wet spots along the trail and some skunk cabbages were coming up at #6 boardwalk area. Many squirrels and chickadees were seen.

A Kelly Kettle boiling water

If you have ever back packed and needed to pack in a stove and bottles of fuel, one alternative I only recently learned about was the Kelly Kettle which the McQuails used on their back country trip in Killarney Provincial Park. It is a very efficient way to boil water using just very small twigs. They are available at Canadian Outdoor Equipment  see  I realize that the kettle could be used whenever there is a power outage and you need boiling water as the kettle only needs a small amount of very small twigs.  When I back packed I always took a small aluminium kettle that my father had in his youth 100 years ago.  The first thing I did after setting up the tent was to boil water and have a cup of soup.

The Maitland trail now has a pocket addition of the guidebook $15 for non members, $13 for members. Available from the Maitland Trail or at Finchers, River Line Nature Company, The Book Pedler and Benmiller Inn.

If you renew your MTA membership by December 31st you will be entered in a draw for the guide and a T shirt.

Remember to stay off the local trails when there are strong winds


Saturday January 15th 11 a.m. at Varna.  Join the Bayfield river Valley Trail Association on the Taylor and Mavis trail.  Those who are double vaccinated can enjoy a hot dog lunch in the pavilion.  This is also an opportunity to take or renew your membership.

The Falls Reserve is closed until the end of May, except for the Maitland Trail’s main trail with white blazes and the blue blazed trail.  This is due to work on installing a new septic system.

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 ends on Jan 8th

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

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

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