Trail Talk 250 February 15th 2023

In the last Trail talk I forgot to pay tribute to John Hazlitt who died on Jan 13th at the age of 81.  He was a great promoter of the Maitland Woods and in 2009 published a booklet on the species in it. With his guidance I erected the tree and shrubs signs there.  He also made the original km posts along the Maitland Trail. He led many hikes on the trail and a particular favourite was the one between Jenkins and River Bend, when he would talk about the scheme in the early 1900s of building a dam to create a lake and hydro plant. The scheme fell through after a promoter absconded with the funds.  He built a replica of the hydroelectric scheme which was displayed at the museum.  He also co-authored a book The Power of the Maitland” on the many dams and mills in the Maitland Valley.  He mentions “Spring Lake Creek” which can be seen at the North end of the Menesetung Trail. This creek has been incorrectly called Bissett or Silver Creek.

A stump in the Robertson Tract

On Saturday Feb 4th it was still on the cold side when I decided to hike the Varna trails at 10 am but did not check the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association website beforehand.  I was not too surprised to find only one couple from Zurich had turned up. We hiked the Taylor and Mavis trails without any problem.  On my return I checked the Website to find the official hike had been cancelled due to concerns about the weather.

A pool at the edge of the Maitland river on Feb 5th

On Sunday I hiked the Maitland Trail at the Auburn end, and was glad that hiking on much of it had been made easier due to Snowmobile tracks.  I noticed that the Robertson Tract sign had permitted and prohibited uses, however snowmobiling was in neither list!  (There is no longer an official snowmobile trail in the area.) Although I have seen deer in that area in summer time, I did not see any deer tracks, just coyote/fox tracks. In contrast on my Monday hike on the Front road trail there was an abundance of deer tracks and only one or two of fox/coyote. On Wednesday returning to the Auburn end trail more snowmobiles had been on the trails and Faye Ribey spotted one deer track.

An unusual hanging windfall between 31 and 32 km on the Maitland trail

On a wet Thursday there were no geese or ducks near Forsters  bridge and I only saw 4 geese on the river near the Lobb trail.  There is an unusual windfall on the Maitland Trail between 31 and 32km that is hung up about a foot from the trail because a sizable limb has caught on an adjacent tree.


Hikers taking part in Maitland Trail events should now sign the 2023 Waiver on the MTA website.

Saturdays  10 a.m. on Feb 18th and Feb 25th join Ralph Blasting of the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association on the Mavis and Taylor trails near Varna.

Saturday February 25th 4.45 p.m at the Legion in Goderich. Walkers can choose a two- or five-kilometre route around Courthouse Square.   The 2023 Coldest Night of the Year walk is also taking place in Exeter and Wingham as well as in over 180 other communities across Canada. All of the funds raised in Goderich will aid the United Way Perth-Huron’s local work in support of the Huron Homeless Initiative. To register as an individual or team, or to make a donation, visit

Saturday March 4th 10 a.m. International Women’s day hike on the Bayfield Woodland trail. Meet at the David street entrance. Lead by the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association

Sunday March 5th 1pm  Snowshoe/hike the Maitland trail and John and Marylo Graham Nature Conservancy trails for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Meet near 80965 Sharpes Creek Line (near Bishop’s Road). For more information and to preregister for the hike, please contact Patrick Capper at 519 606-0016 or

Tuesday Trompers meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to hike for about an hour  If you wish to be on this email list, send an email to All hikers must sign the waiver, preferably the Online waiver at www.maitland This winter the Trompers usually hike in the Maitland Woods and on the Sifto loop/GART.

Uneven Hikers hike for 1 ½ to 2 hours on Wednesdays or Thursdays, contact Patrick Capper. Both groups meet at 9 a.m. and are open to non-members provided they sign the MTA on-line waiver.

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