Trail Talk 252 March 8th 2023

The top of an ash tree that rotated 180o as it landed
Two trees joined together on the Lobb trail

There are quite a few trees along the local trails. Although I have hiked on the Lobb trail several hundred times I only very recently noticed two trees with a branch from one joined to the other one.  I suppose my focus has been more on the river and on the ground than looking upwards.  On the Mavis trail Ralph Blasting pointed out an ash tree that broke off quite high up and the top part twisted 180 degrees before landing on the ground.

Have you noticed the trees with burrs (also known as burls) on them, they often have very interesting patterns, more on them in the next Trail Talk.

I recently took part in the Great Backyard bird count on Feb 17th- 20th. Early results from 2000 countries are very interesting.  The highest participation was in the USA 188,000, India 47,000 and Canada 26,000. The most species observed were in Columbia 1265, Ecuador 1069 and India 1067 (Canada reported 250 species, with 150 species in Ontario).

Rick, Paula, Wendy, Catherine, and Gabi on the Scot Robeson bridge on the Mavis trail

On February 27th eight of us hiked the Maitland Trail and John and MaryLo Graham Nature Conservancy trails, which normally takes 1 ½ hours but with the snow it felt more like walking on a sandy beach and took us2 hours. On March 1st the Varna trails were much easier hiking as two snowshoers had packed the trail, while the trail in Bannockburn Tract was harder work.  This should not be confused with the Bannockburn Conservation area trail which, in winter, can be tricky due to a steep flight of steps and icy patches.

There is an interesting study by Emma Waddington of McMaster University that people with more experience and higher Orienteering skills have better spatial memory and navigation capabilities, regardless of age, sex or physical activity. This implies that we are better off when not just relying on our GPS systems to get where we want to go.


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

Saturday, March 18th 10 a.m. Denise Iszczuk, the conservation educator from the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, will be leading a “Species at Risk” hike. Join the hike and learn about these species and actions that we can take to protect them. Hikers are asked to park and meet at the Pavilion at 71042 Morrison Line, Exeter. Those interested in carpooling to Exeter (as driver or rider) please meet at the Clan Gregor Square pavilion at 9:15.

Saturday April 1, 7:00pm:  Candlelight Memorial Walk, Taylor Trail, Varna
Along the Taylor Trail in Varna, volunteers of Bayfield Trails and Huron Hospice will have placed hundreds of candle-lit lanterns, lighting the pine forest path. This will create an enchanted setting, providing a thoughtful venue for participants to reflect on memories of loved ones during this peaceful one-kilometer self-guided walk.
Participants can make a donation to light a candle in memory of a loved one. Memorial names will be read during the Dedication Ceremony at 8:00 PM, while walkers warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.

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