This is my personal account of hiking the Maitland Trail as part of the El Camino Event. About 200 hikers took part,of which about 70% were female and most of the ones I talked to came from London, Stratford and Kitchener Waterloo.
On May 31st 2008 I hiked the whole Maitland trail in 10 hours, at that time it was only 47.6 km long. (This was inspired by Delmar Ellis from Sarnia, who I believe was 65 years old when he hiked a similar distance on the Voyageur trail.) Having turned 80 I decided to see if I could still hike the trail in 10 hours. Fast hiking is not the best way to enjoy the scenery, but I had hiked most of the trail earlier in the year with a group at a slower pace. It took me six hours and 22 minutes for the Saturday hike of 30 km and four hours for the Sunday hike of 20 km. My problem on Saturday was that I started getting leg cramps after 25 km so climbing the 105 steps up to Cherrydale road was much slower than normal. On both days my sole separated from my boot, despite both pairs having been bought this year – one an Outbound the other a Wood hiker. The duct tape I keep in my backpack for such occasions was not necessary. (Thyra even had the same problem with an old pair of Keen boots). Now I am testing a Solomon boot.
The trail, as expected, was in great shape, there were many big signs where the trail made a sharp turn so the route was very easy to follow. The weather was great, perfect on Saturday and only a little light rain early on Sunday. The seven check points with refreshments along the way were welcome. They were manned by volunteers from the Maitland Trail Association, Huron and Area Search and Rescue, the Lower Maitland Stewardship Group and Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the Lehnen and Baker families. There were many scenic points along the route, and many late summer flowers. Various species of Golden rod were most common. Also notable were very tall Jerusalem Artichokes and in many places Spotted Knapweed and Himalayan Balsam – both alien invasive plants. The least common flowers were some blue Closed Gentian. Many Canada Geese and gulls were seen and some sparrows and several birds such as Blue Jays and Chickadees were heard but not seen. Several chipmunks, red squirrels, black squirrels and one orange butterfly, possibly a Comma, were observed. There were many different fungi, most notable were Coral Tooth fungi and Northern Tooth fungi.
Hunting season is here, including for Canada Geese Sept 8-18, And Sept 24-Dec 28, Ducks from Sept 24-Jan 8th
Deer bow hunting starts on October 1st with Deer gun hunting on Nov 6th -12th ( when most of the Maitland Trail will be closed).
The bicycle outing on September 30th has been revised to a ride on the G2G starting at the Blyth Greenway Trail at 10 am to noon. Contact Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday October 7th 9 am -11am Hike the Falls reserve with Gena Lowe. For more information and to confirm your attendance please email Gena Lowe at email@example.com.
Saturday October 13th 10 am Hike the Lobb trail with the BRVTA
Sunday October 15th 9 am to 11.30am cycle the GART-G2G from Goderich to Auburn and back Please pre-register with Sally Brodie 226-378-1648 call or text.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.