Trail Talk 299 February 14th 2024

Hiking at the Falls Reserve Feb 4th
Highbush Cranberries

The hike at the Falls Reserve Conservation area on February 4th was quite spectacular with frost on many plants making interesting patterns.  I posted several photos from that hike on the Maitland Trail Facebook page.  The trails were mostly bare, with only a few snow covered parts.  The Hullett Sugar Bush trails were mostly snow covered , while the Maitland Woods, Varna and Bannockburn trails were mucky. The section of the Maitland Trail between River Line and Sharpes Creek Line was mostly bare except for some snow patches, which were quite deep on Snowdrift hill at about the 30.8km mark.

                I keep seeing many Golden Eye on the Maitland River and a few mergansers, as well as the ubiquitous Canada Geese. I saw two bald eagles in the past week, one flying from a tree at the edge of the Maitland River and the other flying over Hwy 8 between Clinton and Goderich. Another surprise was seeing a flock of over 40 Wild Turkeys near the road leading into Bannockburn Tract. This is the biggest flock of turkeys I have seen in Huron County though several years ago I saw a flock of over 100 on St Joseph’s Island.     

The Maitland River Feb 4th

                With this strange warm February, not only are Skunk cabbages, poking up from the ground, but also some daffodils.

                On Wednesday afternoon, while the Maitland Trail maintenance crew was cutting four windfalls in the John and Marylo Graham Nature Conservancy trail, I went on my bicycle in my rubber boots to clear some culverts at the Clinton Conservancy area, as water was overflowing the causeway.  Unfortunately while bending over to pull debris from a culvert I slipped into the Bayfield River. ( it is less than 2 feet deep there. I had taken the precaution of taking my hearing aid off and had left my car keys at home, so all I ended up with were some wet clothes and wallet. My efforts were rewarded so that after supper there was no water overflowing the causeway.

                The coldest night of the year walk is on February 24th I know many Maitland Trail members are taking part, such as Shelley Worsell as part of the Manchester United team,  Brent Bowyer and Don Proctor as part of Wingham’s Willing Walkers , Dianne Wood as part of Seaforth Community Circle. Beth Ross as part of Lakeshore United’s team.  I have formed a Team “Maitland Trail Hikers”.  Instead of walking round Goderich Square the team will hike the Maitland Trail at 80918 Sharpes Creek Line at 4pm Saturday 24th to hike  just over 5 km for about 1 ½ hours.  Everyone is welcome to join any team and/or sponsor a team member.

Notes:

                Reminder that the Lobb Trails are now closed to the public

                Monday February 19th 10 am Join the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association for a Family Day hike on the Taylor and Mavis Trails at Varna.  For more information contact Ralph Blasting at 519-525-3205 or rjblastingjr@gmail.com   

                Saturday February 24th Coldest Night of the Year walk a fund raiser for the homeless . The main event starts at the Goderich Legion Register at 4pm start at 5pm. Some groups set their own time and place. Details at https://cnoy.org/location/goderich.    The Maitland Trail Hikers team will hike from 80918 Sharpes Creek Line at 4pm

 All participants taking part in the Maitland Trail events should sign the waiver for 2024, preferably the online version.

                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 mta@maitlandtrail.ca

                Midweek 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 pcapper99@gmail.com.