Trail Talk February 17th 2021

What trail is this little bird house on?

How well do you know the Huron County Trails? Which trail is this little bird house on?

Last week’s photo was of the bird feeder on the Lobb trail.  It is on the Upper Trail just past the third cut off. Colleen regularly puts bird feed in it in the morning during the winter, as do other hikers sometimes .

Boris Decker grooming the Lobb trail

The Lobb trail is a great hiking trail, thanks to the hard work of Murray Lobb and Boris Decker, not only packing the trail, but also building and upgrading the bridges where the trail crosses small creeks. The one just past the second cut off on the upper trail often has one or two small fishes in the pool. It is interesting to see that the bridges with gaps between boards of less than 1 inch are fully snow covered, while the bridges with boards with gaps of over an inch are only partly snow covered. There are a good variety of flowers in the spring, and a couple of nice picnic spots by the river.

A recent addition has been a fairy door cut into a stump. Chewy likes the trail as it is nice and wide and he does not bump into things (due to very poor eyesight) as often as on other trails.  The trail is very popular these days as walking is great on the hard packed trail and quite a few skiers also use the trail.  When I do a one hour loop I go just past the third cut off to check out the feeder then back track to the cut off.  There is usually a small flock of chickadees  at the feeder– sometimes as many as a dozen.  The black squirrels rapidly disappear when I get near.  Other birds I have seen there, in approximate order of how commonly I have seen them are: juncos, blue jays, nuthatches, downy, hairy and red bellied woodpeckers and cardinals.  I often see Canada geese and common mergansers on the Maitland river while hiking the trail. On Wednesday Feb 10th I was surprised to see four ducks on the river as I had not seen any ducks or geese for several weeks. On checking I determined they were not common mergansers or mallards, they had a head similar to a buffle head but black, but they flew off before I could get a proper look at them. I have often seen squirrels and chipmunks and occasionally seen deer, raccoons and a fox, and had reports of a beaver being seen. I have also seen snapping turtles and frogs.

Sign at Lobb’s near 2nd cut off.

The trail is closed for the two weeks of deer gun hunting, and when there are logging operations.  The lower trail between the first and second cutoff occasionally floods when the Maitland River water levels are high.  The packed trail makes excellent winter walking, however it also means that in the spring there are many icy spots so that in order to be safe icers are necessary.

On Monday morning  Feb 8th at -13 C Chewy decided it was too cold for a walk, unlike some teenage boys I saw near the Clinton Tim Hortons who thought -10 was a great time to wear shorts and have bare legs!  I agree with Chewy and find my tolerance for sub zero temperatures is much less than when I was younger. But by 3.30 on Monday afternoon at -9 C Chewy and I had a nice walk at Lobbs.  I get rather jealous of hikers whose hands get so warm that they take their gloves off, while even with double gloves I often have to have hand warmers as well.  I have rechargeable hand warmers which I find great for 45 minutes but I believe they are no longer available.

The Coldest night of the year walk is on Feb20th and is a fund raiser for support those who are homeless  http://cnoy.org/location/goderich s, precariously housed, etc. in Huron County.  I suspect that this year our coldest night will have been on Feb 16th

Notes:  Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others.

All scheduled hikes were cancelled during the lockdown, but as of Feb 18th , the Tuesday Trompers are back (at Sifto Feb 23rd) Bayfield Trail Varna hikes at 10 a.m. Sat Feb 20th  and Uneven hikers on 18th (17th was too cold).

All trail are open but most need snow shoes.

The Woodlands Nature trail is still probably closed past the bridge due to uncleared storm damage.

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at pcapper99@gmail.com.