Trail Talk166 April 21 2021

Which trail has this seat?

How well do you know your trail? Where is this seat?

Last week’s photo was of a tree on the trail between River Line and Sharpes Creek Line, ever since I came to Huron County in 2006 I have wondered how long this tree would stay upright, and finally this winter it has leaned over.  The periwinkles are at the bottom of River Line – these are classed as one of Ontario’s invasive ground covers (the other two are Goutweed and English Ivy). It is recommended to avoid planting these and to dispose of them into the garbage rather than trying to compost them.  The section of trail is about 6 km long but it can take up to 2 hours to hike due to many hills. If hiking downstream the biggest ones you have to climb are Horse’s Folly hill, Skunk Cabbage hill and Snowdrift hill, or in the other direction, go up Lady Slipper’s Hill, Old Eagle’s Nest hill and Cedar Hill. Horse’s Folly hill was named after a rider took a horse up the hill which had a very narrow part with a  steep drop off into the gulley, the horse also took out a few of the steps. The earth finally undercut the trail so that it had to be rerouted for most of the hill, There used to be an Eagle’s nest near the 34 km mark, but the wind blew the nest away ( before the 2011 tornedo) and the Eagles never came back, the skunk cabbage hill is full of skunk cabbage and tends to have wet spots. The lady’ slipper hill near the main creek has over 20 lady slipper orchids blooming in June.  The Snowdrift hill regularly has over six feet deep drift on it- this year the snow lasted to the end of March, but sometimes there is snow there into early May.  I have been maintaining this section for about 14 years, but needed a lot of help after the tornedo.  Memorable times include having a dog follow us from River Line to Sharpes Creek Line and then fortunately it got into the car so we could take it back to River Line.  The other time a dog followed us and we were hiking to Cherrydale so we had not spotted a car at Sharpes Creek Line. Fortunately the owner was at Sharpes Creek Line, when we arrived, but the dog was in no hurry to leave us!  On another hike I saw a skunk, the only time I have seen one on the Huron County trails, though have seen them sometimes in the garden.

Parking- the no parking sign on River Line is so that the school bus can turn around at the end of the road.  Occasionally I have seen cars parked on the lane near the 30km post off Sharpes Creek Line.  This lane is used by a farmer to haul manure to the back of the field- he might be tempted to dump the manure on a vehicle blocking his access!  We are eternally grateful to all the landowners for permission for the Maitland Trail to pass through their property, it would be a very dull trail without their permission.

Wild Ginger
A Brown Cup mushroom

There are more and more signs of spring, recent spring flowers include trilliums, twin leaf, trout lily (yellow and the less common white ones), cut leaved toothwort, marsh marigold, wild ginger and wood anemone,    there are still some sharp-lobed hepatica and bloodroot in blossom.    I have also seen a green frog and an American toad and heard spring peepers. On the Mavis trail there were as few spring white moths, and on several trails I have seen mourning cloak butterflies.   On the Front road trail which I have hiked many times I saw a Common Brown cup mushroom for the first time.

The  John Hindmarsh Environmental Trust and Maitland Trail Association is now just a Compost sale due to Covid restrictions. The sale will begin at 9 a.m., on Sunday May 2nd in the Columbus Centre’s parking lot and last until 2 p.m. or when all the compost has been sold.

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

April 25th- May 31st Spring Turkey Hunt –Bayfield Woodland trail will be closed.

The Lobb trail is closed

All scheduled hikes in April are cancelled due to the Ontario lockdown.

There is a “ Scavenger Hunt- Sort of” on the Maitland Woods, Millennium trail, Sifto Loop and part of the GART. See the Maitland trail website for the details.

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