The Goderich Signal-Star - - Opinion - COURTESY OF PATRICK CAPPER

There is quite a lot of spice­bush on our area trails. Al­though I am not fond of most spices I love the smell of crushed spice bush leaves, de­scribed as a spicy cit­rusy smell. Fe­male spice bushes now have red berries which can be used when dried and crushed as an al­ter­na­tive for all spice.

Now is the time when doll’s eyes can be seen, these are white baneberry’s fruit which are quite toxic so should never be eaten. On Au­gust 30 Huron Stew­ard­ship group along with Aus­able Bay­field Con­ser­va­tion spon­sored re­lease of snap­ping tur­tle hatch­lings at Mor­ri­son Dam.

This event was well at­tended es­pe­cially by young chil­dren who learned that a Snap­ping tur­tle has to live to 15 or 20 years be­fore it can lay eggs and many fe­male egg lay­ing tur­tles are killed when cross­ing roads in search of a suit­able spot to lay eggs. If they sur­vive these haz­ards they can live to be 100 years old. Un­for­tu­nately thou­sands of tur­tles are hit by cars, which is why snap­ping tur­tles are a species at risk.

I usu­ally have difficulty in iden­ti­fy­ing the nu­mer­ous mush­rooms, which are now vis­i­ble on our trails. One that I could pos­i­tively iden­tify is Laeti­porus sul­phureus, chicken mush­room, which is so called be­cause it tastes like chicken, but is some­what in­di­gestible as it ages.

One of the many cater­pil­lars around at this time is the white hick­ory tus­sock moth cater­pil­lar, which is ven­omous. You can get a re­ac­tion much like get­ting in a patch of sting­ing net­tles.

For most peo­ple it will sting and itch for 20 min­utes or so be­fore it goes away, though with some peo­ple, the re­ac­tion is more se­vere so it’s best not to han­dle them. There is a sim­i­lar yel­low cater­pil­lar the yel­low spot­ted tus­sock moth cater­pil­lar which has sim­i­lar ef­fects on peo­ple.

I had an un­usual re­ac­tion on Septem­ber 3 I walked in the morn­ing for an hour with Chewy, spent about an hour be­fore lunch weed­ing out some spot­ted knap­weed, and an­other hour of weed­ing after lunch. I later felt dizzy and nau­seous and re­al­ized I was suf­fer­ing from heat ex­haus­tion, some­thing I have never pre­vi­ously ex­pe­ri­enced. It took me sev­eral hours of rest­ing be­fore I was back to nor­mal. It comes from too much ex­er­cise in hot weather without suf­fi­cient wa­ter in­take.

This could be a prob­lem for the Mait­land Camino hik­ers if there is hot weather that week­end and pre­cau­tions aren’t taken. Hik­ers not fa­mil­iar with the Mait­land trail are often sur­prised by the num­ber of hills that must be climbed, so, es­pe­cially for those do­ing the whole trail, it is wise to get into shape with some longer hikes such as the one on Septem­ber 15.

On Wed­nes­day Septem­ber 5 hik­ing at a cor­ner of the blue trail at Naf­tels at 9:30 a.m. we saw about 100 monarch but­ter­flies fly­ing around in the trees, the first time I’ve seen such a large gath­er­ing of monar­chs. I have come across quite a few wind­falls on the trails there is a very large wil­low across the Clin­ton Con­ser­va­tion trail. When re­port­ing one try to give an ac­cu­rate lo­ca­tion, e.g. dis­tance from a km marker, to make it eas­ier for a clean-up crew to lo­cate it.

UP­COM­ING HIKES: Satur­day Sept 15 - 9 a.m. about 4 ? hours River Line to Cher­ry­dale road mod­er­ately fast pace. (Sun­day was the in­cor­rect day)

Get in shape for the Mait­land Camino with a 15-km hike from River Line to Cher­ry­dale Road. Meet at 9 a.m. at Cher­ry­dale Road to car pool to River Line. The hike is from 35.6 km to 20.6 km. The first sec­tion from River Line has sev­eral good climbs un­til cross­ing the creek at 32.9 km then a flat sec­tion along the river un­til having turned away from the river there is a steep climb at 30.9 km. We will walk for nearly a kilo­me­ter along Sharpes Creek Line be­fore head­ing back into the woods and where there are the oc­ca­sional lesser climbs and fi­nally 104 steps up to Cher­ry­dale Road. Bring wa­ter and a pic­nic lunch. Con­tact: Patrick Capper (519) 606-0016 or email pcap­

Satur­day Septem­ber 22 - 10:30 a.m. - Port Al­bert Beach Walk. Leisurely pace 1.5 hours:

Join Anne and Diego in a walk through part of the vil­lage of Port Al­bert to the peb­bly beach. Meet at the fish­eries park­ing lot just be­low the bridge. We’ll check out the north side of the river. Con­tact: Anne Storey (519) 529 3050 to register. Satur­day Sept 29/Sun­day Sept 30 - 2 day MTA El Camino reg­is­tra­tion is now open Cost $25 adults $10 if un­der 18 de­tail www.mait­land­ MID WEEK HIKES:

The Tues­day Trompers walk for about an hour at a mod­er­ate to slow pace start­ing at 9 a.m. Con­tact Al San­ders at al­lan.san­ders@ huron­

The Wed­nes­day hikes start at 9 a.m. for 1 ? to 2 hours at a mod­er­ately fast pace. Con­tact pcap­

The Fri­day L.I.F.E. hik­ers usu­ally meet at 8:10 at the Betty Cardno Cen­tre in Clin­ton and hike for 1 ? hours to 2 hours, one group at a mod­er­ate the other group at a mod­er­ately fast pace. Con­tact cphillips@onecare­sup­

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


Chicken Mush­room


Dolls Eye.



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