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    Member Since October 2013

    Bruce Russell

    Central Huron, Ontario, Canada 

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    Bruce Russell completed Purple Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed Maitland Woods Trail

    over 5 years ago

    This trail might be the easiest in the area for persons with mobility impairments (wheelchairs, etc.). It is very convenient to (it's in the middle of Goderich) and there's lots of parking. This trail is good for introducing people to tree identification and nature - there is a large variety of tree species along the trail and many of them have identifying signs. On hot spring or summer days this trail is a nice one, because most of the trail is shaded and there are no hilly or rugged areas. The 'forest' the trail runs through is mostly relatively young, have been planted (in the reforested sections) or naturally sprouted in old fields. There are (perhaps) 10 or 20 acres of mature forest near the east (north) parking area. In summary, this is an easy, appealing trail that runs through a good variety of forest habitats, and is great for learning about trees and nature or just enjoying nature. The trail is very clear, well marked, and is suitable for everyone, especially the very young and very senior.

    Bruce Russell completed Maitland Woods Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed Maitland Trail

    over 5 years ago

    This very long, varied trail system is impossible to cover in a brief mini-review. The trail roughly follows the Maitland River and Valley, from near the town of Goderich to the village of Auburn. The trail only 'roughly' follows the river, because most of the trail runs along privately-owned land and requires landowner consents, so some sections have necessarily left the river and valley and run along the shoulders of public roads, and also along the edges of farmer's fields and bushlots in the general vicinity of the valley and river. Here I want to cover only the high points of the trail system (I've hiked almost all of the trail except the sections that follow roads). The section that runs from Benmiller and downsteam 5 km (through the Morris tract) is in my opinion the finest. The section through the Morris tract runs through some of the finest mature hardwood forest in the region. This forest (from the Morris tract to Goderich) is a small enclave of Carolinian forest, consisting of a mix of Hickory, Oak, Sycamore, and other tree species more commonly found in Ontario's deep south. This lower portion of the trail system also contains some rare outcroppings of bedrock, because the river has removed 10s of meters of Glacial material (clay, stone, sand, etc.) covering 99.99% of the remainder of the county. The section of trail just upstream of Benmiller runs through an area of forest that was almost flattened by the August 2011 F3 tornado. Just downstream from Benmiller the trail runs past 'The Falls' which is a favourite swimming, fishing, and camping area on land managed by the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority. Near the portion of trail a short distance upstream from Saltford, (and just a few metres above the level of the river) are the remains of some historic salt wells, dating to the latter half of the Nineteenth century. If the river level is low (usually during summertime drought) some 'potholes' can be seen in the bedrock in the river bed. Close to the west trailhead (just north of Goderich) is the historic Menesetung Bridge, a heritage oak that sprouted in the 1700s, and Tiger Dunlop's (impressive) tomb, located on a high overlook near where Highway 21 and the (former) Guelph-Goderich rail line meet. I've only touched on a few things that (for me!) are high points, maybe you can add to what i've written!

    Bruce Russell completed Maitland Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed Gold Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed Bluewing Pool Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed White Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed Purple Trail

    over 5 years ago

    This trail deserves to be better known and hiked more often. The portion nearest the parking area on Front road is fairly rugged, and evidence of the Wisconsin glaciation - with steep hills and several large granite boulders dotted here and there - is obvious. The trail passes through fairly young forest (circa 50-70 years old) then through some old fields, past a wetland area with a small lake, and extensive tracts of mature closed-canopy maple-beach forest. The terrain is constantly varied and interesting, and - for me - it's the lovely mature forest that makes this trail so enjoyable to hike. When I hiked it in early October 2013 (after an unusually wet summer and fall) the mosquitoes in the wetland areas were very bothersome, and I was thankful that I was wearing rubber boots. The trail is moderately difficult, because it is rugged in places and wet in others. Fortunately it's well marked, because trail maps can sometimes be hard to findThere are others, and near the power line corridor, a connecting trail leads south about 2/5 mile south to the parking area beside Hydro Line road. All in all, a nice trail that I can enthusiastically recommend.

    Bruce Russell reviewed Bannockburn Trail

    over 5 years ago

    This trail (busy during peak times of the year) is among the most popular in the area. For fit people, it's practically perfect. The trail is steep and rugged in a few places, with steps and steep inclines. But the payback for the effort is some of the nicest scenery and ambiance in the central section of Huron County. For me (and for most others) the highlight is the iron truss pedestrian bridge over the Bayfield river, and its connecting elevated boardwalk system. Nature lovers will appreciate the large variety of environments, which include mature closed-canopy maple-beach forest, cool, deeply shaded ravines with cedar and hemlock, marshland, fenland, the remains of an old homestead, a pine plantation, and an old pasture field slowly becoming forest. The trail is great for birds, with lots of food, cover, and a large variety of habitats.

    Bruce Russell completed Bannockburn Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed Naftel's Creek Trail

    over 5 years ago

    In my opinion this is about as close to perfect as nature trails get. I think it's good for everyone except wheelchair/severely mobility impaired persons. It's very easy to get to, with its access and parking area right beside highway 21. There's a trail map and information on the signboard (when I visited in 2011). The trail is easy and passes through a plantation of tall pine trees, through mature closed-canopy maple-beach forest, through wetlands, passes twice over a cold, clear stream on two bridges, through mature hemlock and cedar forest and wetland, along an old field edge, along an old homestead, and back to the parking area in a big loop. This trail is especially welcoming on hot summer days because most of it is deeply shaded in mature forest. For me, (a fit 43-year-old) it's an ideal length - not too long, and not too short. For someone eager for more, it's conveniently close to Goderich, with beaches and several other lovely trails. Enthusiastically recommended!

    Bruce Russell completed Naftel's Creek Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell reviewed Woodlands Arboretum Trail

    over 5 years ago

    This is a arboretum and nature trail located on a private golf course. Admission is free and there's lots of parking. The trail is poorly marked and is obscure in many places. The 'trail' begins by passing through a wide "avenue" with young specimen trees (this is the main part of the "arboretum" and contains perhaps 30 or 40) dotted apparently randomly here and there, identified with wooden species signs under each tree.
    At the end of the "avenue", a picturesque arch bridge and trout pond is visible. Cross the bridge and pick up the trail which continues to the left just beyond the bridge. Pass a massive maple, through a plantation of large pines, pass an old A-frame cabin, (move off trail to the right to see some specimen trees), and reach an old rusty fence along a shaded, boggy bottom. The trail continues to the right, through some mature Maple/Beech/Hemlock forest. Keep your eyes peeled for more specimen trees here and there. The 'trail' passes an exceptionally tall Eastern White Cedar. (probably among the tallest specimens in the province, if the current record can be believed) Not far beyond the cedar, the trail reaches a wide fairway. The trail continues through a mature Maple/Beech forest on the other side, and (apparently) comes to and end after about 200 metres.
    The Arboretum is interesting, containing lots of native tree species and several exotics, including (among many others), a thriving Douglas-fir and even a Frazer Fir (unusual!) which is alive, but not doing as well as the native Balsam Fir beside it. It is undoubtedly a good local educational resource for schools and families. But it suffers from neglect. Many signs are (apparently) missing, and at least two trees are apparently misidentified. Moreover, a few signs make identification difficult because sometimes a cultivar/variety name is given without the name of a species, and in at least one case a genus name is given without a species. Sometimes the popular name given on the sign differs from most book references. And sometimes there is no Latin genus and species name given. The arboretum includes a columnar English Oak, but no variety name was given, which could confuse beginners, who might wonder about its tall, skinny non-oaklike form.
    Despite my criticisms, this is an interesting and enjoyable trail, it was very worthwhile to visit in late October, and I would love to visit again in late spring when new leaves are on most of the trees. Its rich, varied landscapes should be good for birdwatching. I'm thankful it's close to my home, and thankful that it's owner generously encourages people to visit.

    Bruce Russell completed Woodlands Arboretum Trail

    over 5 years ago

    Bruce Russell completed Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail

    over 5 years ago