Virginia Bluebells hike in early May

Mark showing a geocache to hikers from West Elgin Nature Club.
Mark showing a geocache to hikers from West Elgin Nature Club.

Eight visitors from the West Elgin Nature Club with leader Marg Hulls joined four from our club to see if the bluebells were in bloom. It was a little early. The weather was great. Several other caches were found on the trail. The confusing routing west of the horse farm was viewed and a plan to fix up the ambiquity was devised. A safer route up to the hydro tower will need to be routed and blazed. Once this work is completed the red barn to the horse farm will be a nice trail for everyone to enjoy.

Spring is near, AGM next month

Signs of spring

“Forty years ago, February 19th, 1975, a group of individuals got together to discuss the possibilities of establishing a walking trail in the Elgin County area”. written by the late William Stewart in 1979. Look at us now! Ninety members and a very dedicated executive. Our hard work behind the scenes makes it possible for many to enjoy the trail. The hard work of our maintenance crew ensures a safe enjoyable hike. This work is ongoing and never ends. Thank you to all who give freely of their time. Sincere thanks to our landowners.

This year we submitted the following 6 names for the “2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards” sponsored by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

  • Tom Beharrel (trail maintenance, grass cutting, executive position) 5 years
  • John and Mary Kirkland (whenever and where ever needed) 25 years
  • Paul Nicli (Spirit Walk) 10 years
  • Mara Scomparin (Spirit Walk) 15 years
  • Dave Nopper (executive) 5 years

Each will receive a lapel pin and a certificate in recognition of their commitment as a volunteer. Thank you to all of you.

Within the next month you will receive a call from the nominating committee, Mary Kirkland, John and Jeanette Cervan re AGM and positions open on the executive. Please consider what you might be able to help with and the time frame you would be available; if not able to commit a full year to.
If you have any suggestions re our 40th anniversary celebrations in the fall please share them.

Looking forward to all our hard work of planning spring activities to producing a lot of spring and summer FUN!
Happy trails,
Loretta

Merry Christmas to Every-one!

santa-claus-arrived

December Club Presidents thoughts:

I would really like to extend a very big Thank You to all our Landowners who’s generous use of their land is a gift to us all year long! The trail will officially be closed on Dec 25th for one day only. This is a legal requirement for our property owners to prevent the trail from being considered a right of way.

The Christmas Spirit Walk had a record number of people attend. We even ran out of cookies! This event is a wonderful partnership with Catfish Creek Conservation Authority.

Our Maintenance crew has been VERY busy for the past three months building and repairing bridges; clearing the trail and doing reroutes where necessary. We still need to address the trail closure on Sunset over the winter months.

The executive is busy exploring ways of increasing Funding and Grant Application idea’s.

Wishing you all a Happy Active Holiday.

Loretta

Good day doing trail maintenance.

Taking rest after blazing and rerouting with friends.
Taking rest after blazing and rerouting with friends.

The weather was a little colder than we would like yet 5 hardy volunteers participated in a reroute around wash out area west of the horse farm. New blazes were added from the east end of horse farm marking the gates all the way to washout and reroute. The horse farm is one of those rare places where hikers are required to open and close gates to get across. It was a very scenic day out with all the fall colours on the ground. Thanks to Brian K our treasurer who blazed the trail and helped create a safe way across the water.

Two other volunteers, Tom and Mark removed fallen trees off a bridge near Fulton Bridge Line and assessed repair needs and possible ways to prevent it from happening again. That might be a tall order with the estimate of 90 percent of all ash trees in Ontario being killed by the emerald ash borer. Thanks to everyone who gave up their Saturday morning to improve the trail for all users. Kudos.

Day 4 of End-to-end

Bridge to nowhere.
Bridge to nowhere.

The weather was great. A wonderful fall day. Unfortunately the rainy summer and great downpour days played havoc on the trail. Two bridges were uprooted. One by trees falling on it and another relocated on land. We managed to get to the fish hatchery and decided to finish the hike on Wednesday at 9 am meeting at parking lot east of Mackies for the final 4 km. Roseann and Linda are getting anxious for their badges.
Special thanks go out to Robert Johnston and Dan Wilson volunteers at Lake Erie Salmon and Trout Club for reinstalling parts of the boardwalk that got washed out by the downpour in September. I spotted two spotted salamander on the hike.

Notice the two spots behind eyes are more orange than the other spots.
Notice the two spots behind eyes are more orange than the other spots.

Day 3 of End-to-end

Everyone is smiling even though it is raining.
Everyone is smiling even though it is raining.

Well it had to happen, the weather was less than cooperative today. Not torrential downpour but a steady mist. The trail was quite muddy and slippery still 8 hardy hikers ventured out. They were rewarded with seeing wild turkeys and many deer including a buck. We all made it out safely after cutting the trip short due to more rain clouds showing to the west. We will make up the other 3 km on Wednesday morning meeting at Fulton Line at 9:15.