Two hikes, one in December 2019 and one in January 2020, have taken place celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Avon Trail. Walk 1 took place on Sunday afternoon, December 15th, a make-up date for the December 1st Hike cancelled due to early winter storm conditions.
Under clear skies, eleven hikers set out from Line 111 for a 4.5 km tramp in light snow conditions east along the Stratford Side Trail to where this trail meets the main Avon Trail. The weather remained calm for a December day as we trekked through sections of snow-covered trails that took us east and south to Highway 8 and then further south along the path to Forest Road and the Forest Motor Hotel. As promised, home-made cookies and hot chocolate or hot tea rounded out the hike in the sitting area at the Hotel. Many thanks to Conroy and Kim for the use of their motel space.
Again, sunny conditions prevailed on Sunday afternoon, January 5th, for a hike through the T.J. Dolan nature trail nestled in the heart of Stratford. Along with the ten adult hikers were two grandchildren. They received a special Avon Trail hiking notebook and stickers for the book. The children spotted chickadees in bushes chirping as we hiked along the trail. We did not see beavers, but we did see numerous trees with the trademark teeth gnawed marks that beavers leave in their wake. All enjoyed the home-made cookies and hot drinks as we reached the end of the hike in the parking area of the Perth District Health Unit on West Gore St.

Telltale signs of beavers at work

After two hikes in Stratford, the next hike will be in the eastern end of the Avon Trail. Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 16th. The hike will begin at 1:30 pm, starting at the Health Valley Trail entrance in St. Jacobs. (GPS coordinates:43.539138,-80.549862). Hikers coming from Stratford area can carpool from the EB Games parking lot at 1070 Ontario St. The carpool will leave at 12:30 pm.
This outing is a ‘There and Back’ hike. We’ll hike in on the Health Valley trail about 3 ½ km. After a short, water break and snack, hike back again, along a lovely trail. We’ll enjoy the Conestogo River, passing through a cattle pasture and forest glade. At the east end of our hike, we’ll encounter a tree sculpture, affectionately named ‘King Arthur’ by the locals – a nice photo op! Once back at the trailhead in St. Jacobs, a hot refreshing drink, biscuit and perhaps, more home-made cookies await the hikers. Everyone is welcome – grandkids, seniors and everyone in between.
Come out for the exercise and fresh air. Or, like me, come along for the cookies!

Click this link here to view photo montages of these two hikes.