Saturday was one of those weather days experienced too infrequently. Free of humidity and any hint of rain, ideal for rambling through woodlots and over fields toward the Nith River and adventures. Bruce Graham led the ten hikers from our parked cars (we carpooled) from Allman Arena to km 78 on Nafziger Rd.
As we proceeded north along the side of a farm field, we entered the woodlot and met Mavis Kerr, the trail monitor for this section. Trained as a biologist, she has a naturalist’s eye for her surroundings. As we hiked, she pointed out signs on the trail: a dusting of feathers on the ground hinting at a skirmish, garlic mustard flowers, white and shiny, blooming in bunches as this aggressive forest invader covers more and more of the undercover choking out other natural plant species along the forest floor. We stopped along the Nith River, looking for signs of osprey and eagles. As we continued through the winding trail along the river, Mavis found a bird’s nest that had fallen. Did we wonder what bird species made it? A hummingbird, perhaps? “Likely a small warbler, like a goldfinch,” Mavis opined, looking at the fluff lining the nest. We continued along the trail winding our way towards Carmel-Koch Rd at km 81.9, where Mavis bid us goodbye.
Next, we took a lunch break at the model airplane club site (they have picnic tables) located along the trail. Bruce had arranged permission for us to use this rest stop. Following lunch, we continued north over a stile avoiding the cattle that observed us from a higher elevation.
We proceeded into the woodlot north of the cattle, heading northeast toward Berlett’s Rd at km 83.8
One more surprise awaited us. Along the trail in this woodlot is a road that takes you to Berlett’s Rd. But, if you turn to your right and head up the road for 100 meters, you find the Backyard Honey Company. This is a new business operated by Catherine Young. Bruce had arranged with Ms. Young to have the shop open for us. Honey and chocolate delights await you when you arrive.
We made our purchases and carried on to Berlett’s Rd, turning west to hike to the entrance of the Berletts Side Trail. Taking this trail, we ventured south approximately 400 meters to the junction with the main trail again at km 79.5. We retraced our path across the fields and through the woodlot past the Hikers Log Book and then back to our starting point and parked cars on Nafziger Rd. Our picture-perfect hike was done, and we proceeded back to base at the Allman Arena or directly home.
For more photos taken on this hike, see Christine Lee’s post on Facebook in the AvonTrail.ca group.