March 23, 2003

MONO CLIFFS - 25th Sideroad entrance (North side)

Meeting report by Nathan Burnett
Photos by Walter Muma


Today's hike started with a clear and sunny sky on a beautiful spring day at the northern entrance into Mono Cliffs Provincial Park located in southern Ontario just north of Orangeville. A few newcomers joined our group as we set off in search of animal tracks and signs. The theme of tracking was loosely based as the snow was melting rapidly, making it very hard to track animals in such a "rough substrate". 


We started up the trail noticing a clear field with first signs of plants beginning to emerge from their winter dorm. Up the trail we saw a few birds nests (One with an egg from last year still in it - and there was a small round hole in the egg) and tracks and scat belonging to a local Coyote.


We followed the path up towards "Northern Outlook". At the top of the outlook we stopped for lunch. Here we shared stories and knowledge about the animals and plants that live in the nearby surroundings. A raven was heard far off to the south. The view from Northern Outlook is magnificent. 

After lunch some of the group took part in a little snowball fight. Nearby under a cedar, one of the group members found an old and rotted opossum kill site. The characteristic bald hands and tail was a dead giveaway as well as the stern snout.



Continuing down the trail we found several signs of foxes and coyotes.

At McCarston's Lake a few of us ventured out onto the melting ice to take a closer look at the signs of spring. 



As the group left McCarston's Lake we began to split up. One group found a porcupine that had died of an unknown cause just off the trail. Here's a photo of one of its paws.

Meanwhile, the other group found a tattered cottontail that had died of an unknown cause as well. 

Possible Raven mating behaviour was observed by one person, but we cannot be totally sure.


Stairs leading down through the rock formations left us in amazement. Its really hard to believe an ice age glacier ripped through what we now know to be the Niagara Escarpment.


We began to circle back towards the trailhead and more knowledge was shared within the group. Time and time again Walter's trusty Map came in handy. Back on the main trail we walked back to the road and out of the park. 

A great time was had by all, and we wish to thank everyone for coming out and we look forward to seeing each of you again on our next hike.

Happy Hiking,
Orangeville Trackers.


Deer tracks in the parking lot.

Wait a minute!  Are those really deer tracks???

For more info about these tracks, please see Tracking Quizzes on the Wildwood Tracking website (Quiz #19).



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