Monday, May 27, 2013

Pawtuckaway

We woke this morning to clear skies. For the first time in a week it wasn't raining. More than four inches of rain fell during the past seven days -- sometimes it rained hard, but mostly it was a slow, steady, cold rain. We needed this rain, despite our daily complaints and wishing that it would end sooner than it did.

Today we celebrated Memorial Day and the return of blue sky, sun, and warmer temperatures with a hike at Pawtuckaway State Park. This is one of our favorite local hikes. From the parking lot at the end of Round Pond Road, we hiked down to Round Pond via a woods road, then Boulder Trail to North Mountain Trail to North Mtn. Bypass back to the Boulder Field, where we retraced our steps back to the car. A nice map of the park is available here. North Mountain at 1,011-feet is the highest point in the 5,500-acre park. The North Mtn -- Boulder Trail loop is about 5.5 miles and meanders past wetlands and giant boulders, climbs up along a huge rock outcrop (where bobcat den in winter), through an oak-hickory woodland along a rocky ridge, and down again. There are many scenic spots along the way.

Round Pond
Painted turtles bask on a log in the wetland above Round Pond
The view atop North Mountain, looking southeast to South Mtn.
Although trillium flowers have faded in the forest understory, pink lady's slippers are in full glory. We saw several along the North Mountain trail today.
Another woodland beauty that was in bloom along the rocky ridge at Pawtuckaway was wild columbine.
The rain has caused fungi to sprout on tree trunks, including these hemlock varnish shelf fungi on a big hemlock tree.
The much needed rain filled vernal pools and wetlands and streams and ponds and soaked into the ground nourishing grass and flowers and vegetables. On our hike, the low spots on the trail were wet and the steeper sections of trail were mildly wet. And yet, I'd venture to say that the upland areas already looked dry. We got a lot of rain this week, but it wasn't enough to last. Later this week when daytime temps reach into the high 80s, we will be wishing for another rainy spell. 

No comments:

Post a Comment