Friday, June 11, 2010

The Big Woods

Wednesday I went to a different trail. I was anxious to see this place as it is old growth forest. That is very, very rare in this part of the state. Almost everything around here is on land that has been lumbered at one time or another. I was very glad that I went.

To get to the old trees, I had to walk through a meadow. There was a well defined path, and it was a good thing that there was, because the meadow was just chocked full of poison ivy. Kim, you might not want to look at this picture, as it may start you itching all over again.

There were, of course, flowers in bloom and it was quite a beautiful sight.

Bladder Campion

Butterfly Weed

Lots of Cow Vetch

Another invader, but quite pretty -- Hoary Allysum -- It worries me to see this, because it is poisonous to horses.

Again, the entrance to the woods was very abrupt. You're in the meadow.

Then you turn around, and you're in the woods.

I hadn't gone very far on the path when I came to this step. At least this one wasn't wobbly.

You didn't have to go very far to see that this woods was different. The trees were huge, and the canopy stretched far above you. It was so thick that, even though it was raining, not a drop made it to the forest floor. Pictures don't do these trees justice. There is just no way to show you how big they are. All I can do is show you some pictures of trunks.

In the middle of the woods is a small swamp.

And, there in the swamp, a Mallard, paddling slowly, looking for food.

Even giants must fall, however.

And, where they fall, and some light gets in, new growth starts. Someday, maybe, there will be a new giant there.

And, some look like they are destined to die, like this tree, split in two places. Still, now, it is putting forth new growth, but, I suspect that, in time, infection of some kind will set in and the tree will die.

The floor of this forest is very free of undergrowth. I suppose it's because little light reaches there. So, I was very surprised to see, deep in the woods, this flower blooming. Help identifying it would really be appreciated. I looked at yellow wildflowers until my eyes were crossed. The closest I could come was pale hawkweed, but, that isn't supposed to bloom until July, and its leaves are toothed, while this plant's leaves are smooth. Even my Newcomb's Flower Guide failed me.

The feel in this woods is difference. You know that age, and history, surround you. Just think how many people must have walked there! I was filled with a feeling of great respect.

It seems, however, that not everyone feels that way. At the entrance to the woods is a sign, very large and easy to see that says "Pedestrians Only Beyond This Point." Yet deep in the woods I found bike ruts

Horse Plop (which I pushed off the trail as soon as I took this picture)

And, worst of all, junk. If you can't see this well, there, in a muddy spot is an empty cigarette pack and a pair of socks. Who in their right mind takes off their socks and drops them in the middle of the woods?

I wish I could have picked these up, but they were down a steep slope, and obviously thrown off of the bridge I was standing on.

But, of course, the main impression I came away with was one of incredible beauty. Enjoy.


Upupaepops said...

Mystery flower might be a memeber of Crepis ( hawksbeard) group

Sharon said...

Those trees are magnificent, regal even. If trees could talk, I wonder what tales they would tell, I can only imagine! A really serene setting.

Roses and Lilacs said...

The first thing I noticed was the lack of undergrowth. It really doesn't look that dark but those huge trees must be taking up all the available nutrients and as you say, preventing much rainfall from getting to the ground. Truly a magical place.

It is impossible to understand why anyone would throw junk in a forest or wetland. You have to think people like that don't belong in a wild place and wish they would spend their time hanging out downtown in an alley.

Sharon said...

Louise, have you ever thought of taking a backpack and a picnic lunch? Those woods would be the perfect spot to just relax, eat lunch and relax............

Tina said...

Junk- dont even get me started on that, that is one of my biggest pet peeves with people. There is no need for that. The trail I took the other day, that starts right in front of my house, just left my mind boggled with disgust. What once was the pride and joy of the city is now nothing but a waste site, too bad I didn't have my camera with me, but I will definitely blog about that one one day, makes me really sad to see stuff like this.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

That's just lovely there! Watch out for the poison ivy! I hope you don't meet any of the "cigarette and sock litterers"!

sophie said...

This area looks hauntingly similar to a trail we walk...maybe it's the eastern North American look! Thanks for your comments on the pansy pics....the colors were so vivid!

Terry said...

Sharon said it for me - the trees are magnificent. And I love the shape of the Bladder Campion. We have lots of vetch too; white, blue, pink and purple. I've never seen as much as this year.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I'm sorry I'm too busy to stop and enjoy your post because I'm running away from the poison ivy!!!!!! I DO feel myself starting to itch all over again!! But what I saw in passing looked lovely and relaxing!!! wait...where's my calamine lotion and my socks?? ;-)))

WiseAcre said...

I think upupaepops is on the right path. I came up with:

narrowleaf hawksbeard - Crepis tectorum L.

Just a guess but the flower at least has the look of a hawksbeard.