Friday, January 14, 2011

Back to "My" Woods

I decided that today was the day I would take a nice walk in the woods behind my house.  You may remember that I hadn't been able to get back there all during the late Spring, Summer and Fall because the woods is full of poison ivy.  And, I was afraid to go back there during hunting season, in case my idiot neighbor across the street, or someone else was back there, posted or not, hunting.

So, I started out, in deep, fluffy snow that was easy to walk through.  At the top of the trail, I could see the Bay below.
I headed down the trail.  The woods were quiet and peaceful.

I could see that there had been others in the woods before me.  For a good deal of my walk today, I followed this cross-country ski trail that some folks had made.  They were good, and stayed on the trails, so I stayed out of their tracks.
There was a big old coyote who wasn't so kind however, and walked right in the track for part of the way before heading off into the woods.  The picture doesn't show the track too well, but the print was maybe two-thirds the length of my treking pole handle.
Part of the woods behind my house belongs to the County Parks System.  They're not going to develop it and the only way for most people to get there is by water.  I saw that, since the last time I had been back there they had been doing some surveying and posting.  At least, I think that's what this mark on the tree means.
They also had these signs all around the perimeter of their property.  I did wonder about this sign.  It's quite high up, and the only way to get it tacked up was for a fairly tall person to lean against the tree.  But, you see that hairy vine going up the tree, under the sign?  That's poison ivy.  That person must have leaned right against it.  Hope he or she didn't get a case of the itchies.
I had a little bit of a disappointment when I started down a trail that lead pretty directly to a small cove off of the bay.  A huge tree had either fallen or been cut so it fell across the trail and I couldn't go any farther.  So near that I can see the Bay, but I just can't get there this way.
So, I went back and started down the trail that lead to the foundation of the old homesteader's/squatter's house.  On the way I got a good view of the largest cove off of the Bay.  It is beautiful and still.  I did see some deer run across it, but they were pretty far away and I didn't get a shot of them.
Surprisingly, someone has built a big modern house right at the entrance of the cove.  It's even more surprising because this has to be a three-season home.  The only way to get to it is by boat.  Can you imagine the cost to haul in all of the building materials by boat to build this thing?  I had seen it last Spring, but couldn't get a good shot of it through the trees then.
 The dock for the big house.
Somehow, I find the remnants of the old house much more interesting.

I was able to follow a path that, in the warmer parts of the year is too swampy to walk on, right out almost to the Bay itself.  In the warmer seasons, this area is covered by ferns.  You can see, in this picture, what I think is one of the two generations of the fern in this picture.  Fern reproduction kind of puzzles me, but, I see these things grow from the ferns in my garden, also.  They look almost like those brown sugar crystal sticks that you see in the specialty stores.
And, there it was, the Bay, and one of the small islands with it's mandatory summer house.  It looks like it's pretty frozen.
OK, I had made it.  I had wanted to get to the Bay and I did.  Of course, I had to go a much longer route to get there, most of it downhill.  Now, I had to get back home, all up hill.  It took me a while, and a lot of rest stops, but, soon I was on the main trail which lead back to my house.  I was surprised to see that, in the time I had been in the woods, some deer had crossed my path after I had gone by.  See how the deer's footprint is right on top of mine?
I found a couple of bright bits of color.  This green spot that is a mixture of lichen and moss.
And, that beautiful invader, Asian Bittersweet.
And, worst of all, I didn't notice until I was on my way home that the scrub woods beside my house, right along the logging trail that had been cut into it, was full of the heinous invader, Swallowwort.  These are its seedpods, long opened, with the seeds blown helter skelter.  I wonder if it will crowd out the poison ivy?
This was intended to be a short walk in the woods.  But, it was two and a half hours.  I had a wonderful time, and just kept being pulled on and on and on.  But, I think I'm going to be a bit on the sore side tomorrow.


texwisgirl said...

But I can feel all the fresh air in your lungs! And the "pink" in your cheeks! :) Thanks for taking us on your walk! It looked wonderful. So I wonder if those berries around our pond are Asian bittersweet? They look an awful lot like yours...

Kritter Keeper said...

louise, you are a lot like me. i love to walk my woods and see 'who' has been there. i too have ego maniacs that hunt on land that does not belong to them. that new house is ugly to me. it's architecture leaves me cold. no pun intended. stay warm!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Aahh, such a lovely walk, I could breath that fresh air, and savor the surrounding scenery.
Just perfect !
Thank you for sharing such beauty.

The Odyssey Farm said...

I love your woods! It looks so peaceful. thanks for sharing.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

What an enjoyable walk! I am like you, I would be more interested in the 'ruins' of the old house but would be tempted to take a closer peak at the new one too if I could get to it!

You mentioned the cross-country skiers, do you cross country?

Sharon said...

Nice walk, Louise! Better for me - you got the chill, I got the view! Too bad you missed the deer! I love watching the deer, I haven't seen the ones from the pasture for a while, I miss them. I like the summer cottage on the island better than that other thing.

Terry said...

All that right outside your house! How wonderful! Being landlocked, I especially like the bay.

Louise said...

Kim, no, I would fall right down if I tried to use cross country skis. I'm thinking of trying snowshoeing, but haven't gotten around to buying them yet. So, I just tuck my pants into the top of my new Bean boots, grab my treking poles, and off I go.

Vicki Lane said...

What a nice walk! Thanks for taking us along!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

How lovely the woods look this time of year!

Lori Skoog said...

That was one very ambitious walk. I sure can't imagine what they went through to build that house. Must have had some serious bucks. Great the bay...wish my farm could be moved next to the water.

Judy's Corner said...

I loved joining you on your walk through your photos and narration, and from the comfort of my couch in the warm garage apartment!

I too love the woods, the pond at the end of my trail and the wildlife in general.... in the woods of this old farm house, we also have an abundance of poison ivy!

Hope you aren't too sore, but the adventure looked well worth the soreness!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

What a wonderful walk thru the woods! Thanks. The bittersweet is beautiful.

The Cottage Garden Farmer said...

What lovely photos louise, I'm thinking your "poison" ivy is different from our ivy, which as far as I know causes no skin problems.

Upupaepops said...

I envy you your home

KB said...

Sounds like quite a walk! Very nice, quiet, and relaxing. That big house is a surprise, in an odd way.

You asked about horseback riding around here. Actually, my close friend and neighbor has 2 horses but her husband has decided he doesn't really like to ride anymore. So, my friend wanted to teach me how to ride so that I could go out in our woods with her on her "extra" horse. However, my husband, doctor, and PT all completely freaked out about it. They made sense - they argued that I shouldn't trust my fragile spine to another huge and strong creature, especially since I've never ridden before. Biking is different - I've been doing it almost every day since I was a little girl... so I'm pretty good at it.

In any case, I love the idea of horseback riding but I don't think that it's in my future...

barefootheart said...

Wow, what a long walk for a cold day. That's a nice area to have so close to your house. I like the old foundation better too.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You sounds so much like me while out on a nature hike. I keep getting pulled over the next hill and around the next bend to see what magical treasures will be revealed to me. Isn't it wonderful?!
Thanks for taking is along on your walk. I really enjoyed it. :)


Claire the Shepherdess said...

Thank you for sharing your walk! What lovely photographs you took. I think the coyote footprint is HUGE! I wish I could go take a walk right now instead of sitting here at my desk.