Monday, March 21, 2016

New Access in the Works for Bog Meadow Trail

 A bright sunny day today, but blustery cold, after another freezing night.  It was nice enough, anyway, for a walk at Bog Meadow Nature Trail, but I wasn't surprised to find the pond skimmed over with ice again.  The sight of that ice dimmed my hopes that I might find Skunk Cabbage at last in bloom, but then I found one, with spathe fully opened and spadix studded with pollen-bearing anthers.  Ta da!  There it is, folks -- the first Skunk Cabbage flower of spring!

That was the only flowering one I found, however, with all the others around it still closed up tight.  Nevertheless, while it may be true that one swallow does not make a summer, one blooming Skunk Cabbage flower sure does mean that spring is truly here.  And there was also another spring thing going on today along Bog Meadow Trail, and that was a chorus of Wood Frogs croaking away in a hidden pond way off in the swamp.  I couldn't see them, but I could hear them.

Here was another great find today at Bog Meadow:  the hardest working trail steward you could imagine, Geoff Bournemann.  He just never stops finding ways to improve this already marvelous trail, and today he was working to improve the drainage in a stubbornly swampy spot.  Hard work, wielding a mattock and shoveling mud, but Geoff just seems to thrive on it.

I'm always glad to meet Geoff along this trail, and today he told me some excellent news about some new improvements for the future.    Parking for Bog Meadow occurs at either end of this approximately two-mile-long trail, but the parking for the Meadowbrook Road trailhead has always presented a bit of a problem.  The parking area, pictured here, is at least a hundred yards from the trailhead, requiring hikers to walk on the narrow shoulder of this rather busy road before they could start onto the trail.  But Geoff told me today that an old railway line has been located in the swamp just adjacent to the parking area, and that once permits have been obtained, trailwork can begin to create a new entrance to Bog Meadow Trail directly off this parking area.  This will be much safer for walkers, and will also grant some of us access to heretofore unexplored areas of the swamp.  Hurray!

Geoff told me that the trail path had already been flagged, so of course I had to explore this new route for myself.  As this photo reveals, the going was rough, for no clearing or grooming can occur until the proper permits have been obtained.  But I was able to push my way through scrub and scramble over fallen logs until I reached the swampy wet area that will be traversed by a boardwalk in the future.  I was exhilarated!  This will be so great!  A whole new swampy spot to explore!  Who knows what fascinating plants might be hiding back here?  I can't wait to find out.

Speaking of fascinating plants, I next returned to the spot on Bog Meadow Trail where last week Sue and I found the seed capsules of some kind of orchid.  (Our friend and orchid expert Andrew Gibson has guessed that this is most likely a Yellow Wide-lipped Twayblade.)  I wanted to see if I could find it again (I could!) and then to mark its location so that I might find it again when it blooms next summer.  I also wanted to mark its location clearly enough so that workers clearing that new access trail wouldn't damage the plants in the process.  Some pink tape on a nearby tree and a red twist-tie on a plant-stem adjacent to the orchid should do the trick.  Or at least, I hope so.  On my way back along the trail, I met Geoff again, told him how I had marked the plant, and asked him to do what he could to safeguard it during the trail-clearing process.  I know he will.

1 comment:

The Furry Gnome said...

A new trail is always fun to explore!