Friday, October 14, 2011

Balsams, Mosses And Ferns Along Quebec Brook

As the dogs and I hiked the Quebec Brook trail, we made frequent exploratory side trips down to the riverbank whenever it looked easily accessible. The reward each time was an ever changing scene of great beauty:

A few access points were marked as canoe carries, though this one looked to me like a very difficult place to maneuver a canoe, either in or out of the water. But for our purposes, it was ideal:

The trail itself continued to follow the brook. It was still thickly carpeted with a variety of mosses and bordered with Mountain Alders and Balsam Firs:

A new type of mushroom in a bed of mosses:

The trail began to narrow and the forest began to intrude, its walls drawing in closer on each side as we hiked:

A Balsam branch hovered over the mossy carpet. I believed that the reddish moss was sphagnum, though I was not sure:

I saw occasional branching plants which I believed were Clubmoss. They were larger than the two species with which I was already familiar and fascinating. I've since searched for an identification and believe these were Running Clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum, listed as a common resident of Boreal forests.  As always, feel free to correct me if I am wrong:

The trail got rockier, and in many places I could see that its foundation was a thick layer of rounded rocks, each about a foot in diameter. I learned that I had to watch for holes which could seriously damage an ankle if I was not watchful:

Recent frosts had turned almost all of the ferns brown. I at first found this odd because I so often find green ferns nestled in the snow on winter hikes. But I suppose it's simply a matter of different species:

Another glimpse of the constantly changing Quebec Brook:

Fergus likes to keep a watchful eye on me and returns to be sure I'm still with the group as we hike. Once satisfied, he again runs ahead with the Papillons. This was becoming one of my favorite hikes ever. But I'll post more tomorrow:


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