Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Hike To Duck Pond, Part 5

The dogs and I were hiking the Duck Pond Trail in the Adirondacks. The ground was littered with seeds which I guessed were from the Norway Spruces and marveled at how much food they would provide for wildlife. I shot a photo of a couple of them and have concluded that I was wrong on three counts: 1.They are apparently from Balsam Firs, not Norway Spruces. 2.They are cone scales, not seeds. 3.Since they're not seeds, there was much less food for wildlife than I'd thought. Well, zero out of three is pretty bad, but at least I looked it up when I got home:

And while November is no time to be looking for wildflowers, I was treated to several grand displays of Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea. I don't know how long these dried white bracts last, but I'll bet they'll be here in the spring if the snow doesn't crush them:

And all along the trail were brilliantly emerald beds of mosses:

We were almost back to the trail head and I was enjoying the beauty of it all:

The dead branches along the way were sprouting populations of various lichens:

This long, flowing lichen is common on trees at the tops of the high peaks and we've always called it Spanish Moss. It isn't, though. Its more correct name is Old Man's Beard, Treemoss or Usnea. You can read more about it here:

Seamus by this time had lost his get-up-and-go. He just plodded along my side. He's just the right height for patting on the head as we walk. I don't even have to bend over:

Another pine species (besides White Pine) began to appear. It had long needles, two per bundle. I looked in my field guides when I got home and the ID was not difficult since so few pines are native to this area. I decided that they had to be Red Pines, Pinus resinosa:

And a Blue-jay feather appeared on the trail like an omen of good fortune:

I kept thinking we were almost back to the car, rounding a bend and finding we had much longer to go:

But we did reach the car and the dogs were, as always, overjoyed. I noticed that I hadn't closed the rear window though I'd left my wallet in the car (oops).You can see the dirt road continued on past where we'd parked. It was pretty flat and safe at that point so I drove on another half mile and discovered it ended at yet another gate, probably signaling the REAL hike to Duck Pond. Well, that will just have to wait for another time:

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