Saturday, July 29, 2017

Whiskey Flats State Forest - Part 1

It was going to be a hot day, so I decided to leave early and take the dogs to Clear Pond, in nearby Parishville, NY. We were on the road, headed toward our destination, when I noticed a new Multi-Use Trail into Whiskey Flats State Park. I'd been there before and hadn't considered it very interesting, but this might be a revelation and it was only seven miles from home. So we pulled off the road and parked in what seemed almost pure sand. Next to my parked car were Sand Cherries and pine seedlings:

And there were lots of Spotted Knapweed in bloom, an invasive species which does quite well in sandy spots:

I let the dogs out of the car and they took off running, stopping every now and then to sniff something they might find interesting:

Seamus and Jack ran side by side for awhile:

I saw lots of pines other than the usual White and Red Pines, and wasn't sure I could identify them. I looked up the state website on Whiskey Flats State Forest when I got home and learned that Scotch Pine had been planted in the 1930s and 1940s. Yes, of course, many of the pines I was seeing were Scotch Pine. There were also very long needled pines, two needles per bundle, which I never did identify:

I was initially put off by the barren look of much of the forest. It seemed to have been recently logged, though I saw no stumps and no bush left over from logging. Later, when reading the state website, I read that there had been infestations of pine false webworm, a sawfly which defoliates and kills pine trees. So that explained the barren look of the landscape. The good news was that I didn't see any current defoliation:

Furthermore, I began to find that there was some advantage to walking in a forest with such open views. I could see the rolling hills as we approached them and where lanes were going which led off of the main trail:

The only flowers I saw other than Spotted Knapweed were St. Johnswort, and they were exceedingly healthy:

And the dogs were on a new trail, which meant that they were even more excited than usual. That, in turn, meant I had to do more hollering at them than usual. Even big ol' Seamus got so excited and ran so fast that he accidentally bit his tongue. But he kept running even with his tongue dripping blood. They always came when called, though, and eventually the heat and exercise slowed them down:

I'd forgotten bug spray, but to my happy surprise, it wasn't needed:

We took many side trips down inviting lanes and into attractive stands of pines:

This was perhaps the mossiest forest I've ever seen, with much of the ground absolutely carpeted with a variety of mosses and lichens. These two were Common Haircap Moss on the left and Brocade Moss on the right. But we were just getting started, and I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

No comments:

Post a Comment