Last evening produced another brief respite from the rainy weather that is May and June this year. A nice breeze earlier in the afternoon helped to dry things off enough that I could venture into the woods without coming back to the cabin soaked to the skin.
As you can see from today’s photos, the forest is as lush and as dense as a jungle right now. Bushwhacking would require a machete, so I stayed on the trails. Even those were more overgrown than is typical and likely the reason I came home with three ticks.
I stayed out of the deepest valley between the mountains, as I knew that would be deep with mud. The trail I followed skims along the side of Roundtop mountain about halfway down it. I start out going steeply downhill and am glad I brought a hiking stick. I have to pay attention to where I place my feet and still skid here and there, using the pole to prevent a fall.
The trail I wanted heads north and once I reach it, the going is flatter and grassy. The reason I like this trail is because the upslope side of it is covered with moss and ferns. Most are Christmas ferns and lady ferns, but I find one patch of 5-6 maidenhair ferns, the most I’ve ever found in one spot and the first time I’ve located them on this trail. Last year I found one single plant nestled along the edge of a larger, two-track dirt road that somehow survived the summer to appear again this spring. I walked this path many times last year without ever finding a maidenhair fern, so to come across so many on this foray was a thrill.
Bird song followed me as I walked—indigo bunting, wood thrush, ovenbirds, Baltimore orioles, mostly. I startled a red fox not far from the edge of the path. The fox skittered away uphill but didn’t go far, crouching to hide not more than 25 feet from where first I saw it. I suspect a den was nearby but I didn’t stop to look for it or further disturb the fox.
Like most good walks in the forest, this one was fairly uneventful. The evening was sunny, the path was straight. What more could anyone want?