Two weeks ago the Greater Lovell Land Trust hosted a decorating party for the Fairs, Farms and Fun 4-H Group of Sweden along the trail to the summit of Flat Hill. It was the perfect tie-in to our planned hike to do the same during a guided walk scheduled for this morning.
The homeschooled kids in the club had created ornaments with pinecones, peanut butter, and bird seed, plus garlands of cranberries and popcorn.
Their efforts were for the first annual Maine Christmas Tree Hunt, a scavenger hunt intended for families to visit trails on several western Maine land trust properties.
The plan was to decorate one tree along the trail, but they had made so many ornaments that five or six trees actually were transformed into works of Christmas treats for the birds and mammals that call this place home.
And so this morning we set off to check on the trees the kids had decorated and add a few of our own. We wondered what the ornaments might look like after two weeks. Some pinecones were nearly nude of the bird seed that once coated them. And if you look closely at the bottom left of this one, you’ll see a splash of gray–a chickadee moved quickly as it snatched seeds.
We also discovered that the popcorn was a big hit and most had been consumed, but the tart cranberries remained.
There’s still more out there and we added a few fresh ornaments today, so I highly encourage you to pull on your boots (and it looks like you might need snowshoes as it’s snowing while I write) and head to the trail at the end of Heald Pond Road in Lovell.
While you’re there, take a look around. There’s so much more to see, including skeletons of beech leaves,
bear claw trees,
and polypody, some still dotted with sori.
If your experience is anything like ours was, you’ll probably spy Mount Washington standing pure white between the branches of the red maple tree at the summit.
And if you look closely, you may even see the buildings at the top of the greatest mountain in the Northeast.
That’s not all that came into view. We occasionally are treated to the sight of the resident porcupine who lives in the area. And today–voilà.
On our way partially down the back side of the summit cliff, we spied evidence of his work.
And while we were looking, a crevasse drew our attention.
The beauty of ice never ceases to draw out long “Ahhhhhhs.”
The granite boulders wore the ice like necklaces–reminiscent of quills.
And we got a tiny bit closer to our prickly friend.
The gifts are plentiful this Christmas season on Flat Hill. Take a hike and enjoy the wonders.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from the Greater Lovell Land Trust and me.