Bear to Beer Possibilities: Brownfield’s Burnt Meadow Mountain

It’s been a while since my guy and I have ventured on a Bear to Beer Possibility hike, but today dawned bright and even a wee bit chilly. A perfect August day. A perfect hiking day.

As he dipped his hand into the little box filled with potential, Burnt Meadow Mountain in Brownfield surfaced.

And so it was that we decided to hike up and down the Twin Brooks Trail rather than doing the loop to the North Peak. Though a bit longer, it proved to be a good choice as we came upon a couple of bear trees we hadn’t met previously. The first was the best for so many claw marks did it feature.

Even from the back side there was proof that not only was this our favorite bear tree, but it was also some bear’s favorite.

A little further on we found another we hadn’t met before. Or . . . perhaps we were meeting it for the first time all over again. That happens to us sometimes and, after all, we were approaching from a different angle than is our norm.

There were other things to slow us down, like the occasional Autumn Meadowhawk Dragonfly, especially in an area where the trail had been rerouted a few years ago during a logging operation and most of the growth is early successional.

And a Bald-faced Hornet nest that was quite active. “How does your nest grow?” I asked the lady of the house. “With chewed wood fibers mixed with saliva,” she responded. The result was an impressive condominium a few feet off the trail.

Continuing on, there was a cave that deserved a visit so my guy peeked in. Fortunately, no one peeked out.

And then . . . another bear tree, though not nearly as impressive as those we spotted previously.

Onward and upward we climbed. Thankfully, we didn’t have to partake of the heart-throbbing scramble of the North Peak Trail that sometimes gives me pause, but we still had some scrambling to do on the trail of today’s choice.

It was worth it, for we paused at one point and turned to take in the view of Mount Washington.

At last we reached the flat top of Burnt Meadow Mountain. It always amazes us that with all the boulders and ledges we encounter on the way up, the summit is rather like a mesa.

Lunch rock found us taking in the view to the east. The Atlantic Ocean is somewhere beyond the sea of trees.

And though there were still plenty of berries at the top, we never met an interested bear. (Almost 20 years ago, we did when hiking there with our sons.) Nor was my guy interested in what I typically call his blue gold.

Instead, he chose to nap.

As for me, well, you can guess what I was doing before we descended. This tiny dragonfly is a female Eastern Amberwing and this was our first meeting. I first met her male counterpart last month in NYC’s Central Park.

She wasn’t a bear, but in my book, she was the next best thing.

And the Backburner Restaurant in Brownfield wasn’t open when we passed by on our way home, so . . . our bear to beer possibility this time included bear trees but not beer. Even so, it was a great hike.

Tenmile Mondate

I’d never heard of the trail system my guy and I hiked this afternoon until my friend Marita introduced me to it about a week and a half ago. And then, the temps were frigid and our time limited, so we only snowshoed to the Kettle Hole Bog. But . . . that, in itself, was well worth the journey on December 28, 2017.

t-kettle bog

It blows my mind to think that kettle holes are unique features formed over 10,000 years ago when big chunks of ice became stranded and partially buried in glacial outwash or other coarse ice-contact deposits. Eventually, the ice chunks melted, leaving ponds in holes in the ground, with no inlets or outlets. Among the vegetation variety in such a bog is black spruce that stood tall like church spires.

t-spruce caps

Because our initial visit followed the ice and snow storms of the previous weekend, most of the spires donned winter caps.

t-rhodora's winter look

And in the low shrub level, rhodora and other heath shrubs offered their winter form.

t-tenmile 2

We were traveling in the Tenmile River Demonstration Forest and within a few minutes of the kettle bog, Marita and I reached the river.

t-tenmile 1

It was late afternoon when we visited that day and the low temps meant lots of ice had formed.

t-ice on oak leaf

Of course, the ice storm of Dec 23rd added to the frozen display.

d-oak stained glass

And so, when my guy and I visited late this afternoon, I was curious about our finds. Some trees still sported icy sculptures, but much of it had blown down in recent winds. Instead, we looked through a different stained glass window as we traversed the property.

d-sign

The Tenmile River Demonstration Forest was donated to the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) in 1950 by Frank Merrifield, three years after the Great Fire of 1947.

Back in October 1947, catastrophic wildfires erupted throughout Maine during what became known as “The Week Maine Burned.”

It hadn’t rained for 108 days and the dry woods were like tinder. Here in western Maine, Fryeburg, Brownfield and Denmark thought they had a fire under control, but overnight a strong wind blew and gave it new life. About 2,000 acres burned by the next night as the fire spread to the edge of Brownfield.

With the winds continuously shifting, town folks began to panic. Farmers either turned their livestock loose or herded them to neighboring towns. Others packed as many belongings as they could and evacuated.

By morning, most homes and public buildings in Brownfield were mere piles of ash. Stately places including the Farnsworth Place where Dr. Philo Farnsworth, a pioneer in the field of television, spent his summers, had burned. Churches, schools, the post office, Grange hall, library and town hall all went up in smoke–only twenty houses survived. In the end, 85% of the town was destroyed.

This past fall, I had the honor of listening to storyteller Jo Radner honor the stories of Brownfield residents with her rendition of Burnt into Memory. If you ever have the chance to be in her audience, I strongly encourage you to attend and listen. Jo not only shares the stories, but also the voices.

d-kiosk

According to the property brochure available at the kiosk, “The District Supervisors replanted the property with red and white pine.” The replanting took place between 1950 and 1960. The brochure states: “It was their plan to turn the land into an example of wise and sustainable forest management and to use it as an education resource area to demonstrate good conservation management practices.”

d-whites and reds

Immediately behind the kiosk the whites and reds were obvious–white pines to the left and red to the right.

d-wetland trail

As we set out today, we found ourselves breaking trail for it seems not many wander this way in the winter. Our intention was to traverse several loops along the land of rolling hills.

In 2012, the pines that had been planted back in the ’50s and ’60s were harvested with the intention of creating an open forest to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. The overall goal was to encourage new growth and regeneration.

d-wetland view 1

Our journey along the Wetland Trail led to a shrub bog and . . .

d-wetland 2

a marshland above Round Pond. Where’s Waldo? Or rather my guy? I didn’t realize it at the time, but he had found a branch and was headed to the wetland to check on the ice. Meanwhile, I stood on it.

d-hemlock samara 1

As we broke trail, we noticed others who had done the same, including junco foot and wing prints.

d-hemlock samara

And by those footprints, we kept seeing Eastern hemlock seed samaras–minus the seed. How cool is that? While the seed depends on its wing to fly to a new home, our winged friends only care about the seeds.

d-porky trail

A porcupine had also traversed the property and as time would tell, it knew much of the over-200 acre forest.

d-snowshoe hare trail and scat

Snowshoe hare also traveled here. We were thankful for their teachings of packing trails to make movement easier, especially since we were taking turns breaking trail today. Note the touches of scat along the runway of this particular hare.

d-Round Pond overlook

As a demonstration forest, the Oxford County SWCD received a grant in 2012 from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fun to not only show how a forest harvest can be carefully planned and carried out, but also to install interpretive signs that point out special features and describe best management practices.

d-clearing the bench

Also installed at key points, benches offering views. If you go soon, you can thank my guy for clearing the seat overlooking Round Pond.

d-pitch pine

Continuing on, we noted how well marked are the trails. And sometimes such marks made us notice other things, like the fact that this chosen tree was a pitch pine, an important fire adaptive tree. Such adaptations allow it to establish and/or regenerate on burned sites through a variety of options offered by the tree and its buds.

d-beaver lodge bench

Our continued journey took us to the bench and signage for a beaver lodge, though with another foot of snow you’d hardly know it.

d-beaver lodge

Before the bench, we could see the old lodge, though it seemed abandoned given no sight of a vent on it or any new cuts nearby.

d-beaver lodge signage

But still, a sign once cleared, describe the activity and what one might expect to see within such a home.

d-gray birch

Behind the bench, a family of gray birch stood taller than most given that December ice storm had causes so many of them to bow down with the weight of the world.

d-Tenmile River

From the lodge, we went in search of a couple of beaver dams along Tenmile River, and finally spied some open water. Apparently we weren’t the only ones to see it. Do you see the trail beside the river? How I wanted it to be that of an otter. But, reality struck and it was a deer run.

d-beaver dam1

As the day darkened, we did find an old beaver dam, but again, not recent works.

d-wood duck box

And just above the dam, a wood duck box. As the brochure notes, “A harvest was carefully panned and carried out to show how forestry, wildlife habitat conservation, recreation and water resource protection could all be taken into consideration.”

d-witherod bud and leaves

Not far from the river, I found a shrub I immediately recognized for it is a wee bit different from others–witherod or wild raisin.

d-white pines laden with snow

As we continued on our way out, for there was more to discover but the night was drawing close, white pines sagged with the weight of the recent bomb cyclone.

d-red pine laden with snow

And as it should be along this trail, red pines on the opposite side showed that they, too, had bowed to the burdens.

d-gateway between red and white pines

But what struck me about these two species, red pine to the left and white pine to the right, with my guy’s tracks between, was the fact that the Oxford County SWCD had had the foresight to acquire this land and follow up on its purpose as a demonstration forest.

Our journey on this Mondate was only about four miles along the Tenmile River loops, but already, we can’t wait to return and learn what else this property has to offer.

 

 

 

Love/Hate Sundate

Some days are made for hikes and today was one of them. The temperature was right–in the upper 40˚s-low 50˚s. No sun. And no bugs.

So, after church, my guy and I drove to the trailhead for Burnt Meadow Mountain in Brownfield, Maine. At the signs indicating the trail splits in two–North Peak to our right, Twin Brook to the left, we knew we planned on covering the loop, but my guy stopped and asked which way I wanted to ascend the mountain.

Nose scrunched, I replied, “North Peak.”

He chuckled for he knows my love/hate relationship with this mountain.

b-red oak leaves

Today my love began with the new leaves, like that of the red oak,

b-red maple1

red maple,

b-striped maple

striped maple,

b-beech leaves 1

and beech. I worshiped them all for their subtle colors and textures. Spring is the time of year that reminds us to live in the moment, for the natural world demonstrates constant change.

b-trailing arbutus

And then there were the flowers, like the trailing arbutus, aka mayflower.

b-Canada mayflower

And another of a similar name, Canada mayflower.

b-shad 1

In the shrub layer, occasionally we came upon the beauty of serviceberry or shadbush flowers flowing in the breeze, exhibiting their own take on these fleeting moments.

b-early saxifrage

And cleaving to the rocks as we climbed, early saxifrage. It’s also known as rockbreaker for this habit, and perhaps suggested the Latin name–Saxifraga virginiensis. Saxum-rock and frangere-to break. A funny name for an uncommon display.

b-summit ahead

I did my best admiring my surroundings for I knew what awaited. My guy paused as the summit came into sight,  expecting me to comment. For once, I kept quiet.

b-summit climb

And then, when the time arrived, we both channeled our inner mountain goat and sought hand holds and foot holds as we scrambled up the nasty dash to the top. Ha ha. It’s difficult to scramble when your heart pounds while your body quivers. This is the section I most hate–and as I always told our sons when they were youngsters, hate is a strong word. I knew I could do this for I’ve done it many times before, so I tried not to take too long as I considered my next move. Plus, rain drops began to fall and I didn’t want to be stuck contemplating on slippery granite. But still.

b-lunch rock

Finally–success. We’d reached the flattened top of the mountain–such a welcome relief after that horrible section. You’d think it was miles long the way I carry on about it. The rain drops ceased and we sat on lunch rock to dine–dirty hands and knees our badges of honor.

b-summit 1

Our view from the rock–looking back toward our point of ascension.

b-summit 2

And forward toward Stone Mountain. After lunch, our plan was to follow the Twin Brooks Trail that passes through the saddle between Burnt Meadow and Stone.

b-summit 3

And to our right–looking toward the White Mountains.

b-summit trees:layers

Though the view is almost 350˚, our immediate view behind lunch rock offered layers of life–blueberries, a young paper birch and a white pine.

b-twin brooks trail down

At last we started down. The Twin Brooks Trail is longer, but less of a struggle. That being said, it’s not a walk in the park as there are constant roots and rocks seeking attention.

b-mt washington1

But occasionally there are views. I was afraid we might not see Mount Washington today, but it didn’t disappoint.

b-birch catkin1

On the way down, we were in the land of the birch, their catkins growing long . . .

b-birch catkin pollen

and exploding with life-giving pollen.

b-viola

There were violas to admire.

b-shad 2

And more shadbush.

b-bear claws 1

But one of my other favorite things about this trail is the bear claw trees. No matter how many times I see them, they still bring a smile to my heart–and face. And a memory of seeing a bear on the North Peak trail one summer–it sauntered past us, not seeming to care that we were there. I suspect its belly was stuffed with blueberries.

b-twin brook 1

As we continued to descend, we soon heard the sound of one of the brooks for which the trail is named. Quite often on this trail, the water barely trickles, but today it rushed over the moss-covered rocks.

b-logging

Continuing on, we remembered that two hikers we meet at the start said there had been some logging and sometimes it was difficult to follow the trail. At last, my guy found the area they’d referenced. The trails are on private land and so while we couldn’t find some familiar landmarks, we nevertheless were thankful that we were still able to hike there. And, we were mindful to look for the yellow blazes as we stepped over some slash. It was quite doable.

b-bear tree 2:eye level

The result–a bear tree we hadn’t seen before was revealed.

b-bear tree 2:looking up

It must have offered plenty to eat in the past for the tree was well climbed all the way to its crown. Maybe we’d once met the very bear.  Maybe not. Who knows. But it’s worth a wonder.

b-bear of a different sort

A bear of another kind also left behind a sign of its presence. We obviously weren’t the only ones who headed to the mountain for a date.

b-bear tree 3

In one last spot a short way from finishing the loop, we found our last bear tree–again seen because of the logging. I suspect there are many more in these woods and hope they don’t all get cut.

Emerging leaves. Spring flowers. Jagged outcropping. Flowing water. Bear trees.

Really, it was a love/hate/love Sundate–joyfully spent with my guy.

 

 

 

From Bare to Bear on Burnt Meadow Mountain

Back in October 1947, catastrophic wildfires erupted throughout Maine during what became known as “The Week Maine Burned.”

It hadn’t rained for 108 days and the dry woods were like tinder. Here in western Maine, Fryeburg, Brownfield and Denmark thought they had a fire under control, but overnight a strong wind blew and gave it new life. About 2,000 acres burned by the next night as the fire spread to the edge of Brownfield.

With the winds continuously shifting, town folks began to panic. Farmers either turned their livestock loose or herded them to neighboring towns. Others packed as many belongings as they could and evacuated.

By morning, most homes and public buildings in Brownfield were mere piles of ash. Stately places including the Farnsworth Place where Dr. Philo Farnsworth, a pioneer in the field of television, spent his summers, had burned. Churches, schools, the post office, Grange hall, library and town hall all went up in smoke–only twenty houses survived. In the end, 85% of the town was destroyed, including a mountain trail.

Today, Marita and I ventured to Burnt Meadow Mountain for a loop hike. It used to be that one had to hike up and back on the same trail, now known as the North Peak. Though that’s the shortest way up and back (about an hour each way), I for one, am thankful to the Friends of Burnt Meadow Mountain, who sought landowner permission to create a loop and spur–Twin Brook Trail and Stone Mountain Trail.

trail sign

From the parking lot and kiosk, it’s a bit of a climb to reach the trail split. We followed the blue blazes of the North Peak trail, which though it is shorter, is also the more difficult of the two.

white pine 1

Immediately we noticed that the white oaks that grow at the bottom of the mountain play host to numerous leaf miners and other insects.

white oak gall

Some are decorated with pronounced galls. I always think about how a bud protects the whisp of a leaf all winter long, and how hairy it is as it slowly unfolds and then–kaboom–the insects have to survive too. And they do. Until something eats them. And their energy passes up through the web, where it’s enhanced at each level by sun and air and rain and . . . even when life doesn’t look so good, it is.

Blueberries

As we climbed, the blueberries became more prolific. And bluer.

spreading dogbane

Spreading dogbane showed forth its tiny pink bells.

ph rocky ascent (1)

And the trail became a scramble. If I said we scampered up the ledge quickly, I’d be telling a fib. (Do people still tell fibs?) Near the summit is a section of hand-over-hand climbing. It doesn’t really last long, but in the moment it seems like forever.

ph view on way 2 (1)

And so it invites a pause to take in the view to the south and east.

ph summit view 5 (1)

The relatively flat summit is rather barren–in memory of those 1947 wildfires.

ph summit view3 (1)

We were glad it was cloudy as there are no shade trees at the top.

ph summit view 2 (1)

Our view included Stone Mountain and the saddle between it and Burnt Meadow Mtn.

ph red pine 3 (1)

Normally in the landscape, red pines stand tall and proud. At the summit, however, their scrubby form presents their features at eye level–bundles of two needles, pollen cones and older seed cones. Young red pines typically germinate and grow only after forest fires or some other event that causes tree loss.

Eastern Towhee 2

Eastern Towhee

While we took a break, an Eastern Towhee sang its metallic yet musical “drink your tea” song.

ph view on way down 4 (1)

Descending via the much longer, but a wee bit easier Twin Brook trail, we were treated to mountain views to the west.

driftwood

And driftwood. Oops. Wrong setting. But still, mountain wood can be as beautiful as ocean wood.

ph bear 5

One of our pleasant surprises was the discovery of bear claw marks on rather small beech trees. Perhaps made by even smaller bear cubs who scampered up and down a year or two ago, leaving their marks much the way we left our own today without knowing it.

ph bear 2

Further along, the hole in this older beech stopped Marita in her tracks. We noticed saw dust on the ground below. And numerous bear claw marks on the bark above.

bear 3

Another oft visited tree.

From bare to bear, Burnt Meadow Mountain in Brownfield is worth the trek. (You probably thought we saw a bear today. No such luck, but my guys and I encountered a bear on the North Peak trail on a summer day years ago. It seemed content to lumber along about fifteen feet from us–probably full of blueberries.)

 

Our Place

h-tom2

Gooble. Gooble. Gooble. Gooble. Gooble. Gooble. Gooble. Seriously . . . is all that noise necessary? Apparently it is. Mr. Tom felt the need to awaken us at this morning’s first light with his non-stop gobbling–his way of calling the hens to join him. Disclaimer: I didn’t take this photo until later in the day. In all his ugliness, I have to say that he really is a handsome fellow.

h-female turkey

The hens who hang out with him don’t appear to care, but maybe they’re just playing coy.

p-little saco sign

We left them to the bird seed scattered on the ground and drove to Farnsworth Road in Brownfield for a hike up Peary Mountain. The trail is located on private property and we’re thankful that it’s open to hikers. Much of it is a snowmobile trail as well.

p-Little Saco

The Little Saco flows over moss-covered rocks beside the lower part of the trail.

p-false 4

As we followed it, bright green growth in the damp soil warranted a closer look.

p-false hellibore 2

A true sign of spring–false hellebore with its corrugated leaves.

p-striped 2

There are plenty of other signs, including the pink and green striped maple buds. I’m missing my macro for these moments of early glory, but so it is.

p-beech 1

While some beech trees still have a few marcescent leaves clinging until they can no more, I noticed a few buds beginning to burst.

p-summit sign

At a stone wall, the trail suddenly turns 90˚ to the left.

p-fdn 2

But in the opposite direction–the remains of an old foundation.

p-fdn ledge 2

And above, a ledge from whence the stones presumably came.

p-porc scat

The ledge continues to provide a dwelling–for critters like the porcupines who keep the hemlocks well trimmed.

p-bluets

As we climbed to the top, delicate bluets showed their smiling faces.

p-bench view1

And then we emerged on the 958-foot summit, where the bench view is glorious. The small mountain was named for Admiral Peary. Apparently, his mother’s family, the Wileys, lived in neighboring Fryeburg. Upon graduating from Bowdoin College in 1877, Peary lived in Fryeburg and conducted survey studies of the area for a couple of years, before moving to DC and later leading an expedition to the North Pole.

p-mount wash

If you’ve seen similar views of the big mountain, its because it’s part of our place.

p-my guy view

I followed my guy along the ridge line to the end–where the view turned homeward.

p-pointing

My guy made a point of recognizing landmarks from Mount Tom and Lovewell Pond along the Saco River to Pleasant Mountain and Brownfield Bog.

p-Pleasant 2

If you look closely, you’ll notice a horizontal line just below the bog–that’s the Saco River. And the little mountain to the left of Pleasant Mountain–Little Mountain in West Bridgton.

p-Pleasant Road1

The only part of the view that we don’t get–the new road that was constructed up the backside of the mountain within the past year. It worries us. And that is why we appreciate the efforts of Loon Echo Land Trust for protecting most of the rest of the mountain.

b-pitch pine

We headed home for lunch and to pull out the lawn furniture.* And then we parted ways, my guy to attend a celebration of life for an old friend, and me to climb Bald Pate. My purpose–to look at the pitch pines and jack pines.

b-pitch 2

In bundles of three, the stiff needles surround the male pollen bearing cones on the pitch pine.

b-jack pine1

Jack pine features two needles per bundle–think Jack and Jill.

b-peabody & sebago

From the summit, I paused to take in the view of Peabody Pond and Sebago Lake beyond. It doesn’t matter how often I climb to the top of this 1,100-foot mountain, the view is ever changing.

b-mount wash1

And again, I could see Pleasant with Mount Washington in its saddle. This time, however, I was on the opposite side looking at the front of Pleasant Mountain. You may wonder about the road–it leads to two cell towers near the Southwest Ridge summit.

b-sweet fern 1

As I made my way to the Foster Pond Lookout, I stopped frequently to enjoy the ever-artful presentation of sweet fern.

b-blueberries

And I noticed another sweet offering that many of us will enjoy this summer–blueberry plants in bloom.  A year ago next week, I saw the same on this very mountain. Seems early, but I think they’re well protected in a sunny spot.

b-foster pond 2

I’m sure had my guy been with me, he would have named a color chip that matched Foster Pond–perhaps turquoise blue best described it in that moment.

b-bird treat 1

Heading back to my truck, I noticed some bird treats dangling from the trees. Perhaps our turkeys will fly to South Bridgton.

h-tom 3

Apparently not. Back at home, Tom had returned. He’s a frequent visitor to our place. And we’re frequent visitors to the area beyond our backyard. It’s all really his place and our place.

* If you live in our area, expect at least one more snowstorm. It always snows once we pull out the lawn furniture.

 

 

Ten Fun Finds in the Last 24 Hours

jw2

  1. Orange jewelweed, aka Spotted Touch-Me-Not. I found these lining the path during a quick walk through Pondicherry Park yesterday afternoon. The flower will form a capsule that bursts open and flings seeds when touched.

jewelweed 1

One of the cool things about jewelweed’s structure is its spurred sac that extends backwards.

jw3 on the wall

Though it likes the moist woodland paths in the park, I also found it in bloom atop a stonewall.

turtlehead

2. I’d never seen turtlehead until I moved to Maine. As a kid, I collected turtles–think stuffed, ceramic, wooden, glass. A neighbor even gave me a shell, which I still have. So, when we moved into our old farmhouse, I was excited to discover pink turtlehead growing in the garden. And on several occasions this past week, including yesterday’s walk in the park, white turtlehead was in bloom. It’s so named for the two-lipped appearance, with the upper lip arching downward and strongly suggesting a turtle’s head.

equisetum

3. Woodland horsetail grows among the white pine saplings. It’s easy to confuse the two since they both have whorled branches, but the horsetail branches have a lacier appearance. Its “leaves” are reduced to a toothed sheath that surrounds the stem.

fogged inmorning dew

4. Morning fog on Moose Pond was almost the pea-soup variety until it began to burn off around 7:30 this morning. I was mesmerized by the patterns created by the moisture on the porch screens.

spider works

spider works 2

5. I was equally mesmerized by the spider works I found both on the porch and outside. Industrious architects are these. Mind you, I’m not a spider fan. I used to make family members destroy them. And I remember some mighty large and hairy ones that shared our flat in England back in ’79. That’s when I learned that the eensy weensy spider really does climb up the water spout. But, these webs are to be admired.

white oak leaves

6. As my guy and I climbed Burnt Meadow Mountain in Brownfield today (after the fog burned off), I realized for the first time that white oaks grow there. It’s the little things that excite me and seeing those rounded leaves made my heart flutter. I’ve now noted that white oak grows beside red oak in Casco, Denmark and Brownfield. I’m connecting the dots that form its northern line.

trailsignalmost to the summitsummit 1mount washington

7. We followed the North Peak trail to the top. It’s always a joy (think: relief) to walk onto the large, flat summit after scrambling over the rocks to get there. Because we like a round trip, we descended via the Twin Brooks Trail, which offers some great mountain views, including Mount Washington.

summit grasshopper

8. Grasshoppers are abundant at the summit. They’re known to feed on blueberries, and the crop is quite abundant, especially just off the summit on the Twin Brook Trail.

oak gall

9. Oak Gall. I think this is an oak apple gall growing on the red oak, but I’ve never actually seen one on the tree before. Usually, I find the dried shell of such a gall on the ground. My other guess would be the acorn plum gall. If you know, please inform me.

bear claws 1bear claws 2bear claw 3

10. I was looking for these and we found them. 🙂 Yes, more bear claw marks. It only made sense. Lots of beech trees. Lots of blueberries. And . . . a few years ago, we encountered a bear on the North Peak trail.

tree roots

11. OK, so here’s my eleventh cool thing. Kinda like getting a baker’s dozen–11 for 10, such a deal. Anyway, I’m always fascinated by the manner of tree roots growing over and around each other and other things. Embracing. Supporting.  Layering. Call it what you want. The thing is, they find a way to grow together. Oh, it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes it’s a smothering relationship. I’d like to think that these two trees, an oak and a birch, have intertwined in support of each other.

Thanks for joining me to take a look at the past 24 hours. I hope you had time to wonder as well.