A Berry Pleasant Mountain Hike

Thirty-two years ago I moved to Maine (the only place I’ve ever lived where the number of years counts as bragging rights) and Pleasant Mountain quickly figured into my life. The first day I drove past it on Route 302, I was killing time before a job interview and one look at Moose Pond with the mountain looming over it and I knew I very much wanted to live here. A couple of days later, I received the phone call I’d been waiting for and principal Larry Thompson said it was only a matter of formality that my name go before the school board. By the next week, I was packing up in New Hampshire and making my way further north. I’d found a place to live that meant I’d pass by the mountain on my way to and from school each day. And then that October I attended a Halloween party with friends at the ski lodge of what was then called Pleasant Mountain Ski Resort. I was an olive and I met this guy dressed as a duck hunter. Turns out he’d never been duck hunting, but had a great duck puppet and he could turn its head with the stick within. He certainly turned my head!

Thus began the journey with my guy. Our first hike together–up the Southwest Trail of Pleasant Mountain. That first winter, he taught me to downhill ski, well sorta. My way of turning that first time included falling as I neared the edge of the trail, shifting my body once I was down on the snow, begging for the components of a steak dinner, rising and skiing across at a diagonal to the opposite side only to repeat my performance. Dinner was great that night! And well deserved.

Time flashed forward four years, and at noon on August 4, 1990, we were married; our reception in the Treehouse Lounge at the Ski Resort. In all the years since we first met and then were married and beyond, we’ve skied (though I have managed to avoid that concept more recently) together and with our sons before their abilities outgrew mine, snowshoed and hiked and grown only fonder of the place we call home. Our intention yesterday was to climb the mountain in celebration of our 28th anniversary, but the weather gods outpouring of moisture was not in our favor.

Today, however, dawned differently and so mid-morning we made our way with a plan to hike up the Bald Peak Trail, across the ridge to the summit, and down the Ledges Trail. We’d left the truck at the Ledges, ever mindful that the last thing we want to do after climbing down the mountain is to walk 1.5 miles to reach our vehicle.

1-heading up

As I’ve done over and over again in the past 32 years, I followed my guy–over rocks and roots and bald granite faces.

2-Pinesap

Once in a while I announced the need for a stop because my Nature Distraction Disorder ticked into action. In this case, it was Pine-sap, or Monotropa hypopitysMono meaning once and tropa turned; hypopitys for its habitat under a pine or fir. Also called Dutchmen’s Pipe, this is a parasitic plant that obtains all its nutrients by stealing them from the roots of a host tree. It doesn’t enter the host directly, but through a fungal intermediary. And like Indian Pipe, it has no green tissues. It differs from I.P. in two ways, its yellow color as compared to white, and two to eleven flowers versus a single flower. In my book of life, both Pine-sap and Indian Pipe are great finds.

3-Moose Pond below

I didn’t let my NDD get the better of me too often on the way up. It was extremely humid and so we did stop frequently, but also kept a pace that worked for both of us and soon emerged onto the ridge where a look back through the red and white pines revealed a peek of the causeway that crosses Moose Pond.

5-hidden camp

Employing the telephoto lens, I spied our camp hidden among the trees, only the dock and our little boat showing. It’s amazing how obvious all the neighboring camps seemed when viewed from up high.

7-ridge line trail

After the climb up, the ridge always seems a cinch as the pathway wanders through blueberries, pines and oaks.

6-lunch rock

At last we found lunch rock, a place to pause in the shade and enjoy our PB&J sandwiches. We’d packed cookies for dessert, but decided to save those for later. My guy, however, had accidentally unpacked my work backpack and discovered a few pieces of a dark chocolate KitKat–my stash when I’m tired at the end of the day and need a pick-me-up before driving home. It looks like the purchase of another KitKat is in my near future for we topped off the sandwiches with a sweet treat.

8-picking blueberries

After lunch, my guy’s eyes focused in on one thing only. That is after he moved away from his original spot behind the rock we’d sat upon for our repose. Unwittingly, he’d stirred up a yellow jacket nest and managed to walk calmly away, only one bee stinging his leg.

14-blueberries

While his attention was on the gold at his feet–in the form of low-bush blueberries, I turned my lens in a variety of directions. Oh, I helped pick. A. Wee. Bit.

9-Lake Darner Dragongly

But there were other things to see as well and this dragonfly was a new one for me. A few highlights of this beauty: Do you notice the black cross line in the middle of the face. And on the thoracic side stripe, do you see the deep notch?

10-Lake Darner Dragonfly

Both of those characteristics helped in ID: Meet a Lake Darner. Even the male claspers at the tip of the abdomen are key, for they’re paddle-shaped and thicker toward the end. Though he didn’t pause often, Lake Darners are known to perch vertically on tree trunks. I was in awe.

11-grasshopper

All the while we were on the ridge, the Lake Darners flew about, their strong wing beats reminiscent of hummingbirds, so close did they come to our ears that we could hear the whir. And then there was another sound that filled the summer air with a saw-like buzziness–snapping and crackling as they flew. I couldn’t capture their flight for so quick and erratic it was, but by rubbing pegs on the inner surface of their hind femurs against the edges of their forewings, the grasshoppers performed what’s known in the sound world as crepitation. Crepitation–can’t you almost hear the snap as you pronounce the word?

12-coyote scat

It wasn’t just insects that caught my eye, for I found a fine specimen of coyote scat worth noting for it was full of hair and bones. It was a sign bespeaking age, health, availability, and boundaries.

12A

Turns out, it wasn’t the only sign in the area and whenever we hike the trails on Pleasant Mountain these days, we give thanks to Loon Echo Land Trust for preserving so much of it. According to the land trust’s website: “Currently, Loon Echo owns 2,064 mountain acres and protects an additional 24 acres through conservation easements.”

13-picking some more

Our time on the ridge passed not in nano seconds, for my guy was intent on his foraging efforts. I prefer to pick cranberries, maybe because they are bigger and bring quicker satisfaction as one tries to fill a container. But, he leaves no leaf unturned. And enjoys the rewards on yogurt or the possible muffin if his wife is so kind, until late in the winter.

15-middle basin of Moose Pond

As we slowly moved above the middle basin of Moose Pond, I found other berries growing there.

14-lingonberries

Among them, lingonberries were beginning to ripen. They grow low to the ground, below the blueberries, and resemble little cranberries. In fact, some call them mountain cranberries. Like blueberries, they like acidic, well-drained soil. For all the leaves, however, there were few fruits and I had to wonder if the birds were enjoying a feast.

16-huckleberries

Huckleberries also grow there, though not quite as abundantly as along our shorefront on Moose Pond. They’re seedier than blueberries, though the local squirrels don’t seem to mind. Both red and gray harvest them constantly as they move throughout the vegetated buffer in front of camp.

17-summit fire tower

It took some convincing, but finally my guy realized that we needed to move on and so we gradually made our way to the summit, where the once useful fire tower still stands as a monument to an era gone by.

18-summit view in the haze

Our pause wasn’t too long for so strong was the sun. And hazy the view, Kearsarge showed its pointed profile to the left, but Mount Washington remained in hiding today.

19-ledges view of Moose Pond's southern basin

The journey down was rather quick. Perhaps because we were so tired, it felt like we just rolled down. But we did stop to admire the view of the southern bay of Moose Pond in Denmark. Our intention was also to eat the cookies we’d packed once we reached this point. Through both bags we hunted to no avail. I remembered packing the cookies under our sandwiches. And then moving the sandwiches to the second pack, but leaving the cookies. Did we accidentally take them out after all? Were they on the kitchen counter? In the truck? The final answer was no on all fronts. We think we must have taken them out at lunch rock and they never made it back into the pack. I had moved the backpacks with great calmness once we discovered the yellow jacket nest. Just maybe the yellow jackets are dining on some lemon cookies. Perhaps it was our unintended peace offering.

20-hiking down following this guy

After a five plus hour tour, filled with blueberries and sweat, I followed my guy down. We’ve spent the greater part of our lives following in each other’s footsteps and it’s a journey we continue to cherish, especially on our favorite hometown mountain.

Here’s to many more Berry Pleasant Mountain Hikes with my guy.

 

 

 

Sunday’s Point of View

After church we had exactly five hours to pack our lunches, drive to the trailhead and complete our trek. After all, the New England Patriot’s were scheduled to play the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game at 3pm and we intended to be in the audience–from the comfort of our couch, of course.

p1-pleasant mountain sign

By 10:30, we’d pulled into the Ledges Trail parking lot on Mountain Road in Denmark (Denmark, Maine, that is) and began the one and a half mile walk back down the road. Our intended route along the trails of Pleasant Mountain in Loon Echo’s preserve was to climb up the Bald Peak Trail to the fire tower at the summit and then follow the Ledges Trail down. We love hiking a circular route, and like to get the road walk out of the way first.

p2-mountain stream

We had no idea what trail conditions would be like, but decided on micro-spikes, which proved to be the best choice. Beside the trail, the mountain stream was layered thick with icy sculptures.

p3-brook ice

Everywhere we looked, the water had frozen into a variety of formations.

p4-Needle's Eye

Less than a half mile up, we came to the sign for Needle’s Eye.

“Do you want to go in?” I asked my guy.

“It’s up to you,” he replied for he knows my love/hate relationship with the spur path to the geological feature.

“Let’s try,” I said.

p5-Needle's Eye

Somehow, we made it to the chasm in only a few minutes. And then we stood in awe, rejoicing that we’d made the effort for we were well rewarded.

p6-ice of the needle

At the back of the eye, the waterfall stood still for a moment. Eventually, we made our way back to the main trail, and I’m proud to say I only exclaimed once when a tree that I grabbed wiggled. I thought of my friend, Marita, and her patience with me last spring when my brain didn’t want me to venture forth along the spur.

p8-ice layers

Upward we continued, chuckling as we always do at the sign for Sue’s Way that also indicated we would reach the intersection of the North Ridge Trail in three tenths of a mile. Somehow, that three tenths always feels like three miles. Is it really only three tenths of a mile, we wondered.

p7-Sabattus Island on Moose Pond

We were rewarded again, however, when we did pass by the intersection and continued on to the summit of Big Bald Peak. It’s always a spot to stop and look back at Moose Pond below where we could see our camp and Sabatis Island.

p8a-lunch rock looking north

It was just beyond that stop that we found lunch rock. Our view to the northwest was a bit obscured by the pines, but they helped block the breeze, so we didn’t mind.

p8-fire tower in distance

And to the southwest, the ridgeline we intended to walk. We could even see the fire warden’s tower at the main summit.

p9-crossing the ridge

After lunch, across the ridge we trekked, enjoying the sights along the way.

p10-Sebago Lake's open water

In the distance, we could see Sebago Lake and noted its open water which evoked a conversation about global warming. Many thought this would be the year it finally froze over again, but . . . not to be.

p11-racing through blueberry patch

Because trail conditions on the ridge were favorable, we moved quickly–practically running through the blueberry fields that will call my guy’s name come July.

p12-the tower

In what seemed like no time, we turned left onto the Fire Warden’s Trail and then made our way up to the iconic tower that was built in 1920. My hope is that it will still stand stalwart in 2020 and celebrate its one hundredth birthday.

p13-summit view toward Washington

Sometimes the summit view includes Mount Washington, but today the summits of the Presidentials were hidden in clouds.

p14-red pine scale

One scene that didn’t make us happy was that of the red pines. About five years ago I noted their decline and communicated with a forester who was studying red pine scale. Since then, most of the trees have been infested by the tiny insect and died.

p14-Southwest Ridge and sky

A much prettier picture we saw as we began our descent down the Ledges Trail, where the sky displayed a rainbow of colors above the Southwest summit of the mountain.

p15-Moose Pond from the ledges

As we made our way down, we paused as we always do along the ledges for which the trail was named. The south basin of Moose Pond dominated the vantage point.

p16-smiley face and heart

Along the entire route, we only met a few other hiking parties, but one apparently enjoyed the journey as much as we did and left smiles for our hearts.

p17-Needle's Eye

We arrived home with ten minutes to spare until kickoff.

Before the game began, we both agreed that our favorite point of view for this Sunday  was Needle’s Eye.

And now, the Patriot’s just defeated Jacksonville. That may mean two other scenes compete for today’s fav–when #24 Gilmore blocked Jacksonville’s final pass or Bill Belichick showed emotion before the game officially ended.

 

 

 

 

A Good Mourning Mondate

A good mourning? Indeed it was. Yesterday we celebrated Easter and the resurrection. Today we celebrated an opportunity to climb our favorite mountain.

p-Mountain stream

And so we parked the truck at Loon Echo Land Trust’s Ledges Trail parking lot on Mountain Road in Denmark and then walked 1.5 miles back to the trailhead we chose to make our ascension up Pleasant Mountain. Along the way, mountain streams quickly moved the meltwater downward toward Moose Pond, where it will mingle with the lake water and eventually find its way to another stream and then the Saco River and finally out to sea. And whether via future raindrops or snowflakes or even fog, traces of the same water molecules may again find their way down these streams.

p-bald peak trail

At last we reached the trail head for the Bald Peak Trail, where less than a week ago Marita and I had to climb over a tall snowbank to reach the path.

p-ice chunk

As we climbed and paused to admire the water flowing beside us, I noted differences between last week and today, including the shrinking of an ice chunk tucked under a rock. Ever so slowly, it joined the forces of downward motion, as if letting go was meant to happen with care.

p-Needles Eye

And then at the spur, my guy and I turned left to Needles Eye. Some ice and snow still covered parts of the path, but it was much easier to negotiate than last week. And he did. I followed him, but didn’t need to step into the chasm since I’d just been there. (wink) Instead, I climbed below to try to capture the world above.

p-returning from Needles Eye

And then I rejoined my guy and wished I’d taken a photo of this section last week for today’s conditions didn’t reflect the same treacherous stretch Marita and I worked our way across.

p-snow on trail

We continued up the trail, where snow and ice were more prevalent. Though we had micro-spikes in our pack, we managed to avoid wearing them. And only once did I completely sink in–just below Big Bald Peak. I actually went up to my thigh, so deep was the snow. And cold. But I was hot, so it felt refreshing.

p-pileated scat

But before we reached the sharp left turn on Big Bald Peak, we noticed tons of chips at the base of a hemlock tree. Such a discovery invited a closer look–and I spied the largest pileated woodpecker scat I’d ever seen. Later on, when we were almost at the Fire Warden’s Trail, we saw two hikers on their way down and I quickly realized one was my dear friend Joan–another lover of scat and all things mammalian. Of course I told her what to look for as she and her hiking friend headed down the Balk Peak Trail. And I just received an e-mail from her: “Deb and I saw it! It was huge! She was so excited to see all the little ant bodies!” Indeed.

p-Mt Wash from top of Bald Peak Trail

The wind blew fiercely when we reached Big Bald, where white and red pines framed a view of another big bald–Mount Washington in the distance.

p-view from lunch rock 2 (1)

Not far along the trail, we found lunch rock in a section that offered some protection from the gusty wind. It was the perfect place to enjoy our PB&Js followed by Cadbury Digestives (thanks sis).

p-view from lunch rock

Through the trees, we could again see the mighty mountain to our west.

p-blueberries 1

And at our feet–blueberry buds galore. My guy began to see blue where no blue yet exists–the promise was enough.

p-along ridge line

Walking along the ridge line was like a walk in the park. At times, where the sun didn’t hit the northwest sides of ravines, we found more snow, but more often than not, the trail was neither icy nor muddy.

p-wood frogs

It was in one of the ravines, however, that we heard a song of spring–the wruck of the wood frogs singing from a vernal pool located below. A first for us this year and we were happy to be in the presence of such a sound.

p-fire tower 1

It seemed like in no time, we approached the main summit where the iconic fire tower still stands tall.

p-summit 6 (1)

We took in the view toward Brownfield and beyond.

p-summit toward Washington

And again looked toward Mount Washington.

p-Mt Wash1

Even upon the mighty one, we could see the snow has melted gradually. But our stay wasn’t any longer than a few minutes for the wind was hat-stealing strong and I had to chase mine.

p-hiking down ledges

And so down Ledges Trail we descended in order to complete our loop. Here we rarely saw signs of snow or ice.

p-ledge view 1

The southern basin of Moose Pond stretched before us, most of its surface still covered with the grainy gray ice of spring. Any day now, ice out will be declared, late as it is.

p-tent caterpillars

It was on the ledges that I noticed tent caterpillars already at work.

p-red maple 1

Thankfully, there were more pleasant sights to note, including the first flowers of red maples.

p-striped maple buds

And along the trail below the ledges, plenty of striped maples showed off their swelling buds.

p-acorn

Last summer, the oaks produced a mast crop and those not consumed by the squirrels and turkeys have reached germination. This one made a good choice about a place to lay down its roots–hope burst forth.

p-beaked hazelnut 2

As we neared the end of the trail, I began to notice the beaked hazelnuts and savored  their tiny blooms of magenta ribbons. And we could hear spring peepers. So many good sights and sounds along our journey.

p-mourning cloak 1

On each trail we hiked today, we were also blessed with butterfly sightings. It’s always a joy to see these beauties, who actually overwinter as adults in tree cavities, behind loose bark, or anywhere they can survive out of the wind and without being consumed by predators. They survive by cryopreservation–the process of freezing biological material at extreme temperatures. In Britain, their common name is Camberwell Beauty. In North America, we know them as Mourning Cloaks–so named for their coloration that resembled the traditional cloak one used to wear when in mourning.

I think I may have to stick with Camberwell Beauty for a name, given those velvety brown wings accented by the line of black with azure dots and accordian yellow edge. What’s to mourn about it?

So we didn’t. Instead, we enjoyed a good morning Mondate–and afternoon.

Out of the fog

morning fog

Morning fog embraced Pleasant Mountain, making it only a memory.

new parking lot

In my need to know that it was still there, I drove down Mountain Road to the brand-spanking new Bald Peak parking lot. I guess I was early since my truck was the lone vehicle.

Bald Peak Trail Sign

Thanks to Loon Echo Land Trust and the AMC, the Bald Peak trail has undergone a transformation this year.

Stairway to heaven

new trail

trailwork 4trailwork2trailwork 3

More stairways, a new path and switchbacks make for an easier climb. Um, that’s all relative. It’s still moderately challenging compared to the other trails on the mountain.

trail signs

Trail signs mark the way, giving a sense of direction and distance.

debarked

I’m a bit out of order with this photo, but that’s my nature. Near the start is this debarked birch. People have carved their initials to note their presence. I know I occasionally post photos of beech trees with carvings, but the fact that someone took the time to peel the bark off this tree bothers me. Please leave bark on trees. I know it peels easily on birches, but the tree will shed its bark when it is ready. For us to peel it is like someone peeling off a layer of skin. Shivers run up and down my spine as I think of that. Bark is the tree’s form of protection from the elements. ‘Nuf said . . . I hope.

mossy rocks

For much of the way, the trail follows a stream featuring moss covered boulders

lush mtn garden

and terraced rock gardens.

rock garden

I pause beside one boulder where lichen, mosses, wildflowers, ferns and even a striped maple tree have made a home.

Christmas fern

Christmas fern–do you see the shape of the leaflets or pinnae? Little Christmas stockings or boots? Some say Santa sits in his sleigh with the reindeer before him. Each leaflet is attached to the main stem via a short petiole.

polypody1

Polypody fern loves to give rocks a crazy-hair-day look. While its leaflets look similar to that of Christmas fern, they attach directly to the main stem and give the  entire blade a rather ladder-like appearance.

betsy's lookout

I’m not sure who Betsy is, but along the path, there is a new cutout providing a bit of a view of Moose Pond below.

American Toad

Before I hiked onto the ridge, an American toad paused for a photo op.

looking at camp

Out of the fog. Camp is about smack-dab in the middle of this photo on the north basin of Moose Pond.

trail along the ridge

I met no one as I hiked up and only encountered two people and their dogs along the ridge trail heading toward the summit.

blueberries and huckleberries

There aren’t too many blueberries left, but the huckleberries are abundant–and seedier.

gall of the earth 2

Also plentiful–Gall-of-the-Earth or Rattlesnake Root (Prenanthes trifoliata). Such a curious name for this plant. Hilary Hopkins writes in Never Say It’s Just a Dandelion, “Gall-of-the-Earth: a mysterious name dating from at least 1567, referring to a plant’s bitterness, though not this plant, but rather one said to have been discovered by Chiron the centaur, a physician of Greek mythology.” OK–so if not this plant, then why the name?

Hopkins continues, “Rattlesnake Root refers to the plant’s supposed efficacy against rattlers.” Always good to know I have a tool handily available when hiking alone.

And finally, she writes, “Prenanthes means ‘drooping flower,’ a perfect description; trifoliata describes the three-parted leaves.” That is definitely accurate.

gall aphids

Though I saw numerous Prenanthes trifoliata along the trail, only this one was covered with aphids.

gall ant

And one ant. It is said that ants herd the aphids, protecting them from predators and parasites, so that the ants can enjoy the honeydew left behind by the tiny insects. This ant must have had sentry duty–he roamed all over this leaf and then down to the next one. Perhaps he thought I was the predator and he had to keep an eye on me.

whorled asters

Whorled Asters graced the trail periodically and the base of a Northern Red Oak.

Firewarden's Trail

Moments before I reached the Firewarden’s Trail, I startled a red fox that ran into a rock den.

fire tower 2

Standing forever stalwart is the fire tower. I hope it will continue to stand tall forever, as it marks a piece of the mountain’s history.

summit view1

Out of the fog. Looking west from the summit.

trail signs heading down

There was a time when one could easily get lost on this mountain, but thanks to the LELT, those days are no more. Good thing. There were six people at the summit and I passed quite a few more as I descended via the Ledges Trail.

 white goldenrod

Silverod is our only white goldenrod and it prefers the drier soil of this path.

Ledges 1

The ledges offer a peek at the south basin of Moose Pond.

Mountain Road

Finally, I was back on Mountain Road for the 1.5 mile walk back to my truck.

red eft

Interestingly, along the way I found thirteen smooshed red efts. These are the terrestrial teenagers of the newts. My first thought–snacks galore. Then I remembered–their color is a warning sign of their toxicity. No one wants such a snack. (Reportedly, they aren’t harmful to humans, but I wasn’t about to find out.)

And so it was today that I’m glad I climbed out of the fog. Thanks for joining me on this long wander.

Painting Naturally

It finally rained in Maine–for several days. But today featured sunlight, clouds and cool temps–just the right conditions to join my friend, Marita Wiser, (author of  Hikes and Woodland Walks in and around Maine’s LAKES REGION) for a climb up Pleasant Mountain.

LELT sign

Loon Echo Land Trust owns 1,859 acres on the mountain, including the Ledges Trail, which was our choice.

steps

Thanks to the efforts of Loon Echo’s volunteer base and the help of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the trail is well maintained. (AMC actually happened to be working down the road at the Bald Peak trail)

view from ledges

About halfway up, the view from the ledges includes the Denmark end of Moose Pond.

rock tripe

Marita was kind enough to endure my photography stops. Here, the greenish hue of rock tripe, that turns brown when dry and can survive for a long time without water.

pink lady's slipper

Pink Lady’s Slippers decorate the path.

footprint

A few wet spots meant we occasionally left tracks.

summit sign

At the summit, we paused for a while.

ft 1

Here stands the 48-foot fire tower, erected in 1920 and manned until 1992 (I know this because Marita wrote about it). We chatted about The Pleasant Mountain House, a hotel that was built on the summit in the late 1800s and was torn down in 1908. It’s difficult to envision people coming to town via the Cumberland and Oxford Canal, then riding in a stage coach from the boat landing on Long Lake to the mountain. But they did.

summit view w: tree

We spent most of our time in awe of the colors.

summit view

view 2

view 3

Marita

I wasn’t the only one taking photos. By her sweater, you can see that it was just a tad nippy, though we both wore short-sleeved shirts and only an extra layer at the summit.

green shield

On the way down, the common green shield lichen was also brighter because of the rain.

ss 2

The dainty greenish-yellow flowers of Solomon’s Seal tried to hide, but we knew to look underneath.

false ss

False Solomon’s Seal, with its flowers at the tip of the stem, also grows along the trail.

water flowing

Where a few days ago, the few streams that cross the trail were dry, today they bubbled.

And so, upon my return home, it seemed only natural that I should head out to the vernal pool. Its story isn’t exactly over yet.

 bunchberry

On the way, patches of Bunchberries are in full bloom.

bb 5

Like so many flowers, this one also has its own story to tell. Though it looks like it’s a plant with four white petals, those are actually bracts, the leaf-like structure located below the flowers.

bb & spider

The tiny flowers are in the center of the white bracts.

BB 4 leaves, 6 leaves

And here’s another thing to notice. Plants with four leaves do not have flowers, while plants with six leaves do have them. Reminds me of the Canada Mayflower, Wild Oats and Indian Cucumber Root–another case of a plant needing the extra energy from additional leaves in order to produce flowers.

Canada Mayflower

Not to be left out, the Canada Mayflowers are still in bloom.

Okey dokey–I’m finally getting to the vernal pool.

sallies

There was a bit of water in the depression, and I hoped that I might find wood frog tadpoles swimming about. Not to be. I didn’t even see any of those that died the other day. Nor did it smell so bad and there were only a couple of flies. The salamander eggs, however, were in different places than where they had started life. The sticks they were attached to have moved. Yet, the eggs were still there and except for being in different locations, they seemed okay.

sally 2

Will they survive with only a bit of dampness?

sally 4

True Confession: I did something I shouldn’t have done. I interfered with nature and put some of them into the wee bit of water. The jelly masses were warm to touch. Something will probably eat them soon, but I had to give them a chance.

butterfly 1

It was time to head home and get some work done. But . . . in the herb garden just outside the kitchen door–a Painted Lady.

Nature’s colors–a painting worth viewing each and every day.

Thanks for joining me for today’s wonder.