Wondermyway Celebrates Third Anniversary

Three years ago this journey began as a quiet entry into the world of blogging, of sharing my finds and questions found along the trail. And ever so slowly, you joined me to wander and wonder.

So really, today is a celebration of you, for I give thanks that you’ve continued to follow and comment and wander and wonder along, whether literally or virtually.

I absolutely love to travel the trail alone and do so often. But I also love hiking with my guy and others because my eyes are always opened to other things that I may have missed while hiking on my own.

I’m blessed with the community of naturalists with whom I’m surrounded–and this includes all of you for if you’re following along and taking the time to actually read my entries, then you share my interest and awe. And you may send me photos or I may send you photos and together we learn.

t6-cecropia cocoon

Just yesterday, while tramping in Lovell, Maine, with fellow trackers, I spotted a cocoon  dangling from a beech tree. My first thought–Cecropia moth, but I contacted Anthony Underwood, a Maine Master Naturalist who has great knowledge about insects, and learned that I was wrong. He said it looked more like the cocoon of a Promethea moth. “They hang down whereas Cecropia are usually attached longitudinally,” wrote Anthony. And there you have it.

Now I just have to remember it, which is part of the reason I value my post entries. The information has been recorded and I can always plug a key word, e.g. Promethea, into the search bar and today’s blog will come up–jogging my memory.

And so, without further ado, I present to you my favorites of the past year. It’s a baker’s dozen of choices. Some months, I had difficulty narrowing the choice to one and other months there was that one that absolutely stood out. I hope you’ll agree with my selection. I also hope that you’ll continue to follow me. And if you like what you read here, that you’ll share it with your families and friends and encourage others to follow along.

February 23, 2017:  Knowing Our Place

h-muddy-river-from-lodge

Holt Pond is one of my favorite hangouts in western Maine on any day, but on that particular day–it added some new notches to the layers of appreciation and understanding.

March 5, 2017: Tickling the Feet

CE 3

I don’t often write about indoor events, but while the rest of the world was out playing in the brisk wind of this late winter day, a few of us gathered inside to meet some feet.

April 22, 2017: Honoring the Earth

h-spotted sallie 2 (1)

It would have been so easy to stay home that night, curled up on the couch beside my guy while watching the Bruins play hockey. After all, it was raining, 38˚, and downright raw. But . . . the email alert went out earlier in the day and the evening block party was scheduled to begin at 7:30.

May 21, 2017: On the Rocks at Pemaquid Point

p16-fold looking toward lighthouse

Denise oriented us northeastward and helped us understand that we were standing on what is known as the Bucksport formation, a deposit of sandstone and mudstone metamorphosed into a flaky shist. And then she took us through geological history, providing a refresher on plate tectonics and the story of Maine’s creation–beginning 550 million years ago when our state was just a twinkle in the eyes of creation.

June 9, 2017: Fawning with Wonder

p-fawn 2

Though fawning is most oft used to describe someone who is over the top in the flattery department (think old school brown nose), the term is derived from the Old English fægnian, meaning “rejoice, exult, be glad.”

July 3, 2017: Book of July: Flying on the Wild Wind of Western Maine

d-skimmer, yellow legged meadowhawk, wings

My intention was good. As I sat on the porch on July 1st, I began to download dragonfly and damselfly photographs. And then the sky darkened and I moved indoors. Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, the wind came up. Torrential rain followed. And thunder and lightening. Wind circled around and first I was making sure all screens and doors were closed on one side of the wee house and then it was coming from a different direction and I had to check the other side. Trees creaked and cracked. Limbs broke. And the lightening hit close by.

August 6, 2017: B is for . . .

b-bye

Our original plan was to hike to the summit of Blueberry Mountain in Evans Notch today,  following the White Cairn trail up and Stone House Trail down. But . . . so many were the cars on Stone House Road, that we decided to go with Plan B.

September 15, 2017: Poking Along Beside Stevens Brook

s22-cardinal flower

Raincoat? √

Notecards? √

Camera? √

Alanna Doughty? √

This morning I donned my raincoat, slipped my camera strap over my head, and met up with LEA’s Education Director Alanna Doughty for our reconnaissance mission along Stevens Brook in downtown Bridgton. Our plan was to refresh our memories about the mill sites long ago identified and used beside the brook.

October 5, 2017: Continued Wandering Into the World of Wonder

i-baskettail, common baskettail 1

May the answers slowly reveal themselves, while the questions never end.

November 24, 2017: Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza

b8-the main aisle

At last, I’d raided enough aisles. My cart was full to the brim and my brain overwhelmed. I guess I’m not really a “shop-til-you drop” kind of gal. It was time to wind along the trail and end my Black Friday shopping extravaganza.

December 29, 2017: Oh Baby!

s-screech owl 2

We shared about ten minutes together and it was definitely an “Oh baby!” occasion. But there was more . . .

January 21, 2018: Sunday’s Point of View

p17-Needle's Eye

We arrived home with ten minutes to spare until kickoff.

February 8, 2018: Hardly Monochromatic

p18-Stevens Brook

My world always takes on a different look following a storm and today was no different.

To all who have read thus far, thanks again for taking a trip down memory lane today and sticking with me these past three years. I sincerely hope you’ll continue to share the trail as I wander and wonder–my way.

And to wondermyway.com–Happy Third Anniversary!

 

On the Rocks at Pemaquid Point

Yesterday dawned cool, sunshiny and slightly breezy–the perfect day for a 2+ hour drive and an outdoor exploration. And so I had the extreme pleasure of joining a small group of naturalists for a geology lesson offered by one of our colleagues, Denise Bluhm, at Pemaquid Point in mid-coast Maine.

p1a-Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse is one of 57 still active along the Maine coast and it’s this very one that is featured on the state quarter. It was manned from 1927-1934, but has been on automatic ever since.

p2-Pemaquid Point on map

But that wasn’t our focal point. Instead, we’d gathered to learn about the rocky coast below. After reviewing the definition of mineral (naturally occurring solid, distinctive physical properties, e.g. cleavage, hardness, crystal form and color, and characteristic chemical formation) and rock (one or more minerals together, aka mineral soup), Denise pulled out a geologic map of Maine and pointed to our location.

p3-map :Brunswick formation direction

She then oriented us northeastward and helped us understand that we were standing on what is known as the Bucksport formation, a deposit of sandstone and mudstone metamorphosed into a flaky shist. And then she took us through geological history, providing a refresher on plate tectonics and the story of Maine’s creation–beginning 550 million years ago when our state was just a twinkle in the eyes of creation.

p4--do you see the fold?

Stepping below the lighthouse, Denise asked if we saw the fold. I thought I knew what she pointed to, but . . .

p5-layers in beds

it took more of her insight to fully form the picture for me. The metamorphic rock, it turns out, is on its side due to intense pressure in its long-term history and thus we could examine its layers, much like the rings on a tree. That doesn’t mean I could age it, but just understand that over time various pressures and results of heating and cooling events caused the variation in color and mineral size of the bands. Lighter gray=sand and silt (composed of sea sediments), Medium gray=quartz, feldspar and biotite mica (black). Darker gray=more biotite. Greenish-gray=limy sand and silt. Rust=iron. All of it equals a gneiss (nice) or layered formation with foliation.

p6-zigzag

I think one of my favorite learnings came from the sills and dikes that show their faces throughout the rock. Sills are parallel or perpendicular intrusions while dikes run off parallel. And this particular dike featured a zigzag created by a continental collision. The Z-fold, as she referred to it, was caused by a right lateral shear. Who knew?

p9-first fold understanding

My understanding of the first fold Denise had pointed to began to develop more fully when she pulled out a geological compass and measured the angle of the rock to the left and then we could see the same angle on the far right and suddenly in my mind’s eye was the arc that has since eroded. With that came the new knowledge that more moons ago than my brain can comprehend, mountains reached six miles above and natural forces had eroded their 12,000-foot structures.

p10-dike to lighthouse

We crossed the rock from feature to feature, occasionally looking back at the lighthouse to note characteristics, such as the igneous dike (lighter color) that cuts across the metamorphic rock and leads to the buildings. Being made of granite, it offers a solid foundation for the tower.

p11-Denise on fold

And then our great leader led us to her favorite feature–the greatest fold in Maine.

p11a-the fold

Though the rocks were originally horizontal in nature, intense pressure and heat at some point in their lifetime forced such folds.

p12-everyone on fold

It was worth a photo call for Denise, Sharon, Judy, Karen and Penny–all sharing a brain with me for the day.

p13-the big dike

From there, we had a great view of the large granite-topped sill that is harder and thus more resistant to erosion.

p14-sunburst lichen

As we made our way back across to it, we paused to look at quartz, feldspar and biotite mica–but lichens such as the sunburst also caught our attention.

p15-lichen disks

Don’t tell Denise. But do check out those fruiting bodies–the apothecia.

p16-fold looking toward lighthouse

Suddenly, our eyes and brains recognized the fold formation throughout.

p19-Karen at dike

At the huge sill, Karen posed to give a sense of height. (Ignore photo light)

p22-bucksport layers

And then we looked at its structure–metamorphic below and granite pegmatite with huge crystals above.

p23-swirls

We noted swirls and imagined silly putty (invented in a barn in my hometown of North Branford, Connecticut).

p24-under the sill

And stood in awe of life.

p25-large crystals

I mentioned the large crystals–evidenced here. Far larger than the 2.5 centimeters that defines a pegmatite.

p26-Denise again

Denise showed us some popcorn migmatite and how the schist and pegmatite formed together.

p29-igneous rock formation 2

One of our next stops was atop a jetty–so different in structure. This is an example of an igneous rock intrusion created deep underground.

p30-trough of a syncline

To its side we could see a trough–known geologically as a syncline.

p33--garnets

Through her eyes, we spotted red specks of garnet.

p33--buodoin--sausage 1

And began to understand the pinching and swelling from compression and shearing to the Northeast that formed sausage-shaped boudins.

p31a--pressure formation

Closer to the lighthouse, we noted the isoclinal folds Denise referred to as S-folds (compared to the Z-folds we’d seen earlier).

p35--view

Before the day began, this was a great example of the rocky coast of Maine.

p36--view from lighthouse

But when we climbed the lighthouse tower after our lesson, we looked below with brand new eyes and understandings (and still so much more to learn and wrap our brains around).

Thankful were we for our day spent in wonder on the rocks at Pemaquid Point with Denise.