Nature Strollers

The mission of the Nature Strollers is to support parents and grandparents in their role as primary interpreters of nature for their families; to provide opportunities for families to enjoy unstructured time outdoors; to familiarize families with local trails, refuges, sanctuaries and preserves; and to develop networks among families with a common interest in nature.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Goose Pond Mountain Old Road

Not far along the Old Road at Goosepond Mountain State Park, Willow and Dakota's Dad stops us in our tracks. Crossing the old pavement is an amphibian in mortal danger of being flattened by our footsteps. Well camouflaged against the gray tarmac, a six inch long blue spotted salamander is on a mourning jaunt. Dakota wets his hands to protect the salamander's skin and we get our first up close look at this reclusive salamander.

Note the beautiful enamelware-like spots on the sides of this blue spotted salamander.

We leave the Old Road and wade through an old field to visit the Grandmother Tree, an impressive oak standing alone in the center of a clearing. Dakota, Nathan, Anderson and Sebastian ascend from a massive limb that sweeps right down to the ground. Willow chooses the swing that some kind soul has installed for passing children.

About twenty more feet up the hill is a fairyland of lichen, pixie cups of all sizes encrust the ground. I think these are among the most beautiful of all lichen.

On the way back home, we check out a dried, vine milkweed that is entangled with the grass. None of us had seen a vine milkweed before, now I see it everywhere, even hanging from a shrub I'd passed by tens of times before. Just had to create a search image to see it!