Saturday, 2 April 2016

April Fool's comes one day late

Today dawned grey and drizzling but that soon became an April blizzard.
Looking east at about 8 this morning. Crows in the trees.

The last time Avo and I had been cross country skiing we had come across a trail I hadn't seen before. Ever since I had wanted to explore it. So inclement weather or not, today was the day. Expecting that spring run-off would make access through the woods near our house impossible, I decided to drive and park just north of where I knew we could catch the new trail.
The swollen marsh across the road from the woods

The first stumbling block was deep water on the trail where it joined the road. But Scylla and I walked along the road until we could scramble through the woods to hook up with the trail.
The trail is tantalizingly clear. Just not navigable..

It became beautiful after awhile; sunny, with the sound of grouse in the background and melting snow falling from above. While this trail is new to me and exploring it felt like an adventure, it really is impossible to escape to genuine wilderness. This woods is somewhat managed - there are trails cut through the forest and a certain amount of logging throughout the woods. But there are venerable old stumps and snags left to rot on the ground. Both provide welcome homes for inhabitants of the forest.
A stump with cavities carved out
A birch stump with vertical housing
This stump has much larger cavities

Occasionally when the trail turns 90 degrees surveyor's tape marks the change of direction.
Surveyor's tape marking a change in the trail direction 

And sometimes the signs of human activity are a little less benign (at least to me, essentially an urbanite).
Target practice?

These look like bullet holes

The rock outcroppings are beautiful and often dramatic.
Beautiful lichen on the side of the rock

Trees growing between the rocks
A lovely terraced rock outcropping
And some striking vertical rocks

While it may not be the Bleasdell Boulder, Scylla is suitably intrigued by this erratic. Erratics are rocks carried by glacial ice flow. Because they can have travelled hundreds of kilometres they are often different kind of rock from what is native to where they are sitting.
Scylla is captivated by this erratic

Scylla and I scrambled up a beautiful rock outcropping to an open sheltered area above. The sun shone and there was no wind. The perfect place to rest and soak up some rays. When we reached the top I saw that someone else had had the same idea. So while I rested on the lawn chair Scylla surveyed the domain.
Convenient seating 
Time to soak up some rays
Scylla keeps a watchful eye

Our walk was punctuated by overflowing creeks in many places.
A swollen creek floods out the trail
All these creeks are part of the Moira River watershed
The fast flowing water, especially over rocks and logs, is highly oxygenated
The marshy areas are temporary ponds, sometimes aided by beaver activity.

And farmers' fields also have vernal ponds in low lying areas.
Farmer's field with temporary pond
Back at home, our own Railway Creek is swollen and flowing quickly.
Railway Creek, another tributary of the Moira river