Posts tagged woods

Yosemite – Bridal Veil Fall, Tunnel View, Sentinel Dome, and Mirror Lake 6/2/17

Headed straight for the short walk to the base of Bridal Veil Fall.

Early June, and we’re in peak flow season.

Morning view across from the Fall:

The trail gets steep, and soaking wet as you approach the Fall, so that the paved path is running like a stream:

Then off to Tunnel View, which gives a spectacular panorama of the whole Valley, plus an actual tunnel to drive through:

Down to Glacier Point Road to Sentinel Dome, a hike recommended for its full 360 views. This warning is for the Taft Point trail, we’ll go the other way:

There is a little snow on our trail, at the very beginning, but then we cross a stream and the snowy patches have melted:

Oh. My. Goodness! We can see the Dome! And there are little tiny people on top! How am I going to climb THAT!

The trail has a number of beautiful Jeffrey Pine trees, big, red bark, and a distinctly fragrant resin – stick your nose up between the plates of the bark and you’ll smell butterscotch!

By now the trail has left the soil path to traverse the rocky surface approaching the Dome. Cairns mark the path:

The path has taken us around to the less-steep, but shaded side of the Dome, where the scramble to the top is through a snow field!

Couldn’t take photos while trying to climb up slippery snow. A little scary, but oh so rewarding. We’re eye-level with Yosemite Falls:

Above Half Dome:

Surrounded by the Sierra Nevadas:

And there’s El Capitan:

This is Ansel Adam’s photo of the lone Jeffrey pine on top of Sentinel Dome:

And this is that same tree now, after it died from a drought in 1977, and finally fell in 2003:

There’s still life growing up here:

Elevation at the top of the Dome is 8,117 ft. It’s easy to wander around the dome, from view to view to view.

But it’s time to head down, back through the snow. You’ve got to dig your heel in to grab a foothold, one heel at a time. One grandpa helped his little granddaughters down by sitting on the snow, propping one girl on each thigh, and sledding them down on his butt – fast, scary ride for them. But as soon as they reached the bottom, they clamored to do it over and over!

Back down from the Dome, and we drove over to Glacier Point, where the views just keep on coming – including a view of yesterday’s Vernal Falls hike:

Back through Tunnel View, where the light has changed the scenery:

Then back up to the Valley to the Mirror Lake trail which crosses and skirts Tenaya Creek:

Half Dome looms above the lake:

We were here:

Folks resting on the rocks above the roaring creek:

A last view of Yosemite Falls through the trees:

Back to Mariposa for a one-man band in the Art Park:

And a little western flair:


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Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown, RI – 1/1/17

New Year’s Day brought a visit to the Norman Bird Sanctuary.

There are easy woodland trails, ponds, boardwalks, and educational programs of all types. Love this stone wall:img_9492 img_9493

Even on a frigid day, we could hear and occasionally see lots of birds in the trees, especially the ones that still have berries on them.

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This grassy trail is bordered by a stone wall on the left, and an evergreen thicket on the right.img_9502

This is how thick the thicket is, with a hint of a trail just right for little kids to hide and explore:


The ocean isn’t far from the bird sanctuary, so we stopped at a beach on the way home.

Shell cluster:



Winter beach:


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Massapoag Trail, off Belcher St. 11-12-16

There are all kinds of ways to get into the Massapoag Brook Trail in Sharon. This one is off Belcher Street, with a little bit of parking just before the Rod & Gun Club’s parking lot. You can take the trail to Devil’s Rock, or just enjoy the woods and stone walls.

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Love these stone walls, even when crushed by falling trees.

And boardwalks, crossing drought-dried streams and formerly muddy areas:

Greens and browns, and good orange trail markings: img_9400

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Leaf litter carpet:


Always something to see, a new stage in the plant-life, new color combinations:

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Fungi as floral still life:


Because the trail borders the Gun Club, you do hear gun-shots in the woods – not as peaceful as many trails. And there is this abandoned car hood, clearly used for target practice. img_9407


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Beaver Brook Trail, Sharon – 5/21/16

We’d hiked the Beaver Brook Trail from the Sharon train station before, but had never made it all the way to the end. This time, we started at the end off of  Farnham Road, past the town’s compost/yard waste dump. The entrance to the end of the road/dump is gated, but when the site is open for yard waste, you can access the trail end. The DPW worker monitoring the dump did warn us that the gate would be locked at 4:00 pm – no problem.


The trail is “an important link in the Bay Circuit Trail, a 200-mile “emerald necklace” walking corridor running from Ipswich to Duxbury,” according to Sharon Friends of Conservation.

The trail takes you up into the woods, behind the high walls built up of compost. Double-click any photos to enlarge.

Then you come to swampy/brooky areas.

Fiddleheads unfurling:


Then we came to that old treehouse we had found when hiking in from the train station.

The woods have eyes:


and lots of skunk cabbage

and the old fire pit atop the hill:


The hike took under an hour round-trip, and we retrieved the car long before the gate would lock. We got home to a thoughtful phone message from the Sharon police who had called to make sure we knew to move the car before 4:00.

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Rattlesnake Hill, Blue Hills, 4/17/16

Went to the far end of the Blue Hills Reservation  on the Braintree/Quincy side, for the trails that eventually lead to Rattlesnake Hill. Park at Shea Rink on Rt. 37/Willard St, then head in by the trail map.


The blue Skyline trail traverses the length of the reservation, climbing up and down the summits of the major hills in the reservation – 9 miles. Their map says it’ll take you 4-7 hours!

We followed the Skyline trail on the easy flat between the St. Moritz ponds.

Passed a number of burned out tree trunks – looks like lightning strikes, since some were burned on the inside.



The trail continues through woods, and climbs up a little to a granite-walled pond – a former quarry? Lots of little fish, plus fat-bellied tadpoles.

Keep climbing up, following the blue blazes. And up. And up. Some of the boulders had been carved and positioned into a rough stair case. Still not an easy hop, skip. Had to toss the hiking stick ahead at points to use both hands to scramble up to the summit.

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On the north side, you can see Boston:

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Then the scramble down – no nice neat stone steps like on the upside. Very steep, lots of 2-handed climbing down.


does NOT capture how steep this was!


we were way up there!


Once down from the summit, we crossed a little stream. The signpost says 5.25 miles on the Skyline Trail to Great Blue Hill, or 2 miles on the Green dot trail to the St. Moritz ponds.

Took the green dot back to the ponds and the cars. Nice easy grassy trail, crosses the road at one point.  See skunk cabbage unfurled.


Cross a little boardwalk, and head on home. About 2 hours total, with a little time to share an apple on the summit.

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Maudslay State Park, Newburyport, MA

Maudslay State Park is on the site of an old estate on the banks of the Merrimack River. While the mansion is gone, the park has great trails, ponds, gardens, stone bridges, and an outdoor stage for performances.

Down the road from Maudslay is downtown Newburyport, a quaint historic shipbuilding, fishing, and rum-making port, where the Merrimack River meets the Atlantic ocean. They’ve done a nice job with historic preservation. Lots of restaurants, too. Beyond the town are Plum Island and the Parker River Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Dead end trail, Sharon, MA 8/7/15

Off of High Plain St., between Norwood St. and Moosehill St., is a dirt road into woods. Thought it might lead to the site of the poor farm that we’ve found along the Warner Trail, so we went exploring. Ferns and old stone walls, but the trail kind of fizzled out – or we simply lost it. Nice and green, though.

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