Posts tagged woods

High Rock Area, F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, Foxboro – 8/27/17

Here’s another great corner of F. Gilbert Hills State Forest in Foxboro, with hiking trails and an ATV trail:

Just beautiful woods, past a radio tower:

We’ve got most everything we look for in a hike – woods, walls, water. Some great stone formations, and old waterholes.

Trails are marked by signs, by blazes of paint, and by this cairn:

There are stone staircases up to a monument near the parking:

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New Gloucester & 2 Lights State Park, ME 7/29/17

New Gloucester, ME is the site of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, the last active Shaker community, with 2 elderly Shakers remaining. We visited friends with a summer cottage on the lake, but didn’t actually tour the Village.

Took a short hike into the woods around the lake:

Sabbathday Lake:

Then headed to Bates College in nearby Lewiston for a dance performance, followed by drinks and snacks at restaurant overlooking the Androscoggin River. Nice little riverfront park has a bandstand with this decor:

Next morning, we headed home via Cape Elizabeth to check out Two Lights State Park. The park is named for two nearby lighthouses, which you can’t actually see from the park. But you hike along the rocky Maine coast, and climb down to the crashing waves. There’s a playground:

The park was part of the country’s WWII coastal defense system with bunkers and this cement observation tower:

Trails through woods lead to the rocky headlands overlooking Casco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

You can climb down the rocks to get pretty close to tidal pools and the waves. Folks do some fishing there too.

There are lots of benches, and picnic tables and grills, tucked into secluded alcoves off the trails. Dinner with a view:

We left the park to drive down Two Lights Road to actually see a lighthouse, and the sandy beach below it:

 

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Hardy Park, Mansfield, MA 7/23/17

Hardy Park is a nice local area of conservation land, off of Maple St.

It’s a typical New England woodland trail, except for the chain link fence and towers of rail-car shipping containers. But you pass that bit of civilization and you’re immersed in nature, with a trail marker or two. We took the yellow trail to the green one, which goes by the ponds.

You get peeks at a small pond through the trees:

then come to the larger pond which has more open access:

Hmmm… that looks like a cistern and chairs across the way…

We had the entire trail to ourselves, except for the wildlife – that’s a pretty big toad.

Lavender flowers growing out of the water:

And a couple of nice resting spots:

We kept walking around to the far side. Lovely stroll, perfect day…

and reached those chairs…

Don’t know what this cement tube is, but it’s not a cistern.

Past this spot, the trail forks and we headed out onto the red trail, hoping we’d get some good views of the Canoe River…

Well, it’s the red trail, but no skittles in sight.

A butterfly:

and the trail out… but it’s too high above and away from the River, or the river’s too small, to see it. But there was interesting graffiti on a tree.

Great spot for nature, solitude, and easy 1 1/2 hour outing, including the sitting and admiring time.

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Easton Architecture and Gardens 7/1/17

Easton, MA has a wealth of architectural beauties. The H. H. Richardson district includes buildings designed by Richardson, who created Boston’s Romanesque Trinity Church.

Oakes Ames Memorial Hall

66 Main St.

We decided to explore the area to see The Rockery, a landscaped memorial cairn built in 1882 by Frederick Law Olmstead to honor Easton’s Civil War dead. The Rockery sits on the rotary overlooking 3 of the Richardson buildings.

Olmstead wrote that memorials of this type were “the oldest and most enduring in the world,” and with “the beautiful plants that have become rooted in them and which spring out of their crannies or have grown over them. . . are far more interesting and pleasant to see than the greater number of [monuments] constructed of massive masonry and elaborate sculpture.” He further explained that plants growing across the rocky buttress would symbolize peace taming war.

You can climb up the stairs or the ramp for an elevated view of the neighborhood:

From the Rockery, we headed to the Trustees of Reservations’ Governor Oliver Ames Estate:

36 acres of easy to meander meadows and ponds, plus the Governor’s mansion and carriage house:

And a garden and cottage with a fabric art piece:

and old, old trees:

and the fish pond:

Another pond, with a bridge to private property, gives a nice view of another Richardson building:

We walk around to Shovelshop Pond – the Ames family founded the Ames Shovel Works in 1803, nationally known as having provided the shovels which laid the Union Pacific Railroad and “opened the West.”

and a duck/goose brigade:

and a brightly colored fungus:

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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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Puddingstone

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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:

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

Shell cluster:

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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:

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

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Fungi as floral still life:

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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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