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Monday, August 15, 2011

MMR Bowser Pond 8/12/11

"Searching the Woods for a Direct Route to Bowser Pond" (Pictures)

It was such a beautiful day Friday I just couldn't sit inside all day! I was up unusually early and so after hanging around home in my office and sipping on my coffee I decided to head to Moose Mountains again and work on finding a route from near the kiosk to attach to the Bowser Pond Trail. I arrived at around 11:15am. I decided to head down the banking to the river and follow it up to find the best crossing, keeping in mind the higher water and run-off streams in the Spring. All sorts of mushrooms were found along the river and I was obliged to take their picture!

Amphibian Trap
A little ways up the river I came to a beaver dam and a small pool where Moose tracks indicated that one was here getting a drink of water. So I dubbed this Moose Pool. A short ways further upstream I came to an unusual contraption in the water. Upon closer inspection this is what I found. Four separate clumps of leaves wrapped in netting, held down in the water by a rock which was tied off to a pink nylon string to a tree. Interesting to say the least. All I could think of was it was some sort of salamander/newt trap or a water mineral test of some kind. After e-mailing the Forest Society about it they said it looked like a salamander/larvae trap. This made sense! If the person who put these here is reading this, just please contact us as we would appreciate you completing a educational/scientific form and we would love to see your results/findings :)

Shortly further upstream I found my crossing point. There is a small clearing here and a banking that climbs through some trees to an overgrown skid road. I taped the trees with pink tape up to the main trail/road. Along the way I found an orange mushroom that was glowing in the sunlight, it was amazing! This small starting point taped off it was now time to head through the woods onto the road. This is were I get a little skittish. I am fine solo hiking on trails and familiar mountains. But the idea of Moose and Bear that are plentiful on this property and me squeezing my way through dense forest and old skid roads (which are probably used as herd paths by these animals), makes me a little unsettled and jumpy. I know these animals are more scared of humans than we are of them and the chance of a bear attack is like zero, I still am very cautious and try to be as loud as I can!

So, I took a right on this road and followed it. Dragonfly's seem to love these semi-open old roads and I was chasing them around from tree branch to tree branch! A ways down the road became very overgrown with young pine trees. Then it abruptly ended. Dang! I found some animal bones in a pile here and I got a little squeamish! I believe I was right near the spot where I found a dead moose and I wondered why I was finding more bones. I followed the bones through the woods and came to the spine and jaw sitting next to each other. 30 feet away was the spot where I had found the dead moose and it was not there. So something dragged it through the woods and I guess was picking off what little, if any meat that was still on the bones. This freaked me out! Just then a very loud knocking made me jump and nearly have a heart-attack! I remember hearing this before and I believe it is a tree blowing in the wind. At any rate this particular spot gives me the creeps every time I'm here. It feels haunted and cursed or something. So I bolted outta there and across the river to the kiosk!

Safe and sound back at my truck I took a break and cleared my head. I wasn't giving up just yet. I walked up the road (Burrows Farm Trail) and followed my pink tape back up to the river. I then spotted a mushroom. It was nearly half-a-foot tall and in perfect condition! Nice! I continued on to the skid road. I went left this time and almost immediately came out onto Piper Mt. trail/road where it takes a sharp left and goes uphill. I new this spot was close to Burrows Farm trail but didn't realize it was THAT close! At this point I decided to just head down this trail to Bowser Pond and check things out down there. If I felt like it I could continue my woods exploration from above and maybe it would be easier to find my way down to the river.

I arrived at the Bowser Pond trail and headed down the banking where I had blazed a side path. I hung out on the pond shore and took some pictures and looked for birds or maybe a moose across the other side. All was quite...very quite! I made my way along the shoreline, stopping at various open areas where there were small rocks to sit on. The Pickerellweed was in full bloom and was very pretty up close. I am always surprised to not find any frogs or turtles laying in the sun on the logs over here. Perhaps they are in the pond, but I've yet to see any. I did find one little lonely frog on a rock though.

Bowser Pond
I found the duck decoy thingy Scott and I had spotted on our first visit here and I was going to take it with me and get rid of it. But I didn't want to carry it and didn't feel like it was doing any harm, so I placed it back in the water. I also spotted another out in the water along the marsh section. Bee's were busy collecting pollen from them and dragonfly's were whizzing by skimming the water. Such a beautiful relaxing area! I made my way to the Southern end of the pond where there is a small clearing which I believe is part of the pond floor when the water is high. This is a beautiful spot! Across the pond you can look up to MMR's East peaks and there are tons of dragonfly's.

I hung out here for a while before heading out. Just then I spotted this small, weird looking plant on a log at the shoreline. It was so weird looking! There were hair-like tendrils that came out from a succulent leaf that appeared to have drops of water on the tips of them. Very awesome! I did some research when I got home, Scott helping by saying it looked like a fly catcher. He was almost right! It is a Sundew. The droplets of water are actually a gluey substance it secretes to capture insects. One of New England's Carnivorous plants. What a great find! Very excited now, I headed up the road and back onto SPNHF property and Bowser Pond trail. I came to the top of the hill where I was hoping to bring the Bowser Pond trail into the woods.

I explored this area and actually found a herd path about 100 feet to yet another overgrown skid road. Perfect! I followed this shortly to the top of a steep drop over the banking. The woods here were open and the ridge was covered with boulders! I followed alongside the banking down to a gully of sorts and up to a good sized boulder on the top of a hill. What a great trail side feature! This route is great! The banking here was much less steep and provided the perfect spot for the trail to ascend/descend easily. So down I went and back into the trees. I reached the young Pine trees, which I now know is part of the old skid road I was on before. I found the road and was unsure if this is exactly where I wanted my trail to go.

Boulder Field
Tired, hot and happy with my findings I called it a day. I just have to connect the dots now and find the best trail in the middle section. Then I can begin trimming and blazing! Should be pretty straight forward. Most of the trail will follow old skid roads! I plan on having this trail finished by the end of August! I can't wait! A direct route from Burrows Farm trail to Bowser Pond Trail will provide an easier hike to this beautiful spot and will provide a nice loop option using Piper Mt. trail :) Once this is complete I will be searching the woods off of North Trail to find the ledge that overlooks Bowser Pond!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

MMR "East Peak" 8/6/11

Rock on a Ledge & Pitch Pine
"Moose Mt., Moose Mt., Where for Art Thou Moose Mt.?" (pictures)

Finally getting this report done! Scott and I were undecided on our Saturday hike. The weather was looking unsettled and Sunday looked crappy. We really wanted to climb Garfield and get Scott another peak caught up to me on the 4000 footer list. Also, a couple that are friends of ours was planning there final 48 on Mt. Isolation Saturday. We planned on joining them for a surprise show-up in the morning. Well, the morning came along and the weather report looked worst than the night before. We had done Isolation in the cloud cover before and really didn't want another no-view hike or getting caught in rain showers! So we stayed in our area and headed back to Moose Mountains....again!

Helliborine Orchid
We arrived there mid morning and decided to make another attempt at finding Moose Mountain (the main peak). I found the Helliborine Orchid at the parking lot to get a better picture of it now that I know what it is. At the North trail junction we fixed the trail sign and added a bolt...the other broke as we were screwing it in. A giant millipede had just come out of a hole in the loose sand on the banking. I've only seen one of these guys once before at Pawtuckaway State Park and was excited to see and hold this cool insect!

Phoebes Nable Mt. & Burrows Field
We continued straight where the trail junction goes left to Burrows Farm. We climbed the steep trail up to the height-of-land where the woods begin to open up a bit to some ledge. I went off trail here and explored some of it. Scott followed and we found a great view spot down to Phoebes Nable Mt. and Burrows Field! We could even see the trail sign at the top of the field!

Summit area of East Peak ?
We continued climbing through the ledge with colorful rock and pitch pine trees becoming more numerous. After following some herd paths and climbing through the blueberry bushes we came back out onto the trail/road and soon came out to the semi-open mountain top. I call this Middle peak for lack of knowing a name for it. But Scott found out that Moose Mountains consist of two main peaks set a mile apart. So this could actually be the East/South peak. I don't know exactly. More questions to ask the SPNHF staff on our next visit! We continued to a junction in the road. We went right a little ways to check it out then went back and went in the Westerly direction.

Green Frog
Soon, however the road disappeared and we were not able to make out any trail. We explored various ledges and found no definitive trail or road. The deer and Moose must love it up here. There droppings were everywhere. There were a couple piles of fresh droppings, so there was a Moose nearby no doubt! We grudgingly made our way back to the main road. The humidity was awful and we'd had enough bush-whacking. So we headed back down, making a quick stop at the field.

On the way I caught a cute little green frog, we found a bunch of mushrooms and I caught a dragonfly who hung out on my hand for a ways down the road.We stopped at the North trail junction again. The sign just didn't look right there as the arrows just didn't line up. So we cleared a tree on the other side of the road and attempted to put it on that tree. This proved difficult as it was a very tuff tree and we had to perch ourselves on a rock at an awkward angle. But we got it up, and it looked so much better there! We will keep looking for a through way to Moose Mountain and get a trail up there some day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Phoebes Nable Mt. 8/4/11

"Off-Roadin' Stroller" (pictures)

On the Summit of Phoebes Nable
Thursday I picked up my sister and her two daughters for a hike up Phoebes Nable at Moose Mountains Reservation in Middleton, NH. Me, Jill, Sarah (5) and Taylor (2months) arrived at the parking lot at noon time. As Jill got the baby ready in the jogging stroller I checked out the grown-in woods road that Scott and I are hoping to build a trail on. Right there was some sort of orchid-like flower growing. According to my research I think it might have been an Helliborine Orchid. It's amazing how many flowers are growing up here!

Sarah holding a Toad
We applied bug spray as the overcast sky's were keeping the mosquito's out and the horsefly's were also on the attack! We made our way up Burrows Farm trail, Sarah asking a hundred questions and announcing every little thing she saw, and every time she would trip on, LOL! It was neat however to see her curiosity for mushrooms and once she saw me taking pictures of flowers and shrooms she was telling me to take pictures of everything. Guess I'll have to get her a little camera!

Sarah on Phoebes Nable Mt. Trail
At one point she spotted some black-eyed Susan's and yanked one right out of the ground. We explained to her not to pick the flowers. It was very funny to find small shoe prints of another kid in the mud further up the trail, and a black-eyed Susan sitting nearby pulled up. All kids are alike I guess! We got a chuckle out of it. I also got a good laugh when she told me to take a picture of the "yellow flowers". Those being Goldenrod. I told her they were just a weed that make people sneeze. So for the rest of the day she would point them out and say they were "sneeze flowers". Too funny!

Sarah & Jill Climbing the trail
Well, we stopped at the Burrows cemetery for a break then headed up and across the field. From here Jill continued pushing the baby through the alternating terrain. I had to lift the stroller a couple times over rocky, steep sections. Did I mention the baby slept the ENTIRE time! Amazing!! We made the summit just after 1pm and took a nice long lunch break in some shade. Baby Taylor finally awoke and was just staring up to the sky. What was she staring at? There was a huge pine branch over head and she was just captured by it! Oh yes, she's gonna be a nature girl too!I chased a White Admiral Butterfly around for a few minutes much to the amusement of Sarah. Then we walked a little ways into the ledgy area to look for a hawk feather where I had found one before. Instead we found a huge orange mushroom cluster which was just as exciting!

Jill picking some Black Berries
Once we all ate and Taylor finished her bottle we made the trek back down. Along the way I spotted a tiny pink flower that I believe is Showy Tick Trefoil and also found Orange Jewelweed that was passing by. We stopped below the field where we had found a nice patch of wild black berries to snag a few more to eat. They were so good! Further down the trail was this big yellow dragonfly that literally stayed ahead of us and followed us for nearly half a mile. It was pretty neat! We made it back to the parking lot at about 2:15pm. A great hike with my sister and two of her three kiddo's. Maybe we'll have to head to Castle in the Clouds next week. Sarah wants to see some waterfalls! And Jill might have a baby back pack by then to carry Taylor in!