Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Monday Mowing...

I'm a day or so behind on photos to post...  but it doesn't make any difference, the day doesn't matter.  I spent all day Monday mowing.  Good thing, because yesterday and today it's been raining and the temperature has been in the 40's.  I want the place to look good for the Birding Festival this coming weekend.  Bill & Kirk are cleaning up the huge maintenance shop...  that's where the Owl Presentation will be.  Christine takes care of the Visitor Center, and the Northern Maine Birding Festival sets up their own tents and displays.

So I started out early Monday morning by heading over to Chapman Pond to mow the trails there.
I can ride the mower over...  it's about a mile from this section of the Refuge and the road isn't traveled much.  I can ride along the side of the road and never get in any traffic.  This is a view of Chapman Pond.  There are several miles of maintained trails here.  They vary in type...  the Red Trail goes up a steep hill then runs along a power-line stretch, it's a loop.... comes down the hill then runs along the brook.  The Blue trail is a spur off the Red... but it wanders through some heavily wooded areas, then reconnects to the Red Trail.

I think this is a Wake-Robin.
One of the trilliums.  It is past its prime (a lot of white flowers turn pink when they start to wilt), but I believe this has always been maroon or purplish.  There were several up in the woods.

The Silver trail in a connecting trail between the Red and the Blue.  I know that there is one section that the undergrowth grows deep and thick.  I wanted to get it cut before it got away from me....  we've had a lot of rain and the "weeds" are growing fast!

I saw a lot of wildflowers in bloom.
The Bunchberries will have pretty red fruit in a few months.  The Pussy Toes, the Bluets, and the others cover the forest floor in some places.  The Pin Cherry (much like the Choke Cherry of the west or the Wild Black Cherry in Ohio) is more of a tall shrub...  it will provide fruit for the wildlife come winter.

After getting these trails mowed, I head back to West Virginia Road and on to the Yellow Trail through the meadow.  This time of year I'm looking for something special...

I can always find these Yellow Lady Slippers along this trail.
Each year I think the clumps fill out more.  They are quite dainty...  not nearly as big as the showy lady slipper....  but small and delicate looking.  I love them!

Not everything I see along the way is so beautiful...  but everything is always interesting...

I haven't IDed these mushrooms or fungus....
There are big clumps on them...  individuals aren't real big, but the masses are hard to miss.
I'll keep an eye on them... check them out the next time I'm over that way and see what they're like then.

I got the Yellow Trail done...  headed up the Green Trail Loop.  I like it because it runs along a small pond and feels like you're way in the deep woods.  Truth is, you're not far from a paved road, but you'd never know it.  

As I've written in the past, this area is all the former Loring Air Force Base and Caribou Air Station.  When the base housed the nuclear bombs, there had sentry and guard dogs on duty.  Some of the visitors we get are former military men who were stationed here.  They tell us about walking patrol with the sentry dogs.
I mow along the road where the old dog kennel was located.  Someone has taken the time to locate the place where the dogs were buried and made this little cemetery to honor them.
(This is not on Refuge property)

I don't know how much these trails are used...  there is very little litter on them.  We used to have a trail counter at one of the trailheads.  I don't know how accurate it was, but I think in a month's time (depending on the season/weather) there might be 50 - 100 people counted.  Not much by a lot of standards, but pretty good up here.

I headed back home...  it takes about 20 minutes to ride the mower from Swamp Road (Chapman Lake) back to the main part of the refuge.  As I crossed the old railroad tracks, heading towards the turnoff....
This big guy and I both stopped and stared are each other.
He crossed the road and headed off into the woods on the other side.  I headed on up the road and back to the refuge.  
By then it was lunch time...  and after lunch I mowed all afternoon at the visitor center, maintenance shop and along the road leading down to the bunkers.

It was a good day.....

That's All For Today!


  1. Since I'm not in Minnesota this summer, I appreciated seeing those yellow lady slippers. I like the way those purple petals swirl.

  2. That sounds like a whole lotta mowing!! We hosted the Birding Festival at Aroostook State Park the year we hosted there, but the weather was so dreadful that I think only 5-10 people showed up. I hope that you get much better weather than that.

  3. You made me remember one of our road guys this morning, patiently driving the mower up a windy county road to get to another part of the township. Boy, did his backup of traffic go whizzing past as soon as I cleared the other direction.
    It's still too cold here. What a whiner I am, except it's the cold I've been moaning about since last November.

  4. I love those pictures. You have scenery, flowers, mushrooms, and a bear. Who could ask for anything more. BTW, did you know that the mushrooms we see are only the fruiting bodies of a much larger system of mycelium? That is the stuff that looks like spider webs that you find in rotting logs, etc.

  5. Nice photo of that bear. You see more bears there in a week than I've seen in a lifetime.

  6. Great photos. We constantly cross paths with bears, too. But I always want to tell them to put their shirts on!