A 65,000 Acre Backyard

What does one do with a 65,000 acre backyard? Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Mon@rch (Tom) and experiencing first-hand some of what he does in his *huge* backyard! We hiked to many very interesting places. First we went to an old growth forest, where he taught me so much more about old growth forests, so now I hopefully can spot one when I’m in one! One of the many signs are the mounds created from fallen trees. Saplings grow on this rich soil, eventually this soil is washed away, and this is an example of what is left:

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And this:

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You will also see buttress roots on the older trees, like this:

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Another sign is when you look up a tree there are no branches down low. You have to look up at the canopy to see the leaves of the trees, like this:

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The old trees will be nice and straight, like the one above and this one:

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(are you getting than I’m in heaven here with all of these trees and learning!)

You’ll see newly fallen over trees, which leave a huge hole in the canopy. The saplings that have been waiting for this opportunity start growing, and eventually the strongest sapling(s) win.

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You see a variety of trees in the area. One of the trees that I was really surprised to see (and I didn’t capture a photo of) is a HUGE cucumber magnolia tree!

On the way down and back up the old ski slope we saw lots of interrupted fern:

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And Mayapple:

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along with a large variety of other vegetation, including club moss, that I didn’t capture (I know, well, I’ll just have to go back, won’t I?)

Next, Mon@rch took me to see a 200 year old Sugar Maple tree. Mon@rch showed you his up-tree photo, so I’ll show you other views:

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Check out these buttress roots. Aren’t they gorgeous!

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I love the rocks laying all over the place. Makes it hard to walk through a field of rocks like this, but I still think they’re wonderful:

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Next we saw Bridal Veil Falls, but it was raining so we didn’t bring the cameras there. Hopefully I can take photos another time!

Next stop was at Thunder Rocks. Are you getting the theme, I love trees, flowers and rocks, and of course, birds! Rock polypody grows on these boulders, along with moss, lichens, trees, etc.:

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And a tree that looks like it’s sitting up down on this boulder:

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Next we went to France Brook and saw a beaver:

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And when it got scared it disappeared under the water and didn’t show up again. We also saw a pair of grackles removing fecal sacks from the cavity of a dead tree. Here’s a beaver dam in a pond down further:

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While Mon@rch was talking on his cell ordering us some food, I took photos of the Administration Building:

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And the bridge at Red House lake:

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Then we went up to Stone Tower:

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This is the view from the top looking north:

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There is an arrow in the stones pointing to (magnetic?) north:

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And here’s the view looking southwest:

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If the trees weren’t there we could have seen Red House lake!

We stopped to see a ton of Blue Cohosh, a favorite herb of mine!

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Then we went up to the top of another hill with a restaurant on it and took some photos of the view:

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After that we headed for the store for (vegeterian – thanks Mon@rch) pizza, and met Grace who is the naturalist at Allegany State Park and does the ASP blog here.

If anyone wonders why I love New York State, this park is a fine example of why I think NYS is one of the most beautiful places to live! Many, many thanks to Mon@rch for the wonderful day of learning and hiking!

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marg
    May 27, 2007 @ 21:31:06

    I came from Tom’s blog-sounds like you both had a great time!


  2. mon@rch
    May 27, 2007 @ 21:53:43

    Hey Pam, you really summed up our day with this post! Its hard to believe that we visited all those places in one day!! Told you that I was able to babble forever! It was great having the chance to meet you and spend the day together! You are a great person and can’t wait till we get the chance to meet again! Also just love the photos you were able to get! (BTW: Marg, had a blast! We need to get you down here also)


  3. Laura
    May 27, 2007 @ 22:23:02

    Sounds like great fun – glad you got to meet and have Monarch show you around his backyard.

    The woods look beautiful – love all the ferns!


  4. Mary
    May 27, 2007 @ 22:39:25

    Pam – What a wonderful time! I enjoyed it with you!

    I admit I’m a bit jealous that you had time with Mon@rch – probably the best tour guide and educator around – but you deserved a great day. Your photos are beautiful and I did enjoy the trees and your narrative.

    The beaver – oh, so nice.

    Thanks to you and Mon@rch for a little getaway…great post.


  5. Sandy
    May 28, 2007 @ 06:27:31

    Sounds like a great day! What a backyard to visit. Now, I have to go see Mon@rch’s photos.
    Really good shots, Pam.


  6. Pam
    May 28, 2007 @ 08:11:34

    Marg – thank you for stopping by! Yes, I know I had a great time!
    Mon@rch – thank you again! I know, I can’t believe we did all that, and the time went sooo fast, too! I’ll be back!
    Laura – It was, I was definitely in my element – I love forests and rocks and ferns and etc.
    Mary – Glad you enjoyed it with me!
    Sandy – I know. If I had that as my backyard, I wouldn’t go home except to eat and sleep! Like what I did when I was a kid (and not going to school that is).


  7. Marty
    May 28, 2007 @ 09:38:21

    Looks like he gave you the 10-dollar tour. Great set of photos and a nice post. Old growth forests are a true natural treasure, and I don’t think a lot of people know quite how valuable they are – or why they are so important (and so different from ‘replanted’ forests).


  8. jim
    May 28, 2007 @ 10:13:46

    Pam ,
    Nice photos of the park. I spent days down there, It brings back a lot of good memories. theres a place on the way to the Stone Tower thats has huge ferns about 3 feet tall that you could lay under and not be seen , my grandfather took me there when i was small to see the babyfawns(deer) . there is also a fire tower in the park that you can see most of the park, Thats if hights dont bother you. there are so many cool places to go in that park.take the back way out of the park(the same way if you were going to the stone tower) and you will most likly see wild turky by the nick-nack store.
    thanks for the photos


  9. lizalee
    May 28, 2007 @ 10:31:57

    Amazing shots, Pam! Looks like a fantastic day. Wow!


  10. Pam
    May 28, 2007 @ 11:04:36

    Marty – He sure did, Tom is excellent! I hear you about old growth forests. They’re awesome.
    Jim – I know this is your most favorite place on earth since you spent a lot of time there with your Grandpa and your Dad. Scan in those old ASP photos for us, okay!!
    Lizalee – Thanks – it was a fantastic day!


  11. samibear
    May 28, 2007 @ 14:54:22

    What a blessed day you had! I love all those things also.
    Mama Bear


  12. Pam
    May 28, 2007 @ 15:02:29

    Mama Bear – It was, it was just what I needed to do!


  13. Cathy
    May 28, 2007 @ 22:15:52

    Oh Lucky! What beautiful pictures of such a wonderful area. AND you got to hang out with Tom! Cool.


  14. Pam
    May 29, 2007 @ 16:05:36

    Cathy – Thank you! I got to hang out with Tom, AND he got to hang out with me – LOL!


  15. Trackback: Travelling to Allegany State Park « Nature Woman
  16. Sandy
    Sep 24, 2007 @ 21:20:52

    Lovely!! Just as I remember….


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