Allegany State Park – France Brook area

Mon@rch and I started out at the France Brook area of Allegany State Park. I commented that it was nice not to see purple loosestrife overtaking the cattails, and Mon@rch said something like ‘yes, but we have tearthumb.’ Of course, I needed to see tearthumb (Polygonum sagittatum– I’m not sure if I have the correct species) up close! It wasn’t easy to photograph because the stem isn’t very big, but here’s one of the photos:

2007-09-15 DSC02193 crop

The stems are four-sided and are armed with backward pointed prickles, which is where the common name tearthumb comes from. Of course, since it is living with cattails, it likes wet places. It is part of the buckwheat family and part of the knotweed genus.

We saw lots of other stuff that I didn’t photograph because I was still in a driving and injured finger stupor.  Plus after a few minutes of being there, it started pouring.  But before that, we saw this bee hanging out on a milkweed leaf – sorry for the fuzzy photo. Somebody had warmed it up a bit with his finger and it started to move and it made me kind of uncomfortable to be so close!

2007-09-15 DSC02195

I got to see first-hand the devastation of the Viburnum Leaf Beetle on this Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

2007-09-15 DSC02194

I can see one of the many reasons Mon@rch loves this area so much – it is loaded with milkweed plants:

2007-09-15 DSC02196

Again with the fuzzy photo. I so didn’t have my photography mojo on yet! But it does come later. Stay tuned, my photos do get better and I have more to share on my visit to Allegany State Park!

Travelling to Allegany State Park

Yesterday I visited Mon@rch at Allegany State Park again! You can click here to see my post from my last visit. Due to construction and pouring rain it felt like it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get there, but it was great to see the beautiful hills along Route 86 (Route 17). The love of hills is in my blood, and seeing these hills gets me really excited.

2007-09-15 DSC02156

The rain and clouds, not so much. Even though we really need the rain!

Finally! This is a most welcome sign!

2007-09-15 DSC02183 crop

And I’m finally in the park – I love this bridge that I’m about to cross:

2007-09-15 DSC02188

While putting on my hiking boots I broke my middle fingernail back beyond where it is attached so it is really hard for me to type today. I won’t mention the blood because it makes somebody sick, but I will mention I love carrying my herbs for just such situations as this! So, stay tuned for more about Allegany State Park – hopefully tomorrow my finger will be feeling better and I’ll post more then about our fun time!

Interrupted Fern posting. . .

If you haven’t already, please check out my Interrupted Fern guest blogger post on Mon@rch’s Nature Blog!

2007-05-26_ASP 016

And please stay tuned there for his other guest bloggers. I’m really looking forward to their posts.

Thanks again, Mon@rch for allowing me to post about this wonderful fern on your excellent blog!

P.S. I turned off comments on this post only, not because I don’t want to hear from you (I do!), but so any comments you would like to make can go on Mon@rch’s blog.

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:

2007-05-26_ASP 006

And this:

2007-05-26_ASP 015

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

2007-05-26_ASP 014

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:

2007-05-26_ASP 013

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

2007-05-26_ASP 008

(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.

2007-05-26_ASP 002

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:

2007-05-26_ASP 016

And Mayapple:

2007-05-26_ASP 021

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:

2007-05-26_ASP 036

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

2007-05-26_ASP 040

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:

2007-05-26_ASP 031

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.:

2007-05-26_ASP 053

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

2007-05-26_ASP 056

Next we went to France Brook and saw a beaver:

2007-05-26_ASP 060_crop

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:

2007-05-26_ASP 063

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

2007-05-26_ASP 069

And the bridge at Red House lake:

2007-05-26_ASP 068

Then we went up to Stone Tower:

2007-05-26_ASP 080

This is the view from the top looking north:

2007-05-26_ASP 074

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

2007-05-26_ASP 078

And here’s the view looking southwest:

2007-05-26_ASP 075

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!

2007-05-26_ASP 083

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

2007-05-26_ASP 087

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!