Wednesday, May 05, 2010
On my first day off I decided to walk in Coopers Rock exploring the new growth, lookin for Deer sign, and mainly trying to find some Morel mushrooms. I started at the Trout Pond; talking to the few fishermen who lined its banks. I was only told of three fish being caught in several hours, so I was glad my decision was to walk and not fish. The weather was about 70 degrees and being this early in the spring the bug count was zero, at least the kind we usually mind. Walking up an old deer trail on my way to the top of that mountain, I found an incredible amount of new growth. The forest was indeed very busy ensuring its inhabitants would not be easily seen while they raised their young. Acorns, which we need tools to crack, were bursting at the seams and throwing roots to the ground. Much needed to replace the many trees we lost during our "severe" winter storms. We had had plenty of rain the past two days so the creeks were now streams and rapids appeared where once minnows played. Birds were filling the air with their chorus as they knew if they waited till nightfall it would be drowned out by the tree frogs and "peepers".
I had been walking on and off deer trails for about two hours when I got a rude awakening. I took a tumble after my feet became tangled in thorny briars trying to make their presence known. They succeeded! It made me realize hhow vulnerable a 63 yewar old can be, especially one whose knees aren't what they used to be. Anyway I took my bruised ego and decided it was best to find a log to sit down on. I found one by a large rock which had several smaller rocks stacked on top of it as though to signal me this was a good spot. I sat taking a short breather. Movement at my feet brought me out of my self imposed daldrum (after realizing I could have hurt myself and no one would know where I had gone walking or even that I had). I knelt down and moved a leaf and there was a salamander. An orange one with about six spots. Having never seen one, I took out the small camera I had and took a couple of pictures. My daughter found it to be a Red Salamander. She checked on the computer when I told her about it. With my spirits high on the new discovery I continued on my way but this time I was headed back. I could hear the water as it rumbled over the rocks in the stream bed. When I got down to the stream there was again evidence of new plant growth in the form of fiddlerferns. I believe this is the name for the fern leaf as it attempts to unroll from the stem. Pondering how to cross this fast moving stream without getting too wet I continued downstream. Luckily for me the college had erected a small bridge of downed logs and small boards. Fifteen minutes later I was back at the pond. All fishermen had left. It was similiarto owning your own small lake. The only other residents were the song birds and the hawk coasting on the air currents trying to find its dinner. Time expired was 4 hour 19 minutes.