Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8, 2012

There's bear in the them thar hills.  I've seen several deposits of bear scat around Lake Wicwas the past few days, though I haven't seen any of the creatures that left them.  This morning, picking a few blueberries, I found a very fresh sample left earlier this morning when the bear was visiting the blueberry patch. 
Black Bear Scat

Bears don't appear to be very careful in the berry picking, judging by number of undigested green berries, leaves, and sticks in their excrement. 

Mature Black Bears weigh about 350 pounds;  did you ever think about how many blueberries a 350 pound bear must have to eat to get meal?  I guess that's why they basically spend their days roaming the forest and eating everything they find - from berries and insects to mushrooms and mice.  It's a good time to make lots of noise when walking in the woods.

I did bump into a couple of deer, most recently, right in the middle of the day up by Crockett's Ledge on the Hamlin trails.  It saw me coming down the trail, and trotted a few steps up around the corner, then stopped and looked back. 

I crept up a bit and we sized up each other before it walked off the trail about 20 yards, where it turned around again and watched me.  It stamped its front hoof a few times, trying to get me to move, which I eventually did, and it sauntered off into the woods.
They sure are well camouflaged - their colors blend in with the forest, and their legs look like saplings.  I'm sure I've walked right by deer many times without ever knowing they were there.

There were a lot trees knocked down on the trails west of the lake, particularly around the trail junction just up-hill from the maple grove.  Trees of all kinds are down - hemlock, pine, maple, oak.  One large sturdy hardwood was snapped off like a toothpick some 25 feet high.  Most were uprooted, blown down flat along the ground.  I only saw one of the giant maples that had succumbed to the storm. 

Ridge Along the Red Trail

Similar damage is to be found around the edge of the lake.  The worst damage I found is along the west shore of Sheep Island, where two stands of trees were peeled over onto land. 

You really need a person in the picture to understand the scale of the root ball. 

It provides an opportunity to see what's hidden underground.

Look at the size of one the rocks lifted up.

A couple of weeks ago I was intruiged by this large white pine that had clearly died on the shore, so I took a picture of it. 

It was lucky happenstance, because now I have before and after shots - here what it looks like after the storm blew through.

These trees were right in line with the ones that were blown down in our cove.  This Aspen was snapped off about five feet above the ground, exposing a bright red layer under the bark and splintering the soft wood.
Big Tooth Aspen

The same storm cell continued on down through Tilton and Belmont, taking numerous trees down along the way.  Winds were reported to be as high as 80 mph.

Warning:  If you're not comfortable with animals swimming in lake with you, you should stop reading here...

Because, we also found a cute little water snake swimming right across the middle of the lake.  If that Bald Eagle were around it would have had a nice afternoon snack.

Northern Water Snake

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