Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: RR Trail - Frog Pond Trail

We enjoyed our hike on the Bradley Mountain Trail and wanted to explore the section of the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve on the west side of Klondike Road. This section of the preserve is accessed through the north entrance.

Map of trails. Each of 12 sections of trail has it’s own name. A circuit of this section of the preserve involves making a loop of different individual trails.

A number of interpretive diagrams explaining the vegetation in the preserve are on display at the kiosk at the north entrance to the park. This is the diagram for the Outcrop Solution Pit Community that includes Lichens (Cladonia sp.), mosses (Polytrichum moss [Polytrichum commune] and Campylopus sp.), Elf Orpine (Diamorpha [Arenaria] smallii) and Oneflower Stitchwort (Minuartia uniflora), and larger plants; Elliott’s Bent Grass (Agrostis elliottiana), Orange Grass (Hypericum gentianoides) and Porter's sunflower (Helianthus porteri).

We decided to hike the RR (Rail Road) – Frog Pond – Rocky – Arabia Lake – Forest Trail loop.

Our hike began along the RR Trail that follows an old railroad bed, passing a large stone outcrop on the right.

We saw leaves of trout lilies (Erythronium sp.) at the edge of the trail both here and along several other sections of the loop where the soil was moist.

We found a new wildflower along this trial. It’s Japanese Mazus (Mazus pumilus) and it grew along this trail as well as a couple of dish gardens out on the stone outcrop. We’d seen patches of Oldfield Toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis) and it would have been easy to dismiss mazus plants as toadflax. It pays to take a closer look at a lot of flowers.

We wandered out onto the stone outcrop where we saw Oneflower Stitchwort (Minuartia uniflora), Elf Orpine (Diamorpha smallii), and Woolly Ragwort (Packera tomentosa).

A female Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata) was sunning itself on the rock.

The Common Pricklypear (Opuntia humifusa) was coming back to life. Both new pads and flower buds were developing.

At the end of the RR Trail, we turned west on the Frog Pond Trail. The Frog Pond Trail begins in the woods and turns south across the stone outcrop to the remains of the old quarry storage building and weigh station

Here, and in other moist areas we found the moss, Polytrichum commune, fruiting.

A closer inspection showed that these fruiting bodies had already dispersed their spores. The remnant is quite striking though.

The Frog Pond Trail leaves the woods here and traverses the stone outcrop southwards
April 9th, 2011. Click on an image to view a larger image

Related posts:
- Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: Bradley Mountain Trail (Part 1)
- Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: Bradley Mountain Trail (Part 2)
- Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: Bradley Mountain Trail (Part 3)

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