Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Winter Walk: Fort Yargo State Park – Group Shelter A To The Old Fort (Part 3)

February 6th. (Continued from…) I haven’t been to Fort Yargo for a few years and decided to intersperse walks in the park with my trike rides. In previous years, I’ve both walked some of the trails and rowed the lake. If you know where to look, the park has quite a variety of wildflowers. 

I decided to walk from the Group Shelter A to the Old Fort and back. There isn’t much in the way of plants at the moment but I enjoy the scenery and this was a particularly pretty day. 

Starting back down the trail from the Old Fort. It’s fascinating how much darker this section of trail looks walking it this way. Some of the darkness is due to lighting; some of the darkness is attributable to the soot remaining on some of the tree trunks from a controlled burn several years ago. 

A little further along the upper trail back to the Fishing Area 

I always check this tree. Cranefly Orchids grow in the shelter of the trunk of the tree. These plants usually bloom. Even if I don’t see them in bloom, it’s not unusual to see the empty seedpods in the fall.  

Arriving back at the Fishing Area. 
The Fishing Area parking lot 

Back to the bridge out of the Fishing Area. 

An American Beech tree in the woods.

The trail just south of the Fishing Area. A couple of Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchids (Cypripedium acaule) bloom just to the right side of the trail. I think most people walk past them without even seeing them.

Nearby are some Pipsissewa plants.  These often bloom and set seeds.

Looking south along the lake. I’d never thought much about it but these benches are located at strategic intervals along the trail. 

The trails in the park are color coded; often the trails are marked on tree trunks. 

Almost back to the cliff. 

Markers are also placed at 1/10-mile intervals. I’m not sure if this is encouraging or discouraging. 

Looking along the fence above the cliff. 

Small patches of moss above the trail. 

Some tree roots have been worn down over the years. It’s easy to trip on these roots and nearby Lespedeza bushes (Lespedeza sp.) lie in wait to deposit seeds on socks and pants if you do. 

Just past this point, there’s a small open area that is overgrown at the moment but which probably be cleared in the spring. I’ve found Butterflypea (Centrosema virginianum), Perennial Wildbean (Strophostyles umbellata) and Helmet Flower (Scutellaria integrifolia), Hairy Angelica (Angelica venenosa)  in this open area. 

The park boasts a Disc Golf Course near the picnic area. This ‘hole’ is on the trail. Several Redring Milkweed (Asclepias variegata) plants grow at the edge of the ‘fairway’ near this hole.  

Tree roots form steps along the trail back into the woods and the picnic area.

The wildflowers that I’ve mentioned here are those that I remember clearly; there are more. This walk can be rewarding at many times of the year.

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