Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Walk: Fort Yargo State Park; Shelter A To The Old Fort (Part 2)

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. 

Looking across the lake from the Fishing Area. At full pool, the ‘beach’ in the foreground will be under water. 

A couple of Hazel Alders (Alnus serrulata) are already beginning to bloom.

Empty seedpods of a small bush next to the alders. I don’t know what this is.

A lone acorn seems to remain untouched. Wonder how the squirrels missed this one?

There are two trails from the Fishing Area to the Old Fort. The main trail parallels the shoreline well above the water. The second trail follows the shoreline next to the water; it’s known as the Rock Garden because of the boulders that litter the area. At one time, mountain bikers would ride this precarious trail but, mostly, it is used by fishermen. 

Originally, I walked the Rock Garden out of curiosity but it proved to be an interesting section for wildflowers. Cankerweed (Prenanthes serpentaria), Smooth Yellow False Foxglove (Aureolaria flava), Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus), Eastern sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus), Perfoliate Bellwort, Little Brown Jug/Arrowleaf Heartleaf (Hexastylis arifolia), and Pipsissewa bloom along this section of trail. I usually walk towards the Old Fort along the Rock Garden and return on the upper formal trail.

Looking north along the shoreline and the Rock Garden trail. I was a little taken aback to find the trail deep in leaves but I walked it anyway.

Looking back towards the Fishing Area from the Rock Garden trail. The Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is one of the few along the trails but I’ve never seen it bloom. Another that is located near the entrance to the parking area at the Old Fort does bloom and produces seed.

Little Brown Jug/Arrow Heartleaf grows and blooms in several locations along this trail. Here some are located in the shelter of a large boulder. Pipsissewa plants also grow and bloom near the wild ginger but they were covered by leaves. 

Looking along the Rock Garden trail. I had to ‘cross-country’ from the Rock Garden trail back to the main trail because the trail was deep in leaves. Luckily I found the main trail at the correct place.

Just as I rejoined the main trail I found a very large patch of Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor) leaves, probably the largest I’ve seen in the area.

A closer view of the Cranefly Orchid leaves.

The trail out to the Old Fort.

The road bridge from the main park entrance to the picnic area. I didn’t walk up to the Old Fort on this visit.

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