Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Walk: Fort Yargo State Park – Section B To The Dam (Part 1)

February 10th. I was able to take another walk at Fort Yargo State Park before the bad weather set in again.

I decided to walk from the picnic area at Section B to thedam and back; this walk is about three miles. This walk doesn’t have the variety of wildflowers as my previous walk from the group shelter to the Old Fort but it was another pretty day to enjoy the walk. 

The walk starts by crossing a pedestrian bridge to reach the other side of the lake. Looking back across the lake. 

As I started out, I found a particularly nice lichen complete with fruiting bodies. 

The trail heads inland. When we first moved here almost 30 years ago, the trail ran along the lake shore where a small creek was crossed on a bridge. Maintaining this bridge was difficult since the ground below was soft. The bridge was abandoned and the trail was re-routed inland to cross the creek over a culvert. 
Heading into the woods which are largely deciduous with a small section dominated by pines. The trail heads back down to the lake shore.

Looking across the lake to a picnic area on the other side. A flock of gulls is sitting on the water; we know winter is here when they arrive each year.

Benches are located at fairly regular intervals along the trail.

I was a little surprised to find a brown jelly fungus ‘growing’ on a fallen limb. 

The trail heads a little distance way from the lake shore to avoid another deep gully which is ‘lined’ with Christmas ferns (Polystichum arostichoides0. I’ve also found Southern Grapefern (Botrychium biternatum) growing and fruiting by the trail just beyond this point.

I found more Hazel Alder (Alnus serrulata) blooming along the edge of the lake shore. Since the water level was low, I was able to walk along the ‘beach’ to photograph them. 

The male catkins, and the… 

female flowers.

These plants still retained empty seed cones. 

I was intrigued by these cones. It looks like a lichen has established itself on old cones. 

I found this intriguing seed head near the trail. I don’t know what it was but it was pretty. 

I found this leaf by the trail. At first I thought it was Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor) but the leaves lack the longitudinal ‘ribs’ and are slightly mottled so I’m not sure what it is. 

The trail climbs steeply to avoid another deep gully and ‘splits’ at the top of the hill. I took the route to the right - literally the trail less traveled - to begin a loop. 

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