A Day Off

Trail Through the FernsWhat does a naturalist do on her day off?  She goes hiking, of course.  Slow, meandering hiking.  No agenda hiking.  Carrying a camera hiking.  Long lunch break hiking.  No data sheets to fill out hiking.  Lying on the forest floor and looking at the canopy against a blue sky hiking.

Monday’s hike was on the Beehunter Trail at Allegany State Park in Cattaraugus County, Western New York State.  It’s a 6.5 mile trail that took me 8 hours to complete.  Hee hee.

Beehunter is a fabulous hike, mainly deciduous forest, some conifers near the creek.  There were many times when I thought, “I need to come here about a month earlier next year!”  There were so many leaves from spring ephemerals that had already bloomed.

Virginia Waterleaf PatchAs I wandered through I became very curious about the history of this tract.  There were some very old trees, but there were other spots where all the trees seemed to be the exact same age.  There were spots where there was plenty of understory shrubs and saplings, and other spots where the forest floor was more open – and covered with ferns and grasses.  Whatever the history, it made for some very pretty hiking.

At the the beginning of the hike, I saw several flowers I knew – just isolated plants.  As I went further on, there would be huge colonies of the plants carpeting the forest floor.  The Virginia Waterleaf was in bloom. I found both white- and purple-flowered plants.

Red EftAs always when I hike, I met up with some familiar friends and I met some new ones.  This Red Eft (a.k.a. Eastern Newt or Red-Spotted Newt) was very lethargic and posed for several shots, with and without my closeup lens.  I only posted one shot:  without the closeup lens.  Isn’t he cute?

In the New Friends category, I ran across this little butterfly, also lethargic and willing to pose for me.  I got this shot WITH the closeup lens attached, he (she?) let me get that close.  Little ButterflyI’m hoping Mon@arch will help me with the ID.  It looks similar to a couple of the little guys he posted recently.

I was excited to learn a couple of new wildflowers.  I never knew there was a violet that can get to be a foot tall!  The Canadian White Violet is white on the front side, and purple on the backs of the petals.

Canadian White Violet Canadian White Violet Back

I could go on and on about my hike, but enough is enough!  I’m sure you have other blogs to read, places to be, things to do, hikes of your own.  Off you go, then!

Unless you want to look at more pictures from my hike at my Flickr site? Click here!

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4 thoughts on “A Day Off

  1. Wow! It didn’t take long for Monarch to ID my butterfly. Here’s what he said:
    “Hobomok Skipper! They are a little late this year and flying around in big numbers right now! They are a little bigger than some of our skippers and more of a forest edge species! You can even find them in an opening in the middle of the woods wherever you have an opening of sun coming in.”

    Thanks Tom!

  2. I was enjoying reading about your hike Jen and seeing your discoveries. Hmm, glad to read I’m not the only one that will lie down and look up at the canopy. I love taking photos that way.

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