On Monday, I was invited to give a presentation at Allegany State Park as part of their Hobby Series. I told folks about my picture-taking addiction, my Flickr addiction, and my blogging obsession.
After the presentation, Bob and I went for a hike on the Black Snake Mountain Trail. It was a weird day for photography. The sun kept going behind clouds. Add that to the forest canopy and there were many missed opportunities, due to low light. I managed to get a few shots, though.
Like most of the trails at ASP, this one has some really steep bits, but then you reach a summit and stay on it for a good distance before you start your descent. Not all of the trails at Allegany are loops, and that was a criteria for this hike as we had limited time and only one vehicle. Tom told us that Black Snake Mountain is probably his favorite trail in the park… That clinched it.
At the trailhead, you have to decide if you want to go left or right. We chose to go into the dark woods on the right. The trail was unpleasant for the first bit because it was covered with gravel which I don’t care for… too noisy. Eventually, though, it was more natural under your feet.
I could tell right away that I MUST come back here next spring. The leaves from soooo many Spring Ephemerals lined the trail… but by now, the blossoms are all gone.
Many of the flowers had berries, or other strange seed pods. There were lots and lots of large Blue Cohosh berries… not yet ripe. I also saw Jack-in-the-Pulpit berries – still green as can be, False Solomon Seal berries – also still green, and on some shrubs – berries that I haven’t tried to ID yet.
I learned a new flower. I had been seeing the leaves for this for quite some time on several of my hikes. I thought the leaves looked a bit like Jewelweed, but bigger. Turns out it WAS a kind of Jewelweed: Pale Jewelweed. The sun poked out just long enough for me to get a couple of nice photos of this.
When we got up to the ridge and were hiking a long flat (or gently descending) stretch, we suddenly heard the wildest commotion I think I’ve ever heard in the woods. It sounded like crows, only deeper. I think it was probably a couple of ravens. They went on back and forth for five minutes or so. One individual had a higher-pitched voice than the other, but both were lower than a crow. We couldn’t see them or what was making them so upset. If you want to know what a Common Raven sounds like, click here, then play the sound clip. We also saw plenty of chipmunks, heard plenty of little songbirds, and even scared up a deer. Bob heard, for the first time, the funny snorting noise they make when startled.
A very pleasant hike… I highly recommend it.