Friday at ANP

For the last few years, I have been the designated driver… that is, the person who drives the Audubon van loaded with stuff down to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage.  It’s not a bad gig.  Once we get the van unloaded in the early morning, I am free to explore the park and take in a program or two before the kids arrive.

This year, my daughter was with me.  We opted for a hike around Black Snake Mountain and the Soil program to fill our Friday.

Black Snake Mountain Trail is in the south part of Allegany State Park.  The trailhead is on ASP 3 – which is also labeled ASP 1 on this google map… Go figure…

We hiked the 3 mile loop stopping at the midway point for lunch. We were serenaded by Wood Thrush, Eastern Wood Peewees, and Chestnut-sided Warblers. There was also a bird with a wonderful song that I can’t now remember, but wish I could… Why didn’t I use my camera’s video feature to capture that song?

We saw the following flowers:

Canada Mayflower Canadian Violets Indian Cucumber Root Virginia Waterleaf White Avens Violet Forget-Me-Not Common Wood-sorrel Common Buttercup Common Cinquefoil

When we returned, we took a power nap on the grass, then joined Henri DeMoras for a program on Soil. Now who would think a program about soil could be so fascinating? We started with some introductory comments under the tent at Camp Allegany…


Then we car-pooled up to Thunder Rocks to observe some things in the field.

Soil-Thunder Rocks

We talked about the various agents that work on rock to break it down into components of soil. Biological agents such as trees, lichens, rocks, etc…

Soil-Trees as Biological agents of breakdown
Notice that one of the layers in this rock is actually the roots of a tree!

The rock breaks down and becomes mixed with remnants of parties…

As lichens, moss, and plants grow and die, organic matter is added to the mix. The acids formed during decomposition provide a chemical agent for further breakdown of rock particles.


On the way back down the road toward Camp Allegany, we stopped at several spots to notice how rain and gravity (physical agents) had moved things down the hill and affected the soil profiles…



It’s so amazing to me that I can go on a walk to a location I have visited numerous times in my lifetime and continue to see it in new ways every time… The pilgrimage is like that. You go on a walk with a different person each time and you see the world through yet another lens, expanding your understanding of your place in the world…

Always the weekend after Memorial Day… Join us next year?

4 thoughts on “Friday at ANP

  1. I’m envious of your opportunity. Soil is something I know so little about. Your photos are great. I esp. like the way you displayed the flower pictures. I never explored Flickr. Maybe it’s time. ~karen

    • I love Flickr. There are limits to the free account. I gladly pay the $24.95 per year for photo storage. The way you can tag, file, categorize, name the photos… makes it so easy to find them later. I’m a big fan.

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