© Bob Pickett

1999 Field Notes:

DATE: October 19, 1999

LOCATION: Jones Run/Doyles River, South District

GEOLOGY: Mainly Catoctin Greenstone with some younger Weverton Sandstone along the ridgetop Appalachian Trail.

ITINERARY: We hiked the 6.5 mile loop from the Jones Run trail head, down to the intersection with the Doyles River trail, returning by the Browns Gap Road and the Appalachian Trail.

HIGHLIGHTS: I’ve never seen the witch hazel in so profuse bloom. Every tree was in peak bloom. The walking fern, found just before crossing the Jones Run, was a surprise. Just above the walking fern were three very large yellow poplar; two along the trail, and a third across the stream, along with some large (and dying) hemlock. The blackgum was in scarlet beauty, as were a particular few red maples. Three American Chestnut trees with fruit were found. One recently dead tree was six inches in diameter. One walking stick insect was found.

BOTANY: The Weverton formation, being a quartzite, had a high number of ericaceous plants, including deciduous azaleas, deerberry, low blueberry, black huckleberry, minnie-bush and mountain laurel.

Canopy: On the drier south-facing slopes, the dominant trees included oaks (chestnut, northern red, scarlet) and pignut hickory. Pitch, Virginia and table mountain pines joined chestnut oak on the driest slopes (high slope with southern exposures). Moist, north-facing slopes (or along streams) included linden, sugar maple, white ash, and hemlock. Other canopy trees included yellow poplar, black cherry, black locust, white oak, blackgum, red maple, and hickories (mockernut, shagbark, and bitternut).

Subcanopy: Black birch, persimmon, sassafras, striped maple, flowering dogwood, and ailanthus in drier areas; hop hornbeam, slippery elm, and pawpaw in wetter areas. Others include hackberry, bird cherry, red bud, box elder and cucumber magnolia.

Shrub Layer: Spice bush dominated the wet areas, with witch hazel common throughout well-drained areas. In addition to the ericaceous shrubs mentioned above, wild hydrangea, viburnums (blackhaw and maple-leaf), common elderberry, ninebark, were all with fruit. Others included American hazelnut.

Herbaceous Layer: Asters in bloom include wavy-edged, calico, wood, heath, heart-leaved and large-leaved. Goldenrods include bluestem, zig-zag, and silverrod. Other herbaceous plants in bloom included tall white lettuce, turtlehead, wild stonecrop, common chickweed, quickweed, common yarrow, flowering spurge, pearly everlasting. Plants in fruit included whorled coreopsis, black snakeroot, wood betony, false spikenard, blue cohosh, Jack-in-the-pulpit, garlic mustard, woodland sunflower, jumpseed, mullein, beefsteak, false Solomon’s seal and naked fruit tick trefoil. Other plants in foliage included early blue violet, ginger, stinging nettles, wood nettles, tall coneflower, round-leaved hepatica, and common burdock.

Ground cover and vines: Blackberries, raspberries, Virginia creeper, poison ivy, partridgeberry, oriental bittersweet (heavily adorning the native shrubs along Brown’s Gap Road), round-leaved greenbriar, and Virgin’s bower.

Ferns and fern allies: Hay-scented (already turning brown), marginal, carthusiana, polypody, broad beech, ebony spleenwort, christmas and fragile.


Amphibians: Two pickeral frogs in the creek below the footbridge just below the main Doyle River falls.

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DATE: September 5, 1999

LOCATION: Rickett’s Glen State Park, PA (This area is described in the Falcon Guide Hiking Pennsylvania.)

GEOLOGY: Rickett’s Glen State Park is literally on the edge of the Allegheny Plateau, called the Allegheny escarpment. The flat-topped mountains of the Allegheny Plateau are underlain by nearly horizontal layers of resistant sandstone sedimentary rock; specifically, the Mauch Chunk and Pocono formations of the Mississippian Period. The Kitchen Creek cuts deep into the softer shales, siltstones and sandstones of the Devonian Period Catskill formation. Of interest, the escarpment in this area of Pennsylvania lies in an east-west orientation, as opposed to the north-south orientation of West Virginia (along Dolly Sods, for instance).

HIGHLIGHTS: Rickett’s Glen State Park is a steep ravine carved into the Allegheny Front by Kitchen Creek, with a series of 22 named waterfalls; the result of heavy runoff from historic glaciation runoff and stream piracy. In addition to the scenic waterfalls (especially the eastern Glen Leigh branch), an old growth woods is located just downstream from Adams Falls, across Route 118, consisting primarily of hemlock and white pine, up to 3’ in diameter, and a chestnut oak of 2’ 9" in diameter. Due to the declining health of the beech, the flowering root-parasite beechdrops were prolific. A few rocks showing glaciation scars were found.

ITINERARY: We took the 7.9 hike as recommended in the Hiking Pennsylvania Guide book.


Canopy: Hemlock (some approaching three feet in diameter – no woolly adelgid found yet in Sullivan County) and beech are the two dominant canopy trees, although most of the beech are succumbing to the beech bark disease. Black cherries are also co-dominant. Others include sugar and red maple. Several large white ash and linden, some 2’ diameter, were found below the stream junction. Also, at this lower elevation (now within the ridge and valley physiographic unit), were tuliptrees, red and chestnut oak, hickory, and white pine.

Subcanopy: Yellow birch is the dominate subcanopy (some approaching two feet in diameter), along with young trees of the canopy.

Shrub Layer: At the upper parking lot near the Park Office, a low field full of highbush blueberries is a must if visiting around Labor Day. Various native American yews (Taxus canadensis) were found along the rocks of the trail. Others found were hobblebush and maple-leaved viburnum, striped and mountain maple, red elderberry, wild hydrangea, pin cherry, witch-hazel, unknown gooseberry, northern bush-honeysuckle, hop hornbeam, and late low blueberry (V. angustifolium).

Herbaceous Layer: Flowering plants include whorled and wood aster, both spotted and pale impatiens, sweet Joe-Pye weed, wood nettles (too common), a few Canada violets, white turtlehead, wild bergamot, Virginia knotweed, mild water pepper, Indian pipes. Other herbaceous plants in fruit include wild sarsaparilla, painted trillium, Indian cucumber root, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, tall meadowrue, false Solomon’s Seal, Solomon’s Seal, Spikenard, dwarf enchanter’s nightshade. Others include foamflower, clintonia, ginger, alumroot, tall sunflower, round-leaved hepatica.

Ground cover and vines: Blackberrries, flowering raspberry (in bloom), partridgeberry, and Virginia creeper.

Ferns and fern allies: Intermedia ferns dominate. Other ferns include New York, hay-scented, long beech, Christmas, polypody, silvery spleenwort, and maidenhair spleenworts at Abrams Falls. Clubmosses include L. obscurum and lucidulum.


Amphibians: A few spring peepers were heard. A pickeral frog and Fowler’s toad were found. Also, a mountain dusky salamander was found under a log.

Reptiles: None

Birds: Black-throated green warblers, chickadees, hummingbird, and nuthatch.

Mammals: None

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DATE: September 4, 1999

LOCATION: World’s End State Park, PA (This area is described in the Falcon Guide Hiking Pennsylvania.)

GEOLOGY: Mississippian Period Pocono and Mauch Chunk Sandstones making up the resistant sandstone flat ridges of the Allegheny Plateau. The Loyalsock River cuts deeply into the softer siltstones, shales and red sandstones of the older Devonian Catskill formation.

ITINERARY: World’s End State Park is two hours north of Harrisburg on the Allegheny Plateau. It is centered on the Loyalsock River, cutting a narrow, meandering gorge through the level plateau. Our approximately 8 mile route was from the campground, south along the Canyon Vista Trail, left up the Loyalsock Trail, looping around to Canyon Vista, overlooking the Loyalsock Creek, far below. From here, we took the Link Trail, across Mineral Spring Road, completing the Double Run Trail loop and returning to the campground via the Loyalsock/Canyon Vista Trails. If time is limited, the Double Run loop and the Link Trail up to Mineral Springs Road are the best bets, mainly due to the heavy vegetative regrowth found in the higher elevations (see HIGHLIGHTS below).

HIGHLIGHTS: The ginseng in bright red fruit was the singular highlight, although the four roadkill porcupines were interesting. Other first time plants were helleborine (in seed – an introduced member of the orchid family) and the fern ally, meadow horsetails (Equisetum pratense). Fall webworm was significant in the area. Many of the higher ridges support dead canopies as a result of elm spanworm and forest tent caterpillar infestations of 3 to 5 years ago.


Canopy - This area is a northern hardwood forest, dominated with black cherry, red and sugar maple, beech, hemlock, white pine, white ash, linden, yellow birch, and a few red oak on western dry slopes.

Subcanopy - A limited subcanopy with witch-hazel, hop-hornbeam, black and yellow birch, alternate-leaved dogwood, and quaking aspen (along Mineral Spring road).

Shrub layer - More mountain maple than I’ve ever seen (in the more southern Appalachians). Also, both common and red elderberry (both in fruit), viburnums (northern arrowwood and hobblebush - in beautiful fruit), wild hydrangea, mountain holly (I. montana), pin and choke cherry, and pasture gooseberry (with the very diagnostic spiked fruit). Along the gravel Mineral Springs road were mountain laurel and meadowsweet (Spirea alba - some in bloom). In fact, every shrub mentioned here was in fruit.

Herbaceous flowers - Flowers in bloom include goldenrods (bluestem, rough-stemmed, silverrod, tall and late; growing side by side [the late not nearly as showy, 6-12" shorter, and a little earlier bloom than the tall], and zig-zag), asters (wood, flat-topped, whorled and crooked stem), wild bergamot, white snakeroot, wood nettles, Indian tobacco, pale and spotted impatiens (growing together),fringed bindweed, clearweed, begger’s ticks, heal-all, yellow oxalis, and tall rattlesnake root. Bicknell’s cranesbill was in flower just below Cottonwood Falls. Other herbaceous plants in flower along the sunny Mineral Spring road included wild basil, pearly everlasting, wingstem, spotted joe-pye weed and closed gentian. Plants in fruit include Solomon’s seal and false Solomon’s seal, spikenard, ginger, aniseroot, burdock, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, black snakeroot, white doll’s eye, cleavers, wild sarsaparilla, cucumber root, ramps, fairybells, helleborine, and wild lettuce. Others in foliage include large flowered trillium, coltsfoot, foamflower, alumroot, ginger, prenanthes, meadowrue, clintonia, and sharp-lobed hepatica.

Ferns and fern allies- Intermedia is the most common fern, with the long beech fern, also very common. The most unusual was the glade fern, found on the Loyalsock trail, just below Grand Vista overlook. Others include christmas, hay-scented, New York, lady, marginal, maidenhair, interrupted, cinnamon, polypody, carthusiana (formerly spinulose), sensitive and silvery spleenwort (15 species - two short of my record of 17 - see August 10, 1997 entry). Cutleaf grape fern (Botrychium dissectum) was also found in a small colony. Few clubmosses were found until we took the Double Run loop trail; a wet riparian trail. Near the creek were Lycopodium obscurum, clavatum, annotinum, lucidulum,. A colony of meadow horsetails (Equisetum pratense) were found along the Link Trail between Mineral Spring Road and the Double Run Trail (as was the ginseng).

Groundcovers and lianas - Canada mayflower (in fruit), spotted wintergreen, blackberry and raspberries, flowering raspberry, wood sorrel and Virginia creeper.


Mammals - Chipmunks were common. Gray squirrels were heard barking.

Amphibians -Spring peepers, mountain dusky salamanders, American toad, red eft.

Reptiles -

Birds -Raven, turkey and black vultures, chickadees, several broadtail hawks.

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DATE: August 7, 1999

LOCATION: Shenandoah National Park, VA (Central District)

GEOLOGY: Pedlar granodiorite

HIGHLIGHTS: Trip included trail maintenance on Nicholson Hollow trail and goldenrod counts on Stony Man Mtn. Bears were the highlight. At Corbin Cabin, a sow and cub were heard sixty feet up in the top of a black cherry tree, feeding on the fruit. The sow was in the top of the terminal leaders (remaining on the vertical branches), while the cub was out on the peripheral branches (more or less horizontal to the ground). On Sunday, two cubs and a sow were disturbed on top of Stony Man, with the cubs escaping to the safety of an oak tree.

BOTANY: (Check May 8/9, 1999 for more detailed listings of botanical species.)

Canopy - The usual secondary growth of oaks, cherries, birch and hickories on dry slopes and ash, linden, and a few beech on cooler, moister slopes. Hemlocks in the coolest, wettest habitats, with sycamores present in lower elevations.

Shrub layer - Spicebush, witch-hazel, and viburnums make up the common understory.

Herbaceous flowers - Along the Nicholson Hollow trail, the plants in bloom include stinging nettle, starry campion, panicled hawkweed, false spikenard, pale impatiens, agrimony, rough avens, lopseed, downy lobelia, Virginia knotweed, mild water pepper, clearweed, wild garlic, smooth foxglove, white snakeroot (just beginning to bloom), and heal-all. Plants in fruit include Indian cucumber root, bluebead lily, whorled loosestrife, sweetbox, blue cohosh, doll’s eye, and Solomon’s Seal. Other foliage plants include spatulate pussytoes. On Stony Man Mountain, the plants in bloom include southern harebell, Rand’s golden rod (the subject of my volunteer monitoring on behalf of the ATC and SNP), early golden rod, a few three-toothed cinquefoil, Michaux’s saxifrage, grass-leaved blazing star, water hemlock, great angelica, sweet-scented joe pye weed, and whorled aster. In a field, inside the bend at milepost 37 (just south of Pinnacles picnic area),were wild bergamot, Queen Anne’s lace, brown knapweed, sharp-leaved goldenrod, wild basil, sweet yellow and sweet white clover, nodding wild onion, oxe-eye daisy, yarrow, daisy fleabane, and some introduced purple coneflower. Other roadside flowers included basil balm, bouncing bet and lance-leaved coneflower.


Birds - Mostly quiet, with a few wood peewees, pileated woodpecker, and the usual chickadees, titmice and nuthatches.

NOTES: We’re in the midst of a severe drought, with creeks at their lowest, and plants showing signs of dessication and many mature trees with all leaves turning brown. Only a few amanitas are found.

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DATE: August 2, 1999

LOCATION: Plummer’s Island, Maryland (To get to the island, park at Lock 10, just inside the beltway on the Clara Barton Parkway, and walk up the canal to the base of the rise for lock 11, where a trail takes off to the left into the woods. Presently, one can walk across the channel on dry ground, but normally, some rock hopping or wading is necessary.)

GEOLOGY: Ordovician Sykesville formation (metamorphosed submarine muds)

HIGHLIGHTS: Plummer’s Island is in the Potomac starting just below (downstream from) the American Legion bridge. It has been the home of the Botanical Club of Washington since 1901 and has been the source of prodigious botanical studies over the many years. It has some tremendous old growth trees found around a cabin, still in use on occasion. Nearest the cabin is a red oak with a 4’ diameter. Just downhill from the cabin are two 3’ black walnuts, a 3’ tulip tree, and a 3 ½’ foot diameter sycamore. Further downstream on the small island is a 5 ½’ sycamore tree that forks at about 10’ into a 3’ and 3 ½’ trunk.

Along the channel separating Plummer’s Island from the mainland, was an isolated large body of water. On the north end was a slight depression where a “tongue” of Fowler’s toads, which had just metamorphosed into toadlets, were leaving the water for the mainland. This tongue of toads was 10 yards wide at the edge of the water (the width of the depression) and extended 15 yards from the water’s edge. Nearest the water, there were 5 toads per square yard, but after five yards, the density dropped and held at one per square yard all the way to the “front” at 15 yards from the water. The most interesting characteristic of this population, was the clear and definitive edge of the “tongue”. I spent some time walking across the area to define the area of the toads and numbers found, and, with only one stray found at 30 yards from the water, not a single toad was found outside this 10 by 15 square yard area. The migration path was bound by higher ground on one side, and a sandy bar (presumably too hot for them) on the other side. Nothing seemed to prevent the most advanced toads from continuing to the woods, another five to ten yards away.


Canopy: Silver maple and sycamore were common along the river, with beech, white and red oak, hickory and white ash on higher ground.

Subcanopy: Lots of pawpaw, some spice bush and boxelder. Found a few fringe trees along the rocks.

Shrub Layer: None

Herbaceous Layer: Four Eupatoriums; trumpetflower (Eupatorium fistulosa), mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum), sweet-scented Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum (although it didn’t smell like vanilla), and late-flowering boneset (Eupatorium serotinum), green-headed coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), both the tall and stinging nettles (Urtica procera and U. dioica), hoary and blue vervain (Verbena stricta and V. hastata), cardinal flower and Indian tobacco (Lobelia cardinalis and L. inflata), American germander (Teucrium canadense), Wingstem, with all the flower parts eaten by insects, Jimson-weed (Datura stramonium), horse nettle (Solanum carolinense), and slender amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus).

Ground cover and vines: An unidentified submerged aquatic plant, like anacharis, with six narrow yellow petals, consistently only had flowers when it was exposed on land (where the water had receded and threatened the life of the plant). No plants in water had flowers and each plant out of the water had flowers. Even several plants with portions of the plant exposed would have flowers only on the exposed part of the plant.

Ferns and fern allies: Christmas and marginal wood ferns were found.


Amphibians: Many recently metamorphosed Fowler’s toads (see highlights).

Reptiles: None

Birds: Great blue heron, green heron, kingfishers, cormorants, a sandpiper, Wood ducks (and young),

Mammals: A few deer were found.

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DATE: 7-4-99

LOCATION: Heart’s Content Scenic Area, Allegheny National Forest, PA (See Hiking Pennsylvania (A Falcone Guide)

GEOLOGY: Pennsylvanian Period Pottsville (like Dolly Sods) and Allegheny Groups

HIGHLIGHTS: This is a 20 acre white pine/hemlock virgin forest left uncut by the timber company, who used it as a base for their logging operations in the mid-1800’s. The lumber company gave the 20 acres to the US Forest Service in 1922, after constructing a memorial to the company owners. The age of the white pines reported dates back to the mid 1600’s, shortly after a severe drought in 1644 and subsequent fires, which opened the area to new seedlings. The large beech, black cherry and sugar maple, reported by Hiking Pennsylvania (A Falcone Guide) were not as large or populous as the white pines and hemlocks, which were impressive. Unfortunately, the beech bark disease, transmitted by the scale insects, is removing the beech from the forest, reportedly completing this task over the next twenty years.

Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica) was found in bloom at the beginning of the Hickory Creek trail, among the red pines, at the parking lot.

Dewdrops (Dalibarda repens) were found in flower.

The Hearts Content Recreation Area has camping next to the scenic area. (Although, like us, you can backpack in a mile or two on the Hickory Creek Wilderness Area trail and make your own camp.)

NOTE: Less than an hour south of this area is Cook Forest State Park (also found in Hiking Pennsylvania (A Falcone Guide). A roughly 2,000 acre old growth stand is found in the Forest Cathedral area of the Park, consisting of primarily white pines and hemlocks. 3 ½ ‘ diameter white oaks can be found just west of Indian Springs (itself an interesting site) along the Joyce Kilmer trail (did he get a lot of mileage out of that verse).

A hike to the Cook Forest Fire Tower gives a good view, and gave us a close up look to both a scarlet tanager and blackburnian warbler. On the facing hill, the prominent (and very large) crypt of the lumber company owner and family sits by the remnant old growth land he eventually sold back to the government. Adjacent Seneca Point gives a view west of the Clarion River. Canoeing and rafting are big summer operations centered at the Park Office in Cooksburg, along PA 36 and the Clarion River bridge.


Canopy: Mainly hemlock and white pine, with dying beech, red oak, black birch, red maple, white ash, and black cherry.

Subcanopy: Cucumber magnolia and young birch, maple, oak, etc.

Shrub Layer: Common elderberry was in bloom, while red elderberry was in fruit. Other non-flowering shrubs included one hercules’ club, and a few small hobblebush.

Herbaceous Layer: Flowering plants included Milkweed, common St. Johnswort and orange hawkweed in the parking lot/ grass fields, with oxe-eye daisys, Canada thistle, heal-all, and yellow oxalis in forest openings. Other flowering plants from the forest includes shinleaf, tall buttercup, wood sorrel, dewdrops. Other non-flowering plants included garlic mustard, goldthread (in fruit), Canada mayflower, foamflower, and Jack-in-the-pulpit.

Ground cover and vines: Dewberry, partridgeberry, were in bloom. Others included raspberry.

Ferns and fern allies: Main groundcover in this woods is hay-scented fern. Other ferns are interrupted, intermedia and sensitive. Club mosses were limited to L. lucidulum.




Birds: Hermit thrush, warblers (Black-throated green, black-throated blue (one, with young), Kentucky, chestnut-sided), chipping sparrow, scarlet tanager, red-eyed vireos, pileated woodpecker, red-breasted nuthatch, ruby-throated hummingbird, great crested flycatcher, winter wren, juncos, and American Redstart.

Mammals: Red squirrel and chipmunks.

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DATE: June 21-25, 1999

LOCATION: Dolly Sods/Roaring Plains, WVA

GEOLOGY: The sandstone layer making both the east and west rocky ridges of Dolly Sods (Bear Rocks and Cabin Mtn) and the Roaring Plains are from the Pottsville series of the Pennsylvanian era (~300 million years ago). This was an active beach of the earlier ocean, the Iapetus, which encroached from the east. As this layer bows under the surface of younger (ocean bottom) sediments in the middle of the Dolly Sods, it can be found again, forming the falls of Red Creek at “the forks”. This area is on the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau, overlooking the ridge and valley physiographic province to the east.

HIGHLIGHTS: The weather was a highlight, never raining and never getting over 75 degrees. In fact, the first three days were sunny and breezy with a high of 65 degrees. A 46” timber rattlesnake was found on Roaring Plains at an elevation of over 4200’.

Found many (assumed) coyote scats and a weasel scat with a mouse skull (complete with the gapping hole in the back of the skull from the diagnostic bite).

Also, came across a bobcat denning site on an island in Red Creek, complete with scat, prints, and youthful digging holes.

Attacked by a solitary vireo, found two junco nests on the ground (one with four eggs), and watched another solitary vireo defend her nest site from a barred owl, with over seven minutes of continuous chatting, at one point, actually hitting the intruding owl. Numerous birds found with young including solitary vireo and northern junco. Cedar waxwings found in the evenings flying over Red Creek, in groups of five to a dozen, catching insects, which were floating with the breeze downstream.

Found an excellent campsite and swimming hole where South Prong trail and South Prong intersect. Only ½ a mile from parking lot, makes an excellent late evening spot. Specifically, after trail crosses over the South Prong and turns left upstream, instead, follow service road uphill to right for 100 yards and go down to terrace on right. Reach the edge of terrace, and descend to second terrace with secluded campsite. From campsite, descend to the South Prong, following it downstream for ¼ mile or less to pool, which was 15’ x 15’ and five feet deep at this drought period.

At west end of Breathed Mountain trail, on Cabin Mtn; went 50 yards west to get on Salamander Run of Timberline Ski Resort. Took ½ mile trip up to top of ski lift to get great view of Canaan Valley. An excellent way to access Dolly Sods in winter for x-country skiing.

Numerous fritillaries, tiger swallowtails and clouded (or pink-edged) sulphurs, a northern pearly-eye and one mourning cloak found throughout the week.

Roaring Plains heath barrens, from Flatrock trail, starts with red spruce dominating, and sporadic mountain ash (some in bloom), pin cherry, red maple and yellow birch. Shrubs include southern mountain cranberry (many in bloom), with occasional flame azalea (one yellow in bloom), early azalea, black huckleberries and minnie-bush (all three mainly past bloom; a few of each still in flower), mountain hollies (Illex montana) and hobblebush (both in fruit), and various blueberries. Ground cover includes hay-scented ferns and a few interrupted ferns. As more open heath barren habitat begins, mountain laurel, in bud and flower dominates, with the other mountain holly joining in (N. mucronata), with ground covers including bunchberry in flower(!!), teaberry, trailing arbutus, Canada mayflower and starflower (both in bloom), yellow clintonia (a few in flower, some in fruit), bracken fern, a few pink ladyslippers (one in flower), wild sarsasparilla (in fruit), painted trillium (in fruit), bristly dewberry and lots of goldthread.

Identified my first bristly sarsasparilla (Aralia hispida).

Juncos, chestnut-sided warblers and yellowthroats dominate heath barrens, with blue jays and towhees prominent (See Zoology – Birds below). Also enjoyed watching male black-throated blue warbler catching about seven moths before flying back to nest(?) at South Prong campsite.

Along South Prong trail, just south of FR 70, is wood stove in parts, with inscribed “S. V. Reeves, Philadelphia, PA.”

Along a very shaded and moist streambank (between the South Prong and Boar’s Head trails), twisted stalk was found in seed, along with white monkshood in bud. Acadian flycatchers abound in this wet woods (along with cucumber magnolia and rosebay rhododendron).

On Saturday, I took a day hike to the Canaan Valley National Refuge and found major timbering going on around the refuge property. Found two peregrine falcons flying above.

ITINERARY: This was a five-day backpacking trip through Dolly Sods and the Roaring Plains. Starting at the Dolly Sods Picnic Area:

Monday – Rohrbaugh Plains trail (TR 508 ;3.5 mi) to Fisher Spring Run trail (TR 510; 1.1 mi) to Red Creek trail (TR 514; 1.9 mi) to Breathed Mountain trail (TR 553; 0.2) to campsite by beaver ponds/heath barrens. (Excellent views/ campsites at cliffs denoted as point B in Monongahela N. F. hiking guide. Water is about ½ mile south of campsite.)

Tuesday – Breathed Mountain trail (TR 553; 2.3 mi) to Big Stonecoal trail (TR 513; 2.5 mi) to Dunkenbarger trail (TR 558; 1.6 mi) to Little Stonecoal trail (TR 552; 1.8 mi) to Red Creek trail (TR 514; 0.4 mi) and campsite near Lanesville. (Excellent campsite with water at point S on Dunkenbarger trail.)

Wednesday – Red Creek trail (TR 514; 0.1) along FR 19 (2.2 mi) to Flatrock Run trail (TR 519; 5.1mi) to Roaring Plains trail (TR 548; 3.3 mi) along gas pipeline cut to overlook of Seneca Rocks (1.7 mi) and campsite on cut. (Flatrock trailhead can be found at top of hill beyond crossing of Red Creek on the left. The Jordan mailbox is gone –as are the Jordans. Pass the first two houses on left nearing top of hill and then turn left up gravel drive to nice two-doored horse barn. The trailhead is behind to the left of the barn. Perhaps the new 1999 seventh edition of the Mongo NF hiking guide has been revised.)

Thursday – Took day hike back western side trail to Roaring Plains and back to campsite at overlook on gas pipeline, then backpacked 1.7 miles to Boar’s Nest trail (TR 518; 2.7 mi) to South Prong trail (TR 517; 0.2) and campsite along South Prong.

Friday – South Prong trail (TR 517; 5.9 mi) and back to car.

BOTANY : There were three main forest types; the northern hardwood of the ravines and lower elevations, the northern evergreen forest, encountered in higher elevations where soil depths and moisture allowed, and the high elevation, thin-soiled heath barrens.

Canopy: The northern hardwoods dominated all but the highest elevations, with red and sugar maple, yellow birch and beech constituting the dominant species. Other canopy trees included basswood, hemlock, white pine, white ash and black cherry. A few red oaks and cucumber trees were found. Table mountain pine was found on South Prong trail.

The northern evergreen forest is dominated by red spruce (some planted red pines also found along Big Stonecoal Creek trail.)

Open canopy trees of the heath barrens include serviceberry, mountain ash (some in bloom), pin cherry, red maple, hawthorn.

Subcanopy: The northern hardwoods and northern evergreen forests are populated in the subcanopy by young trees of the canopy species. Additionally, black birch, witch-hazel, striped maple, black locust, mountain ash (in bud), hawthorn, alternate dogwood, and serviceberry are found in the northern hardwoods.

Shrub Layer: In bloom, the northern hardwoods include mountain holly (Illex montana), white elderberry and mountain laurel. Near the top of Flatrock trail (just below the heath barren), southern mountain cranberry becomes a dominant shrub in bloom. Also, found one yellow-flowering northern bush-honeysuckle in Red Creek (on the bobcat family island).

Other shrubs include rosebay rhododendron, numerous blueberries and huckleberries, minnie-bush, unknown gooseberry species, speckled alder and wild hydrangea (in bud). Some pasture roses and small sundrops were in bloom in the open area beginning the Flatrock trail. Red elderberrry is in beautiful red fruit. One mountain maple was found browsed by deer.

The same species are represented to a lesser extent in the northern evergreen forest.

In bloom, the heath barrens include mountain laurel, northern wild raisin and some minnie-bush. Others include various blueberries (V. myrtilloides, vacillans and angustifolium), black huckleberry, mountain holly (Nemopanthus mucronata), shrubby and dense St. Johnswort, all three chokeberries (red, black (a few in bloom), and purple), and meadowsweet (S. alba) in fruit.

Herbaceous Layer: In bloom, the northern hardwoods included wood sorrel, dwarf and common cinquefoil, golden ragwort, wild bleeding heart, tall buttercup, field hawkweed, foamflower, honewort, whorled loosestrife, and wild basil, lesser stitchwort and blue-eyed grass in the South Prong fire road. Others non-blooming plants include rough-stemmed goldenrod, Canada mayflower, slender toothwort, Solomon’s Seal (in fruit), impatiens and nettles in wet spots, coltsfoot, Indian cucumber root, black snakeroot, sweet cicely (in fruit), ramps (in bud), false hellebore, and numerous violet foliage.

Wood sorrel (in bloom) and various lichens and mosses populate the northern evergreen forest.

The heath barrens include swamp St. Johnswort, and others mentioned in highlights above.

Hiking along FR 19 from Laneville to Flatrock trail (along a shale road cut), numerous flowering plants along the road were found, including flowering raspberry, white avens, tall meadowrue, hairy woodmint, pale violets, moth mullein, common milkweed, fringed bindweed (also found along Red Creek), spotted touch-me-not, Queen Anne’s lace, common St. Johnswort, wild lettuce, viper’s bugloss, yellow sweet clover, red clover, smooth hawksbeard, chickory, wild parsnip (in fruit), deptford pink, heal-all, and black-eyed susans.

Ground cover and vines: The northern hardwoods included partridgeberry, raspberries (in bloom), dutchman’s pipevine, wild yam, and clematis.

The heath barrens include the small cranberry (in bloom) and bristly dewberry.

Ferns and fern allies: The northern hardwoods included hay-scented, marginal, New York, carthusiana, interrupted, polypody, long beech fern, silvery spleenwort, christmas, and cinnamon ferns. Lycopodiums included L. complanatum, clavatum, obscurum, annotinum, and lucidulum.

The northern evergreen forest contains mainly hay-scented fern, with some intermedia ferns and limited clubmosses.

Hay-scented ferns and clubmosses predominate in the heath barrens.


Amphibians: In a heath barren bog, wood frog egg masses were found, many dead (probably frozen), along with a crawdad. A leopard frog, American toads and numerous spring peepers were heard.

Five wood frogs and two green frogs were found throughout the trip.

Reptiles: A garter snake, smooth green snake, 46” timber rattlesnake, and either a ribbon or garter snake.

Birds: The black-throated blue and black-throated green warblers, the solitary vireo, northern juncos, rufous-sided towhee, veery, winter wren and the hermit thrush, by far, dominated the calling birds in the northern hardwood forests. Others heard included red-eyed vireo, blue-gray gnatcatcher, great crested and acadian flycatcher, wood peewee, wood thrush, golden-crowned kinglet, black-capped chickadee, blue jays, phoebe, ruby-throated hummingbird and woodcock (along Red Creek – and a second along Flatrock trail), indigo bunting, scarlet tanager, field and chpping sparrow, flicker, crows and ravens, winter wren, barred owl, ruffed grouse, and red-breasted nuthatch.

In the heath barren, robins, cedar waxwing, chestnut-sided warblers, yellowthroats, juncos, hermit thrush, raven, song sparrow, northern towhees, blue jays and catbirds.

The black-throated green and Canada warbler were common to the northern evergreen (red spruce) forest.

On the Sunday visit to the Canaan Valley National Refuge, two peregrine falcons were seen.

Mammals: Deer, gray and red squirrels, chipmunks, and a short-tailed shrew (along trail).

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DATE: June 12/13, 1999

LOCATION: Pokomoke River, MD

GEOLOGY: Coastal Plain Quaternary sediment (deposited as interbedded layers of clays, silts, and sand during the last 2 million years ago). This soft, easily erodable bedrock was exposed during lower ocean levels and cut by a swift running creek 20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age glaciation, resulting in steep cliffs that are now submerged by the ocean. The result is that the Pokomoke River has the greatest depth to surface area ratio of any eastern North American river. Thus, it’s shape is like a bathtub, with very limited shallow shoreline, which, in turn, limits it’s habitat for both animals (amphibians and reptiles) and vegetation.

HIGHLIGHTS: This was the ideal time of the year for blooming shrubs that dominated the shoreline. My favorite for the trip was the beautiful (and fragrant) swamp magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), with the swamp rose (Rosa palustris) being a close second. Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) dominated the shoreline with maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina) and smooth winterberry holly (Illex laevigata) throughout the trip. Other white-flowering shrubs included common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), southern wild raisin (Viburnum nudum), southern arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum), and swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum) composing a mostly solid tapestry throughout the trip along with the swamp magnolia. For color, the whites were broken up by the ubiquitous bright pink swamp rose, with the herbaceous larger blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) and sundrops (Oenothera fruiticosa) providing blue and yellow highlights respectively.

Other highlights included the plentiful prothonotary warblers, the two species of netted chain fern and the resurrection ferns.

BOTANY: (Underlined species are “life species” for me.)

Canopy - Along this very limited water course habitat, the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) was the dominant canopy tree. Other trees of limited distribution included the red maple, with a few sweet gum, ash, shadbush, hickory, and the water oak (Quercus nigra).

Subcanopy layer - The water ash (Fraxinus caroliniana), smooth alder (Alnus serrulata) and blue beech, or muscle wood (Carpinus caroliniana) were the dominant subcanopy trees. Spicebush was also noted.

Shrub layer - Besides those listed in the highlights above, a pinxter azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum) was found in bloom. Other shrubs included northern bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius),

Herbaceous flowersOnly the previously mentioned Sundrops (O. fruiticosa).

Ferns - Both the Virginia and the Netted chain ferns (Woodwardia virginica and areolata), and the Resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides).

Groundcovers and lianas - Crossvine was an unexpected find. Mistletoe was quite common in the tree canopy. Trumpet creeper vine was occasional.


Mammals -

Amphibians - Bullfrogs, Fowler’s toad, southern leopard frog and the southern (Cope’s) gray tree frog (Hyla chrysocelis) were heard.

Reptiles - The red-bellied and painted turtle were seen sunning. In a snapping turtle trap was found a snapping turtle, a stinkpot, a bluegill and a catfish. (When the live trap was hoisted onto the canoe for inspection, the irate snapper “did a number” on the poor catfish.)

Birds -The bird of the weekend was the prothonotary warbler. It’s call and bright orange plummage stayed with us throughout the trip. The yellow warbler was also heard several times. One bald eagle was seen several times as it flew ahead of us. Perhaps, the most common bird was the eastern kingbird. Other birds seen or heard included the yellowthroat, ovenbird, blue-gray gnatcatcher, northern parula, boat-tailed grackle, great blue herons, ospreys, barred owl, mourning doves, yellow-billed cuckoos, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, acadian flycatchers, great crested flycatcher, purple martin, barn and tree swallows, chimney swifts, fish crow, chickadee, titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, wood thrush, a few immature cormorants and numerous laughing gulls.

NOTES: This was a 16 mile overnight canoe trip using the Pocomoke River Canoe Company in Snow Hill, MD. We started six miles upstream of Snow Hill at the Porter’s Crossing and travelled eight miles to the Shad’s Landing State Park Saturday night. The first four miles to Snow Hill were in a mostly enclosed canopy. From Snow Hill and beyond, the Pokomoke River becomes open (100 yards). Sunday was an eight mile journey to Pokomoke City on a broad river. (The Canoe Company is opening up the River above Porter’s Crossing and hopes to have it open to Whiton Crossing by mid summer. I would highly recommend starting from this uppermost location since the broad water below Snow Hill is broad, slow, and relatively monotonous. Below Snow Hill, an option would be to go north up the Nassawango Creek and be picked up at the Red House Rd landing.)

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DATE: May 9, 1999 AND June 6, 1999

LOCATION: Appalachian Trail between Fox Gap and I-70, MD

GEOLOGY: Weverton Sandstone

HIGHLIGHTS: This 6 mile hike was made twice with flowering plants and birds listed separately for the two dates; May 9 and June 6, 1999. This was a scouting trip on May 9 and an ANS hike conducted on June 6.


CanopyTypical oak/hickory mixed deciduous forest with maples, ash, and some basswood in wetter habitats.

Subcanopy - American and slippery elm, paulownia and paw-paws were of note.

Shrub layer - In bloom on May 9 scouting trip: Blackhaw viburnum and early low blueberries.

In bloom on June 6 ANS trip: Mountain laurel, Japanese multiflora rose, and maple-leaf viburnum.

Herbaceous flowers - In bloom on May 9 scouting trip: pink lady slippers, mayapples, early saxifrage, garlic mustard, wild sarsasparilla, rue anemone, wild geranium, aniseroot, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, pale violet, large-leaved avens (G. macrophylum), Celandine poppy, hooked crowfoot, Indian strawberry, chickory, cleavers, dames rocket, aborted buttercup, round-leaved ragwort, common blue violet, downy yellow violet, dwarf cinquefoil, field hawkweed, and yellow oxalis.

In bloom on June 6 ANS trip:Rattlesnake plantain (Heiraceum veinosum), Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis), ground ivy, common fleabane, blue-eyed grass, star grass, field hawkweed, bowman’s root, hare figwort, black snakeroot (in bud), foxglove penstamon, common yarrow.

Ferns - Polypody, Christmas, marginal, hay-scented, sensitive, lady, ebony spleenwort.

Groundcovers and lianas - In bloom on the May 9 date was dewberry.


Mammals -

Amphibians -

Reptiles -

Birds – (birds underlined were heard or seen on only one hike.)

Heard or saw on May 9: Indigo bunting, field sparrow, towhee, red-eyed vireo, great crested flycatcher, turkey vultures, chimney swifts, nuthatch, acadian flycatcher, cardinal, ovenbird, flicker, wood peewee, titmouse, pileated, cerrulean warbler, yellow-throated vireo, turkey, yellow-billed cuckoo, goldfinch, blue-gray gnatcatcher.

Heard or saw June 6: Wood peewee, titmouse, field sparrow, towhee, scarlet tanager, red-eyed vireo, ovenbird, blue-gray gnatcatcher, yellow-throated vireo, cardinal, acadian flycatcher, great-crested flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, cerrulean warbler, worm-eating warbler, indigo buntings.

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DATE: May 30/31, 1999

LOCATION: Gallitzin State Forest, PA (Middle Ridge Loop, Hike #51 in HIKING PENNSYLVANIA, a Falcon Guide book)

GEOLOGY: Located two miles west of the Alleghenian front, on the Devonian Deer Park anticline.

HIGHLIGHTS: This hike is a good introductory backpacking trip of seven miles, with an overnight stay at a shelter among a large field. The open marsh along Clear Shade Creek hosted several yellowthroats and calling American toads. Interesting plants included two spirea species (S. tomentosa and alba), speckled alder, marsh St. Johnswort, and a large number of northern arrowwood viburnums. Being on the Allegheny Plateau, numerous species not found closer to DC can be found including the Canada warbler and hermit thrush, and the velvet-leaved blueberry.


Canopy: A fairly limited habitat, with black cherry and beech dominating with red maple as a subdominant. Others included hemlock, sugar maple, a few red oak, cucumber magnolia, white ash and basswood.

Subcanopy: Striped maple is the dominant subcanopy tree, with yellow and some black birch as subdominants. Others were witch hazel, shadbush, quaking aspen.

Shrub Layer: In bloom: Common elderberry, deerberry, northern arrowwood (V. recognitum), velvet-leaf blueberry (V. myrtilloides), black huckleberry, mountain ash, and both thorned and non-thorned hawthornes.

Other shrubs include silky willow, low blueberry (V. angustifolium), northern wild-raisin in bud (V. cassinoides), great rhododendron, mountain laurel, mountain holly (in bud), steeplebush (S. tomentosum), speckled alder, narrow-leaved spirea (S. alba).

Herbaceous Layer: In bloom: Canada mayflower, garlic mustard, hooked crowsfoot, wood sorrel, fairy bells, violets (common blue, marsh, northern white), golden saxifrage, Pa. Bittercress, spatulate-leaved pussytoes, starflower, painted trillium, golden alexanders, bluets, wild strawberry, foamflower.

Other non-flowering plants include trout lily, Indian cucumber root, rough goldenrod (S. rugosa), false hellebore, common burdock, ginger, halbert-leaved violet, yarrow, pitcher plant (in bud), tall meadowrue, and marsh St. Johnswort (H. virginianum).

Ferns and fern allies: In first mile to Clear Shade Creek, four clubmosses are found (Lycopodium lucidululm, complanatum, obscurum, annotinum), with a fifth just across the foot bridge (L. clavatum). Ferns include hay-scented, intermedia, New York, interrupted, cinnamon, spinulose (D. carthusiana). Also, the grape fern (B. virginianum) and horsetail (E. arvense) were found.


Amphibians: Heard American toads


Birds: Wood peewee, warblers (many black-throated green, black-throated blue, worm-eating, Canada ), scarlet tanager, ovenbird, red-eyed and solitary vireo, junco, bluejay, hermit thrush, acadian flycatcher, yellowthroat,

Mammals: Deer (several snorting) and chipmunks.

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DATE: May 8/9, 1999

LOCATION: Nicholson Hollow trail, SNP, VA

GEOLOGY: Pedlar granodiorite

HIGHLIGHTS: I found two plants of the fern ally, adder’s tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum). This genus was not identified in the Park until last summer (in Big Meadows by the Park botanist, Wendy Cass)). One year earlier, and I would have found a new genus (not just species) in the Park.

Just 200 yards across Hughes Run, were two populations of one-flowered cancerroot (Orobanche uniflora). One population had 28 plants; the other had 43. Some were just emerging. (Incidentally, ten days later, not a sign of the plants could be found.)

Also, found several morels.


Canopy - White ash, oaks (chestnut, red, white, and scarlet), black gum, tulip tree, black locust, basswood, sycamore, white pine, mockernut hickory, sugar and red maple.

Subcanopy - Dogwood (in bloom), striped maple, black and sweet cherry, black birch, umbrella-leaved magnolia, sassafras, ironwood, shadbush, redbud, hackberry, alternate-leaved dogwood, persimmon.

Shrub layer - In bloom, included maple-leaf viburnum, minnie-bush, pinxter azalea (some in bloom). Other non-blooming shrubs included witch hazel, spice bush, mountain laurel, deerberry, wild hydrangea, staghorn sumac, blackhaw viburnum, black huckleberry, American chestnut, smooth alder, wintergreen holly, mountain holly (in bud), blackberry, black raspberry.

Herbaceous flowers - In bloom: Most common have been star chickweed, wild geranium, and bluets. Others in bloom include bulbous and aborted buttercup, pink lady slipper, garlic mustard, rattlesnake plant (H. veinosum), marsh violet, Canada violet, spatulate pussytoes, common blue violet, false solomon’s seal, small bedstraw, sweet cicely, blackberry, common speedwell, squawroot, dwarf cinquefoil, golden alexander, Jack in the pulpit, large-flowered trillium, wood anemone, false hellebore, downy yellow violet, perfoliate bellwort, wild sarsasparilla, wild strawberry, showy orchis, Canada mayflower, golden saxifrage, mayapple, and one-flowered cancerroot.

Other plants, in seed, include yellow fairybells, early meadowrue, smooth rockcress, blue cohosh, Canada violet, bloodroot, ginger, cut-leaf toothwort.

Other plants not in bloom, included prenanthes sp., black snakeroot, hepatica, with goatsbeard, cucumber root and tall meadowrue (in bud), wild garlic, and early violet.

Ferns and Fern alliesChristmas, marginal, lady, carthusiana (formerly spinulosa), New York, hay-scented, polypody, ebony spleenwort, royal, cinnamon, and maidenhair. Of the fern alllies; grapefern (B. virginianum), clubmosses (L. lucidulum, and complanatum), horsetail, and Adder’s tongue (mentioned in the highlights above),

Groundcovers and lianas - Poison ivy, smilax, Virginia creeper, Oriental bittersweet, wild yam, striped wintergreen, rattlesnake plantain (G. pubescens), Japanese honeysuckle, balsam apple.


Mammals - Deer, chipmunk, gray squirrel.

Amphibians - American toad.

Reptiles -

Birds - Ovenbird, red-eyed vireo, wood thrush, warblers (chestnut-sided, hooded warbler, worm-eating, black and white, cerrulean) , scarlet tanager, waterthrush (unknown species), goldfinch, pileated woodpeckers, towhee, nuthatch, chickadee, redbellied woodpecker, acadian flycatcher.

NOTES: This was an overnight trail maintenance trip for my Nicholson Hollow Trail. Perhaps the biggest highlight was the roadkilled mink found on Rte 230, just south of Sperryville. I have since skinned and stretched the pelt (the head was fractured) and have it dessicating in my attic.

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DATE: April 3, 1999

LOCATION: Huntley Meadows, VA

GEOLOGY: Coastal Plain sediments

HIGHLIGHTS: Although this was a VSO birding trip, the highlights were the herps (despite what many of them relayed to me). This appeared to be near the peak of the spring breeding for American toads and southern= leopard frogs. The boardwalk was reached at 7:45 with a raucous crowd of American toads screaming in the marsh. About fifty were viewed in a 30' by 30' area near the first intersection. Several snoring pickerals were heard near the raised viewing area facing the south distant viewing boardwalk.  At the end of the marsh, just prior to entering the woods near the observatory tower, about ten southern frogs were heard. ~20 leopard frogs were seen and heard on the boardwalk just beyond the tower (below the beaver dam and to the left of the boardwalk). As I returned (now sunny and passing 70 degrees- being cloudy to this point) the southern leopard frogs were now calling in various places throughout the marsh. Spring peepers were heard from the woods, and the turtles started appearing. Finally, back near the first boardwalk intersections, the northern water snakes had made their appearance. Throughout this first section (with the woods on the right), spotted turtles, bull frogs, and water snakes were found.

BOTANY: Vegetation was not of interest this early in the season and very briefly visited on the way to the boardwalk. Only some spring beauties were in bloom.


Amphibians: See highlights. ~100 American toads, 40 southern leopard frogs, 10 pickeral frogs, 5 bullfrogs (none calling) and distant spring peepers. Also ~20 overwintering bull or green frog tadpoles.

Reptiles: Seven northern water snakes; ~60 painted turtles, 20 red bellied turtles, 4 spotted turtles and one mud turtle.

Birds: Wood duck, blue and green-winged teals, great blue herons, great egrets, coots, mallards, gadwalls, ring-necked ducks, king rail (about six or so were seen and the same heard), red shouldered hawk, kingfisher, pileated, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, tree swallows, bluebirds, yellow-rumped warblers, goldfinch, red-winged blackbirds, swamp, white-throated and song sparrows. And, of course, about twenty Canada Geese.

Mammals: A couple of muskrats lazily munching on the vegetation. Also gray squirrels. And birders; lots of birders.

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DATE: March 20, 1999

LOCATION: Little Devil's stairs and Piney Branch 8.2 mile loop. Shenandoah National Park, northern district.

GEOLOGY: Mainly Catoctin greenstones, although at the beginning of the hike, the Pedlar granite and Swift Run formations are found.

HIGHLIGHTS: A few flowering hepatica were found. Also, a few mourning cloaks were observed. An orange fairy cup (a cup fungi) was found on the trail. A woodcock was watched for several minutes along the trail. The walk up Little Devil's Stairs is impressive in winter with the columnar jointing of the greenstone standing out (and no nettles or leaves of poison ivy). Many mature hemlock in the ravine are dead from the hemlock wooly adelgid. Old apple trees are found at the top of the ravine from a former residents' orchard. Coming down on Piney Branch trail, Steve Bair pointed out signs on the left (uphill) side from a 1981 forest fire. Impacts from the fire and the late 1980's gypsy moth infestation now have resulted in dense stands of ten year old black birch. Returning from the Piney Branch trail on Hull school trail, near the top of the hill (before the cemetary) is the old Bolen homesite on the left (a former road is evident here). Fifty feet from the Hull School trail, is the spring box on the left. Just beyond are the foundations of a large barn. Continuing ahead on the Hull School trail, at the intersection with the Keyser Run trail, is the Bolen Cemetary. (For more information on the homesite and cemetary, consult Carolyn and Jack Reeder's book "Shenandoah Secrets". For example, students, after leaving the elementary Hull School, would travel down to the Sperryville high school - known to most of us - until last year - as the Sperryville Emporium).


Canopy: Tulip trees, chestnut oak, black birch, sycamore along creek in lower elevation, red maple, white ash, hemlock (many dead), white pine, black walnut, basswood.

Subcanopy: Sweet cherry, persimmon, ailanthus (many with extrusive fungal growth), black locust, sassafras, striped maple, hop hornbeam, VA pine, yellow birch, black gum, hawthorn, slippery elm.

Shrub Layer: Blueberries, spice bush, witch hazel, wild hydrangea, gooseberry, mountain laurel.

Herbaceous Layer: Hepatica in bloom, cutleaf toothwort in bud, corydalis foliage, saxifrage foliage, poke weed, garlic mustard. Winter weeds include turks cap lily, black snakeroot, mountain mint.

Ground cover and vines: Grape vines, raspberries, blackberries, wild yam,

Ferns and fern allies: Christmas fern, ebony spleenwort, marginal fern, maidenhair fern and shining clubmoss (L. lucidulum)




Birds: Two phoebes called to each other. A woodcock was found on the ground.


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DATE: March 10 - 14, 1999 (This was a PATC ski-touring section trip.)

LOCATION: Tug Hill region of New York (on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, north of Syracuse.)

GEOLOGY: Glacial scoured region.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day 1 spent on the shores of Lake Ontario in the frozen marshes of Selkirk Shores State Park. Saw numerous muskrat tracks; some leading to a den. Then noticed some fox tracks leading to, and circling the den, and some digging into the top of the frozen den. Saw a mink track along an open stream. Numerous small rodent/shrew tracks.

Day 2 was in Chataguay State Forest and found bobcat, including one set of tracks leading to a prominence where it marked it's spot with urine, then moved on. THEN---saw some cat tracks that were literally 4 inches across---which, to me, could only mean mountain lion. I took pictures and measurements and kept scratching my head and suspecting what I was looking at. Finally, I decided to check out lynx tracks, (of course, I had my Peterson's animal tracks book with me) and found out that lynx was just as big as mountain lion, with the tendency not to sink into the snow quite so deep. THAT is clearly what I was looking at. There were apparently two lynx running around and cavorting in this area.

Saw numerous long tailed weasel, darting under the snow and back on top, hopping in it's diagnostic diagonally paired tracks. They were often along watercourses (as was the larger mink tracks saw earlier) and would routinely go under the stream trail crossing culverts. Saw some entrances to holes as well.

One big unknown was probably a fisher, since it had longer legs than possum or raccoon, bigger feet than fox (unfortunately, I could'nt make out any specific tracks due to the dry snow that fell into the deep tracks) and the clear sign of a thick heavy tail (not the bushy tail of a canid).

No sightings of porcupine, except one recently chewed spruce trunk.

During day 3, a stream valley had a number of canid tracks that could have been domestic dogs, but, in this remote area, I can safety guess they were coyotes.

Other mammals seen during the week were red squirrel, shrews, mice, deer (of course), and lemmings or voles.


Canopy: This was an area heavily cut-over earlier in this century. At this latitude, canopy mixes between deciduous (65%) and conifer (35%). Deciduous forest canopy included all the usual suspects, including sugar maple, black cherry, beech, with lesser amounts of basswood, ash, and a few tulip poplar and oak. Coniferous forests were often solid stands from post-harvest plantings of red pine, white pine, red spruce and natural stands of hemlock.

Subcanopy: Yellow birch was a constant understory tree. Striped maple was also common. Witch-hazel was occasional.

Shrub Layer: Some great rhododendron, mountain laurel in wooded settings. Red-stem dogwood in wet areas. Generally, not much shrub layer was found.

Herbaceous Layer: Under 18" of snow, you tell me.

Ground cover and vines: See herbaceous layer.

Ferns: Ditto.


Amphibians: None

Reptiles: None, except the eastern milk snake that Rose had killed in her basement (the guest house we stayed in.)

Birds: At Selkirk Shores, found several bay ducks including common goldeneye, ring-necked duck, hooded and common mergansers. Also saw a broad-winged hawk being mobbed by a crow.

Mammals: See highlights. Also saw muskrats on the ice with the above bay ducks at Selkirk Shores.

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