Saturday, March 31, 2012

On the Hiking Trails at Mt Magazine in Early Spring

What did we do at Mt Magazine? We hiked on the Bear Hollow in the morning of the second day there and then hiked more in the afternoon on north rim trail - total of 10 miles in one day. Even though the scenery was mostly wintry, we saw signs of spring here and there on the trails - blooming flowers, budding leaves and butterflies, we heard bird chirping, and we heard the running creeks .....but we would not see the mountain's natural beauty at its best, we would also miss its another attraction - the black bears

It is claimed that there are 80 species of wild flowers at Mt magazine. The wild flowers I saw were sporadically dotted along the trail. The only large blooming tree flowers are white, they formed patches of bright white color on a otherwise grey forest. As we passed by the blooming trees, white flower petals were flying in the air. Among 20 to 30 such trees we encountered on the trails, there were two exceptions: on one such tree, there was only a single flower on it;  green leafs had already replaced white flowers on another tree.

The other bright colors came from butterflies.  Mostly I saw single butterflies hurrying around, some white, some black on the bear hollow trail. After taking a picture of a creek off trail, I stumbled upon this cotton tail resting on fallen leafs. We saw several pairs of butterflies near Dill Point on the north rim trail in the afternoon. One pair is white with large green and brown strips; another pair might be monarch - with dark color mixed with yellow. A few butterflies flew very close to me, and I could see under the sunshine - some seemingly white butterflies actually had single pink strip on their wings


On the hiking trails, we could hear bird chirping most of the time, but we could barely see one. I believe that there were 4 or 5 different birds active on that late morning (~ 10am) based on the different bird sounds I heard. On the return trip on the bear hollow trail, I was ahead of the rest of the family, and finally got a chance to catch a few white breasted nuthatches playing around a tree by the trail. (I had to go to the visitor center to check a bird identification binder to find the bird's name). I even caught one on the fly!!

                                             A Nuthatch playing on a tree by Bear Hollow trail

                                                        Nuthatch Flapping its wings

The sound of running creeks is very soothing.There are 7 named creeks crossing the two trails we hiked on. Usually we could hear a running creek about a quarter mile away from it. From the clear sound of the first running creek we heard, I assumed that the creek was "large", in fact it was not. The creeks are about 3 to 4 feet wide, with various degrees of water volume. Why can the sound of a running creek be heard quarter miles away? The water flows on rock stairs as shown in the following picture.

A Tree man and etc

The loop of the north rim trail is 4.4 miles long. As we were to loop back via mooseback ridge trail to north rim trail head at visitor center where we parked our car, Nicholas complained that he was bored and tired, so he and his mom went straight to the lodge, Justin and I continued hiking on mooseback ridge trail.

 On the trail we saw this strange tree that its trunk splits at the ground level and merges into one at about 10feet high. We also saw that a trail sign was held by tree bark. So I told Nicholas that he missed seeing a tree man who ate a trail sign when we got back to the lodge.

As we were hiking on the trail, the cloud broke, sun shone through, and we saw this narrow green path right in front of us, quite similar like the green pathway in fidelity's commercial.

Bald Eagle Sighting at Cove Lake

On the way home, we stopped at cove lake, which is essentially at foot of Mt Magazine. It is a pretty large lake, and a good place to kayaking or fishing. It is a self serve recreation area, no boat rental. So we walked along the shoreline a bit, just then I heard this loud ugly crow sound, and I went to check, and I saw a big bald eagle on a tree by the beach area. The eagle was sitting on its spot, ignoring the crow. The crow flew away after a couple tries. As I was trying to get closer to the eagle, it flew away.

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