"Searching the Woods for a Direct Route to Bowser Pond" (Pictures)
It was such a beautiful day Friday I just couldn't sit inside all day! I was up unusually early and so after hanging around home in my office and sipping on my coffee I decided to head to Moose Mountains again and work on finding a route from near the kiosk to attach to the Bowser Pond Trail. I arrived at around 11:15am. I decided to head down the banking to the river and follow it up to find the best crossing, keeping in mind the higher water and run-off streams in the Spring. All sorts of mushrooms were found along the river and I was obliged to take their picture!
A little ways up the river I came to a beaver dam and a small pool where Moose tracks indicated that one was here getting a drink of water. So I dubbed this Moose Pool. A short ways further upstream I came to an unusual contraption in the water. Upon closer inspection this is what I found. Four separate clumps of leaves wrapped in netting, held down in the water by a rock which was tied off to a pink nylon string to a tree. Interesting to say the least. All I could think of was it was some sort of salamander/newt trap or a water mineral test of some kind. After e-mailing the Forest Society about it they said it looked like a salamander/larvae trap. This made sense! If the person who put these here is reading this, just please contact us as we would appreciate you completing a educational/scientific form and we would love to see your results/findings :)
Shortly further upstream I found my crossing point. There is a small clearing here and a banking that climbs through some trees to an overgrown skid road. I taped the trees with pink tape up to the main trail/road. Along the way I found an orange mushroom that was glowing in the sunlight, it was amazing! This small starting point taped off it was now time to head through the woods onto the road. This is were I get a little skittish. I am fine solo hiking on trails and familiar mountains. But the idea of Moose and Bear that are plentiful on this property and me squeezing my way through dense forest and old skid roads (which are probably used as herd paths by these animals), makes me a little unsettled and jumpy. I know these animals are more scared of humans than we are of them and the chance of a bear attack is like zero, I still am very cautious and try to be as loud as I can!
So, I took a right on this road and followed it. Dragonfly's seem to love these semi-open old roads and I was chasing them around from tree branch to tree branch! A ways down the road became very overgrown with young pine trees. Then it abruptly ended. Dang! I found some animal bones in a pile here and I got a little squeamish! I believe I was right near the spot where I found a dead moose and I wondered why I was finding more bones. I followed the bones through the woods and came to the spine and jaw sitting next to each other. 30 feet away was the spot where I had found the dead moose and it was not there. So something dragged it through the woods and I guess was picking off what little, if any meat that was still on the bones. This freaked me out! Just then a very loud knocking made me jump and nearly have a heart-attack! I remember hearing this before and I believe it is a tree blowing in the wind. At any rate this particular spot gives me the creeps every time I'm here. It feels haunted and cursed or something. So I bolted outta there and across the river to the kiosk!
Safe and sound back at my truck I took a break and cleared my head. I wasn't giving up just yet. I walked up the road (Burrows Farm Trail) and followed my pink tape back up to the river. I then spotted a mushroom. It was nearly half-a-foot tall and in perfect condition! Nice! I continued on to the skid road. I went left this time and almost immediately came out onto Piper Mt. trail/road where it takes a sharp left and goes uphill. I new this spot was close to Burrows Farm trail but didn't realize it was THAT close! At this point I decided to just head down this trail to Bowser Pond and check things out down there. If I felt like it I could continue my woods exploration from above and maybe it would be easier to find my way down to the river.
I arrived at the Bowser Pond trail and headed down the banking where I had blazed a side path. I hung out on the pond shore and took some pictures and looked for birds or maybe a moose across the other side. All was quite...very quite! I made my way along the shoreline, stopping at various open areas where there were small rocks to sit on. The Pickerellweed was in full bloom and was very pretty up close. I am always surprised to not find any frogs or turtles laying in the sun on the logs over here. Perhaps they are in the pond, but I've yet to see any. I did find one little lonely frog on a rock though.
I found the duck decoy thingy Scott and I had spotted on our first visit here and I was going to take it with me and get rid of it. But I didn't want to carry it and didn't feel like it was doing any harm, so I placed it back in the water. I also spotted another out in the water along the marsh section. Bee's were busy collecting pollen from them and dragonfly's were whizzing by skimming the water. Such a beautiful relaxing area! I made my way to the Southern end of the pond where there is a small clearing which I believe is part of the pond floor when the water is high. This is a beautiful spot! Across the pond you can look up to MMR's East peaks and there are tons of dragonfly's.
I hung out here for a while before heading out. Just then I spotted this small, weird looking plant on a log at the shoreline. It was so weird looking! There were hair-like tendrils that came out from a succulent leaf that appeared to have drops of water on the tips of them. Very awesome! I did some research when I got home, Scott helping by saying it looked like a fly catcher. He was almost right! It is a Sundew. The droplets of water are actually a gluey substance it secretes to capture insects. One of New England's Carnivorous plants. What a great find! Very excited now, I headed up the road and back onto SPNHF property and Bowser Pond trail. I came to the top of the hill where I was hoping to bring the Bowser Pond trail into the woods.
I explored this area and actually found a herd path about 100 feet to yet another overgrown skid road. Perfect! I followed this shortly to the top of a steep drop over the banking. The woods here were open and the ridge was covered with boulders! I followed alongside the banking down to a gully of sorts and up to a good sized boulder on the top of a hill. What a great trail side feature! This route is great! The banking here was much less steep and provided the perfect spot for the trail to ascend/descend easily. So down I went and back into the trees. I reached the young Pine trees, which I now know is part of the old skid road I was on before. I found the road and was unsure if this is exactly where I wanted my trail to go.
Tired, hot and happy with my findings I called it a day. I just have to connect the dots now and find the best trail in the middle section. Then I can begin trimming and blazing! Should be pretty straight forward. Most of the trail will follow old skid roads! I plan on having this trail finished by the end of August! I can't wait! A direct route from Burrows Farm trail to Bowser Pond Trail will provide an easier hike to this beautiful spot and will provide a nice loop option using Piper Mt. trail :) Once this is complete I will be searching the woods off of North Trail to find the ledge that overlooks Bowser Pond!!