Sunday, July 14, 2019

Well Done, Faithful Hound

I haven't been doing a lot of hiking or posting to this blog these past several months due to not wanting to be very far away from my beloved hound, Bug.  A week ago I said my goodbyes to her, holding her long velvety coonhound ears against my face as the hospice vet administered the drugs that would bring her life to a peaceful, pain free end.  Up until her retirement in 2018, Bug had walked and hiked thousands of miles with me. She was one of the best hiking companions I've ever had and I will miss her tremendously.



Goin' hiking!


Thirteen is old for a coonhound and I must say that up to the last two-and-a-half months, when illness and age really took a toll, she lived her life full-on, exuberantly and vibrantly. She loved to hike and was as reliable and constant a companion as a person would want. Coonhounds as a breed love trail walking - even running - and nothing is better for finding critters than the ground-scanning nose of a black and tan coonie. Bug was very good at finding turtles! I figure she'd found over a hundred box turtles on our walks over eleven summers and it seemed I could never find one without her.

Puppy Amos in long-distance hike training with Bug, soon to retire in 2018.


After her sister Annie passed in 2016, Bug went into a months-long mourning and though she eventually found her way through, I thought it a good idea to bring a coonhound puppy into the house to keep her company and re-establish her pack. Coonhounds are famously social and are decidedly devoted to their packs that are made up of their human family and other dogs (even cats!). Amos fit right in and she loved him immediately. She taught him the protocols of hiking and he's turned out to be a delightful hiking companion. Since the last winter snow in February of 2019, she couldn't do long hikes anymore because of arthritis, so easy two mile up-and-back strolls on the flat River Road along the Susuquehanna was her favorite way to spend a Sunday morning.


Alert for deer on a ten-mile autumn fire road walk, 2016.


So in honor of Bug's extraordinary life hiking the hills, forests, river trails, and mountains of Pennsylvania, here are the Coonhound Rules for Amos. He knows he has big pawprints to fill but he is working hard to do her proud.


  • Always walk to the left and slightly ahead
  • When you smell a tantalizing scent, stop and alert, don't pull or bolt. 
  • Stop every hour and ask for water and a treat, good for both coonie and human.
  • Help pull human up steep rock climbs. 
  • Follow human on steep descents.
  • Celebrate every stream crossing with a good splash.
  • Every now and then, look back at your human and flash a big, wide coonhound grin.
  • Every now and then, let out a super big, bawdy, full-throated holler. It keeps bad things away.
  • Every now and then, just stop and lay down. It forces the human to appreciate surroundings.
  • Never dig holes in or poop on the trail.
  • Be polite to polite dogs. Be polite to polite humans.
  • Warn off aggressive dogs. Warn off sketchy humans.
  • Tree squirrels when off leash. Never pull your human up a tree on leash. It hurts them. 
  • When you get home, enjoy a long nap. 

Rest easy, Bug.  2006 - 2019


Notes:

Coonhounds make excellent hiking partners, but do require consistent training early to learn trail etiquette. They "read" human companions very well and convey expressions and signals that I feel are the closest to dogs communicating with people that I've seen in any working/hunting breed. They love children and senior folk, are protective without being aggressive (unless required in dangerous situations), and extraordinarily goofy-funny-lovable.  If you want to bring a coonhound companion into your hiking and adventuring life, please consider adopting from the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue.  http://www.coonhoundrescue.com/ 


Monday, May 20, 2019

PA Appalachian Trail 10 Mile Honor Hike

I am very lucky to have the Appalachian Trail (AT) a short drive from home, so when word got out via social media that an honor hike was in order I was in. Thru-hiker Ron "Stronghold" Sanchez, a young combat veteran who served three tours in Afghanistan, was murdered on the trail last week by a knife-wielding mentally ill person who had been threatening hikers for weeks in Virginia.  AT enthusiasts - in fact, all long trail hikers - were asked to hike a few miles this past weekend in his memory. I took my two-year old coonhound hiking-partner-in-training ( a work in progress) for a ten mile trek from Whiskey Springs and the terminus of the Mason Dixon Trail towards Pine Grove Furnace State Park.


Boulder garden on the knob near Whiskey Spring. 

Every year I re-read a favorite hiking diary to welcome in the thru-hiker season and this year I chose to read again Earl Shaffer's classic Walking With Spring (1981). I'd already finished the book back in March but packed it anyway into my day pack along with snacks and Amos' collapsible water bowl thinking I would stop somewhere and read some of it to him. He does enjoy being read to!


Starry False Solomon's Seal 


Earl Shaffer a WWII combat veteran and a fellow York Countian was one of the first to thru-hike the AT and to document his walk thoroughly. His goal for the hike in 1948 was to "walk off the war" and seek the healing only a long trail experience can offer.  "Civilization is a sham," he wrote when he neared the summit of Katahdin in Maine six months after starting in Georgia. He wound up thru-hiking the AT several more times and devoted his life to the upkeep and fellowship of the trail by getting deeply involved in the Appalachian Trail Conference and the Keystone Hiking Club.


Ridging running towards Pine Grove Forest.

Shaffer served in the Pacific during WWII, a radar combat specialist with the Army. He and his best friend from York, PA, Walter Winemiller, entered the service together and promised that when they returned they would walk the AT from Georgia to Maine. Walter was killed on Iwo Jima. "Those four and a half years of army service, more than half of it combat areas of the Pacific, without furlough or even rest leave, had left me confused and depressed. Perhaps this trip would be the answer."  Like Earl Shaffer and thousands of other veterans who come home to confusion and the emotional-mental multiplier effect of untreated PTSD, Ron Sanchez also took to the trail to find meaning and direction in his post-war life.

This way to Georgia...

I stopped at our half-way point at a campsite in a nest of ferns to have snack and water while Amos plopped down in all his coonhound glory to take a snooze. I scanned the book for my notes and many highlighted passages. I noticed that Shaffer didn't escape the effects of the war as so much found it everywhere in the people he met and the land he walked. He met fellow veterans who were rangers, fire tower lookouts, shop keepers, and farmers.  One farmer asked if he could talk to his adult son, a shell-shocked survivor of fierce fighting in Italy who could do little more than speak barely above a whisper. He noted the  old battlegrounds where the Cherokee fought the U.S. Army and Civil War sites where thousands died. He wrote about crossing the undeclared war zone of  the Mason Dixon Line and into the landscapes of the French and Indian War and American Revolution. Throughout the book Shaffer connects with others who have suffered war, but instead of bitterness and detachment, finds community, connection, and compassion. This is the trail community to this day.

Swainson's Thrush. 

I met three other hikers out for the honor hike. Two were day hikers from the Army War College in Carlisle, who enjoyed the botany along the trail.  I met a section hiker on her way to Pine Grove Furnace for the night's camp. She was walking 20 miles for the weekend and carried a small hand-made pennant with "Stronghold" painted lengthwise, hearts in place of the o's. A combat veteran herself, she talked about her annual "big hikes"  doing sections of the AT until she will have completed it over five years.

The poet's rest. 


 I also met a group of trail poets who had started in Harper's Ferry and were headed to the Pallisades. They were writing about their excursion in a shared journal full of poems and sketches. They'd found a delightful place to rest in a bear hug of boulders. They loved Amos and spoke quietly of what had happened in Virginia while one of them sketched him. "The AT trail community is tight. A loving, moving family of hikers all out here for their own reasons, but always safe and supported by each other," one of the poet-hikers said. Violence is very rare on the AT so the attacks and Ron's killing had shaken these women - as it had the entire AT community. They read a few poems that included Ron and the sense of violation they felt - a kind of emotional disarray.


Pink Lady Slippers

Ron Sanchez had discovered that long distance hiking was key to his recovery and for making sense of life after service. As I came across birds and flowers and spectacular rock formations I was sad that these were some of the things Stronghold would never experience in my home state.  Thrush song, some of the most beautiful Appalachian bird music, filled the forest. In the distance someone was running his coonhounds and their baying caught Amos' attention. 

Amos listens to coonhounds baying on a run.


As I stopped to read aloud again from Walking With Spring  a chorus of birdsong rose around me and a light breeze buffeted the canopy overhead. Chestnut oak leaves rattled and maples swooned. A light shower passed over but not a drop made it the ground, intercepted by the forest. Two section hikers came by and petted Amos. "Where are you headed?" I asked. "To the Delaware Water Gap, maybe in a week's time," one hiker answered while the other snuggled into Amos' ears. "Then we head back to Andrews Base until next year when we'll go from the Gap to the Whites." Andrews Air Force Base is in Southern Maryland and they had the look of military men.

Rock gardens of quartzite and lichen in the misty green light of late spring. 

The Appalachian Trail has produced its own genre of travel-adventure writing and nearly all of it pertains to the trail as a path for finding answers or healing. On my shelves at home I have all the AT classics from Grandma Gatewood's Walk to Becoming Odyssa and all are inspirational. I wondered about all the untold stories of finding purpose, redemption, healing, or transformation that the AT keeps to itself for the trail really is a parable of life, full of difficulties and hard choices, that most of us don't know another is dealing with.


Finishing with a bridge over Whiskey Springs!

When I returned home and posted my honor walk to our women's AT hiking Facebook page I was one among hundreds doing so. Other social media sites dedicated to the AT were full of honor walk pictures and the hashtag #ATSTRONGHOLD in remembrance. It was a great day for a hike with thousands of others around the country doing the same in honor of a hero.

Whiskey Springs to the Carlisle Road, 10 mile out-and-back.  


Notes:

Earl Shaffer. Walking With Spring. (First Edition, Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  June, 2004). Fourth reprinting in paperback.

Katherine Miles of Outside Online featured this beautiful bio of Ron Sanchez:
 https://www.outsideonline.com/2396603/appalachian-trail-murder-ron-sanchez



Thursday, April 25, 2019

MD Deal Island at High Tide, Somerset County

Deal Island Wildlife Management Area was our destination for what was planned as a ten-plus mile 2019 Trail Challenge hike in Somerset County, MD.  High water, however, prevented us from making the circuit so we did what we could and explored the town and spit of land that is now the community of Wenona. What we lacked in miles hiked we earned back as lessons learned.

Our intended hike, 10 miles...

...our actual hike, 4 mi.

Our intended route was to follow the raised causeway that encircles the fresh water ponds in the main management area but a gated area and an incoming tide pushed higher by strong winds made our trek somewhat uncertain. Since we had young Aiden (8) with us for the day, my sister Laura and I made the safer decision to walk an out-and-back then spend time wandering the towns of Chance and Deal Island afterwards. 

Welcome to Deal Island WMA

Our hike along the raised causeway out into the freshwater impoundment area was shortened when we came upon a gate, locked and chained. The fencing and gate looked rather new and even though I'd researched that the loop was a favorite with hikers, it did end that option. But as I looked ahead I saw that the closed area looked unstable as heavy erosion cut into the causeway with storm damage to a beaten-up plank bridge over a spillway. We backtracked and reconsidered our loop plans. 


Aiden was a little put off by having to turn around at the gated section. 

We checked the tide tables at the boat launch area where we'd parked and saw that high tide was in a few hours - right in the middle of our hike time.  We looked at the elevation of the causeway and decided an out-and-back to an earlier parking area at the woods edge would make for a safer walk and calculated a 4 mile saunter might be the better choice for hiking with young Aiden anyway. 

"Nuisance flooding." 

The marshes were filled with birds which made all three of us very happy. Laura and I are birders and were calling species left and right to add to our day list while Aiden, who carried the field guide, was learning to help identify species. Herons, terns, wading birds, ducks, sandpipers and cormorants kept Aiden busy and excited. I can't think of a better thing to do with an outdoors kid than teach them how to use a field guide and take them into the field to practice. He saw many Forster's Terns knowing to look for the forked tail, black tipped bill, and leg color that he was rightfully proud of the fact that ' I don't need the book for Forster's anymore!" 

Dunlins nap in the marsh as a Great Egret, in full breeding plumage and bright green cere, looks on. 


Forster's Tern.

I was reminded of my own first experiences with birding when my grandmother, an ardent birder with a passion for songbirds, gave me my first field guide, A Golden Guide to the Birds. She helped me match what I saw on our feeders and later, while gardening in our big veg patch at the bottom of the hill, we would lie on our backs and watch the vultures and hawks. I was about six. All through the years I would write her (she moved to live with my aunt in St. Louis) with notes on what I'd seen and included small illustrations. By college I had acquired a Peterson's Guide and a heavy pair of binoculars - nothing like the compact pair of Pentax binos I carry now.  Birding enriched our relationship and it was the bedrock of my interests in natural history. She was a wonderful mentor is so many ways.

Learning the finer points of Tern ID

Our hike ended at peak high tide and we drove off the refuge and into town on roads several inches deep with water.  It was a sobering look at the effects of rising sea levels and sinking land on this small waterfront community. Many high tides now reach well into the town of Deal Island and regularly flood roads and yards, graveyards and farm fields. Called nuisance flooding, this is becoming the norm for lower shore towns and agricultural areas. Regular episodes of salt water intrusion can destroy cropland and kill forests. We saw vast expanses of ghost forest, dead or dying in the midst of marsh or open water.

Aiden's first positive ID - Boat-Tailed Grackle.


Greater Yellow Legs.

The juxtaposition of fresh water habitats to salt water habitats was startling. Though a few species may be able to relocate on their own - birds, larger mammals, and some aquatic turtles - fresh water habitats are built upon the foundation of plant communities that cannot tolerate salt-intruded groundwater and soils. We had our lunch near a beautiful freshwater pond complete with painted turtles and singing frogs protected from salt marsh only by a thin spit of land and shrubby trees. I wondered how much longer this pond will be here. Here we added Northern Water Snake and Painted Turtle to our list and Amos the Coonhound swallowed half-a-turtle, the remains of a fresh kill by owl or osprey before I could say "No!"  Yum.


Northern Water Snake

The Lower Eastern Shore is on the front lines of climate change in Maryland but add two more factors -  subsiding land and thermal expansion of warm water - and you have a complicated multi-factor problem that has no solution except to abandon the land. There's nothing we can do about the geological process of subsidence but warmer waters and rising seas are on us. Everything is transforming and the final phase is open water.


Death of a marsh - conversion to open water. 

Ghost forests, killed by salt water flooding.

Though we didn't reach our ten mile goal for this hike, we measured our distance by how far we came to see firsthand the reality of climate change on this land. Our hike and our drive were both affected by nuisance flooding and sure, maybe we should have checked the tide charts before heading out, but we would have missed the real lesson for our trail challenge this year  which is to to learn about each of the counties through the lens of travel on foot. Our simple goal of walking ten miles was impossible thus we witnessed first hand the drowning forests, abandoned homes, marshes converting to open water. Low mileage for today equaled high awareness of what tomorrow will bring.


Fresh water pond surrounded by salt water marshes 

Notes:

Here's an online multi-media article on Deal Island in Somerset County, MD, and the challenges it faces with rising seas, followed by a film on Dorchester County, MD, further up the bay coast where my sister lives. Both are excellent but depressing.

How To Save a Sinking Island -    https://www.nbcnews.com/specials/deal-island

High Tide in Dorchester  - https://vimeo.com/262556485


Thursday, April 18, 2019

DE Lums Pond State Park: Little Jersey Trail

Amos the Coonhound and I decided to add Delaware counties to our 2019 Trail Challenge and off we went to check New Castle County off the list. The Little Jersey Trail at Lums Pond State Park is well marked and easy to follow for 8 miles, then to round up our mileage to ten, we did an out and back along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal towpath for 2 miles.

New trail markers!

Lums Pond, a large man-made lake at the center of the park which is visible in several places along the Little Jersey Trail (LJT). It started as an impoundment that watered the locks along the old C&D Canal in the 1800s.  The state purchased the land and lake in the 1960s after the C&D was deepened and widened and watering locks weas no longer necessary. Today the lake provides park goers with warm-water fishing and lots of paddling opportunities. The shores and woody edges are very birdy!  A shoreline trail can be hiked all the way around (I've posted on this trail in the past) and is accessible from the LJT.



Two trails, the LJT and Swamp Forest Trail, circle the pond.


My favorite section was an old hedgerow of 50-60 year old Osage Orange trees that marked a field or old pasture boundary with an old farm road. No signs of the old farm remain except for a farm dump area where old bottles and metal pieces are found in the forest duff. It's a young forest, a mix of overgrowth (very vine-y!), plantation pine, and deciduous/holly woods and while the trail skirts the open edges of the farm fields still in use for soybean and corn, it's easy to see many different ways the land has been used in the past by tree type and age.



Osange Orange hedge with a an old Black Cherry standing out. 

Osage Orange, a tree native to the Mississippi River Valley, was a favorite among Soil Conservation Service agents and was offered to farmers of the Mid-Atlantic for free or very low cost to encourage land owners to build wind breaks and soil traps. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Osage Orange was planted by the tens of thousands on Delmarva along roads, field edges, and drainage ditches to address the region's very serious soil loss problem.


Orange bark and wood gives the tree its name. 

Considered an evolutionary residual - or "ghost of evolution" - the Osage Orange is missing its herbivore partner, the Giant Sloth which was hunted into extinction in North America by human newcomers. There are several species of tree in our region which fit this description as well, the Kentucky coffee tree with its large pods and the Honeylocust with its thick armor of long thorns. Nothing living today eats the bumpy-lumpy green globes called "ground apple" by locals. These fruits, however, must have been a treat for sloths, mammoths, and mastodons.


Amos ponders the straight trail ahead.

After completing the LJT, Amos and I took a leisurely rest and water break and drove down to the canal just a few minutes away.  Two miles went by quick on the straight towpath and his coonhound nose was taking in all the new scents of deep water and other dogs. There were lots of dogs!


Violet, Viola sp. 

One of our best finds of the day was Amos' discovery of a Red-Bellied Turtle, Pseudemys rubriventris, a Delaware native that can get quite large. This big guy was the size of a rugby ball and very tolerant of the coonhound sniffer as it made its way down a slope to the feeder canal. The big male was clearly on his way to visit a potential mate somewhere in the old connector leading to Lums Pond, as his long and lovely front toenails and concave plastron (bottom shell) demonstrated. He was a show-off. The Red-Bellied Turtle is a species of concern in its home range which includes my section of the Lower Susquehanna River  and all of Delmarva. It is considered threatened in Pennsylvania.



Red-Bellied Turtle, melanistic - common in old age. 

When we finished our out and back for the needed two miles, I took Amos back to the main park and re-entered for another luxurious rest, snack and water break near the north end of the pond where folks were fishing. With infamous coonhoud drama, Amos plopped himself down on the grass by a picnic table and let out a hilarious sigh that was heard clear across the lake. Fishermen near and far giggled as my 70-pound wonder dog half-wagged his tail and fell quickly asleep for another infamous coonhound trait, the instant nap.



Amos' sigh heard 'round the lake. We're done!


Notes:  

Lums Pond State Park https://www.destateparks.com/PondsRivers/LumsPond

Red-Bellied Turtles:
https://www.americanforests.org/magazine/article/trees-that-miss-the-mammoths/

Monday, April 8, 2019

MD Pocomoke State Forest, Algonquin Cross County Trail

We checked off Worcester County for our 2019 Trail Challenge! My sister and I hiked the length of the  Algonquin Cross County Trail 12 miles through Pocomoke State Forest, a large working forest on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore. The landscape was a mix of hardwood/pine natural woodland, remnant swamp, and pine plantations. Though mostly flat, the trail did cross gently over ancient dunes which was cool. More on that later...

The entire trail is well blazed, including the detour area in the working forest.

We spotted our cars at both ends of the trail and started at the Foster Tract off Route 12 a few miles north of the quaint shore town of Snow Hill. Our first two miles were adorned with warbler song, particularly Worm-Eating Warblers.  A recognized IBA (Important Bird Area), the Audubon Society suggested that the largest breeding population of Worm-Eating Warblers in Maryland may exist here. We heard at least two singing males close by and many in the distance. 


We started here and walked south 12 miles to Nassawango Road where we left another car.  1

It was just cold enough that very few bugs were flying with exception of some black midges but they weren't biting. Our one (dead) reptile was a large black rat snake lying twisted in the sand path, it's flanks pierced by talons. It was very heavy to move via hiking pole, so I am assuming that whatever caught it had had a great fight with it and that it was too heavy to carry off.  We heard many frog species calling from the swamps including the spring peeper and a very loud cricket frog serenade. 

Mixed hardwood/pine young forest.

One of our best finds was right below our feet in the path! We were walking at just right to witness aggregations of ground-nesting native bees Colletes emerging. As the sun began to shine they flew in and out of their sand nests or peeked shyly from their entrances.  These shy, furry-faced females would slowly come to the tunnel entrances and see us, then quickly back down out of sight. When we backed away they would come again to the entrance and take off. They are handsome bees and gather the pollen of early blossoms like willow and orchard trees. The old dunes made for excellent sandy nesting sites and the bees were just everywhere! They don't sting and they tolerated our passing through with patience and curiosity. Yay, Colletes!


A cautious Colletes bee peeks out of her sand nest before flying off for more pollen. 

Here's a nifty video show that shows what it was like on our hike (not out video though!)  It's so important to maintain sandy spots in your yard or woods for these early spring native bees. They won't sting and there's no need for removal. They are excellent pollinators of early spring flowering shrubs and trees and anyone who grows food will thank you. 




The trail crosses the Nassawango and Pocomoke flood plains. The low flat ground collects rainwater that sits in pools full of pine needle and tree leaves which acidifies the water. Acid water reacts with oxygen to precipitate bog iron in the sandy soil. Bog iron was an important natural resource mined in the 18th and 19th centuries on the Lower Shore. We crossed the road to the beautifully restored 19th century Nassawango Iron Furnace, which processed the bog iron into pig iron which was then shipped to blacksmiths and other refiners to make finished products.

A recent control burn rids the forest floor of greenbrier and allows grasses to return.

According to John Means, Roadside Geology of Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C (2010), the furnace produced up to 20 tons of pig iron per week. The whole furnace is built upon big rot-proof bald cypress posts which have never showed signs of decay though they are over 150 years old and the entire furnace weighs many, many tons. Read more here: http://www.furnacetown.org/iron-furnace-1 Though we didn't get a chance to explore the furnace area (we've both been several times) it's not far down the forest road from the intersection on the trail.

A relic of the Great Swamp, this forest wetlands features a thicket of American Holly. 

For much of the walk it seemed American Holly Ilex opaca was the predominate understory tree except for in plantation woods where understory is controlled to prevent competition with timber trees slated for harvest. The holly is a very slow growing tree and some of the trees we observed were pretty big so they must have been quite old. The berries of the holly are not good for us (they are toxic!) but very important for birds. I have two hollies at home that robins clean off in a day or less come mid-winter so I know how much birds rely on this native tree.


Laura climbing an ancient dune from the Parsonburg Sand formation (30,500 - 16,000 years ago)

The Parsonburg Formation was in full view and provided our only experience of gaining any altitude. The All Trails profile map (in Notes below) clearly shows a succession of wind-blown sand dunes that were deposited on the barren Coastal Plain during the last glaciation period when it was too cold for things to grow here and the sea was farther out than it is now. Sands from the coast blew unimpeded far inland and mounded up in a succession of "waves" similar to the way creek bottom sands will gather in ripples.  Today the area is almost completely forested and the dunes while once mined for sand and/or disturbed by logging operations and farming long ago, aren't easy to miss if you are aware of the rises and dips as you walk.



Mucky areas made muckier by horses which share the trail.

Between old dunes, the trail followed old roads and was sometimes covered in deep puddles which we made our way around. The only bad trail conditions were found were where horses and hikers had to share the same path, although at some points the trail split into two for each user group. But where horses had recently been the much was deep and sucking. We bushwacked twice around really bad spots and learned to speak kindly to greenbrier so that we weren't trapped by angry thorns.


Loblolly is armored against fire with incredibly thick bark.

Our only detour brought us out to a public forest road until rejoining the trail a mile further on.

Greenbier is a problem for disturbed forest patches as it quickly overtakes an area to the exclusion of all else. One forest quadrant had been recently burned to get rid of the stuff and clean the floors of fuel. In its place grew a lovely understory savanna and I wondered if later in the season some native orchids might be found here?


Reindeer lichen and Sphagnum moss.

We reached the end of our hike at the Nassawango Road crossing with a short road walk to the signed parking area. We tallied up birds we heard and saw: red-shouldered hawk, black vulture, pileated woodpeckers, wood duck, turkey, mourning dove, turkey vulture, osprey, barred owl, phoebe, blue jay, fish crow, Carolina chickadee, titmouse, blue-gray gnatcatcher, Eastern bluebird, and those great worm-eating warblers. I can still hear their loud, dry twittering trill and can tell you exactly where we stood on the trail when we seemed to be surrounded by them. I think its important to learn birdsong if you are serious about learning who lives in your woods or meadow. Often we can't see the songster but he's telling you who he is!


From John V. Dennis The Great Cypress Swamps (1988),  ACCT area circled


Me and Laura at the Foster Tract Trailhead.




Notes:

All Trails Recording of our hike. We lingered in many places to listen to the warblers and explore, so our pace was pretty casual.


You can see several ancient dune crossings on the profile of our hike. 


Worm-eating warblers were abundant at the north end of the trail: Worm-Eating Warbler

Pocomoke-Nassawango IBA: https://www.audubon.org/important-bird-areas/pocomoke-nassawango

Geology: John Means. Roadside Geology of Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C (2010)  This is my go-to book for Maryland Geology and I try to study up on the area I'll be hiking in so that I know what I'm looking at. Knowing local geology enriches every hike.