Foggy Days

I am not sure why it took me so long, but after 3 days of moaning about the damp, foggy weather I finally realized that the dense fog would actually provide a great photo shoot opportunity and would give me something to do. On August 13th, I was out the door before 9 am in order to take advantage of the low visibility.

My first stop was downtown Camden. Years ago, I had taken some great shots of sailing boat masts peeking through the misty morning and I thought I could replicate that. On this particular day, I did not find the same traffic pattern in the harbor, but I think the attempt came out okay.

I had better luck when I turned my attention away from the harbor to focus on the library and the surrounding park grounds. It was early enough that the foot traffic through town was light, enabling me to show the mist hovering around the park. Even though I was not that far from the building, I was pleased with the cloudy shroud that was in place around the upper portion of the library.

By 9:30 traffic was picking up so I decided to head over to Lincolnville Beach to see what kind of conditions I would find there. Here, the fog was even thicker. In fact, the ferry dock was barely visible through the ghostly surroundings.

I could not quite capture what I was looking for, so I soon turned my eyes toward the beach, the gulls and the small boats moored close by. A picture of the gulls on a spit of sand was okay, but the boats just behind them were almost invisible. My husband liked a photo of the boats beyond the mud flats but something about the flats in the foreground did not appeal to me.  I eventually got a shot with the right combination of water, rocks and boats that appealed to me.

As I turned to head towards home, I noticed a shed surrounded by trees across a small channel. On the top of one dead tree there was a rather large bird, perhaps waiting for better weather. I could not tell if it was an eagle or an osprey but it really didn’t matter. It was barely visible through the fog, and let me end my photo shot with the prefect picture.  

Mushrooms and Other Things

My husband and I signed up for a lichen and moss nature walk on August 7th. I always enjoyed these informative sessions even though I did not seem to retain much of the information. I was also not sure how much of a walk you could call these lessons, since more time was spent stopping along the trail while the topic expert explained what we were observing. Sadly the only thing I retained was that lichens were parasites and what fern moss looked like.

I might not have remembered much about the mosses and lichens but I did notice the abundance of mushrooms! So much so, that I contacted my hiking buddy, gave her the location of our hike for the next day, and told her to bring her camera. We were going on a photo shoot!

We did not get too far past the entrance of the Hodson Preserve, before we stopped to take pictures. My mushroom identification skills were not great so I relied on iNaturalist to help with the identifications later. I was not entirely sure that iNaturalist was correct and I would still only eat mushrooms that came wrapped in plastic from the supermarket. I believe our first find was a red Russula. Rather than concentrate on the red cap, which came out a bit blurry, I was more interested in capturing the beauty of the gills underneath. I was pleased with my results.

Just a few feet further on, we stopped to capture the underside of what iNaturalist claimed was a Destroying Angel. I kept my distance from this. In fact, I generally kept my distance from all pure white mushrooms just to be on the safe side. In the same area we found an abundance of golden Coral Fungus, as well as two other unidentified subjects.

After this long stop, we decided to move away from the entrance of the preserve and pretend that we really were here for a walk. We managed to get past the waterfall before I paused briefly to admire the changing color of some Meadow Rue. The leaves were turning an interesting shade of purplish pink. Early August and the understory was showing signs of a new season.

Nearby was an unidentified plant that looked dried out and brittle. I thought it might be the remains of some Ghost Pipes, which I verified later. Even in this state, there was still a certain beauty about it.

We continued our photographic adventures, with my hiking buddy getting into some awkward positions in order to get a picture of her subject that was on a precarious location over the stream. Thankfully, she did not fall in. While she was occupied with that, I took delight in some tiny Salmon Pinkgills. We were both amused that they looked like tiny gnome hats.

One mushroom that was in abundance at this preserve was the Scaly Chanterelle. The shape reminded me of an elaborate vase, in fact they were cupped deep enough to retain some of the water from two days before. We took quite a few photos of this particular mushroom, until we came upon the perfect one; a double vase linked together.

We actually crossed over two planked bog bridges and crossed two bridges before we decided we had enough of hiking. It was getting humid, so walking was becoming unpleasant.  On the return journey, I stopped once more to take a photo of one more interesting find. This particular fungus was fairly flat, had the appearance of wood grain and was lying on the ground. I did not know what it was but I found it beautiful. It was the last shot of an interesting day, shared with a like-minded soul.

Jack O’Lanterns?

This entry is a bit out of order with my other posts, but I just had to share the incredible find I discovered on my neighborhood walk this week.

As I was walking back from Barrett’s Cove, something orange attracted my attention, off road and a short distance into the woods. I stepped in for a closer look and found a massive mushroom colony. It was clustered half way around a tree stump and measured 14 inches by 30 inches.

Once home, I grabbed my camera, returning to the spot for some photos. INaturalist identified these beauties as Jack O’ Lanterns but I really don’t know. I was so impressed by this find, that I made my husband take the short walk to this location at 6:30 in the evening to show it off. For the third time in one day I was walking back to this spot to study nature’s artwork. My husband must have also been amazed by this find because all he could say was, “Oh Boy!”

It truly is amazing what we can stumble upon when we are out in nature!

A Stroll Through Riverbrook Preserve 2021

I realized, it had been quite a few weeks since one of my walking buddies had suggested another Midcoast Conservancy trail. She was the one who had suggested we create our own weekday wanderings when the date and time did not work well with our schedules, but, after our first adventure I feared that she had found the trail a little too “wild” for her taste. Since then I tried to think of some Conservancy trails that might change her mind a bit, and so, on July 29th we headed to the Riverbrook Preserve in Waldoboro.

It was a beautiful sunny and cloudless day, just perfect for an exploration. When we arrived, we decided to walk the back loop furthest from the parking area and then reassess how we felt when we returned to the junction between the two loops. First we had to walk along a mowed path that went through a field to reach the forested trail. I had seen quite a few comments on some online trail review sites that complained about the numerous amount of ticks as they went through these meadows with their dogs. This was my third visit to this preserve (once in November, once in May and on this occasion, late July) and I had never found a tick on me.

 Our first stop was in a second field, where we watched a butterfly flitting around the tall vegetation. My friend identified it as a Fritillary. It was beautiful and kept my attention for some time. As we walked, we also stopped to identify the various flora around us. I helped her with the flower identification, while she educated me on ferns. In the middle of these lessons, I paused to watch two ladybugs sharing the remains of a Golden Alexander. Another nice treat on this day of discoveries.

At the top of the far loop, our map indicated that there was a beaver dam nearby. I thought I caught a glimpse of it through the bushes but I couldn’t be sure. However, we did hear a rather large splash nearby. A beaver, perhaps? Although we looked, we could not identify where the splash actually came from.

As we approached the end of the loop, we decided that we would continue on to the next loop closest to the parking area. This took us near the river where we could get a view of the rapids. As we watched the rushing water, I found some Cardinal flowers by the edge of the river. It was the perfect location to just sit on a nearby log for a bit and soak in the view while we chatted for a time before heading towards home. I think by friend had changed her mind about the Waldoboro preserves by the time we were done.

Hosmer Brook Challenge

The weekend after our trip to Rangeley, my hiking buddy and I decided on another hike. Over the last year, I have had trouble reaching the summit of Ragged Mountain from the Hosmer Brook Trail. We end up stopping multiple times while I catch my breath. Despite the difficulties, I usually made it through the upper loop of the Hosmer Brook Loop. From there it was another ½ mile to the George’s Highland Path near the top of Ragged Mountain, but halfway there I realize I won’t make it and turn around. Still, I was determined that I would conquer this mountain, which made me suggest the Hosmer Brook Trail for our outing.

To reach the trailhead, we needed to walk underneath the chairlift and alongside the ski slope before entering the woods. (When I considered the angle of this slope, I thought perhaps I was being too hard on myself and my failure to summit.) Once in the forest, we paused to study the brook, roaring now from the previous rainfall, before continuing on our journey.

After the path veered off from the mountain biking trail, we had to cross two streams before continuing towards our goal. These streams were wide enough that it was not a short hop to the other side, nor were the small bridges laid down to assist the traveler safely across. We studied the wet rocks for a few seconds before gingerly making our way to the opposite bank.

Once we reached the loop, we turned towards the upper loop since the lower loop tended to be wet and just not as pretty as the rest of the trail. This was where things began to get difficult for me. I don’t recall that it was overly humid, but it must have been since I felt the need to stop quite frequently. Fortunately with the recent rain, there were plenty of mushrooms around that needed time for a closer inspection.

Somehow I made it to the top part of the loop and we continued on towards the George’s Highland Path.  Unfortunately, we were not that far into our journey when my stops became even more frequent. After a few more minutes I had to call it quits. Once again, I had failed to summit. After turning around, we reached the loop in about 10 minutes, so we really had not gone too much further.

I was still not ready to concede defeat to this mountain. I promised my friend that we would try this again, perhaps in September, when the weather would be cooler and less humid. Perhaps then I will succeed.