It was hard to believe that June 1st was three months into the new normal; everyone trying to figure out what was appropriate behavior for surviving a pandemic, an economy tanking and protests sweeping the country. When my mother passed away 5 years ago, she looked at what was going on in the world and declared that she had lived too long. Thirty years younger than that, I found that I was looking at the world and thinking the same thing. It was definitely time to turn off the news. It was time to find some healing in whatever nature had to offer. It was time to get outside.
When I first visited Main Stream, not far from Stockton Springs, it was winter and there was plenty of snow on the ground for snowshoeing. My friend and I decided it was time to see what this preserve had to offer during this season of late spring. First, I had to meet her at one of the landmarks mentioned in the directions because she could not find the turn off. The directions from the land trust site did not mention distances so she was not aware that the turn was almost across the street. Once I rescued her, we were at the preserve in just a few minutes.
One look down the grassy road leading towards the kiosk and we should have realized that this may not have been a good idea. It was clearly overgrown. When I saw this, I immediately thought of ticks even though I was appropriately dress with all my permethrin treated clothes and gators. There were also a few partially uprooted small trees that were leaning across the lane. Unfortunately, we had to duck under one of these while trying to maneuver across a mud puddle. I guess we were just stubborn and we decided to continue on. In between these moments, we were able to notice that the area was carpeted with bluets, so there was the first good discovery of our visit.
After reaching the kiosk, we decided to just hike the straight path to the stream and avoid the loop. I had seen comments about ticks along the loop. The trail was narrow with quite a few ups and downs. It was also very rocky, and we found we had to really watch where we were walking so that we would not step into the holes between these boulders. It wasn’t an entirely wasted journey, for along the way, we found areas blanketed with Eastern Starflowers, Canada Mayflowers and Bunchberries, all growing together. This helped to lighten our mood. We were also inspired when my friend found the first blooming Blue-bead Lily of the season. Our final discovery was a cluster of Foam Flowers. This was new to my identification of wildflowers and I was pleased with the find.
When we neared the stream, we noticed the last few yards was very grassy so we opted not to get any closer. Instead, we turned to retrace our steps back to our cars. On the return journey, we had to stop while my friend explored a junk heap with an old abandoned car. For whatever the reason, she is attracted to these things so I waited on the path while she went to explore. It was then that I found the tick on my pants leg. Hoping that it was already feeling the effects of my chemically enhanced clothing, I flicked it off.
Back at our cars, we agreed that we would probably not return to this preserve, at least during the growing season. Winter would probably be best. It was just a bit too overgrown for our tastes. Once home, I threw my clothes in the wash. When I removed them from the dryer I found another tick on the gators. I think it was dead but I gave it an appropriate disposal anyway.