After leaving Avalon Park, (mentioned in the previous post) we crossed the road towards the red connector trail which would lead us to Avalon Preserve. The preserve was just as magical as Avalon Park but in such a different way! Where the park was deliberately structured to encourage the visitor towards contemplation, the preserve was mostly left for nature to sculpt in order to encourage the visitor towards observation.
The first part of the yellow trail, wandered around several meadows. In the distance through out the meadows, bird boxes had been set up and small birds were already flitting in and out, busy setting up a home for the summer season. We paused for quite some time, just observing the activity of life in the meadow – a more calming pace of life than the one we experience everyday. We even heard an Eastern Wood Peewee with his persistent “pee-ah-wee” call. I am sure that if there were benches or stones to sit upon in this section of the preserve, we might have remained for a good portion of the day just watching all the activity.
Each meadow displayed the occasional unique flower, not located in the other meadows. The first field was arrayed in field daisies. I also spied additional white flowers towards the center of the field but since there were no paths through the fields I could not get close enough for identification. Finally, as we neared the back end of the first meadow, there was a clump of these flowers close to the path. I was able to identify them as Foxglove Beardtongues as well as the yellow coreopsis close by. In the next meadow we found both yellow and white Moth Mullein.
As we continued on, we found milkweed with enough flowers to encourage a a pair of bees to gather pollen. We paused in our travels to watch the pair stop at each flower in the cluster before finally flying off to deliver their find. We also observed small lavender colored moths or butterflies flitting about. They are quite common in our area but I have been unable to identify them.
Towards the middle of our walk through the meadows, we came across a manicured clearing probably designed for outdoor programs. Somehow, a fairy circle came to mind and I could picture these creatures dancing around the circle during a summer night. The ancient appearance of the cedar tree, the meadow beyond and dead branch lying near the circle of stones just added to the illusion.
At this point we were half way through the yellow trail and I noticed that we would need to pick up the pace in order for me to get back in time for work. Oh, for a less hectic paced life, when we no longer have to worry about squeezing in activities other than work! As the trail entered woodlands we experienced more hills which made it a little more difficult for me to keep my pace. However, we were rewarded with a path that was filled with Mountain Laurels in full bloom.
After passing the same couple for they third time, they stopped and asked me if I was in training for some long distance walk due to my trekking poles. We briefly explained my hip replacement surgery 8 months prior. They encouraged me with the comment that next year I would be ready to train for something bigger.
Just before the yellow and blue trails came together we discovered another magical moment. Someone had constructed a fairy house; complete with table, chairs, camp fire, clothesline and a door into the tree. A family who had stopped by this site told us that the fairy house had been there for several months and people seemed to add to this home over time.
We finished our 2.5 mile walk in about 1.5 hours. Perhaps as result of the pace during the second half of our walk, I was stiff the remainder of the day but hey, I may be training for something longer next year.