After the slow ramble at Westbury Gardens I was ready to head back into a more natural setting, so I decided to head slightly southeast towards Center Moriches and Terrell River County Park. According to the Center Moriches Historical Society, the Havens arrived in Center Moriches around 1755, purchasing land along the Terrell River. Except for a period of time during the first half of the 1800s, the land was owned by the Haven family until the family gave the house to the Historical Society in 1974. The house was moved across the street while the land was acquired by a developer. Fortunately, the county purchased the land preserving this area for all to enjoy.
I arrived at the park in the early afternoon, finding an almost empty parking lot and wondered if this might be a bad omen. Taking a quick look at the trail map, I noticed that the park consisted of one trail leading down to the Great South Bay, with one small loop near the parking lot, so I was pretty confident I would not get lost.
Heading to the right, I entered a wooded area with an abundance of maple trees. Hiking the Pine Barrens of Long Island I had become used to the familiar sight of Oak and Pine. I was pleased to experience a greater variety of trees. Gazing down the long stretch of trail, I spotted a deer in the distance. She kept her eye on me but was not disturbed by my presence, meandering into the woods as I approached. I watched her and a companion, who had been invisible in the shaded area of the woods, as they wandered around the vegetation enjoying their lunch. Further on, I spotted a tree covered in vines. The vines gave a ghostly appearance to this poor tree and I was reminded of the long tresses of Rapunzel.
As I continued along the trail, it wasn’t long before I noticed the familiar scent of salt air. At the end of the trail there were several benches available, offering rest and a spectacular view of the Great South Bay. Near the edge of the trail was a rather bare looking tree, but on closer examination I found that someone had crafted a heart made from vines and tied it to the bare branches.
I walked along the beach for a time studying the green and red seaweed and a variety of shells along the shore. The sand was littered with an abundance of Mussel and Crab shells. Not far from shore was a piece of driftwood, rising from the water like the legendary Loch Ness Monster. I wondered what “Nessie” was doing so far from home.
After my brief musings along the beach, I turned back towards the trail. Along the way, I noticed a rather tall flower off on a side trail and decided to investigate. As I approached, I realized I had found a Mullein that had now gone to seed. Having only seen this plant in bloom, I now saw a unique beauty in the seed pods that were partially opened. This had been an interesting find and a great way to end this adventure.
Arriving back to a now very crowded parking lot, I noticed an interesting spot on the north side of the street. My visit to the Kaler’s Pond Audubon Center will have to wait for another post.