Even though the temperatures were still pretty warm (hot) and dry for this area, my friend and I decided to get outdoors and explore the McLellan Poor Preserve in Northport. My friend was not an early person, so she was not too happy when I suggested a 9 am start time in order to a) avoid the heat and b) avoid the crowds. At this point, since we were still finding less popular trails, the heat was more of an issue than meeting other people. Maybe, we were being a little paranoid but having met or heard about nasty people on the trail regarding masks (both because we were wearing masks and because we did not get them on fast enough), we were trying hard to find places where this would not be an issue. (It’s always the bad experiences you remember more than the 99% of the good people who exchange a pleasant greeting).
After greeting each other in the parking area, we set out on the mowed trail that went through a field into the woods. We got as far as the kiosk, when we just had to stop and admire the beauty of the open field. It was filled with Queen Anne’s Lace, Goldenrod, Hawkweed and purple Vetch of some kind. All those flowers in one open place really encouraged us to be still for a few minutes and just take in the moment.
Once in the woods, we found a section of Burdock (not sure which specific species) which was in the early stages of blooming. We got as close as we could without being attacked by what my friend called “Velcro balls”, in order to examine the flowers but one or two of these sticky balls did attempt to adhere to us.
Moving away from the reservoir and into a more open area, the trail seemed to be a bit overgrown but nothing we could not handle. There was one small section of mud on a slight descent where I almost took a spill but I recovered quickly. Around this spot we also stopped to admire numerous tiny Pickerel Frogs. This was a plus for my friend who was always seeking out frogs and snakes during our walks.
Back in the woods once more, we traveled along a lovely pine needle carpeted trail. There were a few uphill and downhill moments but overall the trail was pretty easy to maneuver. The heat was beginning to build as we approached Peggity’s Path, so we opted to walk towards the new bridge and the field near the parking area on Herrick Road rather than traverse Peggity’s Loop. From the middle of the bridge it was quite apparent what a dry summer it has been for there was no water flowing over the stream bed.
On our return journey, we discovered a small, skinny snake (Garter Snake?) running, or was that slithering for cover. Of course my friend had to attempt a picture rather than leave it alone. At this point, there was a couple approaching us. They stood politely on the trail below us, waiting for us to finish our observation. We offered to move aside and let them see the snake but the young woman was clearly not interested. Shortly after we all went our separate ways, we did hear a little scream on the other side of the reservoir inlet and wondered if they had found the frogs. We soon forgot our speculations about the couple when we became absorbed in watching the turtles that were sunning themselves on logs partially submerged in the water below. They must have known we were there, for as soon as we took out our cameras every single one of them slipped into the water. Even though we failed to photograph the turtles it had been a great day for animal discoveries; frogs, snakes and turtles, what more could anyone ask for after a day in the woods.