Thanksgiving Exploration of Appleton Preserve

Quite a lot of rain fell the week of Thanksgiving. By Friday, it was just overcast and gloomy looking. It was enough for my husband to head out to either finish up his wall building project or clean up the leaves before the cold weather came in. I decided to meet up with one of my hiking buddies at the Appleton Preserve for a short hike.

The Appleton Preserve consisted of one trail that ran alongside the St. George’s River with a lollipop loop near the end. At least that is what I remembered. In any case, once we arrived at the preserve we proceeded to follow the trail along the river. With all the rain that fell over the past week, the river was flowing pretty swiftly over the rocks. We followed a few side trails to get a closer view, pausing for some time trying to determine the right spot for a picture on such a dreary looking day.

Once we returned to the main trail, we set our sights on what beautiful gifts nature had to offer during this time of year. We were surprised to find quite a few pleasing sights around us. First up was the water droplets hanging from the branches. I was glad I was the first one to take the opportunity to get a photo of this, for when my friend attempted a picture, she got too close to the branch and touched it with her camera. It was pretty funny, but she obviously did not take it to heart as she proceeded to knock the water off of every tree we passed.

Next up on our nature study was the remnants of last summer’s flowers. The dried remains displayed a different kind of beauty. We came across many different types, spending quite a bit of time just admiring the symmetry.

We finally reached a bridge, where the trail would continue on towards the lollipop section of the trail. This is where my memory failed me, for just before the bridge we noticed a road and a blue blazed trail nearby. I did not remember a second trail from my last visit, but that trip was at least several years ago. Along the road was a post with the number 3 painted on it, with no explanation. We opted to follow the blue blazed trail nearby which headed off into the woods.

On such a grey day, the woods were dark indeed. I did not take much notice of the trees but I did note that there was plenty of moss and the remains of last season’s bunchberry leaves along the ground. As we continued our journey, we discovered another post with the number 20 on it. Based on the previous observation of the first post along the road, we were on a loop but traversing it from the opposite direction.

Perhaps because it was a cloudy day, I did not noticed anything too spectacular in this section of the preserve. Due to the previous rainfall we had to maneuver around quite a few wet areas. In fact, as we neared the end of this trail, the path was more of a river than dirt. We somehow found our way across this obstacle and continued toward the end of this loop where we passed the number 3 post once more.

Back at the trailhead, we studied the map and discovered there was a forestry interpretative trail. It was unfortunate that there was no trail guide available to interpret the numbered stops along the way. I researched the trail later and discovered that this section was opened in 2018 so I was pleased to know that my memory wasn’t completely shot.

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