After returning from Scotland, our hikes dwindled to almost nothing. Even my solo walks on the Multi-Use Trail ceased; partly because I had extra hours at work which meant I had to keep an eye on the time but mostly due to the weather. For this northern area of the country, the weather has been beastly (although a few people may disagree). Normal summers in Maine meant temperatures in the mid to upper 70s, 60s at night and low humidity. Unfortunately, the state experienced high temperatures Memorial Day weekend, multiple 80 degree days in June, and more heat waves in the 90s both the week of July 4th and during August. In addition the humidity was high, meaning that even when the temperatures did get into the 70s it still felt hot and oppressive. It felt like I was back in New York where this weather was normal!
These conditions were not conducive to getting out and exerting myself on an uphill climb, so I waited. And waited until finally there was a day just past the middle of August when I decided to hit the Multi-Use Trail very early in the morning. I was at the trailhead by 7 and discovered that I was the first of the usual morning walkers to arrive.
It felt great to be out in the woods once more and the solitude allowed me to slow my pace so that I could really take in and enjoy my surroundings. The last time I had walked this trail with my husband, I had pointed out an unusual leaf pattern of a ground covering plant, 6 whorled leaves at various intervals along the stem. This time I was ready with my camera so I could identify it at a later time. It took a while since many plants were done flowering by late summer, but I did discover that it was some type of Bedstraw.
I also managed to identify the remains of some Valerian. The flowers were gone but from a distance the stem-like remains gave the plant an interesting feathery appearance. It was the time of year when the asters were coming into their own. I found a patch of some type of aster that were quite tall (almost 6 feet). I was amused when I found the flower in my identification resources and discovered that sometimes the name actually matches the description. This aster was called a “Tall White Aster”.
I felt more peaceful as I spent more time walking through the woods and immersing myself in nature. I paused many times to admire many simple things that are often overlooked; the woodpecker holes in a tree, the large orangey-yellow mushrooms and the white mushrooms tucked in the fold of a tree.
When I reached the trailhead for Bald Rock Mountain, I decided to end my exploration there. The many things I had observed in that hour outdoors had been enough to remove some of the stress that had been building over the summer.