Despite the dry summer or maybe because of it fall colors here at Glacier Pools Preserve are wonderful this weekend and will probably get brighter over the next week. We don’t have the “in your face” reds of a hillside of maples or aspen, so look to individual trees and get to know a few. Right now it’s nut trees aspen and birch; scattered maples are just starting to turn. I even love the browns the dominant oaks take on at the end of the season. My favorite walk for color is to go directly to the “throne” then down the West Meadow Trail to the Diversion Terrace which has wonderful views all the way across Entrance Trail to the woods to the east (which is where the above picture was taken.)
Mountain laurel is blooming and this year is the best display ever. Some plants are at their peak, some are just coming on, and a few are starting to “snow” blossoms. Here’s a suggestion for a short walk to see the best display: start at the “throne” and head into the woods to the left on Shortcut (red blazes). There are some full laurels on the trail and some grand ones 50-100 feet into the woods. At the intersection with ‘mander Meander go right for a few minutes to find 360 degrees of laural bloom then return and take ‘mander Meander towards the High Field. Look left for some large laurel bushes. About 100 feet before the field there is a rudimentary trail left to a cluster of very grand laurel to enjoy.
We have a new trail. We named it “Chad’s Trail” after our late dear family friend Chad Peeling who was so very helpful in developing our preserve and who created and donated the nature signage. It’s scenic, interesting, has links to the old trail system for a variety of loops, and brings our total trail length to 4 1/2 miles. You will find it easier to navigate by starting at the far left corner of the High Field and walking clockwise. Please avoid the section from the kiosk, which is muddy and has seeded grass to protect.
It’s been a busy year at GPP. The forest was thinned on 100 acres (not near pools) leaving fewer trees both young and old letting light on the forest floor for regeneration. We’ve almost finished creating a new trail 2 miles long around the boundary with links to the inner trails. I will post the new map on the website soon.
The Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology had their annual meeting in Williamsport last weekend and came out to Glacier Pools Preserve to do a bird walk. I’ll attach their list of birds seen. It’s astonishing. Now is the season.
This Sunday (April 7) at 1:00 a geologist and an amphibian biologist will be leading a tour at Glacier Pools Preserve. We meet at the kiosk. I can also explain and show the forest improvement project which is underway.
The solitary “lucky” native azalea is in bloom just west of the top of the yellow trail. The ladyslippers are near the throne and near the farthest pool. Wednesday might be partly sunny! Pix from yesterday.
Sunday April 22 is Earth Day and the Linn Conservancy is organizing a walking tour of Glacier Pools Preserve starting at 1:00. We’ll take a look at early spring life in the pools, which should have many clusters of salamander and frog eggs from breeding over the next weeks. Expect to walk on unpaved trails up and down gradual hills for about one mile (or more if you like.)
We are starting a project to improve the value of the forested parts of the preserve. By “value” I mean as habitat and beauty, not timber revenue. The best trees will get a little more sunlight to grow better. The potential animal habitat trees will be preserved, and there will not be activity around the pools. The income from this project will be held by the Linn Conservancy to support future maintenance of the trails and meadows. A haul road has been cut across the Wagon Road Trail, which is still open. The crossing will be easier when the road gets gravel. It leads to a clearing which will let the loggers skid to waiting trucks. There is a beautiful view, so maybe someday this will be a place to picnic. In the process of this operation we can lay out a few long trails with help from their machines.
Well, the weather is spectacular; the leaves a little less bright than the best but always wonderful. The red maple leaf picture is courtesy of Julie a few days ago, and the backlit forest is mine from today. Come and enjoy being part of the seasonal change.