Into the Woods, the Woods So Green
The day broke, cool and clear, and my husband and I decided to take an early-morning hike up into the woods not far from our house. These woods are part of state gameland (SGL) 176, also known as the Scotia Barrens. The part we visit most often is the Stormstown end, accessed via Tow Hill.
In the summertime, we don't typically spend a lot of time in the woods. You are more likely to find us swimming, a thing we do several times a week. In the woods, the bugs can be quite fierce, and in fact, as soon as the sun was up, the mosquitoes were up too. And boy they were hungry!
The spiders are building big webs now, and we walked through a few of them before each of us grabbed a stick, which we held in front of our faces. I hate to break beautiful, well-formed webs, but I do not enjoy walking through them and doing the spider-dance after: "Do you see anything on me? Is it ON me?"
And I told my husband about the little boy at Bald Eagle the day before, and about the beloved stick that he said was "his destiny." And we both laughed. And I said to my husband, "Remember the fun of playing with sticks as a child? And remember how you might leave your favorite stick sitting outside the house overnight so you could go back and use it again the next day?"
But my husband, who grew up in a small town, told me, somewhat huffily, that "There aren't any sticks in town!" He had never HAD a favorite stick! I queried my friends on Facebook, and two who grew up in cities confirmed his observation. Oh, they played hopscotch and double dutch, they had pogo sticks, stilts, and stickball, but alas, there were no sticks.
Well, let me tell you what: in the woods of Pennsylvania, a stick comes in handy! I used it to clear the path ahead of me of webs, and I used it for gesticulating and dancing with (oh, just a bit). When we had to cross the narrow knife-edge-like slippery mud-path along a beaver dam, I used my stick like a cane, for balance and stability. Before I left the gameland, I carefully hid my stick behind a tree, where it will be waiting for me next time. :-)
But enough about sticks! We also saw several little (what used to be vernal) pools covered over in green pond scum. As I approached the one pool to take some pictures of the weird reflections, about 50 amphibians leapt! I do not know what the green scum was - I hope it was nothing harmful - but the amphibians seemed as pert and jumpy as ever!
I'm including two photos from our morning adventure. The one above is a shot of the inviting pathway through the trees. The shot in the extras is a picture of one of my favorite beaver dams, in which we have seen active beavers at least twice. And there was ONE time in late winter, I even saw seven salamanders stride across the ice. (But I'll admit - that might have been a once-in-a-lifetime thing.)
My soundtrack song is Tommy Makem, of the Clancy Brothers, with In the Dark Green Woods.