Days are shorter and more precious in autumn, but this is when Mother Nature delights our senses as it unveils its truly vivid colors. That is also why the Middleton Stream Team holds its annual Fall Foilage Family Hike where this past Sunday, a group of approximately 30 met at Mundy Bridge to see what wonders of nature had in store for them.
The fall hike was previously delayed a week due to inclement weather, but last Sunday turned out to be a beautiful hike day. After Naturalist Pike Messenger, explained the leaf life cycle, the group started up the trail beside Boston Brook, crossing the brook on a bridge built by local boy scouts. The group age ranged in age from 8 months to eighty plus, and all seemed to enjoy exploring the glacier carved hills and valleys in these woods. Elaine Gauthier took the lead and pointed out landscape effects of the glaciers. Pike provided information about moss, witch hazel and bogs. The group paused at a beaver dam which was prepared for winter, and to look at a true bog.
All seemed to enjoy the experience and the exercise of hiking in the fallen leaves in the open forest, along forgotten stone walls that served to mark land boundaries. It has long been stated that hiking has many beneficial health benefits including; reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
Keep visiting this website for information about future hikes.
On a beautiful May 21, nine Stream Team volunteers converged upon Log Bridge Landing for spring maintenance. Much was accomplished. Invasives were pulled out all along the bank; edges of the landing raked; brush clipped; steps cleaned; grass mowed. and mulch raked. A final touch was new flower plantings surrounding the Log Bridge boulder and historical maker. And everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves here beside the river. Just as we were leaving, two people arrived and sat at the picnic table overlooking the river. They said “thanks” for all the work we do at the landing to keep it so beautiful.
(See slideshow below)
On a sunny April afternoon approximately seventy people, young to old, headed out on the trail from Lake Street around Middleton Pond. First stop was a lesson in tree identification (hemlock, spruce, red pine and white pine). Then we engaged the children in a lesson calculating the age of white pines by counting the rows of branches emerging together from the trunk. This put our lesson tree at 13 years old.
The children tested their nets and containers at the causeway of the pond. As we proceeded up the hill towards the Great Blue Heron rookery we heard the loud chirping of the wood frogs beside a nearby vernal pool.
At the beaver pond and rookery the group took time to admire the many nests with birds perched atop them, and marvel as the big birds flew among the trees. Many in the group had not observed a rookery in the past.
Leaving the birds behind we proceeded back to the causeway where Bob Anderson provided information about vernal pools and the ecosystem they support. We climbed the trail a short way to a large vernal pool, hearing the wood frogs as we approached. The crowd spread out for exploration with nets, containers, eyes and cameras. Species “captured” and returned included fairy shrimp, wood frog, red backed salamander, insect larvae, rower insect, and wood frog egg masses. All finds led to excitement.
The hike took in one more sight after the pool, as what Middleton Stream Team hike would be complete without seeing a beaver dam. Here we heard about the important role beavers play in our ecosystem and everyone admired the two dams squeezed between the hill sides. One boy found 3 or 4 garter snakes along the trails, the last uphill from the beaver dam. Everyone admired his finds. Garter snakes are the official reptile of Massachusetts.
All in all everyone seemed to enjoy the outdoors, the experience, and showed appreciation for the wonderful sights available in Middleton. Thanks to all who joined us on this nice spring day.