I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A new, yet to be named, trail....

We have a trail that circumnavigates the perimeter of our acreage. It weaves and winds around, in far enough from the edges that while walking it, we are invisible from the road which borders the south and west side. The exception to this perimeter trail, is a section on the NE quadrant, where our property abuts our N and E neighbour's properties. 

This is a wet area, where the water seeps out below a spring, that never freezes over. Especially in the spring, one can see where the water bubbles up, fine pebbles of white sand dance in its flume. In winter, the water shimmers over the boils.

Hubby built a cedar box and put it over one of the biggest up-wellings


The little stream just below the pool flows out between a couple of mossy rocks, a small gurgling flush of water.

Mitten for size comparison

Just below that, a lovely mat of water cress grows, it's leaves now submerged, but a sure sign of spring is when they begin to grow up above the water's surface. 

Water cress beneath the 'frost creations'


The water spreads out from there, a much less defined water course, seeping into the soil that has been built up from eons of fallen trees and dead vegetation. 

This out flow area is pinioned between two ridges, running more or less, E - W, which guide the moisture off to the east,  on down the hill through the bush to join the creek at the bottom, many acreages away. The area is V-shaped, the apex being the pool where the water bubbles up, the valley widening out as it continues E.

This has created a wet, boggy area, the wettest part inhabited by some magnificent eastern white cedars.

An Eastern White Cedar bole

On the dryer bumps and knolls, there are yellow birch, hemlock, some iron wood and a few white pine. The wettest, lowest areas are a labyrinth of criss-crossed roots, old, moss covered logs, and leaning trees, their roots not so firmly rooted in the wet soil.

In the spring and summer, it is a fairy land of ferns and mosses, goldthread, wood sorrel and other plants I want to ID.

One of this winter's projects is to create the outline of a trail through this area. The trail begins as an offshoot of the path through to our N neighbour's property, continues down through a mixed hardwood bush, mostly beech, past the spring, into and through the swamp, finally going up the side of the bordering S ridge to connect to our existing trail along that ridge.

heading up toward the south ridge

 We have bushwhacked through here in all seasons of the year, in fact one of the first exploratory trips we had up here in the spring of 2017, was to walk the N property line which involved stepping from hummock to root, grasping any handy  tree to try and  keep our feet out of the boot miring black muck. The previous owners invited us up and we stayed for a weekend in the little cabin on the property and did some extensive exploration.

We have snowshoed through many times in the winter and have a good idea of the best route to follow that will involve the least brush cutting and the driest footing. There will still be some bridging involved to avoid the boot sucking black holes. 

This trail has been on the planning table for quite a while. We have marked out the route, weaving through the boles of the big cedars, easy going now, with a good pad of snow. There are a few flat spots, places where the water has pooled out and frozen. They will need to be bridged somehow. I'm sure the trail will not be exactly where we have marked it now. Its route will change slightly, depending on what is revealed when the snow melts.

Cutting out an obstruction on the upland region

The swamp is a magical, fascinating place to me, full of a diverse array of plants. It is a place the critters like as well, as there are martin, fisher, deer and many other small animal tracks in the snow. A clearly defined trail will make it so much easier to explore. There is a lot of work to be done yet, especially once the snow melts and the spring flush of moisture subsides.


  1. How magical this all sounds!!! Completely magical... Thank you so much, for taking me along, on this delightful walk.

    Especially love the part, about the spring and the water which flows out from it. I'd like to call it a 'Babbling Brook.' My blog's name....

    -happy sigh-

    Warm, Winter Wishes

    1. It is a magical place to me..so many plants, so little time!! To me, a 'brook' is a sun-dappled stream running in the open, so don't feel that would be an appropriate appellation for this shaded, forested wetland. Some day, I'm sure, we will have a light bulb moment...and the trail will get it's name.

  2. It is so beautiful, like a winter wonderland. I wish I could see it for myself. Sure sounds like you have a lot of work ahead Rosalea!

    1. It is a wonderland, even more so in the other seasons, when it is green and cool and full of fascinating plants. Yes, we have our work cut out for us!

  3. To have a trail like that on your own property is something special. We don't have the wetlands you do as our property rises up to a high ridge on the north where most of our trail through the woods is. It goes through thick forest and keeping it open is an on-going task, one that we're behind on right now. Sigh and darn. Yours will look so different, as you say, when the spring melt subsides.

    1. We are very fortunate to have the spring. Every trail has it's own beauties. Yes, there is always upkeep to do on any trail. We have been working on all the ones we've found, overgrown, here since we moved in. They are in good shape now, and its just a case of maintenance, so time to get this new one established so we can circumnavigate the whole acreage. It is buggy in the spring, but a bug shirt solves that!

  4. Thank you for showing us your bush. You have a good diversity.

    1. We have some lovely large white pines, hemlocks and oaks, but the big beech trees are dying from Beech Bark disease, and they are too big and too many to harvest them all. It is so sad.

    2. I wonder if that is why there is so much beech available in firewood in this area this year. A few years back we were cutting ash as fast as we could before the borer got it.

    3. We haven't got the Emerald Ash Borer....yet, as far as we can see. We have a magnificent, huge ash tree beyond the pond.