Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Rain and Muddy Trails

Yesterday I hiked up the Greeley Ponds Trail, off Route 112, to collect samples from Lower (see pond photo below) and Upper Greeley Pond. Overall it was a wet day, with plenty of river and stream crossings and muddy trails. So far this summer seems to be shaping up like last, with lots and lots of rain. According to the National Weather Service, this June was one of the rainiest on record, with the average rainfall in June being about 2.3 inches,with this month probably around 7 or 8 inches.

Along the trail there was this impressive gnarly red maple, which has some how managed to latch onto a large boulder in the middle of the trail (see below).

After Greeley I sampled Lily Pond right off the road, and then headed to Church Pond, which is near the Passaconaway Campground. The trail starts at the edge of the campground and immediately requires a river crossing. The river (the swift river?) was clearly bloated from all the recent rain, with a surprisingly strong current (see photo below). I crossed this and continued on the trail, and then crossed another smaller river. From here the trail remains very flat weaving through an open mixed hardwood-conifer forest, before eventually turning into a miring mess of a pathway through a bog. The path eventually became too soggy to follow, with firm terrain becoming more and more scarce (see photo of the wetland below). Since I was alone, and lacked the proper equipment to trek through muck up to my knee, for a distance I was not sure of, I chose to turn around and return on a drier day, better prepared for the bog conditions. I also sampled Falls Pond which is just up the hill from the scenic Rocky Gorge area on the Kancamagus.

Tail Slap

Last Friday a fellow REU student and I gathered water samples from Peaked Hill Pond in Thornton. While I was standing on the edge of the pond, preparing to collect my water sample, I was interrupted by a loud CRACK, I looked up and saw a big splash in the water across the pond. I was confused for a second, but then I realized what it was as I spotted the animal in the water. I was apparently intruding on a local beaver. The beaver was swimming in large circles, every few minutes slapping its flat-leathery tail on the water. I waited for at least 15 more minutes, hoping to get a photo of the tail slap, and just after I put my camera away, it did it again. It is a incredibly loud noise, it sounds like a very painful bellyflop.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pond Sampling!

I collected water samples from Little East Pond and East Pond today, as well as Russel Pond and Beaver Pond. Summer is starting to get warmer and more humid. It was a relatively easy 5-mile loop hike for the east pond pair. There was plenty of moose track and sign along the trails. Little East Pond is a clear, tiny, and shallow body of water surrounded by a spruce-fir forest. It appeared to only be a couple of feet deep at the deepest point, it seemed like it might be possible to walk through the entire pond (see photo below top). The black flies were particularly bad however. I noticed a pair of ducks in the water, with lots of what I think are green frogs along the banks (see photo).

The trail from Little East to East Pond is primarily flat, cutting through a very dense spruce-fir and yellow birch forest. East Pond is striking in its beauty (see top photo of me getting a sample and middle photo bottom), very clear with a blue tinge, this pond was once mined for diatomaceous earth. I waded into the water and briefly submerged myself, it was almost painfully cold, but very refreshing after a sweaty, humid hike. I wanted to stay longer but I was worried about possible thunderstorms, and I wanted to have enough time to sample Russel and Beaver Ponds. Russel Pond is alongside a Forest Service campground down the road from the east pond trail, and Beaver Pond is just off Route 112 near the Lost River.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mt Kineo Trail

On Monday I took the Mt Kineo Trail from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest to the Three Ponds area on the other side of the mountain to sample a few ponds. I headed out early in an attempt to avoid a possible storm, which never quite made it up this way. The area towards the end of the Mt Kineo trail and by the donkey cutoff/three ponds seemed like the perfect habitat for moose, and I was really hoping to see one, but it didn't happen. Moose tracks, as well as scat were abundant nearly everywhere I looked. To the right is a photo of one of the moose tracks. I also observed plenty of red efts along the trail, two garter snakes, raccoon tracks, deer tracks, a couple of black bear tracks, and a huge porcupine sauntering along in front of me on my return hike back up. Because I was in a bit of a hurry I didn't stop for too many photographs, and by the time I had my camera out for the porcupine it was waddling away as fast as it could, and I didn't want to bother it.
It was a very solitary hike, I didn't see another person the entire ten or eleven miles.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Night In The Pemi

Last Friday afternoon my twin brother visited me at Hubbard Brook and we spent the night in the Pemi Wilderness area, near Owl's Head. It is one of our favorite spots to explore, we hammock-camped for the night and just relaxed the next day, we visited Franconia Falls and then went back to Hubbard Brook. I regretted not bringing my tripod, the fog over the river in the evening and also in morning was beautiful, I attempted to use a rock but there was still a fair amount of camera shake, I didn't manage to get any decent photos.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hubbard Brook

I am doing an undergraduate research project in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest for the summer, so I will be trying to post as many photos of that as I can, hopefully doing a great deal of experimenting along the way.
I experimented a bit with some low shutter speeds at Hubbard Brook today in the evening, the lighting was beautiful, as the clouds cleared in the afternoon. The Brook leads into the Pemi, and is a beautiful example of a white mountain river, with large boulders and smooth rounded rocks. I experimented between 1 and 2 second exposure times.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Along Mirror Lake

I recently arrived at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, where I will be spending most of the summer.
These photos are from a brief walk I did around part of Mirror Lake.