For many years a close friend and I have traveled to the mountains in late spring to tent, fly fish for trout, photograph and solve the mysteries of life. Our destination is a 45 square mile forested watershed that lies within a much larger forested region, most of which is State-owned. The area has relatively few year-round inhabitants and is a web of unpaved, seasonal roads; unbroken forestland of mixed hardwoods and conifers; pristine, freestone streams and the various discord elements that challenge and erode the wildness: natural gas right-of-ways, private lands, etc. The camp site is a dead zone too, which adds to the flavor of it all. We never achieve goal four but have fun trying. The trip is always a highly anticipated adventure that has a profound and lasting effect on our life story. The destination never changes but the experiences are never the same.
Forested mountain road typical of the region
A “freestone” stream in the watershed surrounding camp, harboring native Brook Trout and a reproducing population of stocked Brown Trout
I have many pictures from these trips but decided to be true to the theme of my blog and focus on my experiences with nature that filled the voids when the fish weren’t active. The gallery that follows is a sampling of my many encounters with the natural world during five days in camp in late May, 2013.
Tiger Swallowtail feeding on the nectar of an early-flowering, exotic shrub, Autumn Olive
Tiger Swallowtails “puddling” – seeking moisture and minerals from damp places (1 of 5)
Puddling Swallowtails – maybe 150 butterflies in all.
Puddling Swallowtails (this is a damp, abandoned fire pit – I couldn’t remove the trash without ruining the scene)
Other species of butterflies and moths puddle as well: Nessus Sphinx Moth in lower right
Fertile leaflets of Interrupted Fern; these structures occur mid-way up the three-foot high stalks, hence the name “Interrupted”
Foliage and fertile leaves of Cinnamon Fern
Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeding on nectar in the tubular flowers of Autumn Olive
Fungus on a dead Red Oak tree (i of 3)
Fungus on Red Oak
Fungus on Red Oak
A small woodland tree, Alternate-leaf Dogwood, in full bloom
Spider web in early morning
Timber Rattlesnake; the “yellow” variation; protected status – rare or extirpated over much of its original range in eastern U.S.
Spider web and Black-capped Chickadee in early morning