More of the activities at the Becoming an Outdoorswoman weekend! Saturday was a day for 2 classes. Another gorgeous morning:
There is not actually much down time during the weekend. You are kept going and busy! Breakfast starts at 7 am. Important to fuel up with a good breakfast.
One morning I had oats and I was putting peanut butter on top and other ladies at the table were going “ooo… peanut butter on oats!” LOL. The nice thing about meal times is you just sit with whomever and talk about the class you took (or are about to take). My sister and I tried to make a point to not sit at an empty table to get to meet other people. Some women really kept to themselves, but most are eager to talk to others. About half of the 126 people were return BOW attendees (like me!).
Off to 8 am class.
I was tired LOL! Kayaking was actually quite a workout. I am glad I do a lot of lifting because it helped my back and shoulders from being too sore.
Saturday morning was my bird identification class. Most of you know I love the birdies out my window, but I also want to learn more how to recognize them when they are not just sitting at my feeder.
I loved this class. We learned how to use a field guide and how to approach identifying a bird (and got to keep this pocket guide). We also paid a lot of attention to the bird songs, because it’s not just ‘tweet, tweet, tweet,” but you can identify birds by their songs even if you don’t see them. Good thing, because we didn’t see a lot of birds on our walk, but we heard a bunch!
When we went out for the walk, I asked the instructor what camera she was using for her pictures. She handed me her camera and told me to use it during the walk. Yay!
This is the bird we heard the most. The red eyed Vireo.
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/puttefin/
Here is a link to the song. Once you know it, you hear it a lot (or at least I did). In fact, I heard it when I got home in a tree across the street!
Here is a list of the birds we identified during our walk, which was about 30 minutes of the class: Great Blue Heron (saw), Ring-necked gull (saw), Downey Woodpecker, Wood – Pewee, red-eyed vireo, crow, raven, nuthatch, American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler, Chipping Sparrow. How cool. All those sounds around us that you really only notice in the background when you are outside. John and I are going to get more into birding.
We came back for lunch. This is chicken. They had also a nacho bar, and you know I don’t confine my toppings to just what they are designed for. I topped my chicken with salsa and cheese!
Funny how people thought that was so creative. It’s good to think outside of the food box, you know?
The afternoon class was Adirondack Ecology. This was a very interesting class. The Adirondacks are really special. Very old and they hold so many diverse types of landscapes and forest types. After a presentation on what an ecologist would be looking for and what makes up a healthy forest, we went off site to view these in person. The cool thing about the Adirondacks is that you don’t have to go far to see all kinds of different ecosystems right next to each other. The plan was to be dropped off at the site and then have the option to walk back (we were told about 2 miles) if we chose. More on that later. We visited Jabe Pond and Little Jabe Pond.
Hiking on the path – here is an example of what is called a Maplewood-Beech forest.
I was glad to be in the woods because it was another hot day – in the mid 80s at least. Lots of maple and beech (duh), plus a leafy forest floor. Lots of cool vegetation. Check out this flower:
This is an Indian Pipe flower. I about squealed when the instructor pointed it out. She was really knowledgeable. We don’t do much hiking or going into the woods, so I got to see lots of new-to-me plants.
Then we walked a bit more into a Hemlock forest. This used to be part of a logging area in the 1950s and they deforested it, but it has come back pretty healthy.
This forest floor has more bedrock sticking out of it and is covered in needles. Much different than the Maplewood-Beech.
Then we hiked a bit further and found a swamp area. Now, we were dry because we just skirted the edges and were not going around in the muck. This used to be a beaver dam area and the dam came down and created this swamp.
Lots of cool wetland flowers here. This is something called Sun Dew – and it is a carnivorous plant! It eats bugs gnat size and smaller.
These are small and very low to the ground. On this same log were little tiny red fungus type of flowers called British Soldiers.
They are called British soldiers because they stand up tall and wear red hats.
So neat to see all of these things! Nature is pretty amazing when you think about it (and we should more often). At this point, we had a choice. We could go back to the drop off point and ride down by van, or we could hike the 2 miles back on the trails. About half of the group decided to hike back (which I was in). The leftover group continued to Jabe Little Pond, where we were lucky enough to see a loon!
He was hard to get a picture of because he kept diving. After a nice rest here, we then headed back around the Jabe Pond (the big one). Could you not see yourself in a chair with a nice cold drink?
I love how the angle of the sun really highlights my forehead ‘divot’ 🙄 The one real sign of aging on my face from a lifetime of squinting.
A couple of canoe-ers came with their dogs and set out for some fishing.
Very well-behaved dogs that didn’t jump out of the boat. Obviously very used to canoeing.
Funny that this is a pond, but it really looks more like a lake, doesn’t it?
We dawdled here too much, so then we had to pick up the pace on the way back. The instructor led us to some rarely used trails and this is where it started to get tricky and hairy.
I felt bad because there were a few people that would not have done this hike back if they knew how difficult it would be. There was a bit of steep uphill, but most of it was steep downhill, which is really hard on the knees. And instead of 2 miles, it was more like 4! Phew! I thanked all my biking and lifting. At 250 pounds, I would have been completely miserable doing this hike.
The trail was very hard to see. It was hardly used.
At this point, I put the camera away because I didn’t want to drop it. Footing was hard and with a lot of forest litter on the floor, you couldn’t always be sure you wouldn’t step into a hole.
The 40 minute hike back ended up being about an hour and a half! We were so tired and also very late for dinner. My sister was wondering where the heck I was LOL! She had been teaching her class while we were out there. The thing is, without cell service, you couldn’t let anyone know where you were or how long you would be gone. This is why you shouldn’t hike alone unless you tell someone where you will be and how long you expect to be gone. Our ‘extended’ hike was the talk of the dinner!
I’ll stick with biking, thank you. It was enjoyable, though, other than being a bit worried about being so late. I certainly burned a lot of calories! Glad to see the lake again.
Sorry for the long post! The day wasn’t over yet, but I’ll save that and the last class for tomorrow.