Friday, September 6, 2013

Hiking England Mountain

Monday was another hot humid day but I was really in the mood for a hike. England Mountain, very near to me, was calling and I decided to go around midday, hoping that any crowds would be avoiding the steep hill during the hottest part of the day. I had my Camelbak so would have plenty of fluids.  This is a 1500ft climb and most of it is done on switchbacks during the first .04 mile of the hike.
I passed a couple on their way out but didn't see anyone else up the hill.
Mosquitoes were everywhere and so too were spiders. I kept walking into webs that had been strung across the path and soon grabbed a stick do I could clear the way before me. I took another trail at the top and started another loop and was soon stopped in my tracks by some very loud rustling. Bears have been sighted here quite often so I stood by a tree and peered around. It was turkey vultures. There were about 6 or so hopping in the undergrowth and as I neared them they all took off. I then noticed a strong fetid stench and hurried up the hill, I had obviously interrupted their dining out on a rotten deer or other animal.
After looping around I continued on the main track and passed the Spring House and the Smith House, the latter with a Marbled Orb Weaver guarding its front door. The pond near the house had completely dried up. Earlier in the spring this had been alive with millions of bullfrog eggs.
There's not many of these old Nature Conservancy signs left, they're gradually being replaced with newer plastic versions. I'd noticed additional signs along the trail and also a few notices had been hammered to some trees explaining the types of trees and their uses.
On the way back down the mountain, after walking about 6 miles, I spotted this little Downy Rattlesnake Plantain hiding in some wood chips. I passed two young guys at the bottom but there were no other cars in the parking lot. I'd had the place to myself which was great; no one to witness me huffing and puffing, and also that nobody had spotted a strange female taking photos of a glass ball! See below.

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