Thankful for clear skies this afternoon, took a ride out to Deer Mountain Nature Trail in Ravena.
Once again we found an empty parking lot, and happily hiked into to our private preserve for the afternoon. The trail is well marked and has sporadic signs about the nature you encounter, for this is quite an interesting ecosystem, and this is great because I love to learn. There are two trails you can take, and they both go through forest and wetlands, we tried them both.
The West Entrance is the longer trail 3 miles out and back round trip. This is a no frills trail, and I like that. It seems like nature is king here, and it seems to be reclaiming the trails. The hike through the forest was nice and easy, coming to the wetlands was another story. All of the rain we’ve had recently has turned the trail into more wetland! Wear tall boots, or get nice and muddy like I did. After the initial mudding, I got over the dream of dry feet and began enjoying the scene. It looked like Dagobah, muted colors, plants and trees growing out of the water, clumps of sedge grass that might pass for Yoda.
After trudging some time you get to a bridge which takes you over some deep water, but there is a tree that fell right into it making it look pretty unstable for some, but not us.
A serious storm must have come through here. Climbed over the bridges’ tree only to get to the other side and see many fallen trees right next to the water. This created a path that seemed undesirable if not impassable. According to the trail map we were fairly close to the end, so we turned back to try our luck on the other trail.
The East Entrance trail quickly ascended up some nicely crafted wooden stairs and I thought we’d escape the wetland for some time, but it followed us! This made for more enjoyable trudging through truly muddy trails in the wetlands, but at least there were fewer fallen trees. Spotted many little wild flowers, a babbling brook, and enjoyed smelling the hemlocks while in the forest. (Using my flower identification book is a relatively new task, so i may not always classify flowers right, but I’m trying!)
Definitely enjoyed being in a different type of environment for the afternoon, and it is a truly peaceful place. The only noises you hear are from the frogs, woodpeckers, and songbirds that are happy for spring. Surprisingly other than the interesting plant life, all we saw of animal life were White-breasted Nuthatch and a hawk in the distance.
Upon leaving we found 4 ticks on Jeff and 0 on Julie, he won today. If you visit, make sure to check yourself when you leave. Also be aware that the trails are not easy to tread on account of mud and fallen trees. However, this didn’t stop us from having fun in this quiet and unusual preserve, so it doesn’t have to stop you.
Find directions and information about the preserve here