Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Up the Creek

April 28, 2013
Moreau Lake State Park, NY

A brook need not be large to afford us pleasure
by its sands & meanderings and falls
& their various accompaniments.

   HDT Journal, April 1, 1852

Jackie and I arranged to meet at Moreau Park today, with the intent of walking a bit of the Turkey Trail.
We had almost made it to the trail junction, when Jackie suggested a detour out to The Delta. We turned at the little wooden bridge where the Mud Pond trail crosses over a creek, which years ago I dubbed “Dutchman’s Creek.”  That was in honor of the dozen or so plants of Dutchman’s Breeches that appear reliably each spring, right here at the bridge crossing.
So far, it’s the only place I had seen them in the park.
The creek has gone dry early this year. The bridge seems superfluous.
Only a few ferny sprouts of the flowers have emerged so far. No blooms yet.

Well, at least the sedges were in flower.

We followed the dusty creek bed down to where it flows into Mud Pond.  It will be a lush jungle in a few weeks, full of Golden Ragwort and Mayapples.  Today I was just happy to find baby versions of Marsh St. Johnswort coming up through the mud at the Pond's edge. And Jackie was happy to find lots of liverwort there too.

We stopped to admire a very tall Nannybush

And its flamboyant leaf-buds, which look like flying ducks.

We also did trash patrol, hauling up muddy Genny cans and other niceties.
In bending down to pick up a piece of litter, sometimes you get a reward. That's when you see things like this deer skull. 

The skull will be recycled right where we found it, as smaller critters nibble on it, seeking vital minerals.

Or perhaps a Mourning Cloak will hesitate just a second longer before taking off like a wind-blown leaf.

We turned about, and walked back up to meet the beginning of the Turkey Trail,
and followed it through the open woods until it crossed a stream. 
We ran into some folks that Jackie knew, and paused to chat next to the bubbling waters.  After her friends continued on their way,
we decided to leave the trail (it began to go uphill at this point !) and follow this stream, to see where it went.  

So we dallied, like kids, along the creek.
Pools of flowing liquid sparkled in the afternoon sun.

Jackie mused, “Is this the  upper part of Dutchman’s Creek?”  
I didn’t think so, since we had just walked on the dry creek bed down below.
There was only one way to find out where this one went, so off we went,
poking around and seeing  hepaticas,  violets, and a spicebush in bloom.
O hepaticas – they fascinate me like the water lilies do. I never tire of seeing them, and stop to admire almost every one along the way.

And all along this little valley were Dutchman’s Breeches -- hundreds of them !

It became apparent that this brook was, indeed, the aptly-named  Dutchman’s Creek.
But here it was so lively, and so full of rushing water. ..?

We walked on--  not very far really -- about fifty more feet -- and the brook just petered out.  Disappeared into a pile of dry leaves.

Where did it go?
I heard a Hermit Thrush singing his flutelike song.  

He seemed amused at our puzzlement.
If he knew the answer to this riddle, he wasn’t telling.


  1. A wonderful recap of a beautiful day in the woods. I love the photo of liverwort and St. Johnswort, looks like tiny hearts and flowers. And what a shot of the singing thrush! I do so love their song, but they always hide from me.

  2. Excellent shot of the hermit!! 'Just lovely! I can hear him now!