Friday, October 22, 2010

Gnome Stairs Hike (or Guess Who Hiked With Us!)

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Above: The parking area for the hike past Wheeler Pond.

On July 27 we took a hike around Wheeler Pond and the to the Gnome Stairs in Barton. In all these years I had not taken this hike and Wheeler Pond is one of the most photographed areas around here. Besides my hummingbird goal this summer, I had a goal of doing more of the hikes in the area that we have never done. Because of the renovations on the house, we didn't get much hiking done.

The first problem we had on the hike was me! I left the Canon camera at home! To teach myself a lesson, I would not request that we (John, me, Amy, Nate and Wingnut) drive home for it. Instead, I used the Olympus Tough 8000 camera that I also carry with me. The quality of the photos suffered because I had forgotten all I learned about using this camera last year.

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Above: The log bridge at the beginning of the hike. The trail immediately branches off to the Moose Mountain Trail (left) and the Wheeler Pond Trail (right), which goes around the pond.

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Above: The first thing that John's eyes spied were these feathers from a hapless partridge that had been eaten here. He also showed me how the moose in the area used the hiking trail for their own comfort — their tracks were everywhere on the trail, which made me a bit tense.

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Above: John said this was some type of wild plum. It also grows across the road in the bog at home. We have not identified it yet.

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Above: the beaver dam at the opposite end of Wheeler Pond. There is also a huge lodge here that can't be seen from this angle.

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Above: Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

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Above and below: an unidentified mushroom.

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Above and below: After hiking half way around Wheeler Pond, you then follow the Wheeler Brook  outlet to the Gnome Stairs. You can barely see water in the brook because there are so many boulders.

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Above: more Indian Pipe and another unidentified (Amanita?) mushroom.

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Above: Finally, the beauty of the Gnome Stairs. The area is called this because the water of Wheeler Brook cascades down small stair-like ledges, as if built by and for gnomes.

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And look who was back with us! Wingnut! He has grown so much that he is now taller than me. Here he is, above, relaxing at the bottom of the Gnome Stairs.

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Above and below: and one more unidentified mushroom! After taking months last autumn identifying forty species of mushrooms, we don't feel like identifying these three from this hike!

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The Green Mountain Club (GMC) maintains a couple of camps on the side of Wheeler Pond. This is the woodshed above. Below is the privy.

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Above: Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

Below: somebody left two sunfish hanging in a willow! Why?

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It was a great hike! There is nothing I love better than hiking with my husband!

Almost nothing.



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