I did a bit of business for Seventh Horizon Design Complany in Waterbury/Stowe areas yesterday, and managed a climb up to the first real viewpoint on the Pinnacle trail, before the rain and wind became too problematic. I was drenched, but the real concern was how slippery everything becomes on the way down.
The woods looked less well than I have ever seen. Each year seems to bring further deterioration. One possible explanation for this particular area is that it is a forest in transition from the pioneer species such as paper birch, aspen, pine, to the more mature beech, yellow birch, maple. Since most of VT was at one time agricultural, it’s likely that most forested areas now are evolving toward the eventual stable mature forest types. The other thing is that we have had recent higher winds and more ice storms that tend to bring down more trees than one would normally expect to find. In any case, there were loads of downers, and loads of trees with various afflictions. Maples, Beeches, Pines, others? lots of blighted looking trees. I saw one orange newt and one fast moving toad. Seems like we used to see many more of these sorts of things on a typical hike in days of old.
The Pinnacle trail has become much more of a highway in recent years too– wider, more erosion and tree root exposure all the way up. Trail maintenance is fresh though, with newly laid timbers on the first 1/4 mile which is sort of wetland area. Given the wet wet weather we’ve been having, it was a real good idea.
The boardwalk was covered with slugs! mainly the orange ones. I had a discussion with a gardening neighbor last evening who thinks that those orange ones are just a more mature form of the grey ones, maybe back from last year. In the garden, there are many many babies, which seem to be the grey type, but few of the larger orange guys. Previous years, I have had many more of the larger orange type, but also the larger more greyish ones. And snails. not so many snails this year, since I removed the patch of perennial stuff from the NW corner. The horseraddish was the real culprit for snail fostering in previous years. Probably a bit of research would yield info on slug types and whether I have several varieties or just differences due to ages. In any case, I’m sure glad we don’t have slugs the size I saw out in BC a few years ago!