Turned Back

Trail closed at bridge seven

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Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the ninth post of this series. Click me for “The Spaceship and the Waterfall,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Seventh Bridge

We laughed at the trail-head sign, “Caution Muddy Trails.” White shorts beware. Somebody complained and demanded immediate resolution to the situation.

Another sign advised the Gorge Trail was closed after the seventh bridge. In my post “Bridge Views” these bridges are described. We could cross the seventh bridge, a barrier and a strongly worded sign, “Proceed no further, you will be prosecuted,” blocked the way. Here is the view, looking upstream.

The blocked path climbs the steep northern glen wall. This is the south wall, from the bridge. There was a young mother with two children, a girl, 6 or 7, and her 7 or 8 years old brother, each well equipped for the expedition with appropriate clothing and backpacks.

The family proceeded while I lingered to gaze up the blocked trail. I was tempted to crawl over the barrier, the ascending trail was clear the entire visible length. Being more cautious with age, or growing wisdom, I suppressed the urge and took in sights on the return trip.

The leaves of hepatica among mosses and sorrell

On bridge number six the girl has her entire backpack contents spread over the path, a naturalist examining her kit. So sweet. Nia and Pam, at this point, were far ahead of me.

Stairs on approach to the Sixth Bridge

Moss is another plant proven valuable to humankind.

Sphagnum moss was used for wound dressing during World War I, being almost sterile and highly absorbent. The flat growth to the lower right I do not recognize.

An Orchid

This strange orchid, the species name references a similarity to hellebore

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine)
Flower of the Broad-leaved Helleborine growing up from other leaves
Compelling Leaf Arrangement

With is we left the Gorge trail for this day, with a plan to return to approach the eight bridge from the north.

View of steam fed pool from near start of Gorge Trail
Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Blue

A personal mystery solved

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the eight post of this series. Click me for “The Spaceship and the Waterfall,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Chaos Resolved

Among this jumble of fallen, cut trees (see the post “Glen Shadows”) is the solution to a personal mystery.

I had often seen these green berry-like fruits of summer, these were growing among tree fall on one of the few almost level places of the gorge. The green turns bluish when ripe. This photograph I used today, along with dogged determination, to identify this plant. It was in neither reference on my desk.

The green berry color threw me off, using the growth pattern of the fruit, the leaves and where it was growing (moist forest with little light) to identify Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). The leaves are similar to meadow rue and the species name ( thalictroides) is taken from the genus name of meadow rue (Thalictrum). The two are related, belonging to the order Ranunculales.

Blue Cohosh has pharmacological properties. Another name for the plant, Papoose Root, is from the Native Americans who used preparations of the root to induce childbirth, ease the pain of labor, rectify delayed or irregular menstruation, and alleviate heavy bleeding and pain during menstruation.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Wintergreen?

aspirin-nations

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the seventh post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Growing up on Long Island provided limited exposure to the great variety of animal and plant life on planet earth. I remember Canesteo, a town just off the western edge of the Finger Lakes in Steuben County, after moving there in the 1980’s, had a marvelous abundance of different plants in the lawn. It was a welcoming feeling to notice this before the term “monoculture” was circulated.

These days the exuberant variety of ferns and mosses in the Finger Lakes are still alien in the sense noticing the small differences between species is still beyond me; or, rather, I have yet to know well all the later arrivals on the scene, the flowering plants and these command my attention.

Close by the Sorrell of my post “Glen Shadows” is this inconspicuous flower, common name Shinleaf, seen here growing in spite of the the wet rip rap of shale at the base of the glen wall on the footpath. Much of the characterization of this plant is from the inconspicuous basal leaves from which the raceme of flowers springs.

Evergreen Pears

Moss and Shinleaf are associated in these groupings, I could conclude the moss provided a place for the tiny seeds of the plant to lodge and take root. The plant is a perennial and stays green throughout the winter, leading to another conclusion: there is a substance in the leaf cells that resists freezing. The latin meaning of the (scientific name) genus Pyrola means “Pear”, the shape of the leaf.

Look closely at the flowers to see the small flowers, the style extending beyond the petals like a bell clapper.

The common name, Shinleaf, is from England where the plant is credited with providing relief for minor injury. I am unclear on the grouping of this plant as a wintergreen. Shinleaf might be included as a wintergreen, and possibly attributed with healing properties, because “wintergreen” in the past was a synonym for “evergreen.”

There are species of wintergreens, in a different family, with leaves containing methyl salicilate that metabolizes (changed in our bodies) to a substance related to aspirin and more potent. I am reconsidering my identification of “cranberry” in the previous post “Red” to be a type of wintergreen high in methyl salicilate and growth close to the Shinleaf.

This abundance of life variety must be cherished and preserved, it can be a source of survival for the human species.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Red

Eye catching color

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the sixth post of this series. Click me for the first post, “The Space Station and the Waterfall.”

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Green upon green upon green, a thousand shades of green grace the gorge of Dry Creek (“Fillmore Glen”) in summertime. Pictured above is another example of a fallen green left to return to earth. Yet the careful observer will notice spots of red.

Solomon Seal NOT

Walking the level the these red might be overlooked hanging sparsely under nodding branches. From the leaf shape you may wrongly identify this as Solomon’s Seal. This specimen, growing on a shale ledge of the glen, reveals sparse red fruit, not the plentiful dark blue of Solomon’s Seal. This is Rose Twisted-Stalk (Streptopus roseus), a member of the Lily family. The two are often found close together. I found no Solomon’s Seal this trip.

Cranberry?

The moss beneath the Rose Twisted-Stalk is plentiful here beneath the constantly dripping porous shale glen wall, mini swamps. I am not confident enough to following identification to each the red fruit. From the damp location and leaf shape I am guessing this to be mountain- cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). The first photograph of this posting is an overview.

A shallow grotto

Finely layer shale in the following photograph is sediment eroded over 50 million years from the Arcadian Mountains, washed into the shallow inland sea of the Appalachian Basin. We see here a transition between fine, fragile shale and another, harder, durable sedimentary rock, limestone. There was a stone on the otherwise flat surface of the limestone around which the sediments forming the shale grew.

We see the detail because here is a persistent, sparse spring. The trail builds created a well here to carry the outflow, preventing trail erosion.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Glen Shadows

Among the chaos

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the fifth post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Moss and soil held in place by roots, it is unsettling to pass this place. This entire section is unsettled and unsettling to someone with an overactive imagination, who notices nothing growing below this place, in a gorge otherwise covered in greenery.

This decade some exceptional trail stabilization work was completed. Here is a portion of the trail, near the above photograph, the bank of loose soil held in place with a stepped retaining wall crafted from wood 8×8 posts. Higher in Fillmore Glen a portion of the trail is closed where the hillside gave way 14 years ago.

Fallen

Gravity working toward disaster is seen as a constant infall, a slow rain of trees, left in place to rot over the course of a century.

Dying trees on unstable creek bank are cut before falling.

Beneath the infall, chaos, this wood sorrell took root on a shin high shale shelf among mosses. The taste of the plant is sour, leading to the name from the greek for “sour.” The family Oxalidaceae comprises 570 species. I till not venture to guess this one.

Also known as sourgrass and false shamrock, these grow on a thread of hope in a glimmer of sunlight.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Bridge Views

Exploring Dry Creek Gorge

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the fourth post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Gorge trails follows the path cut by Dry Creek through eons of multiple and various sedimentary rock. The work of the CCC crew (see “Presidents Millard Fillmore and F.D. Roosevelt”) makes it literally child’s play to negotiate a course otherwise impossible to do without getting soaking wet.

There were seven bridges, wooden over steel I-beams, we crossed today. The trail beyond bridge seven is closed due to hazardous conditions, don’t know what exactly. The gorge is plagued with landfalls. Much of the modern work is elaborate wooden supports of the land beneath the trail.

Delved Deep

Every step on the Gorge Trail is beneath 100+ foot walls, steep slopes held in place by the forest and every variety of native wildflower.

I took the following video from a zig-zag path over a difficult steam topography tamed by two bridges and limestone walls sourced from the stream bed.

Evidence of Plate Tectonics

Above, is a view of the characteristic right angle faulting of the limestone base of Dry Creek, faulting produced when the North American plate pressed against the African plate, released, then after pivoting 90 degrees, pressed again against Africa before finally separating with the create of the Atlantic Ocean.

Click Me for the next post in this series, “Glen Shadows.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved