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National Trails Day

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Yesterday, June 1, was National Trails Day and was celebrated country wide.  It was an extra special day here on the refuge for two reasons.

73 Tamarac NWR, 201315

First it was the grand opening, and ribbon cutting ceremony, for the Tamarac NWR section of the North Woods Trail.  This trail is similar to the Appalachian Trail and covers 4800 miles from the New York/Vermont border to the middle of North Dakota.  Over half of the trail has been officially completed at this point, and Saturday was the official opening of the 14.5 miles of the trail that traverses the refuge. 

Secondly, it coincided with the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.  What cold, wet, windy, and generally miserable weather we had for two such auspicious occasions.  Sad smile After listening to too many speeches by visiting big wigs, the ribbon was finally cut, and the anniversary cake was served.  We did have about six brave souls who did a through hike of the entire 14.5 miles during the day.

73 Tamarac NWR, 201316

My assignment for the afternoon was to help with the three hour photo hike.  When I’m helping with a hike that someone else is leading, I generally bring up the rear to keep any stragglers moving forward.  We had two places along the North Woods Trail that we would be hiking, and were bussed to each location.  At the rear was a good place for me especially on the first hike.  It was a very up and down hike.  One of the things about the type of hip surgery that I had in January is that they cut some of the muscles during surgery.  I’ve found that the most challenging thing to get back is the ability to easily go up and down stairs.  A steep up and down hike is similar to doing sets of stairs.  Needless to say, I was the last one back to the bus by a long shot.  However, I’m happy to report that the only straggler was me!  Disappointed smile

For the second hike, I told the group to go ahead, as I didn’t think I could keep up.  My muscles were telling me that I could most likely make it to the destination, but getting back might be iffy.  My total hike was probably two miles, and I’m happy with that at this point. 

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One important thing I learned on this excursion was to identify poison ivy.  It’s quite common in the woods here.  One of the participants pointed it out to me.  That’s about all I learned.  I don’t know.  Somehow I was expecting to learn something about photography on a photo hike, but the leader was too busy taking pictures of his own to be bothered with talking to the participants or give any hints or pointers.  Guess I was a little off base on my expectations.

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The sun finally came back today, so Emma and I returned to the second hike location from yesterday to complete it on our own.  The woods were just alive with singing birds.  Emma continues to have patience with me when I tell her I want to take a picture.  She stands still until I’m done.  That is so out of character for her it always amazes me.

IMG_3099 IMG_3101Once again, there seemed to be American redstarts in almost every tree.

We also found lots of mushrooms this afternoon, but sorry to say none of them were morels.  We sidetracked into the woods in several places to see if I could find some, but no luck.  Oddly, Emma is not a good shroom hunter.  Were I to let her off of the leash, she would zoom around all over the woods, but on leash she just wants to get back to the trail. 

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We stopped at one wetland area on the way back from our Sunday drive to admire this preening trumpeter swan and male wood duck.  It was so nice to have a calm sunny day, and further along one of the roads I stopped to pick a bouquet of fragrant lilacs.  I’m sure years ago before it became a refuge the place I stopped may have been a farmhouse location as the row of lilac trees was impressive.  The smell of lilacs is now permeating the rig.  Lovely!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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