It has been good to be stationary...at least somewhat stationary...for the last few weeks. I spent a relaxing week with friends in Asheville and am now up in Milford, PA with family preparing for the venture out west.
The temps up here in northeastern PA are markedly cooler and less humid than those of the Outer Banks and even good ol' Asheville. The locals complain of the heat and the stickiness while I marvel at the non-hazy horizon and sigh at the cool breeze upon my skin. I find myself wondering what kind of temperatures and weather I will encounter out west and am already beginning to root through my gear for my thermals and hat. I have purchased an ID book to the plants of the Rocky Mountains by Lone Pine Publications and intend to purchase a guide for the Sierra Nevada as I near California. My father and I will be leaving in the early morning hours on Monday, headed for Ohio on the first night.
In the meantime, I've been getting to know the plants in this special little place, nestled in the Appalachian mountains, more specifically, the Poconos. Surrounding my parents property is 1000 acres of preserved forest land called the Milford Experimental Forest, thanks to Peter Pinchot, family to Gifford Pinchot whom is often called the Father of Conservation. Herein, the pristine Sawkill Stream bubbles over flat slate rock, along embankments thick with fern, and meanders through a mix of young hardwoods, Hemlock and White pine. There are few to no trails, but between this stream, the road, and the gas pipeline, it's fairly easy to keep my bearings. With few trails and a host of “No Trespassing Signs” these woods see little to no foot traffic from townspeople, and so are splendid to wander...just me, the plants, the trees, the birds, and the critters big and small.
|White Wood Aster (Aster divaricatus): As far as I know this plant is neither edible nor medicinal. But it sure is pretty, livening up the country roadsides around here.|