Alas the first snows have already fallen in our rocky northeastern mountains along the Delaware River. The delicate warm weather plants have nestled their seeds deep into the earth to slumber until spring and even the hardy weeds such as Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and Burdock (Arctium spp.) have surrendered their green leaves to the cold sending their energy into their long taproots. However a number of the trails that carry us atop these plants and past their evergreen companions are still accessible and the views...well they are better than ever.
|Sign at Tusten Mountain Trailhead off of Crawford Rd, complete with map|
Please allow me to transport you to a warmer time...early this past Spring...when I first discovered this trail. I knew that I would be teaming up with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy to lead a hike here in the fall and so I needed to do a preliminary hike to aquaint myself. My love and I were psyched to learn of a new trail just upriver from our home and so we set out eagerly.
|Walking the dirt road that that leads to the loop up and over Tusten Mountain|
|Scott walking atop Stone Arch Bridge|
|Ten Mile River that flows beneath the Stone Arch Bridge|
Leaving the dirt road, we were soon embraced by some of the largest White Pines (Pinus strobus) I have ever seen, tall slender Eastern Hemlocks with heavy green boughs, and of course in these hills, more boulders. We took the right branch of the trail, unknowingly heading up the steeper route to the summit. Here the trail climbed straight up, but because we had to stop several times to catch our breath we had the honor of admiring the many clusters of Rattlesnake Weed (Hieracium venosum) and bobbing flower faces of Mayapple.
|Rattlesnake Weed (Hieracium venosum)|
|Leaf of Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)|
|Flower of Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) found beneath cover of two umbrella-like leaves|
|View from Tusten Mountain in the Spring|
|The insect guarding the summit of Tusten Mountain - mind you he was still as that stone as well|
|The bell-shaped flowers of Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)|
|Inconspicuous green flowers of Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum)|
|Scott making his way through the Eastern Hemlocks atop one of the hand-crafted wooden bridges|
|Tusten Mountain Trail hike (October 8, 2016)|
Thank you Tusten Mountain and thank you to all who made this trail what it is from the quarrymen of Tusten settlement to the attendees of that day's hike. The trail awaits even in the slumber of winter for your discovery - take a hike!