Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting off the Trail in Sussex

What a fantastic day.  It is approaching mid November and the temperature today reached 16C according to the thermometer on my truck.  My wife and I took advantage of my rare day off and took the kids for a long walk along the nature trail from Sussex to Sussex Corner.  We met a friend and her two boys in Sussex and walked to Sullivan Park in Sussex Corner.  The warm temperatures meant that we could walk in t-shirts and enjoy the warm sun on our faces.

On every turn of the Trout Creek there were mallards swimming playfully and the kids loved watching them take flight.  Blue jays flitted low to the ground and their bright blue feathers stood out now with no leaves in the trees to keep them hidden.  The aging poplars, that are so abundant along the trail, provided a great lunch for a hairy woodpecker that my wife spotted while I was showing the kids the blue jays.  The whole day we were serenaded by chickadees but it took me a while to listen.

The trail was relatively dry and the older boys jumped at the opportunity to explore off the trail when I offered it up.  The flood plain was even dry and the well spaced ash, poplar, and birch allowed the boys to jump and climb what ever they could.  It was cool watching them explore.  The naturalist in me noticed how many poplar there were and how old they were.  I also noticed that there was very little undergrowth to replace the aging hardwoods.  There were lots of deer tracks around but I saw none but the number could explain the low understory cover.

It was a great day and it paid to get off the main trail.  We walked more than anticipated and it was a battle to put the kids to bed tonight.  When we have to battle like that it usually means they are really tired and it takes all of ten minutes for them to fall asleep.  That means that tonight I can do some writing.  I hope you enjoy what I wrote.

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