Saturday, May 4, 2013

Take a Hike: Holt Pond Preserve


Over 400 wetland, field and forest acres make up Holt Pond Preserve in Naples, Maine, including a 41 acre shallow lake (with a maximum depth of 10 feet). There's a Red Maple swamp area to meander through as well as hummocks, "nutrient rich glacial deposits where hemlocks take root". Grey Herons nest in the area, but beavers, a variety of fish, moose, minx, and numerous species of birds also make this area their home. Moss, pitcher plants, swamp rose, water lillies, and a variety of broadleaf and evergreen trees grow abundant. It's a quiet, meandering 5.3 mile walk through wooded paths and on bouncy boardwalks that rest on floating sphagnum moss.


In no hurry, we strolled along the trail, stopping often and looking for signs of spring.  The swamp grass and broadleafs remain brown and yellowed from winter. We heard Canada Geese as soon as we reached the pond and soon they flew overhead, honking loudly. We searched for frogs along the pond's edges and swaying plant life beneath the water's surface, but only found Water Skiers flitting about the surface. Blue Jays squawked from the trees overhead.


We found different kinds of fungus and moss growing on both live and dead trees.


Cati searched and found some "baby" Fiddlehead Ferns just a few inches tall along the wetland areas. Fiddleheads can be harvested, cooked and eaten. (The taste reminds me of asparagus. Bleck! :wink:) Wintergreen was everywhere. The kids plucked some leaves to crush and smell.


We also located both male and female catkins. Can you tell which is which? (Hint: We call the male catkins 'bananas'.) Catkins are flower clusters on certain species of trees such as birch, willow, chestnut, and hickory and are either wind or insect pollinated. These males, old and brown from another season, are usually a yellow-green, but the females tend to be brownish cones.


Sam was quite fascinated with this grouping of plants in the middle of a ring of trees. The leaves felt "velvety" and were a vibrant green. (We're still working on identifying them.)


Along the way, we stopped for a snack break among some Fairy Houses that previous visitors had constructed. Inspired, Cati created her own house to go with the the others who were in "disrepair" from the winter months. Using only natural plants from around the area, she made a tipi-style house with an awning over the door, a garden of pine cones and a stick fence.


We decided to turn back after we reached about half-way and followed a narrow, deeply rutted dirt road back to the parking lot. It was getting warm and SOMEONE didn't pack enough food to satisfy the hikers. :wink: And trust me - hungry hikers make for grumpy explorers!

17 comments:

  1. Hungry hikers are grumpy...they need their energy. Just tell them next time they can carry the extra. :)

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    1. LOL They do carry their own things in a backpack, but I forgot just how hungry they get when we're out meandering around. Ravenous!

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  2. Jessy, I love the new blog! Your pics and collages are beautiful! What a great place to visit. I'm glad you were in no hurry and could enjoy all of the interesting things around you...and even had time for a fairy house:)

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    1. Thanks Jenn! Our hikes are more about the experience than the destination. We didn't finish this one, but we have in the past. The important thing is enjoying our time together in nature!

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  3. Such great photos! It looks like a really fun hike. You saw lots of cool things along the way!

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    1. Thanks! Wonder what more we'll see as spring marches on?

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  4. So much fun!! loved all your pictures and the fairy houses~

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    1. Thanks, Tina! Cati does like making fairy houses! The boys? Not so much, but they find things to do while she's busy building.

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  5. I love nature trails and nature walks!! What a great place. I really love the fungus and moss. They are beautiful. And Fairy houses!! Keilee would be giddy. Great walk Jessy!

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    1. Fairy houses are a fun idea for kids to be creative outside. When the boys build they call them "gnome homes". LOL

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  6. What a gorgeous preserve! I love seeing children getting a lot of Vitamin N :) The fairy house is adorable!

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    1. I LOVE that - Vitamin N! How perfect!

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  7. Neat pictures! I took my younger boys to a bog yesterday while my bigger kids went to a birdwatching class nearby. But I was busy trying to keep my toddler from getting too wet so it was hard to take many good pictures. :-)

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  8. What a fun day in such a beautiful place! We have a similar place near here called Roger's Environmental Center. That mystery plant kind of reminds me of what we used to call skunk cabbage when I was a kid. It grew in the woods by our house. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. These are times memories are made of.....Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  10. I enjoyed this so much - thank you. The photos are brilliant and I didn't know that about the male and female catkins. I love baby ferns!
    Lucinda (via Collage Friday)

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  11. Your pictures are great. What a beautiful area!

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