Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Fever in Valley Forge

Opening day of trout season on Valley Creek
Today (Saturday, March 30) was probably the nicest day so far this year, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s. Because rain is forecast for tomorrow, Easter Sunday, Kali and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and repeat the circuit hike we enjoyed earlier this year (see February 4th post) which involved ascending (and descending) Mt. Misery and Mt. Joy in Valley Forge National Historical Park.  Lots of other folks had spring fever, too, because the park was crowded and parking spots at a premium.

A view back down the Mt. Misery Trail we had just climbed
There were no signs of spring in the woods, and the forest looked much like it did when we hiked here a few weeks ago, so I didn't take any new pictures in  he woodlands.  But midway along the hike, we reaches the bank of Valley Creek, a cold-water trout stream--a rarity in our area.  Fishers were using the nice weather to cast for brown trout on the opening day of trout season.  Valley Creek is catch-and-release only because the water is contaminated with PCBs.

All of the green on the hillside above the fisherman is...
...Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), an extremely aggressive riparian invasive, just beginning to bloom
Playing on a log over the creek

A local sportmen's club has planted riparian buffers on the banks of Valley Creek in the the park.  The plantings have to be fenced to keep the park's superabundant deer away from the newly planted trees and shrubs.

The dogs didn't seem to mind, but the female half of this fording duo was squealing about the "cold water"
Valley Forge topography - that's wooded Mt. Joy, our next goal, in the background
An infected red maple tree
On the crest of Mt. Joy, we came across this solitary red maple (Acer rubra) infected with a fungus that causes these burls, carbuncles and swollen growths.  The tree was still very much alive and its leaves were ready to burst open any day now.


packrat said...

Great photos, Scott. Of course I like the one of the dogs forging the creek. I'm also fascinated by the infected red maple tree.

Have you noticed that for a while now you have to click on each image separately to enlarge it. I wonder what's happened to Blogger's scrolling feature.

Scott said...

Packrat: I had you in mind specifically when I took that photograph of the dogs in the creek; I'm glad I was right. The dogs trotted out of the creek, came up to greet me, and shook themselves (of course). I had to protect my camera from the spray.

I was also hoping that one of the young people would slip on the algae-cover rocks and give me a memorable image (just kidding).

I hadn't noticed the need to enlarge each image separately, but I'll check it our now.