Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mariton Redux

Mariton woods in October
The colorful portion of autumn in the northern Piedmont is rapidly coming to an end, so I Shanghaied Kali on Saturday afternoon and drove her to the Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary I had visited two weeks ago.  We first stopped for a really good lunch at the Fig Tree Cafe in Riegelsville, Pennsylvania, just outside the sanctuary. (We shared a proscuitto and fontina panini with fig-honey jam, a spring mix salad, and a bowl of baked potato soup).  Then, it was off for a walk.
Walking stick on a trail marker
As soon as we got to the trailhead, we came across a walking stick posed motionless on the trail marker.

I told Kali I wanted to walk to the Delaware River overlook, a destination I had not visited two weeks ago.
Delaware River view (upstream [north]).  New Jersey is on the right bank.
The overlook is perched at the edge of a sheer, rocky cliff, but the view of the Delaware is somewhat obscured by trees.

The one-way trail to the overlook was mostly downhill.  Kali, who is terribly out of shape, had to rest frequently on the way back up, giving me plenty of opportunities to capture some images.
Shelf fungi on a fallen branch
Maidenhair fern frond in the shady understory
Tussock moth caterpillar
Unlike my suburban preserve where deer have eaten much of the native understory vegetation, Mariton is located in a more rural location so there's hunting within - and all around - the sanctuary.  Hunting keeps the deer numbers low.  As a result, the native shrub layer is more diverse than it is in my preserve.  Maple-leaf viburnum is particularly common.
Maple-leaf viburnum
Fallen red maple leaves
We climbed to the highest point in the sanctuary (744 feet), then headed back down to the parking lot via the long, sinuous Squeeze Trail.
Black haw viburnum drupes
Kali in the autumn meadow
Kali's not good on rocky, steep trails, so she didn't much enjoy our walk.  We would have had a better afternoon if we had walked along the Delaware Canal towpath just outside the Fig Tree Cafe in Riegelsville.


packrat said...

Some colorful images here, Scott. I love coming across Walking Sticks. I recall doing research once about them, and I was surprised to learn that they range in size from 1" to over 1' depending on the type.

Your description of lunch really make me hungry.:)

Mark P said...

Those are some nice shots.

robin andrea said...

Looks like a beautiful day for a walk there. Love the photos. Such a perfect autumn day.

Scott said...

Packrat: I would guess that I come across a walking stick about once a year here; they're not at all common (or, maybe they're just not obvious). It's always a treat to see them. Our lunch at the Fig Tree Cafe was REALLY good; the focaccia bread for the panini was homemade, too!

Scott said...

Many thanks, Mark. I'm happy with some of the images myself.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: Halloween started out perfectly clear and sunny, but the clouds started to roll in mid-day. Kali was getting her hair cut that morning, and I kept wishing her to get home so that we could go on our little expedition while the sun was still shining. Unfortunately, it was variably cloudy by the time we got to Mariton. I was hoping for better light for photographing.