Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our BIG Yard

that we take care of here at Moosehorn NWR. 

I usually mow while Wallace weed eats and moves the picnic tables.  He gets the tough, dirty jobs.  We start at headquarters.

Just across the road is the visitor cabin and information kiosk.

Then mowing the edge of the main road down to the entrance. 

To the left of the entrance, I then mow down this trail (Greg's Pond Trail).

It is more like a road, but it gets mowed as the growth gets pretty thick further down the trail as you will see in the next picture.

Then I get back on the main road and mow the road edge to the Woodcock Trail.

This trail is handicapped access and I mow a half mower width on both sides of the trail which is a third of a mile long and loops back to the parking lot.

Then on down the road edge to the beginning where it turns into the refuge off Charlotte Road, back to the entry sign while mowing the side of the road which takes me to the island at the Charlotte Trail parking lot.

After this, I mow the road edge to the horse trailer parking lot.

This gives you an idea what the side of the roadways look like. From here, I mow on down the road to this area.

The YCC building and where we are parked.

And then just opposite here is another trail head for the Charlotte Trail.

This trail is right next to where we are parked and many times I will take my hand clippers and towels to tidy up the signs and clip the branches that grow out onto the trail.  It also gets mowed.  You can see the horse trailer parking lot in the right of the picture.

Next I mow up the road to headquarters and down the other side of the road until it brings me back to headquarters.  Now you have been given a tour of the refuge entrance area .  I do it in this order so as not to waste time going back and forth.  One big circle.

Now we load up the truck and travel to gates and other parking lots nearby.

Wallace weed eats around the boulders and I mow.  Then on to our next spot.

These are before and after pictures.  This is our Wildlife Viewing area where we have a Bald Eagle nest with one eaglet.  Yeah!!!

This is another parking lot where you can park to go fishing.  I mow up and down the trail that takes you to the water while Wallace weed eats around the boulders.

Our next stop is at the gates and another road that takes you to another trail on Icehouse Road called Dan's Trail, a trail that takes you up to look into Canada and the St. Croix River.

You can hardly see the boulders to the right in this picture.

Now you can see them...onto the gates...there are about 30 gates scattered about.  We need only show one.

Now we don't have to wade through the weeds to unlock the gate.
The vegetation was really overgrown when we got here.

One more parking lot where people go to launch kayaks and canoes and that is at Bearce Lake.  Wallace weed eats the whole area.

Whew...after all that...pork chops for supper.

We are sure glad the whole 30,000 acres does not have to be mowed.  hehe.

A part of the mission of wildlife refuges is the enhancement of the properties.  We are happy to do our part and take great pride in how it looks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Take a Hike

on the Gulf Hagas trail.  The trail system to the Gulf Hagas uses the AT as an approach and we hiked it as far as Gulf Hagas Brook which is a tributary to the Pleasant River to get to Screw Auger Falls, our destination this day.

The area is managed by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club in cooperation with Katahdin Ironworks Jo-Mary, Inc.

Our plan was to maybe camp out in our tent, so we went prepared.  However, the tent sites there did not appeal to us.  This time being our first time to explore the area, our main goal was to hike some of the trail.

We drove for about two hours to get there and the first stop was at the checkpoint

where you have to pay a fee to travel the roads (being 70 years of age, the fee was waived---otherwise it's $20.00).  Directly across the road is the HUGE Katahdin Ironworks.

The site houses the remains of a blast furnace in the above photo, and a charcoal kiln.

This picture shows you how massive the furnace is...Wallace is playing peek-a-boo.  

There were several kilns when it was originally built in 1843, and it was in operation for 25 years.  During its operation, nearly 2000 tons of iron was produced here.  There was a thriving village with a large hotel.  It is a national landmark today.

The roads are called "tote" roads, meaning they are ROUGH roads used for hauling supplies, especially into lumber camps.  They are full of potholes and rocks and we drove it 6 miles to arrive at the first parking lot for the trail.  Ah...undeveloped wilderness!!!

We crossed several wooden bridges.

And signs were helpful.

The parking lot was full.

There we are next to the red vehicle.

First line of business to take care of was to empty the bladders.  There was a separate one for the ladies and it was very nice and clean...even smelled okay.

Looking over the information at the trail head, we are now ready to start our hike.


We crossed the Pleasant River which was only knee deep and is 150 feet to cross, with the aid of a stick.  The rocks were slippery.

This section of the trail we found to be boring in the fact there was no wildlife (a few birds singing) and no unusual plants, but I did spy this pretty little oxalis.

And a portion of the trail went through this grove of huge white pines, some being 150 years old, and is part of the Hermitage owned by the Maine Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Next we had to cross a narrower stream, Gulf Hagas Brook, where the stream was moving faster, and where I took a tumble!!!  I fell on by back and my head took a whack creating a big goose egg.  Did I mention the rocks were slippery?  I take our little Kodak camera with us on trips like this, and thank goodness because it went in the stream with me.  This little camera is much like the keeps on clicking.  No pictures of my graceful fall though as I had the camera.  But, Wallace got me after the incident.

You can see my wet backside.  Actually, the dip was quite refreshing.  Screw Auger Falls was just around the corner.

After that, we turned around and backtracked...without incident.  The hike was about three miles long and really easy.

The name Katahdin means "Greatest Mountain" and is Maine's highest peak at 5,267 feet.  It is located inside Baxter State Park, and it is the terminus for the AT.  In our blog from the summer of 2011, you can find out more about the park from that trip there.

Our future plan is to return, camp out at another nice place we found, and do the full nine miles when we know we won't be rained on...and Wallace's feet can recuperate.

You can bet we will find a great place to eat... in Millinocket and as you can see, the parking lot was full.

I had the chicken parmigiana and Wallace had the haddock.  This restaurant gets a 10.

Driving over, we did see a fox, a moose and a grouse.  When we got back to the refuge, a bear crossed the road in front of us.  A great ending to another great adventure.

I commented on Judy's blog that I would show my photo of the Lady's Slipper of the it is.

There are about 15 flowers in this bunch, and I check on it each year we are back.  It is still there!!!

Until next time...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The 16th Fishing Derby

was a success...beautiful weather...good food... great fishing...happy kids...mucho fun.

We had taken the canopy tents over prior to this day and set them up IN THE RAIN.  There were four of us, and it took all morning.  Of course, it is a 45 minute drive over and then 45 minutes back, as the fishing derby is held at the Edmunds Division of the refuge.

This little blonde girl at the registration table became the first child to catch the first fish of the day.   The fishing starts at 9:00 am and the children are allowed to catch five fish each.  Below is her picture with that fish.

The only thing she did was reel the fish in.  Her uncle took it off as she would not even touch it.  The wiggling fish scares the daylight out of some of the kids.  They really entertain us with their giggles and smiles of delight, especially when it is their first fishing experience.  

This cute little tyke caught his five fish and was ready to go home and fry them up.

We supply fishing poles to those who do not have one to use for the day.  Wallace helped get them all fixed up and ready for use.

Prizes are given for three age categories.  Look at all the nice prizes this year.  There are many other ways to win though.  First fish caught, the total weight of the five fish and drawings throughout.

Many of the local businesses donate to this fishing derby each year.

We supply the worms to fish and drinks...prizes, and of course plenty of fish to catch.  The pond was stocked with 500 trout and they were hungry.  I sure wanted to wet a hook!!!

As the sign is open only to children, ages 16 and under!!!

This young boy was the winner in his division.  I watched him.  He knew what he was doing.  A serious fisherman.

Check out the hand with the hot dog...dirty, but who cares!!!

Red wieners...only in MAINE and they really are RED.

This little cutie reminded me of my one and only granddaughter.  This was her very first fish and it was a BIG one.  Look at that gorgeous smile.  She  was tickled, and squealing with delight.  

Below is another winner.

We leave this post with other scenes from the fishing derby of 2013

This little one had a death grip on his fish and all the wiggling did not deter him, he was not going to let it get away.

At the start, they were lined up on the bank shoulder to shoulder.  As they limited out,  more room became available for casting out and less tangling of lines.

A fun time was had by all.  

This was our 6th fishing derby to participate in and I had a BLAST.

Until next time...