Welcome back to The Springs! I was lucky and fortunate to spend both this past Saturday and Sunday at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail. I don’t know if the health benefits derived from the fresh air, sunshine and cold spring water can be objectively measured, but by the end of the day yesterday, I was in a blissful state.
Rich Csavoy joined me bright and early yesterday morning and we loaded up our backpack sprayers and got after the garlic mustard in the area around the old barn site. Rich showed me what the seeds look like when they first emerge and we tried to hit some of these, which literally formed a carpet in some areas. The DNR intends to burn here if conditions permit, but “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”, and we are not assuming this will happen. We also sprayed some spotted knapweed on the Sand Prairie that covers the Indian Campground.
After spraying we commenced girdling aspen trees at the old barn site. I refer to them as “clones” in the video below, but the correct term is clonal colony.
We are refining our techniques but this type of hand work is laborious. This is my first attempt at girdling aspen in this way, without using poison, and I want to give it a fair shot. I must confess though that the prospect of girdling the clonal colony of huge aspen at the old hotel site by hand is a little daunting. When I was working at the Hartland Marsh, I used my chainsaw to girdle a clonal colony of 40-50 huge aspen and I sprayed some glyphosate into the cuts. This worked perfectly and to this day there is nary an aspen in sight. I’m inclined to use the same approach at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail except for switching from Glyphosate to Transline, which the DNR uses for black locust, which spreads by putting out suckers from it’s roots . We’ll see how it goes.
After dispatching that clonal colony of aspen, we grabbed some heavy duty garbage bags and picked up litter on both sides of Hwy 67 south of where east-bound Hwy ZZ leaves Hwy 67. I had noticed a lot of trash when I was spraying garlic mustard along the highway on Saturday. This was a good opportunity to get some nice views of the springs and river.
Finally, Rich loaded his van with cherry, oak and buckthorn firewood and I headed over to the cut-off trail with my chainsaw. Here is a view of the area from across the river at the old hotel site. You can see a swath of buckthorn amongst a large sugar maple tree.
I was chomp’in at the bit to finish this last stretch of buckthorn between the cut-off trail and the river and slashed and flailed with impassioned vigor. Three tankfuls later…
The view across the freshly cut area from the cut-off trail.
And the view from the old hotel site.
By the time I loaded my gear back in the truck and began my ritual walking tour, I was very relaxed. The Marl Pit bridge is one of my favorite places to hang out. In the summer, I always take a bath here in the river and do a little yoga to relieve any muscle stress. Here is panorama video from that location.
The frogs are very active in the wetlands and old cranberry bogs along the cut-off trail. Last spring it was so dry, there was barely a peep from the frogs. Check them out if you get a chance.
The Indian Spring.
Sunset at Ottawa Lake.
See you at The Springs!