Mother Nature Naked

She is not bashful, nor does she suffer any embarrassment when her naked beauty is revealed; nevertheless, Mother Nature typically clothes herself in a wide variety of fine raiment. Cloaked in snow or covered by meadows and prairies of wild grasses and flowers, or hidden under a blanket of leaves, she rarely shows off her warm, rich, chocolaty skin of bare soil; unless from the scars of the farmer’s till. Springs have always evoked the generative, life sustaining qualities that remind us of our intimate connection and dependence on Mother Nature. I hope that you enjoy these pictures of the Scuppernong Springs and appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature stripped bare. I can’t wait till she is dressed again in fresh colors.

I took some pictures on May 6th before the burn and got some post burn shots yesterday. The fire did its work with consummate efficiency. The tour starts at the Hotel Springs and follows the trail to the north past the old barn site and then takes the cut-off trail west to the marl pits, joining the main loop trail to cross the bridge at the stream gaging station, and onto the Indian Campground, the south end of the loop and finally, from the Scuppernong Spring down the river valley returning to the Hotel Spring.

Looking south from the Hotel Springs area.

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The old hotel site.

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Below is the bowl of the lower pond and it was thickly covered with cattails, willow and other vegetation. When I lit this from the west bank of the river, it erupted into a conflagration of intense and immense proportion that engulfed the bowl in 20′ flames, from which a column of black smoke ascended high above the tree tops.

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The east junction of the cut-off trail and the main loop trail.

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Walking west on the cut-off trail.

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Lindsay worked hard to save this unusual oak tree that speared its spreading branches into the earth.
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The last few pictures above are where the cut-off trail meets the main loop trail at the marl pits. Elias Wilson lit over 30 brush piles in this area in approximately an hour. I am thrilled to see the views that have opened up into the Scuppernong River valley from the main loop trail as you approach the stream gaging station bridge.

These views to the south show the area to the east of the marl pit bridge.

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The day of the burn I witnessed a roaring head fire move across this area and I worried for the safety of the marl pit bridge, which you can see at the right of this picture.

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When I got there I found the southeast corner of the bridge on fire and put it out as quick as I could. Sorry Ron!!!

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Here are some before and after shots taken from the marl pit bridge.

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Some views from the area at or near the bridge at the stream gaging station.

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During the mop up, Dan tried to drop this smoldering snag to the north, away from the trail, but without wedges, it was impossible. I cleared this from the trail yesterday.

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Classic views from the Indian Campground.

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She scenery at the south end of the loop trail.

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Dropping into the bowl of the Scuppernong Spring.

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Looking down the valley.

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Lindsay discovered the boardwalk at the far end of the Hatching House Spring, which is in the foreground of the picture below, and made a valiant effort to save it; getting a close encounter with intense heat on his face, especially his nose. He flipped it over and the fire went out, but the boardwalk is badly damaged.
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I have been planning for a couple months with the work release coordinators at the Sturtevant Transitional Facility to have some inmate “volunteers” come out to The Springs to help pile brush. Yesterday was our “pilot” adventure and the plane may have crashed. The inmates may have agreed in principle to volunteer but they were not told in advance when this might occur. Yesterday they were already on-site at the Bong Recreational Area, where they have been working for over a month to earn “release” money, when they were ordered to get in the van and “volunteer” at the Scuppernong Springs under threat of going to “the hole” if they did not agree. They were willing to volunteer, but not under those conditions and not at the expense of giving up a day when they could earn some desperately needed money ($2.00/hr after the State takes its cut). They were not in the best of spirits and when I found out the story, I suggested they just relax, which they did. But watching me pile all by myself, they couldn’t help it and they did pitch in a bit. We made 18 piles at the start of the buckthorn alley and another 8 piles by the Hotel Springs.

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John, Mike, Jeremy and Ray.

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John found these “mushrooms” above the old hotel site. Turkey eggs?

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The fire did not obliterate all the color. Below, the marsh marigolds are flowering at the Hillside Springs.

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A beautiful, warm, bug-free sunset!

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See you at The Springs!

7 thoughts on “Mother Nature Naked

  1. Super Awesome burn in preparation for a new reality at the Springs. I looked around for you but did not find you the day after the burn. What a change for the better. Hope to walk around again next week.
    Rich

  2. how exciting- looking forward to hiking there soon. Looks like a glorious clean slate now. thank you thank you !!

  3. nice post. When I read the title I was afraid it would be you in the au naturel. Fortunately it was Ma Nature. Funny story about the volunteers too.

  4. Sue and Tim and I enjoyed scoping out the burned areas. Last year we saw northern water snakes at the marl pit bridge, once with a sculpin in the snakes mouth. On Wed, May 8, 2013 we saw another water snake and he again came up with a sculpin in his mouth ! Can’t believe we got to see this a second time. Paul needs to watch out nude bathing in this area ! Nice to see sculpins still in area.

  5. Pingback: Oaken Word | Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

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