The Crooked Canes Journal


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Wilton Wildlife Preserve (sub for Merck Forest) ~ Apr 16, 2015

Journal entry by Joanne Armstrong



21 Canes gathered for a gentle stroll on a stellar day through the woods at Wilton Wildlife Preserve (WWP). The outing was a late change for the originally scheduled trip to Merck Forest which was impassable due to weather “issues” (think mud, snow, ice in mid-April). Low 60’s, sunny, light breeze, no bugs- today weather was on our side!
We began at the fire tower where volunteer/resident Larry Gordon met us and gave the Luther Forest history of the fire tower and how the tower came to be in WWP. We were able to climb the tower in groups of 5, then headed out on the trails.
Our own Jack Reber was along today and, having been a multi-year volunteer at WWP was able to offer lots of info and factoids about the property as we made our way through the many paths that lace these woods (Don, as usual, way out front!)
We concluded mid-day at the lovely new picnic shelter by the pond. Delicious brownies were provided by Margie and Fran (thank you both!), with a “Happy Birthday” chorus for Don and Joanne’s birthdays. A lovely, laid-back April outing--with all of our thoughts and best wishes going out for a speedy recovery to Linda Fedorick!
Weather: low 60’s/ sunny/light breeze/bugless (should I say “perfect” April day)
Distance: 5 miles, < 500’ elevation
Attendees: 21 -- Gail, Claire, Jack, Barbara, Karen, Leon, Ray, Margie, Fran, Lynn, Etta, Tom, Don, Sam, Kurt, Diane, Katie, Barbara, Jill, Mike, Linda, Joanne

4/20/15 - RayB Bouchard added 9 photos.

4/20/15 - Margie Litwin added 4 photos.

23 photos



Larry Gordon - Volunteer/resident of Wilton Wildlife Preserve offers history of fire tower to our group



Don ready to climb the fire tower.



View of the ground looking down from fire tower.



Fire tower caretakers quarters



Looking up!



Jack giving group WWP info



Jack explains !



Lunch table #1



Lunch table #2



Lunch table #3



Scene #1: A teaser from Merck Forest. Picture taken on April 9, before "Mud Season" began. It was a cold, blustery day but both the horse and the lady seemed happy. - added by RayB



New born lambs trying to stay warm. - added by RayB



OK, Who's next to up the tower? - added by RayB



Fran is scouring the horizon, ready to report the location of any wisps of smoke to DEC. - added by RayB



Kurt and Sam waiting their turn to go up the fire tower. - added by RayB



Gail and Tom enjoying each others company as they wait for the hiking to begin. - added by RayB



Claire is just about ready to hit the trail too. - added by RayB



WWP Part II: The hike at the Preserve ended after lunch, but 6 of us decided to drive a short distance to the Orra Phelps Nature Preserve to check out the wildflowers. This is a Skunk Cabbage that has already begun to leaf out. Inside the mottled Spathe is a central column called the Spadix which has several spent flowers growing on it. They whole thing will die back as the leaves continue to grow and provide nourishment to the roots. - added by RayB



It's a rather early for the usual Trilliums to be in bloom in Wilton, but mid-April is a good time to find the petite "Snow Trilliums" at the Orra Phelps Preserve. As you might have guessed, there was snow on the ground until just a few days ago. You can get an idea as to its size by comparing the plant to the needles of the White Pine. - added by RayB



Larry , the retired Fire Warden relating one of his many tales of the great outdoors in years past. Tom signs in for the visit. - added by Margie



Don and Tom high above the Saratoga County landscape enjoying the views from the tower. - added by Margie



The tower appears "brand spankin' new" with a fresh galvanized finish, repairs including a new roof and windows, and mammoth footings for its move to Wilton. Ready to face the next 90 years, having been originally erected in 1924 in Malta. - added by Margie



Looking west from Cornell Hill Fire Tower toward Mt. McGregor near the horizon. The red outhouse was rescued, moved here and refurbished. - added by Margie



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