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Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Creeklet Excursion- Part 2

Today was a crazy day, but I'll finish telling you about the search for the source of the cemetery creek, before I go to bed.

First of all, I want to tell you that the spot where I left you yesterday is the very first place I ever saw a golden-crowned kinglet. That's a beautiful little bird that passes through our area in the springtime. I've never gotten a picture of one.


Just north of the pond, the creek disappears under bushes. If it weren't for the fact that there's just the hint of a depression in the ground, in the winter you might never know that there's a creek under there. I crossed some sort of two-track, like a farm lane along a fence line, but it has a culvert for the creek, so that was a big clue about where the creek goes. I had to decide which side of the creek to stay on, but I chose west because the brush wasn't as thick.

Soon, I was walking through the edge of a pine plantation, and it was obvious that I was still following the creek.

creek in winter

I like this one a lot. That little creek has enough gumption to bubble and move along fast enough to keep a strand of open water. But you can see how very little of a valley it has formed. It's just barely made a depression in the landscape.

If you look all the way to the back of that picture, as far away as you can see to where the creek disappears, you will find what you can see in the next picture.

cattail marsh

A common cattail marsh. The cattail is the most common freshwater marsh plant in the United States. Maybe I should tell you more about it some time. It's a rather amazing plant even though it's so common. As you can see, this one marsh is pretty good sized. And... the creek simply disappeared!

Here's where I confess to some advance research. I had looked at the topo map before I ever left home. You might have guessed that, since I claimed to know how long the creek was, even though I'd never been to the source. So I knew that I was going to be looking for a marsh.

I walked along the edge of the marsh, in the pines until I found a place open enough to get out to the cattails. I still couldn't see any thread of open water. But suddenly the sounds beneath my feet changed. I tapped with the ski pole I had with me, and was pretty sure that I was detecting ice. So I scraped the snow away, and sure enough, there was thick clear ice beneath me.

ice under snow

Although it was good and solid right there, ice under snow can be really tricky. It is likely to be soft and mushy in places. While I'm sure that the water wouldn't have been deep anywhere there, walking home with a wet foot wouldn't have been any fun at all, so I decided not to tramp around.

It turned out that the hike was really short. Maybe in the spring this would be an interesting place to visit and see just how much open water there is. There must be a spring that feeds the marsh.

With no homes or any other buildings nearby, I don't have any qualms about visiting there again and poking around some more. There are actually some very interesting things about comparing the topographic map to the reality of this stream. I think that could be a future post. Hope you've enjoyed this little effort at exploration!

See A Creeklet Excursion- Part 1


Ann said...

Enjoyed the exploring and look forward to the trip back come spring. The marsh reminded me of a spot I was taking pictures at last summer. I wanted a closer shot of some cattails and ended up ankle deep in water. Wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't so muddy and I hadn't been wearing white sneakers at the time...lol

rainfield61 said...

I won't trace the source of a creek at Cerok Tokun.

I may end up going very deep into the forest.

humble opinion by sirrob said...

The first thing I noticed was.. the dog. I love your dog. Can I have it? LOL

Duxbury Ramblers said...

I have never heard them called cattails :) we call them bulrush or reedmace. You will need your wellies to go looking in spring :)

jeanlivingsimple said...

You never fail to amaze me with your interesting finds on your hikes! Love the little creek. I would love to see a Golden Crown Kinglet.

spotted face said...

Thanks for the posts of this walk. Loved the pics. Here's to you getting out there this spring!

spinninglovelydays said...

What a nice discovery! Cattails have always intrigued me. I first encountered them illustrated in a children's book and they looked like hotdog-bearing plants, lol

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- I'll try to take us back there. Yeah... one has to plan to get wet when visiting cattails.

rainfield- I know I would not feel nearly so comfortable in your forests... too many things I would not know how to recognize- you would have to be my guide

sir rob- Maggie would be happy to be your friend!

Carol- ha! here bulrush is a different plant, and I've never heard of "reedmace." And I only know what wellies are from reading books! We just call 'em rubber boots.

Jean- I'd love to show you a picture... but it's really hard to get bird pix with a dog on my walks.

Casey- thanks for stopping by! I just visited Fungal Threads- Great stuff!

Ivy- OK! I'll be sure to feature cattails again.

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