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Monday, May 17, 2021

More Blazing, More Botany

  Andrea and I got another whole mile blazed today! Let me just remind you what a good blaze looks like. The bark is scraped enough so that the paint won't flake off, but not enough to break the inner bark and make the tree "bleed." A good blaze has nice square corners and is visible from a good line of sight distance. blue trail blaze

Sadly, I can show you what is not a good blaze. Sigh. Found this one last week. It's on a red pine, and that bark flakes off continuously. There was not even an attempt to scrape it. This will be gone in 2 years. And... what a mess. Two blazes mean a turn, and the top one is offset in the direction of the turn. That means the arrow is just plain not necessary. It simply adds to the junky look in the woods. poor trail blaze

We did one other thing today in addition to painting blue blazes and trimming branches so the blazes aren't hidden. We used some gray spray paint to help obscure that horrible dark blue paint that had been sprayed all over. There was so much of it, we weren't able to scrape it all away. This helps hide it, and it will quickly look pretty natural as the gray fades. gray spray paint on a tree

Now let's go back to the downy yellow violet. I managed to get a picture of the important features. For one thing, it's... downy. See the tiny fuzzy hairs? And it has stipules. Those are the little leaves right where the side stems meet the main stem.
downy yellow violet

And the key features for the long-spurred violet are: the long spur (that purple "tail" behind the blossom), and the fact that it's stemmed. That means the flowers are growing on the same stalks as some of the leaves. If you go look at the violets in your lawn, you'll see (probably- most of those are going to be common violet) that the flowers are each on a stalk of their own and each leaf has a stalk of it's own. No sharing, like these ones.
long spurred violet

And, I found lots of the other bedstraw. This one is wild licorice, Galium circaezans. The key thing to look for is four leaves in each whorl around the stem. There are a couple others with only 4 leaves, but the shape is distinctive too, neither too long and thin nor short and very round. It will have small white flowers. Maybe I'll catch pictures since we'll be out painting blazes for quite a while yet. This is a four mile section, so working both ways we have 8 miles to blaze and we only have 2.5 done. wild licorice

North Country Trail miles for 2021 is at 289.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI. 5 Mile Road north for 2 miles and back.

In other news: I edited in the morning and did two loads of laundry. The afternoon was dedicated to the trail blazing.

See Blazing and Botany


Ann said...

You should teach a class in how to properly paint blazes.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "I guess amateurs shouldn't paint blazes! In fact, Dada has a story that reveals what can happen when they do!"
Charlee: "I don't think amateur trail blazers ever end up trapped in time-looped clearings with undead witches in real life."
Lulu: "They might! And if they did, how would anyone ever find out?"

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- I have done just that!

Lulu- Sounds like Dada's story would be a good match for mine called "The Valley"

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