Spring is Springing

The trails are drying out and the hiking is good and the woods are just going green. We went out around Benedict Pond at Beartown State Forest in Monterey yesterday and had a great time of it. It was early in the season so to ease into the season, we took the shorter “heart healthy” trail that goes all the way around the lake.

The last vestiges of this year’s huge snowpack remained just at the water’s edge on the South East corner of the lake, but we barely touched snow. The main reason the snow was avoidable, as well as the gift of avoiding most of the trail’s muddy spots was due to the Boy Scouts of America, who in the fall finished building a large number of wooden platform boardwalks that spanned some of the most notorious wet spots. These boardwalks complimented the existing ones that have been in place for years very well. The older ones are still holding up, but mind your step just the same. One of the older boardwalk sections did have a broken walking plank in one span. The oldest and most heavily used boardwalk sections are on the East side where for a brief time we join with the legendary Appalachian Trail. It felt great to be out on the AT if only for a brief section.

Out on the trail, it is not very green yet but nice. Watch out for last season’s leaves as they are still filling in some of the trail, and can obscure hidden roots or rocks, plus they can be slippery. It sounds funny thinking about fall foliage in the spring, but there it is.

Speaking of fall, we all love the colors and maybe go out for hikes to see them, but spring offers another glimpse of those colors as the new leaf buds open and show their true colors before the chlorophyll fills in and turns everything summer’s green. Looking around at the hill sides around the lake, we saw the reds and yellows of new leaf growth faintly warming the browns and tans of the forest.

The trees are busy getting their leaves out but the beavers are busy as well, cutting a few of the trees down, fortifying their lodges and generally doing their thing. Life must not be too hard for a beaver on Benedict Pond, no need for large dams as the water level is controlled already, they just have to deal with a few tourists!

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