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Gilbert Lake State Park Hike – Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Report by Aleda Koehn - After snow, cold, heavy rain, warm, and predictions of more showers, Tuesday turned out to be a beautiful day in our neighborhood - sunny and in the fifties. A group of 20 came out for a welcome respite from winter. Four of the group started to walk around the lake in a counter clock wise direction but found portions of the trail icy. They connected with the road and continued their enjoyable walk around the lake. The other hikers took cars to the small parking area by the north end of the lake where we began the trail around the two ponds. The trail was mostly covered with soft snow, only a few spots were crossed by a melted area and no ice. However, occasionally one's foot would sink- "post hole", through the weakened ice hidden under the snow giving way over a wet spot. But... nobody fell or got stuck! Under a dead tree was a pile of fresh wood chips left by the Pileated Woodpecker. At Ice Pond, we saw that the Beaver family had been very busy logging. We continued our circuit, stopping at Lake of the Twin Fawns. No view of red Winter Berry this year. A long uphill, a few soft spots, and finally past the area where the Wilderness Trail connects. Someone saw a Spotted Salamander just lying on the snow. Its six inch black body with bright yellow spots certainly looked out of place on the white snow. No, it did not say "Made in China" on its underside. The animal was sluggish but alive! Like us, this salamander must have been happy to have a warm break from winter. Our two hour hike was 3.2, 3.5, 3.6 miles depending on whom you asked. Great day!!! Photos by Betsy O’Brien

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