Hooker Mountain Hike Report By Scott Fielder – June 17th 2008

June 17 started out rather ominously as a cloudy/misty day but 24 brave souls gathered at our house in Chaseville for a caravan off to Hooker Mountain, the highest point in the Town of Maryland. We enjoyed a pleasant hike on the trail through the state land emerging on Norton Road and continuing on Dog Hill Road and back to our cars on Hooker Mountain Road. In places a carpet of ferns filled the forest. I rescued several Red Efts from our many feet on the trail. Red Efts are the terrestrial stage of the Red Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens). The only unpleasant part of the hike was the obvious presence of Gypsy Moth and/or Forest Tent Caterpillars. Canada Mayflower and Blue Cohosh had finished blooming but we saw a few red Columbines. We heard Ovenbirds and Red-eyed Vireos.

We took a different route back to our house, going down Chaseville Road, so that people could see the beautiful view of South Hill bordering the Schenevus Creek Valley. As lead vehicle, I also got to see a deer, a turkey, and a grouse. Others also saw the grouse as it waited patiently in the grass at the edge of the road, waiting for all of the cars to pass.

At our house I led a brief tour around the perimeter of our property, pointing out my fruit trees, garden, occupied bird houses, and former location of a millrace. As I was showing an elderberry bush, we saw a colorful Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (Desmocerus palliates). We had our lunch on the deck, followed by ice cream. The timing was perfect, as the sun came out, giving a pleasant ending to an interesting hike. Photographs by Currie Marr: 1) Along the Path, 2) Fern Ground Cover, 3) Hiking Group, 4) Red Eft, 5) Mountain Top View, 6) Scott’s Garden, 7) Apricots, 8) Elderberry Longhorn Beetle, and 9) Lunch.

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