Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hell or Hibernia

I started out my Saturday with a trip to the "Cat" to hike the Four Birds Trail. On my way up I-287 it was a steady downpour which was making me wonder if I would make it to the Bat Cave just to turn around, but on Exit 41B to 80 West everything cleared up.

You can't miss this sign.
Starting out at the Bat Cave Property I headed to the cave, haven't been there since my 37th birthday and there was a cold wind blowing out of the cave, that's something I forgot about. The trail was extra moist & slippery, but that didn't stop me.

I missed this early on but saw it on the way back. 
That's not Ectoplasm but a slight fog from the cave.
From here I headed off to the Beaver Pond. The trail was very quite for the most part, a few birds calling & a slight drone of traffic from Green Pond Road. The sun was starting to break through the clouds & canopy but for the most part it was a dark trail, it was quite awesome. Even spotted a salamnder, looks like a Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens).

By the time I made it to Beaver Pond the Sun was getting stronger & I was getting sweaty, time for my first break. The pond was loaded with Water Lilies, I'm not well versed in Botany so I don't know the species. While leaning uneasily over the pond to get some pics, I heard some crashing through the brush, which cause a quick turn. I spotted a small rufous mammal darting in the wood line, I thought it was a fox, but it seemed a little to agile moving over downed trees & large rocks. After talking to Dave from National Moth Week, he said his companies trail cams have spotted Bobcat in the area, so maybe it was maybe it wasn't. I give myself a 10-15% chance that it was but most likely it was a fox.

After this I headed over to the Hawk Watch and with an eye out for a red brown mammal. I did see some young White-tailed Bucks with velvet antlers. They didn't stick around long enough for a photo session. The hike was enjoyable, cool & boggy but I was ready for another break by the time I hit the watch. Not many birds spotted while sitting on the rock ledge, but there was quite a few Turkey Vultures flying overhead.

My tripod was level.
Waiting for lunch.
After an hour break, back on trail I went. Graffiti Cliffs was my destination, but I got a little off track and wanderer around some of the unmarked trails and old roads. I ran into a couple who had somewhat of the same problem, but we sorted it out and went in different directions after 10 minutes of map & gps study. The biggest concern during this time frame was not been off trail but the tree top that crashed through the canopy, my first thought was "Bear". I did make some noise on trail after that, just incase.

No help here
This didn't help either.
Back on Four Birds after some sidetracking, I made it to the Hibernia Cemetery. I have to say is this would be a great project for the local Boy Scouts. It was in a pretty bad state since the last visit I made, but it did make for interesting picture taking. 

After spending about 6 hours wandering around Wildcat Ridge WMA, I decided to head home but not without taking a stop at the Hibernia Diner! 


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