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Archive for March, 2008

On Sunday (march 16) afternoon joined by Kate, Lis, Rong & Yang started hike towards Susie lake from behind Staples. Saturday’s 15 cm snowfall had covered signs of trail, so were walking in snow just keeping the direction in mind and let Lis lead the way,as she had been to lake few times.(this gave me space to look around & observe vegetation, though ground hugging plants were entirely buried under snow).
We noticed shrub/small tree ‘Alders’ (genus – Alnus) with last year’s male/female cones hanging on the branches. few last year’s
‘golden rods’. Sweet fern (latin – Comptonia peregrina) it is a vascular plant & not a fern, but given common name of ‘sweet fern’ as  leaves have fern like shape with nice sweet smell. Brown leaves still retained some smell. Lis collected leaves for making tea.
Leather leaf, white birches. Several Tamarck trees, (it is only conifer tree which sheds needle like leaves in winter – needles are in bunch of more  than 5 mounted on small spur). Differentiated a white pine tree which has 5 needles in bunch from a Jack pine having 2 needles in a bunch. Explained to group that SPRUCE needles are in single spread around  branch, has 4 sides hence can be rolled by thumb & finger shorter in length than a FIR tree, which are attached to branch in 2 rank or on opposite sides, are flat hence can not be rolled between thumb & finger, whitish underneath, base of needle is flat round so is needle scar on branch. HEMLOCK needles would be similar to FIR’s except shorter in length & at base would have pick like stem while tearing  it from branch will leave scratch mark on branch skin.
It was great view walking into snow, after a while found some tracks seemed people had headed to lake before us. ‘Broom crowberry’ low
perenial plant was under snow but noticed few by track in open.
Shrub ‘Lambkill’ was abundant with last year’s leaves still hanging
so were huckleberries but without any leaves. Noticed few ‘Rhodora’
this shrub is first to flower (nice radiant pink) in spring before leaves appear on it.
We kept heading towards lake catching all the beauty of surrounding trees/shrubs finally climbed to small hillock by lake. I have yet too see a comparable beautiful spot like this close to HRM. Here identified a small maple tree, labrador tea (Lis collected leaves for tea), wintergreen (being under some shrubs, saved these low plants coming under snow).

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