this day was all about mushrooms, which was exactly what i thought i'd be seeing. i woke up at 7am, and while my parents were preparing breakfast, i wandered behind our camp to explore a little bit. i discovered a marked trail, which i figured we'd take later. there was a small plank that crossed a moss covered brook, and a saw some mushrooms and even a toad. i came back to eat some rice porridge before i was ready to get my nature on.

we walked into the forest, where i showed my parents the trail (hosmer brook) we'd be taking. as the name implies, it follows hosmer brook upstream to its source, osmore pond.

around the pond were a few remote campsites that my father fell in love with, nothing more than pond facing leantos. one of them was occupied by two young men who seemed to be spending their time listening to music and chopping firewood. we did a loop around osmore pond, then took a detour up little deer mountain (elevation 1760 feet) before getting onto hosmer brook trail again back to camp. on top of the mountain i saw something flying around the ground, and was surprised to see that it was a beetle (i didn't realize beetles could fly so well). i knew it was a tiger beetle of some kind (a 12-spotted tiger beetle Cicindela duodecimguttata Cicindela longilabris, i'd later find out), don't ever remember seeing one before, and it looked like it had something in its mouth which turned out to be just its powerful jaws. if i had to guess, i'd say we walked a total of 6 miles, and we didn't get back until almost 2pm, a 6 hours hike through the woods and the mountains. i was pretty exhausted and had to take a shower even if there wasn't any hot water. armed with my quarter and a bathtowel, i walked to the bathroom in my flipflops. there really wasn't any hot water in the shower, but i did discover it had two settings: either cold or very cold. i turned it to cold and quickly jumped into the stall, swearing profusely as i quickly doused myself with water, beating myself in the chest to stay warm, hopping up and down. even though i had 5 minutes of showertime, my actual cold shower probably only lasted 15 seconds. i toweled off and walked out into the summery warmth, feeling refreshed. for lunch we had hot dogs, i washed everything down with a nice cold can of pepsi.

hosmer brook

osmore pond

little deer
mt. view

a gallery of the mushrooms i encountered:

scarlet waxy cap

eyelash cups

(yellow patches?)

orange jelly

salmon unicorn entolomas

(orange unknown)

insect egg slime

sharp scaly pholiota

turkey tails

pigskin poison puffball

hairy parchment

old man of the woods

black trumpets (chanterelle)

velvety earth tongues

unknown white with blue bruising

destroying angel gills & skirt

crested coral

spiny puffball

birch polypore

(unknown puffballs)

unknown straw mushrooms

blue toothed entoloma

green headed jelly clubs

painted suillus

my favorites are the destroying angels (can you guess they're deadly poisonous?), the eyelash cups, green headed jelly clubs, and the salmon unicorn entomolas (not so much when i first saw them, but later after learning what they were called). velvety (black) earth tongues are cool though, but i saw so many of them, they lost their novelty. i also really like the green headed jelly clubs, and i think the unknown straw mushrooms resemble tapioca balls for making bubble ice tea.

false solomon's seal

(blue beads)

birch scar trail marker

after lunch we drove around a bit to check out what else groton state forest had to offer. we drove to the groton nature center, where they had everything that can be found in the forest on display, natural and manmade. there was a photo of an eft, so i knew they could be found in this forest. there was also a dead specimen of a luna moth. we went by boulder beach state park on the northern shore of lake groton. here in vermont, the only new england state that doesn't border the ocean, i guess this is as close to going to beach these green mountain natives will experience in their own backyard. i found my second wind, and asked to dropped off back at the nature center while my parents went exploring some more via car. although there was no cellphone reception (my cellphone battery was dead anyway), we had those outdoor walkie talkies, just in case i got really lost, and i also had the gps. the peacham bog trail started from the nature center, and when i asked for directions from the woman attending the station, she told me it was about a 2 mile hike. that's 2 miles walk in, and then 2 miles walking out. i took a deep breath and followed the trail.

it was more of the same, having spent half the day already hiking through similar woods. there was nobody else out there, which is just the kind of place that i like. i added a few more mushroom sightings to my already growing list:

yellow fly agaric

yellow fly agaric

yellow fly agaric

grape cluster slime

grape cluster

strangulated amanita

the trail seemed to be getting more and more wild, and after about an hour of walking, i started having doubts as to whether or not this bog even existed, or maybe i took a wrong turn somewhere and missed it. tin my haste to find this seemingly elusive bog, i walked into a low-lying branch and got poked in the eye with a twig. i had to use the reflection on my camera LCD to check if it was bleeding (which it wasn't). eventually i came across a sign for the bog, but even then there was 15-20 more minutes of walking before i found the boardwalk. the forest floor near the bog was definitely different. although it didn't seem wet, the ground was covered in sphagnum moss and bunchberries; bunchberries, one of the indicator species of an arboreal forest.

coldwater brook

peacham bog edge

sphagnum moss & bunchberries

bog sign

peacham bog

red sphagnum moss

a sense of excitement filled me as i prepared to enter the boardwalk. the sections of wooden planks actually floated on the water, and the few that started the path would actually sink a little bit. the sphagnum moss carpet was even thicker here, and they felt wet to the touch, like a sponge. some of the moss were of a different color as well, instead of green they were red. the trees growing here were small, so there was a lot of sun. also in abundance: labrador tea, which didn't strike as very interesting initially until much later when i found out what they were. this being my first time on a bog, and i was expecting to find some foul odors (like a swamp), but there wasn't any. i looked for carnivorous plants and it didn't take long before i found pitcher plants, which i'd never seen before. they looked alien, upright, filled with water, with red veins. they grow in clutches, as older pitchers die and dry up, leaving new ones in their place. i even found a group that had a single pitcher flower that had a fleetly resemblance to a daffodil flower except it was all green and fleshier.

after some more investigating, i found sundews as well. these i'm no strangers to, having already found some growing in ravenswood park (gloucester). sundews are small, but if your camera has good macro capabilities, they made excellent photo subjects. another cool thing about them is you can see a history of what they've been eating by the dried insect exoskeletons still attached to the plants long after all the buggy nutrients have been absorbed.