there was no way i was working today with weather so perfect for naturing, that's just how i roll. fortunately none of my work was urgent enough that i couldn't take a day off (despite the fact that i took most of yesterday off as well). once i heard today's temperature would be a repeat of yesterday's, i was already thinking about places i could go. with the arrival of autumn there won't be too many more warm days left for me to ride the motorcycle, so when the opportunity presented itself, i had to take it. whatever it was i did, it had to be spectacular; if this was going to be my final motorcycle nature outing of the year, i wanted it to be big. i decided to revisit black pond bog in norwell. as you recall, i'd been there before a few years ago but couldn't find the bog and got lost in the forest. determined to see this elusive bog, i mapped out my route, packed up my gear, and headed out. from jamaica plain i went on 203 east, through dorchester and quincy, connecting to 3A south (it's been a while since i've been to quincy, but the streets felt familiar), cutting through braintree, weymouth, hingham, cohasset, scituate, taking old oaken bucket road at the intersection of route 123, connecting to mt. blue road. the total trip took something like 1:30, and i was tired by the time i arrived, although excited to see the bog (if i could find it that is).

not wanting to get lost like last time, my first order of business was to take a gps reading. i saw that there was already a "black pond bog" waypoint in the memory, although in a slightly different (though nearby) position. the area seemed familiar yet new. there was a sign so i knew i was in the right place. i took out my camera and started walking slowly into the forest following the trail, keeping my eyes open for snakes (treading lightly, sometimes you can find one sunning itself on the path if you don't disturb it with heavy footsteps). i kept to the trail, taking a right turn after seeing an sign pointing me in the direction of the pond. the first time i came this sign mustn't have been here, because i probably kept on walking straight (to the powerlines) and never found the pond. i could smell the bog before i could see it, that warm, distinctive odor of sphagnum moss. i looked up and saw the boardwalk leading into the bog: this was what i drove all the way out here to see! like a child on christmas morning, i stepped into the bog.

the boardwalk itself isn't very long (nowhere as lengthy as the ponkapoag boardwalk), quickly ending at the edge of the pond. what black pond bog lacks in travel distance, it makes up for in scenic beauty. a lot of the bog vegetation had changed colors, so there was a floating carpet of red contrasting with the nearly crystal clear blue sky. it was so breathtakingly beautiful, i wanted to call people and let them know where i was (but i had nobody to call to share the news with). if i could take a photo of something beautiful everyday, i think i'd be pretty happy. on either side of the boardwalk were carpets of green sphagnum moss, with various mushrooms growing from them like miniature umbrellas. the path ends at the pond, but also goes around it for a short distance. i was sort of disappointed with the lack of good pitcher plants (i saw a few walking in, but they seemed small and stunted), until i walked around the pond. the caretakers must've purposely planted pitcher plants besides the path because suddenly they were everywhere, big healthy specimens that spilled over onto the wooden boardwalk.

i finally think i know the reason why i like pitcher plants so much: because they look so alien and erotic at the same time, all elongated with veins, curvaceous flaps leading to a deposit of enzyme rich fluid, covered in fine hairs, a combination of male and female genitalia, it doesn't look like it's from this earth, yet it thrives in these moist boggy environments (where they reek of a musky odor). when i see one i am simultaneously embarassed and titillated.

besides pitcher plants (some even had flowers), there were also sundews. they're sort of hard to find because they're so small, but i was able to spot them from the characteristic seed stalks they sprout up at the end of the season.

where the boardwalk ends there seems to be more trail following the perimeter of the pond. i tried to walk it but i was actually standing on the bog itself. as a test i hopped up and down a little bit and could see the ground undulating. i also noticed i was slowly sinking into the bog, the water up to my ankles already. i grabbed onto a nearby tree branch and hoisted myself out of the bog, quickly back onto dry land. it'd be nice to explore with some proper equipment (like rubbers boots), but not today. i left the bog but spent some time in the nearby forest looking for interesting mushrooms to take photos of. there were a lot of black trumpets (which are edible, but i wouldn't eat them), which i discovered when i nearly became lost in the forest again (that place is cursed i tell you, next time i'm going with a buddy). i also noticed the small grove of hollies nearby.

returning home, i stopped a few times whenever i saw anything interesting on the side of the road. i visited first herring brook, followed by the whitney and thayer woods. i've actually been to the w&t woods before (twice, as a matter of fact), so i didn't bother exploring it again (besides, it was getting late). approaching boston i got lost a little bit, and navigated partly though past experiences driving through the area and partly from just following the signs to get to 3A north.

autumn leaves

first herring brook

whitney & thayer woods

i stopped at the cafe briefly to grab some apples (along with some concord grapes, which were delivered later), before heading home. jawei was in his room taking a nap, but woke up soon afterwards. in the evening julie came over and made burritos (using the weber barbecue grill for the very first time this season). we initially had a hard time lighting the brickets julie brought over (they've might've been old), even using leaves and twigs to help start the burn (the dried leaves smelled like mary jane), but once we tossed in some crumpled colored circular pages, it lit up like a bonfire. we watched the red sox game, the home team losing again to the bluejays; now we're a game behind the yankees, who won tonight, but still tied with the indians for the wild card. with just 4 more games left in the regular season, i have no idea what's going to happen. a part of me wants the red sox to lose so i'm no longer held hostage by baseball. right now, i'm just preparing for the worst, hoping for the best.