i didn't even realize today was the start of summer when i made plans with bruce to visit the ponkapoag bog this morning. bruce drove, taking the turnpike in order to avoid the heavy traffic we encountered on our last outing a month ago. i had on my rubber boats, figuring it'd be one of the rare times where i could wear them around. we walked from the entrance to the bog, both of us panting silently from our mutual lack of exercise. i was shocked to see the camp parking lot full of cars; one of the reasons why i only come out here during the weekdays is to avoid the crowd, but i figured none of them were here to visit the bog. we sprayed some repellent before venturing down towards the boardwalk.
almost as soon as we got to the first wooden plank we had a pretty good idea of what would be in store for us: the boardwalk sunk under our weight, making it impossible to keep our feet dry. fortunately i had my rubber boats, but bruce went the rest of the way with wet shoes. i've never seen the bog so wet before, but i've also never been here during june. counting today's visit, this was my 7th visit to ponkapoag bog, one of my favorite naturing places here in the greater boston area. i've been here during the summer (050816), during the fall (040928 even when it rained!, 041013 050912 051021), and during the winter (041215) when the bog is frozen.
this was bruce's first time, so i got to re-experience the newness of the bog through him. i walked in the front, testing the planks so bruce knew when to expect when he came behind me. i brushed through a lot of cobweb, which meant we were the first people out on the boardwalk this morning. we saw some wildflowers, including a lot of sheep laurel, which i've never seen at ponkapoag before, as well as the very fragrant swamp azalea (bruce and i "discovered" swamp azalea when we visited cape cod last july). bruce was excited to find some wild iris at the start of the trail and we saw a few pitcher plant flowers (they resemble fleshy mutated doffodils), which i've never seen here before either (although i've seen them elsewhere).
and what's a bog without carnivorous plants? ponkapoag is great because you can find a trifecta of insect-eaters: the bladderwort, the sundew, and the pitcher plant. i've never seen so much bladderworts in the white cedar swamp zone of the bog, and i've never seen so much sundews in the sphagnum moss plain of the bog! as for pitcher plants, i didn't see too many of those, and familiar spots where i'd seen them in the past were now empty. maybe they just died back and are waiting to sprout out again later during the summer. or maybe with so much vegetation growing everywhere, they're all very much hidden.
and i knew bogs were a great place to spot dragonflies, but armed with my fancy telephoto and the practicality of getting good dragonfly photos, i identified 3 new dragonfly species i've never seen before. there were so much more, i'm hoping to come back again next week if the weather continues to be nice.
leaving the bog and walking back out to where we parked, we spotted a painted turtle on the path. this is my second "out of place" turtle sighting. maybe this time of the year is turtle migration season, or maybe they have to leave the water to lay their eggs like their distant cousin the snapping turtles. this particular turtle didn't seem to be disturbed by us as much as the swarm of mosquitoes attacking it. it ran away to avoid the bugs, and bruce even lifted a log to let the turtle quickly pass under.
we made it back to cambridge by 2pm. after a shower, i started a load of laundry and went out to target to get some more detergent (i'm fond of the tide mountain fresh scent myself). coming back there was crazy traffic in union square. since i was on the bike i made my way to the front of the line. there were fire trucks everywhere and people were hanging around outside, like they've been driven out of their offices. i noticed the traffic lights weren't working and then realized there was a blackout in union square. in the sky two helicopters were circling. when i got home julie told me that there was a manhole explosion in union square, hence the activity.
it was already 3pm and i still hadn't eaten anything all day. i walked to tacos lupita to get some huaraches con lengua. it was nice and air-conditoned inside, with two television broadcasting a world cup soccer game between the netherlands and argentina. it took a while for them to make my huaraches but i didn't mind, surrounded by my hispanic friends, everyone speaking spanish, even the delivery guys took a break to watch a few minutes of soccer. i came home with my food, cranked up the AC, and relaxed with a nice meal before doing a bit of coding and call it a day. i also had time to go outside and spray some weed with round-up: i got more mosquito bites in the 5 minutes i was outside than the whole time i was in the bog today. i feel asleep on the couch again and woke up to catch the red sox game while eating last night's sesame noodles leftover. my 80gb laptop drive arrived earlier; i installed it in my portable photo storage device, everything worked fine - now i have double the capacity (160gb) for when i tour china.