i woke up at 8am even though i could've been up even earlier (say 5am) as soon as the sun came out. after a breakfast of rice porridge, we cleaned up the campsite and drove to the picnic shelter on the western side of osmore park. we parked the car and proceeded to big deer mountain (elevation 1969 feet).
i spotted some flowers, including (firsts) northern wood sorrel, false violets, and shinleafs.
we crossed hosmer brook, which was the eponymous trail we hiked the first time we camped out at groton state forest (we can to it from big deer state park). that particular occasion we made a loop around osmore pond and went up to little deer mountain (elevation 1757 feet).
there were also some mushrooms, but nothing approaching the amount i saw on my last visit due to the lack rain. all species i've seen before, with my favorite being the eyelash cups.
while making our way up to the summit of big deer mountain, i showed my parents the difference between actual blueberries (edible) and the "blue berries" of clintonia plants AKA blue bead lilies (mildly poisonous). my parents - particularly my mother - then proceeded to eat every single blueberry they could find, half hiking, half foraging. up on the summit my father was freaking out because both my mother and i were standing too close to the edge of the cliff. coming back down, we ran into some other hikers making their way up. "are you thai?" one of the woman asked me, in reference to my t-shirt. "my husband is thai," she added. "oh no; and this is a cambodian t-shirt," i told her.
we made it back to the car and returned to camp. sweaty and covered in bug spray, i decided to go take a hot shower while my parents made lunch. we had the leftover barbecued corn and taiwanese sausages from last night, as well as some ramen. the instant noodle packages had bite marks on them, and we didn't know where it came from, but figured maybe my parents had mice back at home (turned out later it was a chipmunk that had snuck into the trunk of the car).
with lunch out of the way, it was time for part 2 of groton hiking adventure. the whole reason for me coming up here is to revisit peacham bog. since it's a long trek and my parents have already seen it before, this would be a solo trip for me, while my parents did their own thing (possibly a shorter hike, or maybe rent a canoe). from the trail map it looked like there was a shortcut up coldwater brook road that could shave about a mile off of my trail distance. we went up the dusty road until we came to a construction site before turning back. they dropped me off at a place where i could see some trail markers. since we couldn't get any cell phone reception, we made tentative plans for me to meet my parents back on this main road by 7pm (it was 2:30 at that time). i sprayed down and starting walking into the woods.
i was walking into some unfamiliar territory. the trail didn't look like the trail i hiked on the last time. it was darker and seemed less used. i kept on following the trail markers painted on the trees, so i knew at least it was a legitimate trail, just didn't know which one. i also had my GPS, which i used sparingly (to conserve battery life, i didn't have any spares), just to check my location and distance from the bog.
since it didn't rain last night (or the night before), the whole place was pretty dry. that's unfortunate because it meant i wouldn't see any efts; the last time i was here, there were so many of those red critters i lost track. you couldn't walk down a length of trail without running into one. this time around however there were zero eft sightings. i did however find a distant cousin, a red-backed salamander hiding underneath a log.
eventually the forest trail came to a large body of water. from the distance i could see the dead trees, which was where the bog was, so i knew i was close.
besides the mosquitoes (i had to apply bug spray a few more times in order to keep them at bay) there was something else in the forest that bites: deer flies. unlike mosquitoes, which are stealthy and attack by a hypodermic needle, deer flies lack such elegance and use knife-like mouthparts to get their blood. and for whatever reason they seemed to be more impervious to the repellent. plus, unlike mosquitoes, they seem to be able to keep up with me even when i'm walking, so i have to travel a longer distance before i can get them off my scent.
finally after traveling about 2 miles i arrived at peacham bog. there was no one around and i had the whole place to myself. by that time it was 4pm and i figured i had an hour to go around taking bog photos before i had to start heading back out in order to rendezvous with my parents by 7pm.
what i thought would be a 2 hour hike out of the bog turned out to take just an hour because i literally ran out of there, chased by both mosquitoes and deer flies. i was trying to move as much as possible, flailing my arms at times, trying to prevent the bugs from landing. even with bug repellent, it seemed that i had produced enough carbon dioxide to become a bug magnet, and as it was starting to become dusky, more and more bugs came out to feed. i arrived at my original entrance point by 6pm. out in the sun (temporary reprieve from the mosquitoes and the flies), i took a drink of water before getting ready to head out to the main road, about another 30 minutes worth of hiking. just then i noticed a plume of dust as a car pulled up down the road. turns out it was my parents we decided to come pick me up early. i quickly jumped into the car, out of the heat, into the nice air conditioned luxury.
back at camp i of course took yet another hot shower to wash off all that dirt. turns out my parents didn't go canoeing but instead hiked up owl mountain, which gave them time to come pick me up early. for dinner we had some teppanyaki style barbecue. we burned all the firewood we had, including the few logs that we brought and the remainder of the 10 logs we bought ($4) from the ranger station yesterday. since there was no television, i occupied myself by poking at the fire and trying to generate the biggest flames. i went to bed by 11pm but i couldn't fall asleep. 2 hours later i was stay awake, maybe a side effect of drinking too much soda.