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On The Trail

On The Trail: Springtime buzz

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Illuminated in a high, bright morning sun, it and a refreshing south breeze in my face, there it lay, clear as day: my trodden trail carved into a short March-brown hayfield, the thin, angled depression still easily discernible after a long, cold, snowy winter freeze, no foot-traffic I’m aware of in quite a while. I myself hadn’t taken that familiar route for months, probably last walking it in mid-January, before the fields iced over with treacherous ice that promptly left me with broken ribs and sat me nightly for eight long weeks in a La-Z-Boy-recliner sleeper chair, never missing a day of work or interfering much with my many daily winter routine. Yet there it … 0

On The Trail: Lessons learned

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There’s something about flowing water that I find liberating, metaphorical to human thought and emotion — be it the rattle or roar, foaming riffles descending into roily runs and step pools, the gentle swirl of frothy eddies. All of the above are likely spots for lurking trout when you understand water and know how to use the natural flow to trigger aggressive strikes … 0

On The Trail: Hermit tales

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mention in last week’s “Fish tales” column of a haggard roadside hermit familiar to travelers earlier in my lifetime along Route 5 and 10 between Greenfield and South Deerfield drew additional anecdotal information from near and far that’s worth reporting. The feedback started right off last Thursday morning, when waiting for me on my first email adventure was a comment from an angler … 0

On the Trail: Old & eager

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The swamps are sporting their royal, invasive purple, yellows are lining the edges, rose of Sharon’s in bloom, mud-splattered acorns are scattered underfoot, my favorite sweet-16 side-by-side is in the shop for repairs and — ah! — life is good. Yet, still, I find myself pondering the mortality … 0

On the Trail: Nuts & bolts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Photographer friend Erik Hoffner, whose eclectic interests intersect mine in several areas related to nature, worldview and politics, chimed in from the wilds of Ashfield this week speculating that, judging from what he’s seen thus far around home, there’s a bumper-crop of acorns this year. Although I haven’t … 0

On the Trail: Sales jobs

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why not traipse back this week to that old, familiar topic of salmon? Yes, salmon, specifically Connecticut River Atlantic salmon, which I once spent a lot of time and energy on before wandering off to other subjects that tickled my fancy. But now, briefly back to the fish … 0

On the Trail: A teaching moment

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This subject’s been sitting handy on my desk for three weeks now, printed and pushed aside at least twice to allow for bear banter that came my way the same way most things seem to find me: by email, phone or personal conversation. So, having now put the … 0

On the Trail: Close encounter

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Although there’s other stuff I could get into, interesting topics I’m confident readers would enjoy, it’s back to black bears — specifically a big Wendell bruin that may be attempting to befriend a dear old friend of mine, … 0

On the Trail: Photo finish

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I can’t claim shock because I had an idea a neighbor or random passerby had probably seen that bear my dogs and I recently jumped out of a narrow strip of wetland before it tore up five plastic-covered … 0

On the Trail: Summer mode

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It started early last week with a startling sound, an invisible burst of energy, a rumble in the jungle, a rustling, brush- and stick-busting sprint by something near and heavy fleeing up the escarpment from a narrow wetland framing the northwestern perimeter of Sunken Meadow. It was a … 0

On The Trail: Oxbow summit

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It’s a hot, hazy mid-afternoon, storm threatening, me standing atop Mt. Sugarloaf, a Pioneer Valley landmark whose summit view never gets old to an old guy who climbed it often as a kid. Standing beside me on the lower tier of the observation tower is Dr. Marjorie Holland, … 0

On The Trail: Slowdown

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The summer solstice has passed, gentle summer breezes are intermittently dislodging small white mock orange flower petals and dropping them to the ground by the bulkhead, the Connecticut River temperature had passed 70 degrees, and the American shad run is, for all intents and purposes, over. Although it … 0

On the trail: Shell, stone

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The loud, sudden, crunching, crashing halt to a power mower’s roar — a sound you’d hate to hear when mowing your lawn — and a maiden voyage to the top of a familiar Pioneer Valley landmark are on the front burner of discussion this week. First, the grinding, … 1

On the trail: Mystery solved

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks. I again learned that lesson the hard way. The latest caper began with a lazy, unfortunate fact-checking mistake in a cutline I wrote three weeks ago. Or perhaps it wasn’t laziness at all, but rather just an innocent, misguided … 0

On The Trail: Spring hothouse

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hectic week, saturating overnight rains that were torrential at times, backyard brook roiled to a soothing roar. Although it may be impossible, I suspect the upper hayfields I walk each day grew eight inches in a day, downpours soaking our fertile, engorged Earth Mother, pushing seed heads toward … 0