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On The Trail

On The Trail: Roadside rambler

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Two phone calls, a month apart, reporting separate sightings of a New England phantom, added perspective gleaned from a morning trip to my old stomping grounds, and here I sit, molding it into an outdoors tale for the sports page. So let’s begin with the apparition, otherwise known as mountain lion or catamount or panther or puma or, heaven forbid, Eastern cougar — an agile, secretive and potentially dangerous beast … 0

On The Trail: Wild apples, bees and stuff

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Good news for deer hunters: From what I’ve encountered, there’s a bumper crop of wild apples. I guess it all starts for me in the front yard, where, just off the road at the driveway outflow, stands an old, tired, scabby, partially hollow apple tree I cannot identify. In nearly 20 years of observation, this mystery apple tree, which may soon be identified … 0

On The Trail: Cream-caddis delights

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I see this as a dredging chore. That is, write in detail about a skill I honed years ago, have not used in many years but am confident I could master quickly if I decided on a whim to dig out stored equipment and head to my old lower-Deerfield River flyfishing haunts. And … 0

On the Trail: Animal instinct

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A strange, busy week it’s been, spiced by interesting visits, some physical, others mental, maybe even a tad esoteric. We’ll begin with a light little deer caper anyone can get their head around — an unusual encounter that, due to its rarity, will not be soon forgotten — … 0

On the Trail: Guinea Gulch is Calling

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An interesting crosstown trip to the feed store after my morning walk, a behemoth faraway bear, many familiar people, my ears buzzing with swarms of feedback about this and that, all of it pertaining to recent topics aired out right here in this space. Why not a little … 0

On the Trail: Transitions

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Don’t let this hot summer weather deceive you. Fall is slipping in. I have felt it for a while now, seen it in the swamps, the sumacs. Just this week I spotted a nice, full, bitter but tasty triangular bunch of blue wild grapes, and the sight and … 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