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On The Trail

On The Trail: Report from the Northwoods

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

As our own archery deer season approaches (Oct. 19), hints of what to expect from a northern border state. Bowhunters’ take thus far, after the first New Hampshire Fish & Game polling of checking stations, shows a 10 percent decline from last year. The explanation from Granite State deer biologists is that deer are tough to pattern during this, the early season due to an abundance of wild food in the woods, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who patrols local wild lands. Fruits, berries and nuts, known in biologist jargon as soft- and hard-mast crops, are plentiful this fall after what people … 0

On The Trail: Squirrel pie

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It’s October and the surreal blood moon has passed, signaling fall’s hunts and harvests. But first, fishing, a harvest of sorts, and specifically trout fishing, which should improve dramatically on selected local waters this week and next. Why, you ask? Oh, that’s easy. The annual fall-stocking program is underway. So, no, those state trucks you’ve spotted lugging splashy silver tanks with their small … 0

On The Trail: Spurred down Memory Lane

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The fall equinox has passed, oaks are raining acorns, which can be heard knocking and banging through the branches even on still days, and the tall, dignified pignut hickory I pass daily is balding fast, its round, green-husked nuts spread liberally underneath. Apparently there’s critter trouble in my old stomping grounds around South Deerfield’s Bloody Brook Monument. Well, at least according to an … 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

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