A HIKE TO THE DENNY REED PRESERVE.....Does this look like the Maine Shoreline? The seaweed gives a clue as to tidal waters, but this is a quiet but sizable cove sought out by boaters for a temporary anchorage. The cove has a narrow entrance off the New Meadows River. The shoreline includes part of the Nature Conservancy's Basin Preserve and is accessible by newly marked trails. The cove itself is called the Basin. Heretofore, I had only entered these waters by boat, but now the trails have opened up shoreline doors. This picture was taken from one of the two points of land that terminate the Denny Reed trail. Marked paths lead through the woods which were alive with butterflies on a sunny day. There were dozens of these Red Admirals flying and alighting on ferns and other vegetation, sometimes even seeking a mate in flight. I couldn't help but wonder why there were so many, especially since on a second hike under cloudy conditions, there were none. I've never found its caterpillar, but this may be a place to look for them. Unfortunately, these larvae feed on plants in the Nettle family, some of which are stinging! I have not seen this plant here, but will make every attempt on future outings to find them. I also think it might be fun to go at high tide when a swim off the rocks might be inviting.

At the end of the trail, near the water's edge, a delightful floral surprise awaits hikers. First hidden in among flowering Bunchberry, and then found in small patches, were the small flowers of Twinflower. These also bloom on the campground's Red Trail, near the descent to Starfish Cave. Flowers are pink and arranged in pairs off a shared stem. The small green shiny leaves hug the ground beneath.

My latest discovery came when I went out for the mail. The mailbox sits across a narrow road that can be dangerous due to a blind turn midway. As I started to cross the road, I looked both ways for cars and instead found a turtle crossing the road! I quickly ran to see what it was and discovered it to be a small Snapping turtle, small enough that I felt safe picking it up! It was a puzzle that I found it since Center Pond, where these animals live, is quite a distance away. Turtles come out to lay eggs, but not usually as far away as my property. Anyway, it was the smallest Snapper that I had seen and gave me a few enjoyable moments of discovery. I'll share pictures on my next report, so til then, happy hunting, and hopefully saving the lives of turtles that make the mistake of crossing busy roads. 6/12/10 Ronnie the turtle saver.