After exploring Rock Rimmon Hill on Tuesday, I took a quick detour before going home. There is a small parking area off from Route 87 in Epping, right next to its junction with Jacobs Well Road. The parking area meanders down next to a bridge over the Lamprey River. For years, I thought this parking area was for fisherman to use as a mini boat launch for canoes and kayaks. However, recently, I've noticed a small trail that runs parallel to the river when I drive by. Again, I figured this was just a small foot path for fisherman, but figured I would check it out anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was actually a path put in place and protected by Southeast Land Trust and the Lamprey River Watershed Association.
The Kiosk at the Parking Area
The kiosk at the parking area was pretty informative and gave some information about the ecosystem that took residence in this specific floodplain. There were two small, wooden boxes which looked like they held pamphlets or maps for visitors, but there were none there. I headed up the path and it seemed to follow the Lamprey River's winding banks. It wasn't long before I saw a ton of beaver activity. There were pointed tree stumps everywhere and there seemed to be many trees with fresh teeth marks. I'm not sure why, but I love finding beaver wood chips. I know they can be a nuisance, but I find these small creatures to be delightful. I've never run into one in nature before, but hope to someday.
The Lamprey River from its Banks
One of the five stations...#2
Along the path, there were five station markers (marked 1-5) which I'm assuming went with the pamphlets or information that was originally provided at the kiosk. I can only imagine that this information explained the mechanics behind the floodplain terrain and possibly explained some of the vegetation in the area. I looked online for a bit to see if I could find an older PDF of what may have been supplied, but came up with nothing.
More Beaver Activity
Cool fungus growing from an old tree branch on the ground
Along the way, there were small pools of water that had frozen over, even though the river was running free. I was able to see a couple Eastern Bluebirds playing (not sure why they aren't south now!) and a few woodpeckers looking for a meal in some dead trees. I also noticed footprints over some slushy ice, most likely a chipmunk or squirrel I assume.
They Lamprey River from its Banks
Eastern Bluebird Playing
Finally, on my way out, I spotted some green near the path. These green leaves appeared to be a violet plant. I'm not sure why a plant like this is still green and seemingly, doing well in the colder weather.
An old beaver stump with scrub growing up it
What I believe are squirrel or chipmunk tracks
What I believe is a violet plant, still green in the cold weather
I thought this was really a cool little find. It was by no means a "hike", as the path was only 1/4 mile long at best. But there was a lot to notice, even in this winter month. I can only imagine how beautiful and vibrant this ecosystem is in the spring and summer months. I assume it is filled with wildflowers and birds. I will surely head back to check it out in April or May.