Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Stroll Through the Woods of South Hampton

We’re heading out to Vegas tomorrow for my sister-in-law’s wedding, so today will be a busy day of cleaning, packing and just tying up some loose ends. So, needless to say, this day is not a good candidate for hiking up north (although I would love to be hiking right now). Even though I ruled out hiking, I still had the urge to get outside. So I decided to getup at the crack of dawn (5am) and go for a nature walk behind my parent’s house. They live in South Hampton and own quite a few acres. Growing up, I used to run around those woods everyday. But now, I’m lucky to get out there once a year on a quick hunting trip. The objective for this short trip was to checkout wildflowers, which I have never focused on in these woods before. 

Wild Iris

The area is somewhat swampy and the roads and trails are starting to grow in a bit. There really is a lot of history out there if you know where to look. The most obvious piece of history is Bugsmouth Road, which runs through the woods up to Bugsmouth Hill (elevation approximately 300ft). It was an old carriage road, which was a main drag in South Hampton back in the early 1800’s. There are also many piles of fieldstones throughout the woods, which were a product of the farmers who unearthed them while plowing the fields. You see, these woods weren’t always woods. In fact, the whole area was fields and farms at one time or another. It’s really amazing how young the forest really is. Most likely, it is only 150 years old or so. Finally, the Powwow River hugs the property line on the north side. I used to fish out there with my friends growing up. This river, which dumps into the Merrimack River in Amesbury, has many brooks that run off from it, including Pierce Brook. Pierce Brook is a very nice place about a mile out in the woods and where I was able to find some wildlife and flowers.

Purple Violet

So, back to the reason I took the stroll through the woods. I was hoping to find some good wildflowers and actually practice taking some pictures. Right now, Jill and I have a Canon PowerShot SX110IS, which is a very nice “point and shoot” camera. I find though, I have to take four or five pictures of a flower in order to get one good shot. I think if I end up taking amateur photography a little more seriously, I will need to upgrade to a larger camera with more focus flexibility. But, for now, this camera does well.


The first flower that I came across was a Wild Iris. I love Wild Iris’s. They are much smaller than garden Iris’s but I believe they display more color. I was able to get a couple “head-on” shots as well as some pictures of buds, which had dew droplets running down them. I think I captured the beauty pretty well, but I will let you be the judge.

Wild Iris Buds with Dew

I saw many common wildflowers such as some White and Purple Violets as well as Canadian Mayflowers. I also found Fiddleheads and a few white flowers, which I don’t know the name of just yet. I will certainly look them up and try to identify them later on today. The one thing I was not able to catch deep in the woods was a Lady Slipper. That being the case, on my way back to my parent’s house, I decided to take a small detour toward the location of my old tree house, on the south end of my parent’s property. I know where there is a bed of Lady Slippers that had been there for years and assumed they must still be there. Of course they were and I was able to snap a few shots.

Lady Slipper

It was really great to run around my parent’s woods for a couple reasons. That forest in South Hampton brings back a bunch of great childhood memories of cutting wood, hunting, fishing and riding dirt bikes with my Dad. This area is also very different than the woods up north. The wildflowers are abundant and colorful. The fern beds are like none other that I have seen before. The ferns grow in dense clusters and up to 5 feet tall. The signs of wildlife are constant as you push through. It’s really a great place to spend a few hours early in the day and observe the beauty of nature. It is safe for me to say, I will be heading back again sometime soon to see what other flowers bloom in the coming months.

 Tree Frog at Pierce Brook


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