This big, beautiful, and much-loved preserve is called “evergreen” for a reason: the original owner planted his land with many different kinds of evergreens, which provided great sheltered areas for lots of different wildlife. In between the stands of evergreens, grew deciduous forests of beech and oak. Over the decades, the forests have matured, providing a true forest experience as you walk along the trails. With its old snags, dead trees still standing, and logs on the ground, the area is a great home for many kinds of deep forest life that depend on old wood. Changes in elevation allow streams to form and tumble down the hillsides to small ponds, wetlands, and Whitford Brook on the western edge.
above photo courtesy Rick Newton
Total Hike & Seek Targets: 5
Evergreens are usually taller trees with needles, rather than true leaves. They keep their needles through the winter. Pines, hemlocks, and spruce are found here. Mountain laurel, another evergreen plant which has more traditional leaves and is not as big, blossoms in June and is our state flower. Find some evergreens.
These are also known as fungi. With all the old and decaying wood on the ground, this preserve hosts some of the greatest variety of mushrooms to be found anywhere. Mushrooms come in many colors, except true green. They are to be enjoyed from a distance and never picked as many of them can be poisonous. How many colors can you find?
Many historic properties have small family cemeteries within them. The old headstones are interesting to read when we stop and pay our respects. Which headstone is the oldest?
Throughout this preserve, we find signs of hard work. Stone walls crisscrossed the woods when this area was more open and the roadways were lined with walls. You can find other structures made of stone from more than a century ago, mostly along the orange trail. They are interesting to look at, and think about, but please do not climb on them.