Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Maple Hill Wildlife Management Area, West Stockbridge

A few weeks ago, Michael and I decided to explore the Maple Hill Wildlife Management Area in West Stockbridge. We left the car in a parking area at the corner of Maple Hill Road and Rte 102 near the Turnpike. I didn't know what we'd find but I hoped maybe some nice views and meadows on the hillside.

But alas, much of the former pasture land was covered with barberry and other invasives and almost impassible. There were some interesting stone walls, a huge old oak and some open forest. We followed a few old trails to the top of the hill and got a nice view through the trees to the Williams River.

Shotgun deer season was over, but we saw some evidence of hunters including trash and a couple of folding chairs. Perhaps they should learn what most hikers have learned: If you pack it in, you must pack it out!

The mighty oak!

The barberries were thick and tall and had very sharp thorns.

Various kinds of vines stifled many of the trees.

I love the moss on this 5-foot tall rock.

We looked through the trees, past the Williams River and into West Stockbridge.

Years ago this tree was used as a fence post
on which to string barbed wire to contain cattle.
The tree grew over and around the wire until it looks like the wire is coming
out of the middle of the tree. Probably around the middle of the 20th century
this was open pasture land.

Here is a recent hunting tree stand
accessed by an attached ladder.

Large older trees along the stone wall perhaps mark a property boundary.

A beautiful nest woven with birch bark and grasses was on the ground.
Did you know that it is illegal to possess this?
The laws were passed to protect birds when several species went extinct around 1900,
mostly because of hunting for once-fashionable hat feathers.

The dried goldenrod, grasses and pricker bushes
were taller than I am. Ouch!

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