I spent part of last weekend hunting for early spring wildflowers with no success. It’s still very early for this part of the country but because of the mild winter and early warmth I thought I might at least see some skunk cabbage. If I was real lucky I thought, I might even see some emerging false hellebore or trout lily plants. Since all of these plants like wet soil I planned to visit places that I knew were boggy. One of them was the new Keene peat bog park I wrote about in my last post, and another was a section of the Ashuelot River in Swanzey, NH, which is south of Keene.
The river was running along at a pretty good clip but since there is no melting snow to raise the water level, it’s much lower than normal. In a normal spring with plenty of snow melt I wouldn’t have been able to stand where I did to take this picture.
If there was rain on top of the usual snow melt large parts of this path would have been underwater. That’s what regularly happens in the spring-the river scrubs its banks clean.
But not everything gets washed down stream. This piece of rusty cast iron looked like it had been here for quite a while. It’s a fancy piece and if I had to guess I’d say it was some type of a motor cover. It didn’t look like it would fit on a stove.
It’s a sad fact that our ancestors used rivers as dumping grounds. I can remember seeing people dump their trash on the river bank when I was a boy, so it went on for a long time. Thankfully that practice has now stopped but I don’t think it would be possible to ever remove all of the trash from our rivers. I learned as a boy that it was wise to wear sneakers or some other type of footwear with thick soles when walking in or near this river. I still have a 5 inch long scar on my ankle that I got from a broken bottle many years ago.
Making sure tetanus shots are up to date is a good idea as well. This piece of rusty steel would be an awful thing to step on barefoot.
This was the strangest thing I saw. It’s an old army ammo box that was converted into a geocache box. It’s hard to see in the picture but it says geocache on it along with some other writing. The lid has been torn off, so there was nothing inside it. There is no way of knowing how many miles this thing tumbled down the river before coming to rest here. I have a feeling my fellow New Hampshire blogger Jomegat might be interested in this.
I got tired of taking pictures of rusty metal and broken glass so I took one of this tree that twisted around itself as it grew. It can’t be seen in the picture but it managed to graft itself together at each point the two limbs crossed. This picture also shows the fine gray sand that the rivers deposits here and there along its banks.
I never did find any early wildflowers but it was an interesting weekend nevertheless. Usually college students and other local volunteers will spend a good deal of time cleaning up along the riverbanks each year, but I don’t know if they come this far south. I’m confident that the area will be cleaned up though, because we are a lot more conscious of the importance of clean waterways now than we used to be.
The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it. ~Chinese proverb
I hope all of you Southerners and Midwesterners came through the recent severe weather outbreak unscathed. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.