Monday, April 16, 2007

Moose Bog and Trout River, Adventures With Dill

So for some odd reason I got to thinking about all the times I'd been to Moose Bog up in Ferdinand. It's my favorite kettle bog, which is basically a pond that has a floating mat of sphagnum moss around its edges. The middle is the open water of the pond. These are actually one of the least safe type of bogs because of lack of tree roots throughout. I'll never forget the first time here, it was a college field trip for natural history of Vermont and the pitcher plants had turned purple from the frost.

There was also this guy in class whose name was Dill, and he was from New Jersey. Dill was a good guy, but a notorious clutz. Our prof. gave us all a lecture on bog safety, encouraged us to go explore. He gave one stern warning though. "Don't go out to the edge of the bog and start jumping up and down." Those of us who had bog trotted before knew bogs were spongy, and we could bounce a little bit to make plants nearby quake as well. A kettle bog is a bit different in that, when you walk out to the edge and bounce, it creates waves along the edge of the sphagnum moss.

I was right in the middle of trying to take a picture of an otter swimming across the pond when all of a sudden I heard a shout, and then yelling. I turned to my left to see a group of students rushing toward the edge of the bog. Yep, Dill had disregarded our prof's warning. Went right out to the edge, and jumped up and down. The howling was Dill, who had broke through the mat of sphagnum, and was in the bog literally up to his armpits. There was much cussing involved as everyone had to take pictures, before pulling him out. Soaking wet, and smelling very bad, Dill was blessed with his own seat in the van on the way home.

Now, same natural history of Vermont class, different field trip. This time our prof. had taken us to Montgomery to sample invertebrates in Trout River. It was before the bridge was damaged in the flood, and posted signs went up everywhere. This was my first time here, and I had heard great things about the river. Pretty easy task, those with rubber boots turn over rocks, while everyone else sits downstream with sampling nets waiting in the current. I had never realized how much life there really is under the rocks, so this was a real eye-opener. This trip is also when I began to take an interest in fly-fishing.

It was late October, but the weather was cold and breezy. Our prof. advised us to be careful, as the rocks along the edge are slippery. Yep, you guessed it. No sooner had the words come out of his mouth when a loud splash came from from the back of the group. Followed by a couple more splashes as Dill struggled to get back up. This probably should've ended the excursion, as nobody wanted to deal with hypothermia setting in. A quick survey revealed between everyone we had enough dry clothes at the van for Dill to change into. Instead of heading back, Dill already wet, stumbled down the middle kicking things up as he went along. We emptied our nets into sample jars and skeedaddled, out of there quicker and with more samples than we probably would've had otherwise.

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