With the recent rains and blustery winds, I set out this past week in search of any appreciable carnage that may have occurred on our trails from the inclement weather. I searched high and low, from Deer trail to Mossy Creek. From Elk Trail to the Phantom forest. From Discovery Trail through Maple Cove. With much of the fallen precipitation being absorbed from the parched earth, the trees along the way remained standing firmly in place, while not succumbing to the softening ground or to the moderate push from the winds.
However, what I did observe during my trek were many leaves of color. Leaves of red, leaves of yellow, leaves of gold, and many leaves of green that are still clinging to the branches from where they first developed last spring. Soon, they too will fall to the ground, just like their colorful siblings that had already taken their leap to the earth below. The creeks that previously had been reduced to a trickle from the sweltering summer were beginning to flow once again. And the air was fresh and filled with that sweet fall fragrance. Even with the showers that fell from the atmospheric river flowing from above, no mud was encountered along the trails, bringing me a sigh of relief knowing that I wouldn’t get scolded for walking across the carpet when returning home.
Autumn is a wonderful time of year to experience the trails and arouse the senses. A time to enjoy the fall colors, the distinctive autumn aroma, and the cool, crisp sensations felt this time of year. For me I had a quiet and peaceful investigative walk, a walk that I hope you can also take a time or two this season to experience and enjoy.
Experience MSR, and don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy our trails!
As you’ve likely noticed, this is the time of year when the days get shorter and the mornings get colder. As the amount of light dwindles each day and the temperatures begin to drop, it will soon signal the leaves of the maples and other broadleaf trees to change color and also drop.
The trails, before long, will begin transitioning from a thick green forest to a stark winter wonderland, bringing new, seasonal sights and sounds along the paths. Each season brings a different look along the trails for us to explore.
I hope you are able to enjoy strolling along the trails each season taking in the beauty, the forest sounds, and the fresh, usually smokeless, air along the way. It’s all there at our back doorstep, forever and patiently waiting to show its stuff to you on your next excursion.
Last month, a couple from afar came to visit MSR to explore and experience our trail system with the intention of filming and comparing our trails to other resorts that they have traveled to and explored across our nation.
Some at MSR thought they were loggers. And they were of sorts. Rain & Scott are video loggers, logging experiences, not timber. Instead of chainsaws, they brought cameras and their unique wit as their logging tools.
They came with high hopes of experiencing our amazing trails, which of course they found stunning, but they were also mesmerized by our beautifully maintained grounds, our amenities, and were especially inspired by the friendly nature and really great spirit of the people they came in contact with at MSR.
They made it clear in their video that MSR is one of the top three places they have visited where they would consider living (at least in the summer) and gave MSR a strong recommendation of a place to visit, especially to those wanting to test the waters of a safe, clothing optional experience.
Rain & Scott intended to stay for only a few days, but after leaving the hill for a short time, they returned and spent an additional week enjoying the beauty, peace, and well-being that we all at MSR are so accustomed to.
Be sure to check out the video, just as over 900 other viewers to date already have. It is always interesting to see MSR viewed from a different, fresh perspective. The video can be found at Rain & Scott’s website, fullfrontal.life. The link can also be found on the home page of the MSR website.
An auditory experience…
Before I begin the report, I invite you to sit back and close your eyes and let your imagination follow us on a short stroll along our trails.
As we walk along Maple Trail, notice how unseasonably lush the vegetation is along the trail and throughout the surrounding forest. And as we ascend the hill just past Maple Cove trail, doesn’t the greenery of maple cove below look like a tropical rain forest? The ambiance from the songbirds makes it sound like one, too.
Can you hear the many peaceful and relaxing sounds along our trails? Listen to the wind rustling through the trees and an occasional chirp from a squirrel. Sometimes you might even hear the shrill of a cicada, high up in a fir. Look down and you may see the bumblebees as they gather pollen from one clover bloom and from another. And it’s hard to ignore those annoying flies that try to dominate the sounds of the forest. Here, have some bug spray to help keep those flies at bay.
There are many butterflies this season floating in the light breeze over the meadows of snow white daisies and purple foxgloves. Although they are silent, the butterflies form a colorful parade that includes the yellow Tiger Swallowtail, and its white cousin, the Pale Swallowtail. The vibrant Red Admiral butterflies are a common sight, along with a few grayish Mourning Cloaks, and some orange & black Checkerspots passing by.
Squeals of joy may be heard as you enter the park while you encounter children playing on the tree swing. Hey, is that Nate playing disc golf? And while you take a moment to lay on the sandy beach, enjoy listening to the rushing waters of Alpine River as it flows in rapid succession down the hill. Oh, you didn’t know there is a river in the park? If you have your eyes closed, allow your imagination visualize it whether the river actually exists or not.
On occasion, tranquility may temporarily be interrupted by a mower as it rumbles away while keeping the park manicured, or you may hear the buzz of a chainsaw in the Southern Exposure carving up logs for the wood stove in the clubhouse. Oh, and that must be George in the distance playing pickleball. Sounds like he lost another volley that he’ll claim was due to the bright, blinding colors of the new court.
While hiking on the trails, more often than not, you won’t hear the mower, or the chainsaws, or George cursing while playing pickleball. What you will hear are the orchestral sounds of the forest; the wind rustling through the branches, the birds singing in the trees, the babbling brook along Maple Cove, the squirrels chirping high above, the bumblebees collecting pollen, the flies doing their best to annoy you, and the shrill of the cicadas.
But to experience the lush sights and the serene sounds that you’ll encounter while walking along our trails, you must first open your eyes and proceed to the nearest trailhead. May you have a peaceful and memorable walk.
As spring graaaadually transitions into summer, pack a bag of scrumptious goodies (and perhaps a smidgen of bug spray), and take the short, inspiring walk to Alpine Park for a picnic. Enjoy the late blooming flowers and the lush greenery lining the trails along the way to the park.
After your picnic, continue your excursion to the Phantom Trail where you can spot Phantom Orchids that make their annual June appearance in the MSR forest. Hold on a minute, did you say orchids, you ask? Yes, that’s right. Orchids aren’t just found in the tropics or at Costco, MSR has dainty orchids that grow naturally in our forest, feeding on the hidden web of fungi that spreads under the forest floor. In addition to the stark white phantom orchids, the red coral root orchids have been making an appearance over the past couple of years. Have a picnic, enjoy a walk in the woods, and spy an orchid. What more could you ask for while strolling along our amazing trails?
The rains over the past few weeks have brought some life back to the trails at MSR. A trickle in the brook at Maple Cove. Alpine Park greening back up. The fresh aroma of the mountain air.
No issues have been reported from the Trails Committee members, nor have I seen any concerns during my strolls along many of the trails.
The steps going up Elk Trail are holding up nicely, making for a much easier ascent on a trail that had always been so difficult to navigate in the past. Kudos to Nate and Rossee for overseeing that strenuous project.
Alpine Gardens continues to look unusually healthy for this time of year, still producing monstrous zucchini which are taken to the clubhouse to share with those that would like them.
The first hard frost will likely occur soon, followed by the dropping of leaves which will blanket the trails, preparing them for their annual winter slumber.
Experience the trails. Continue to enjoy MSR.
MSR Escape to Peace and Tranquility – A video presentation
Have you walked along the trails at MSR lately? There’s no need to hurry while exploring the trails. Each step can bring something new along the walk for you to savor. The trails will guide you through a diverse variety of forest, meadow, and distant views along your journey.
Did you see the Trilliums blooming along Maple Trail earlier this spring?
Have you seen the stand of Lupine along Discovery Trail?
Were you able to spot the elusive Coralroot Orchids along Elk Trail?
Or the white Phantom Orchids along their namesake’s trail?
What did you think about the wild Iris along Mimi’s Leap?
And have you observed the Daisies blooming amongst the Foxglove along Maple Loop Trail?
How many colors of Columbine have you been able to spot in Alpine Park?
And have you been enchanted by the fairies along the Sanctuary Trail?
The walk along our trails certainly can be a treasure hunt!
There’s no need to worry about getting lost when you walk our trails. There are plenty of maps posted at each trailhead. And if you do get turned around, don’t panic, simply follow the trail downhill and you will return to civilization in short order.
Come see for yourself. Experience the trails. Rediscover MSR.
The storms this past season have brought down a considerable amount of limbs, branches, and other debris on the trails, much more than recent past. A work party in January cleared four trees that had fallen over Maple Trail, Phantom Trail, and Fern Walk. Additional small trees fell over Maple Trail since the work party, with one bushy tree falling onto the Maple Trail bench.
Snow is forecast to reappear this upcoming weekend of the 13th which will likely bring down more branches from the weight of the snow on the brittle branches and perhaps falling more trees from the saturated soil.
Each Trail Committee member is assigned a trail or two to maintain, and it’s the Trail Committee’s goal to have the trails cleaned up prior to the end of March in time for the commencement of the Spring & Summer season. It should be an easy time frame for the team to work within, as it doesn’t take much time for each committee member to walk, inspect, and clear their assigned trails.
Maple Trail was cleaned up and the fallen trees were removed on that trail last weekend so those that watched the video in the newsletter could enjoy walking the trails that were featured in that video.