The crunch of twigs and fallen leaves under foot. The occasional click and whir of a digital camera documenting this perfect sugar maple leaf, that unusual fungus. An occasional breeze rustling the leaves of old growth American beeches.
All of the makings were there for a peaceful Sunday afternoon walk through the woods. We spent a couple of hours meandering through the four kilometers of trails at Shaw Woods, stopping to read each of the 22 sign posts, discussing which trees were succession species (meaning they are the first into an area after a disturbance of some sort), searching the forest floor for Indian Pipe, examining the differences between the white birches and yellow birches, and gaping at the height of the white pines. A pileated woodpecker briefly distracted us from conversation.
The woods are situated about 30 kilometers southeast of Pembroke. Four interconnected trails give the wanderer diverse looks at a mature forest, from green boggy lowlands to pines high and dry above the valley. While we were there to practice our tree and shrub identification skills, I could not help myself and photographed a number of mosses and brightly colored fungi.
Across the road, Shaw Pond hosts many more wetland flora and fauna. Trails line the either side of the creek beyond Shaw’s Dam.
When you find yourself needing a respite from your day, treat yourself to a walk through Shaw Woods.