My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!


Purple Headed Sneezeweed

Purple Headed Sneezeweed (all-time fave flower)

Yesterday I took a family that I have known for a very long time into the Big Basin area (old growth forest) of Allegany State Park. We had a wonderful time looking at the many old trees and then a few other unexpected treasures. We have an ongoing joke about how whenever I take them for a walk we somehow end up off trail and “sort of” get lost! I couldn’t let them down this year so everywhere we hiked “it was” off trail!!


B – was our Navigator and used the GPS to get us back to our cars!

We first went to see the large Maple so that we could ooo and aaa over! Then we headed out to the heart of the old-growth with the very large White Ash, Black Cherry, Cucumber Magnolia, Basswood, Yellow Birch, Black Birch, Eastern Hemlock, White Pine and many other amazing trees. First unexpected find was this very large orange mushroom. I am no mushroom expert but looked like a decaying Chicken of the Woods. Slugs were surely enjoying it!

Zoo Keeper and Her Snake

M and the Garter Snake she found.

The best was when M (can you believe this lucky kid works at the buffalo zoo?) found a Garter Snake as we were leaving the Old Growth area. I first picked it up and of course it pooed on me! I was all grossed out (I can still smell it on me now) . . . . happily I handed it over to M to handle. We had a few times “everyone” thought I was lost!! But, I knew exactly where we were!

Campfire and Marshmallows

Campfire after a great hike into the Big Basin Area

After the hike . . . . we headed back to their campsite to enjoy a fun campfire. Close to dusk we had 3 Eastern Screech Owls vocalizing around their campsite and I “tried” to get them to come in closer! I wasn’t successful but we did have fun trying! Thanks for a great day guys and we need to do this again!


Sparklers to celebrate the end to a fun day!

21 responses

  1. I can’t remember the last time I got “lost” in the woods. Sounds wonderful, Tom! Those flowers are so pretty, btw!

    23 August 2007 at 10:10 am

  2. Gotta love a flower called a purple-headed sneezeweed!
    Mmmm…I loves me some burnt marshmallows!

    23 August 2007 at 10:41 am

  3. Even if you do get “lost” every now and then, I bet you are a great trail guide. Looks like a fun day.

    23 August 2007 at 11:02 am

  4. The Old Growth Forest is probably my favorite place to hike in Allegany. It really is unadultered wild. I’m glad you had a great time.

    P.S. Is that the usual size for a garter snake? It looks huge for one.

    23 August 2007 at 11:13 am

  5. That sneezeweed is a definate weed I would like to have! It’s so pretty. Sounds like a great time on your hike and a great way to end with marshmallows!

    23 August 2007 at 12:27 pm

  6. I’d like that kind of weed in my garden. The pictures show such a fun day. Your camera sure takes great pictures. Even the sparklers are sharp and clear. I may have to buy some marshmallows and forget this diet and enjoy myself roasting them to a golden brown.

    23 August 2007 at 1:17 pm

  7. Sanke poo! Yuck.

    The sneezeweed is beautiful and I like the sparklers.

    23 August 2007 at 2:11 pm

  8. Okay…SNAKE poo….sorry.

    23 August 2007 at 2:11 pm

  9. I *love* the sneezewort Tom! I have to go find myself some now! Sounds like you had a great time! I’m looking forward to seeing ASP again!!

    23 August 2007 at 4:17 pm

  10. I like the name of the flower: Purple Headed Sneezeweed, it’s funny. Looks like a great time.

    23 August 2007 at 4:19 pm

  11. I love the flowers and the marshmallow, but please don’t hand me the snake, especially one that poops! I haven’t been to a campfire in a long time.

    23 August 2007 at 7:50 pm

  12. winterwoman

    I gotta get you to take me to the old growth area… I still haven’t been there. And Hey! Love that new header!!!

    23 August 2007 at 8:55 pm

  13. Tom – Every one of your blog fans wants to be on that hike with you. What a great photo essay. I didn’t know that snake poo smelled.

    The fire and marshmallow pix makes brings back many many happy memories.

    This was really nice.

    23 August 2007 at 10:31 pm

  14. Oh, how fun! Yummy looking marshmellows!

    24 August 2007 at 6:48 am

  15. I love the Sneezweed! What a cool flower. I have never seen one before. Do you know what their range is?

    24 August 2007 at 6:51 am

  16. Tom–all the photos do such a great job of taking us along for the walk in the woods. Loved the intent look on the GPS holder’s face.

    24 August 2007 at 8:25 am

  17. @ Ladybug – Hmm, I never get lost! LOL Thanks
    @ Lynne – it’s a fave of mine for sure! Only place I know it grows!
    @ Robin – aaaa don’t listen to them, I never get lost! Thanks
    @ tomek – The snake was decent size! Tomek, have I ever gotten you guys lost?
    @ Chicago – Marshmallows are always fun but the hike was even more fun! Thanks!
    @ Argonaut – I have two different cameras that I use for different pictures but thanks! Making them golden brown is impossible without them unexpectedly flaming into crisp burnt marshmallow!
    @ Trixie – yeck is right!
    @ PAM – That’s the only place that I know where it grows! Fun plant for sure! I figured you would love it!
    @ Barb – isn’t that great! Thanks it was!
    @ Ruth – At least I can’t smell it on me anymore! You can wash and wash and it never comes off!
    @ Jen – anytime you want and thanks! Still not sure if I like it to have on their for more than a year! Good for now until I can find something better!
    @ Cathy – and everyone is invited! And when you come down, I will be sure to find a snake to poo on you!! LOL You will never forget the smell! I keep on telling M that wait until the snake at the zoo poo’s on her!
    @ Jayne – was good, thanks!
    @ Vern not really sure but is located in NYS (that’s all that is important to me)! But, I did just google this flower and found this great site:

    24 August 2007 at 8:27 am

  18. KGMom – almost missed ya! Thanks and one of these days I need to do a video post tour of some of these places! thanks!

    24 August 2007 at 8:29 am

  19. What a fantastic time! I haven’t had marshmallows over the fire for years.

    24 August 2007 at 8:49 pm

  20. Sounds like a fun day, Tom. I especially like the part where you get to roast marshmallows and listen to owls at the same time. Life is Good!

    25 August 2007 at 11:13 pm

  21. I LOVE that shot of the snake with M fuzzed out… (okay okay now I have a photographic goal thank you) I also adore that sneeze weed. Does it actually make you sneeze? Well, regardless it is lovely! Nice photos!

    28 August 2007 at 12:59 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s