Walktober 2017 – Chinqua-Penn Trail

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Walktober is an initiative of  Robin at Breezes at Dawn. This post in particular was inspired by Eliza Waters’ hike at Hawley Bog.

There is so much history behind the Chinqua-Penn Trail, I wouldn’t know where to begin, so please join me on an impressionistic exploration of this tiny loop on the outskirts of Wentworth, Rockingham County.

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All shades of Carolina blue. Where heaven meets earth. Retention pond off in the distance
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Black Angus cattle.
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Silage. This will last the herd the worst that winter has to offer.
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Into the woods.

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A member of the rhododendron family, great laurel (R. maximum) is an Appalachian mainstay. I am pretty sure that is what the above shrub is. I grew up among these, about 15 miles from Chinqua-Penn. There was a stand of pine neighboring our backyard, with an understory of rhododendron. This photo does not do it justice.

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This shelf- or ear-looking fungus iridesced bluish-olive green the closer I got. Fascinating the alchemy of living pigments and light.

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Kudzu – at one time hailed as the saving grace of eroded landscapes, then cursed for it’s rambling intrusion, now viewed with indifference. I’ll reserve my judgement for a later time. Except to say that the Chinqua-Penn woods give even kudzu a rarified air.

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Soaring conifers. I suspect they are Eastern hemlock, but submit this identification to heavy-handed correction. It could be of the Pinus genus, but something about the bark told me otherwise.

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Remnants of a bygone plantation era. That bottom step is a millstone, one of many used in other constructs, including the tables underneath the oversized umbrella-canopy at the top of the stairs. Here, the Penns entertained in the solitude of the woods. They can’t be seen in the photo, but there are numerous native forbs, such as green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum), painstakingly planted or maintained by stewards of the trail.

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A modern addition, this elevated boardwalk makes it possible to traverse the bog to the right without trampling the steeper incline to the left.

The walking trail traverses a forest which may either be classified as “Basic Mesic Forest” or “Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest,” depending on certain indicator species which occur in low densities or may be spring ephemerals. On top of that, there are a good number of pines and other evergreens.

We’re still waiting on a frost to usher in fall weather. We may get one before All Hallow’s Eve. A happy one to all.

7 thoughts on “Walktober 2017 – Chinqua-Penn Trail”

  1. What a beautiful walk! Thank you so much for joining Walktober and sharing the beauty of your area with us. 🙂
    I have mixed feelings about kudzu. It’s so invasive that I want to pull it all out (an impossible task, obviously), and yet it can look so beautiful draped over the landscape, creating otherworldly tall, green creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for checking the post out. I appreciate your thoughtful ambivalence towards kudzu. There are quite a few places in our county that have been overrun with the vine – I deal with it by seeing it, accepting it for what it is, and letting it go. On better days, I think, “Someday, in some way, something good will come of this.” Happy Fall!

      Liked by 1 person

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