FAHNESTOCK, MUD LAKE
May 20, 1934
The party started from the Wodehouse cottage on Oscawanna Lake, took the Cold Spring Road north to Mud Lake. The road leads through a dense hardwood forest in which species of oak are dominant. Much of the land in this region had been cleared and farmed, but over 40 years ago was abandoned and allowed to revert to forest. Occasionally, however, were seen some of the giants of the original forest, principally white and red oaks. Scattered throughout are a large number of sassafras trees, all of which had suffered more or less severe winter injury but apparently none of them quite killed. Mud Lake is small and shallow with reedy and marshy shores, and brownish water in which grow an abundance of white water lilies. The leaves of these had already appeared, and lay with their freshly expanded surfaces gleaming in the sunlight over the placid surface of nearly the whole lake.
From Mud Lake the party followed the Appalachian trail northward to Clear Lake. Though this little lake is less than a quarter of a mile away it is more than a hundred feet higher than Mud Lake, and is in an entirely different setting. The shores of Clear lake are rocky and dry, and, wherever a foothold may be obtained, are occupied by small pitch pines (Pinus rigida), scrub oak (Quercus ilicifolia), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and various species of Vaccinium. The water of the lake is clear and cold, and devoid of any conspicuous aquatic vegetation.
From Clear Lake the party continued northward through rather open forest of Betula lutea, B. lenta, and B. populifolia in varying proportions, with an admixture of poplars, hemlock, beech, and occasional linden and numerous badly diseased young chestnuts. The many straight and slender boles of chestnut standing whitening in the sun or rotting on the ground showed that much of this region had been occupied by a dense and nearly pure stand of chestnut prior to the visit of Endothia parasitica. Over a large part of this region was a dense ground cover of Lycopodium complanatum, with occasional plants of L. obscurum. Many interesting plants were encountered on the trip besides those already mentioned. Of those that were in flower, the wild azalea (Azalea nudiflora) with its gorgeous pink flowers was a conspicuous and beautiful object almost throughout. The stemless slipper (Cypripedium acaule) was seen in considerable abundance, particularly in the vicinity of Clear Lake. Here were also the dainty yellow flowers of the dwarf dandelion (Krigia virginica) growing in small soil pockets in the otherwise bare rock. Other plants seen in flower were the striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum), bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia), white baneberry (Actaea alba), and dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolium). But none of these was seen more than once or twice on the trip, for they must be accounted as rather rare in the region.
R. P. Wodehouse