Inaugural Hike on Murdough Hill Meander

by on November 14, 2012 in Hikes and Nature, Recreation

by Kathy Schillemat

Murdough Hill Hike

Harry Flanagan tells the group of hikers the story of the bobcat and the goose.

Saturday, November 10 was a warm November morning.  Folks assembled in Duane and Kathy Schillemat’s driveway to begin the first official hike on the Murdough Hill Meander.  Young and old gathered, including two families who have just moved into the area.  Al Stoops took a count—twenty people!  After a brief introduction, Kathy led the group into the woods.  The hikers stopped at the site of a mill, which Rick Church said had been a grist mill and a saw mill in the early 19th century.  Half of the massive mill stone lay in the raceway of the mill, broken, Rick believes, when the mill was destroyed by fire.

The group moved away from the mill site and followed the stream which flows out of Granite Lake into a wetland abutting Granite Lake Road.  Along the way, Kathy pointed out evidence of beaver, which periodically dam the wetlands and take up residence.  Two ducks were observed taking flight from the stream.   At the site of an old beaver dam, Harry and Anita Flanagan regaled the group with the harrowing story of a bobcat taking a goose from her nest atop a beaver lodge.   Harry had observed the life and death struggle from Granite Lake Road as he walked along the wetlands a number of years ago, and brought Anita back to see where it happened.  When they returned, they were fortunate to see the bobcat also return to take the eggs from the nest.

At a vantage point across from the Munsonville Cemetery, Al Stoops told about his great uncle, Frank Foster, who was known as the “Mayor of Munsonville” when he lived in town.  Al’s great uncle is buried in the Munsonville Cemetery as well as the well-known contra dance caller, Ralph Page, and Duane’s grandmother, Edith Pearl Frazier.

Kathy led the group to a beautiful sphagnum moss wetlands area around which the trail skirts before heading up Murdough Hill through an open hardwood forest carpeted with club moss.   Here, Kathy noted, she and her dog had seen 3 deer bounding through the woods just the day before.   Bear, coyote, gray fox, weasel, opossum, snowshoe hare, and raccoon have also been observed in this patch of woods on occasion.

Friendship on the trail

Judi and Maya strike up a new friendship on the trail.

After a vigorous two hour hike, the group of new and old friends returned to Kathy and Duane’s driveway where they enjoyed tasty cookies courtesy of Anita Flanagan, Betsey Church and Kathy Schillemat.  The hikers deemed the trail beautiful and vowed to return to hike another day.

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