A Morning Walk Into The Bog

After tending to the sheep, I took a little walk in the bog. I love how the dew settles into that natural depression and creates a silken drapery over many of the plants. In the early morning, the bog still feels silent and still, though you can easily detect the night time activity that has passed through. Deer trails criss-cross through the spongy sphagnum moss that carpets the entire area. A fox leaves gentle footprints along the shore. Spiders have crafted their delicate webs among the branches of the larch. There’s a lot to investigate…the Labrador tea, the cranberry, the tawny cotton grass, Rhodora canadense, and so much more. Such an abundance of plant and animal diversity! You can read more about the different types of bogs and how they are formed here: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/bog/
Do you ever have the chance to wander into a boggy area to investigate the unique habitat it provides? There are plenty of bogs in Maine to explore, many that have public access and often providing boardwalks that have been built above the sphagnum to protect the plants growing there. Bogs are fairly delicate habitats so there are some thoughtful guidelines to practice while exploring them. The bog that is close to us is not a public bog and we are very careful to walk primarily along the edge (slightly elevated from the bog itself) and occasionally along the deer paths that travel through it.
There is a bog open to visitors located in Orono and you can find information here: https://umaine.edu/oronobogwalk/bog-faqs/
Our own little bog is a canvas of red, gold, and orange hues at the moment and will continue to intensify as we head towards winter. Really beautiful. Here are a few photos from my morning excursion…

16 comments on “A Morning Walk Into The Bog

  1. Those are really beautiful photos, being able to ID so many signs of wildlife and the plants around you in the woods makes life so much more interesting doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing your walk.
    I’m hoping to stop in to the nursery row afternoon on our way home from New Brunswick…..hope to see you then.

  2. What a lovely way to start the morning! I have been up to the Orono bog walk several times, it is pretty amazing! I think there is also one in Lubec at West Quoddy Light.

  3. Maine and that whole regions seems like another planet. It is so opposite of California. Bogs are so rare here that we do not even use the word. (There are a few marshes, but they are very different.) Is that young tree in the first picture an Eastern hemlock? It looks like deodar cedar.

    • The tree is a larch, Larix laricina, it is also commonly known here as tamarack or hackmatack. They are very common in bogs. They are actually a deciduous conifer whose ‘leaves’ are needles, turn a beautiful gold in the fall, and then drop them all before winter. Because it has needles it is classified in the pinaceae family, despite not being an evergreen. This species of tree can withstand extreme cold and can also tolerate bogs where there is very limited oxygen in the substrate. Due to its chemical make-up, larch have a very high level of the enzyme, nitrate reductase , which allows it to grow in bogs or anaerobic sites. The bogs are beautiful at this time of year and soon their colors will become more intense. They are one of my favorite habitats. Always looking for the unique plants that grow there…sundews and pitcher plants that are carniverous but also many of the lovely woody plants like Labrador tea and lambskill and leatherleaf. Quite lovely, all of it. Things are slowing here at the nursery now, so walks in the woods, and fields, and bogs, are more frequent in the early morning. Yeah!

      • Larch would have been my second guess. It was the first thing that came to mind, but I dismissed it because I think of them as very rare. I saw them in Washington where they were grown as bonsai stock. I do not believe that that I have ever seen one here. Eastern hemlock is also grown in Washington, along with the native Western hemlock. I have seen only a few of each here. They are quite rare.

  4. There was a boggy area on our farmland when I was a kid, although probably not a real bog. I just remember jumping from hummock to hummock and having my sneakers sucked off my feet when I stepped in a wet area! Your photos capture the beauty so well–that shot of the big spiderweb is awesome! Hope the wedding goes perfectly!

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