Wednesday’s Rockwood Romp

This afternoon our Wacky Wednesday was spent amidst the tall meadow grasses and buttercups at Rockwood Hall in the Rockefeller Preserve. This is easily one of my favorite spots in the park and is yet another great place for the kids to hike due to the various trail options and short loops that abound in this section of the preserve.

One of the features of this trail is the enormous weeping beech tree that you encounter just at the top of the trail before you get to the old foundation. (For more history about this trail, check out the report from a 2009 winter hike here). The towering beech has re-rooted in several places along the ground beneath its drooping boughs thus creating a huge, enclosed space for the children to climb and play. For a long time, the kids were attracted to the two Sergeant Hemlocks on the grounds for climbing as they are lower to the ground than the beech and easier for them to scale. After talking to the preserve manager I learned that the hemlocks were fragile species and she instead encouraged the kids to climb the beech. It’s definitely hard to steer them away from those hemlocks, but luckily the beech is the first tree they come to on the trail, so that helps!

I really think they could spend an entire Wacky Wednesday under and atop the beech tree’s limbs, but after a while I lured them along the trail toward the foundation and Rockwood’s lower loop. The walls of the old foundation are another spot upon which they love to balance and climb and slide and they spent a good amount of time there before taking the lower trail at a run. After that, there was some cavorting in the meadow among the tall grass and buttercups, wildflower bouquets to pick, and games of tag and tackle to be had. They ended up yet again under the beech at the end of the trail before it was time to head home.

We did notice that the beech lost a pretty large limb, most likely in one of the late winter storms which hit us this past season. Some of the leaves of the beech were browning around their edges, and it seemed that it wasn’t just those near the fallen limb that were getting brown but all over the tree. I’m a little worried about that. This would be a terrible tree to lose.

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