Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Mt Toby Tree & Winter Fern Hike

Friday November 25th 1-3PM

The days are shorter, the weather colder and we have had our first snowfall. It must be time for the final fern walk of the season, our annual Tree & Winter Fern Hike at Mt Toby in Sunderland MA! Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, from 1-3 PM. We start up the Robert Frost Trail off of the Tower Road (which is off Reservation Rd), onto the Sugar Farms Trail and then Caves Trail. Randy is a retired state forester and knows his trees, so the variety we lack in ferns we can make up for with tree identification and info as people are interested. There are 6 or 7 evergreen or overwintering ferns we will see, and some dead but standing ferns that are also identifiable (if you want to go that far). For those who are interested, there are some caves at our destination, which you can check out and come back and explore on your own. You do not need to go to the caves, there are some ferns and fungi we can look at instead.

The photo is of a few fronds of Crested Fern (Dryopteris cristata), which is not on our list for next Friday, but are still commonly seen in wetlands this time of year. They are usually found growing on sedge hummocks and with cinnamon ferns. The fertile fronds, which are taller and narrower, die back in winter, but the sterile fronds survive the winter and then fade in the spring as new ones start to grow. If you look carefully on the right side of the photo you can see some dead (brown & shriveled) lady fern fronds (for Dead Fern Society fans).

The weather forecast is not good right now for next Friday, but maybe we will be lucky. Directions and details on the poster attached to the Calendar entry. If it is raining, sleeting, or snowing hard, we will be cancelling. I will email you in the morning, and also post it on the PVFS website under news. If we don't hike next Friday, hope you all have a good winter and we look forward to seeing you in the spring.