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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary(Berkshires)

Visited Mass Audubon's 262 acre Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Pittsfield, Mass today.  Due to high levels of humidity, the chance of thunderstorms, and wanting an easier walk I chose this location.  Although located only a mile away(as the crow flies) from Pittsfield's city center, the Sanctuary seems worlds away.  Trails are all level and easy walking through wetlands and woods.
A large parking lot and informational kiosks greet you as you arrive.  You will then proceed down an old carriage road(this was formerly a private estate) towards West Pond.  Views across the pond are excellent with the hills of October Mountain State Forest forming the backdrop.
 Picturesque West Pond is usually teeming with wildlife.
Trails follow the shores of West Pond leading towards a footbridge at the outlet.  Just beyond the bridge is supposed to be the Sacred Way Trail, but it seemed to be mostly overgrown, muddy and extremely weedy so I did not proceed further.
 Pretty wildflowers along the trail.
 The weeds and plant growth are thick along the shoreline, but there are a couple of chances to get right down to the water's edge.
 Goldenrod, a staple of late summer, was growing everywhere.
Circling around on the Carriage Trail provides different glimpses of West Pond.
 The walking was easy on a humid day, but the bugs were relentless.  Here is the Carriage Road as it wanders through the Sanctuary.
Found this little critter on accident by nearly steeping on him.  He didn't seem overly concerned as he poked around in the weeds only a few feet away.
 A boardwalk leads through a swampy area on its way towards the Wildlife Observation Building.
 The Wildlife Observation Building acts as a blind and provides a great chance to watch wildlife in a large wetland environment.
Here is a view out from inside the building.
 There are plenty of small vernal ponds and large puddles throughout the Sanctuary.  Here are some early autumn leaves collecting on still water.
 Almost looks like an oil painting.
 The Carriage Trail finally comes to an end at peaceful Sackett Brook. 
 A view downstream as the brook makes its way to the Housatonic River.
 In 2013, the dam at Sackett Brook was removed, returning the brook to its more natural state.
 I've noticed a lot of leaves changing color this past week.  Seems very early this year.
 Continued along Wolf Pine Trail which passes through an evergreen forest.  Though this cluster of tree(s) was very interesting.
 Wolf Pine Trail.
 As I neared West Pond again, the skies began to clear and with the increased sun-came increased humidity again.  A large meadow just before West Pond.
 A very easy, quiet stroll on a warm summer day.

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