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Jan 27, 2022 - Roughed Grouse Snow Chamber

Trail Report: Snowshoes are recommended on all trails.

Hirundo’s hiking trail network covers 7 miles and is located north and south of Route 43. Have you explored the trails beyond Gate 2 yet? If you are looking for solitude, and the highest point of hirundo, these trails are for you. You will have to share the trails with the local fisher, snowshoe hares, foxes, and deer, or at least you see their tracks. It is a little odd when you hike in a circle, like I did, taking the Needle & Leaf trail to the Beech Trail and then backtracked along the Trapper’s Trail, just to find that a fox tracked you!

If you walk along the Needle & Leaf trail, up a gentle slope you, you'll find yourself at hirundo’s highest point (180 feet), surrounded by the gentle rustles of beech leaves. Deer spend their nights in the hemlock filled forest along this trail hiding amongst the trees away from windchill.

I stumbled upon this night chamber, a bed from a roughed grouse. Instead of huddling in tree cavities, the roughed grouse has an interesting technique taking advantage of the insulating quality of snow. While in flight they ‘dive’ into the snow and then move about creating a little snow cave, where they spend the night, digesting their fibrous winter meal consisting of twigs, buds, and catkins. Before leaving the ‘bed’ the next morning, grouse defecate, worm shaped droppings. In winter these are often dry and fibrous.

Sunday or Monday, after Saturday’s snow fall, will be perfect to explore the trails and see what tales it will tell you. Don’t forget to tell us!


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