Split Oak Forest

Waaay back in May, we took a hike in the Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area. (A tongue-tying name, to be sure.) This area is accessed through Moss Park. While Moss Park is just south of the 417, we’d only made it there once before, and were chased away by a summer thunderstorm. On the day we took this hike, the weather was great!

The Split Oak.

The Split Oak.

The protected area (I’ll call it that in preference to “Wildlife and Environmental Area”) is named after the Split Oak, a 200 year-old tree that was struck by lightning at one point, and continued to grow. It’s an interesting sight.

Apparently, this isn't that unusual of a phenomenon, though it is pretty cool.

Apparently, this isn’t that unusual of a phenomenon, though it is pretty cool.

The protected area itself contains a variety of ecosystems: you enter it through a swampy wetland, and the trail passes through pine flatwoods before entering the oak forest and passing by a little lake. We didn’t explore too far on this hike, as we were meeting friends at a soccer game that evening (as you can see from Yan’s jersey).

As a plus, our favored sporting team was ultimately victorious (Go Lions!)

As a plus, our favored sporting team was ultimately victorious (Go Lions!)

So, it was a short but interesting walk, with a variety of birds, plants, and a strikingly-colored electric turquoise-striped garter snake. Sadly, the snake slithered off before we got any good photos of it. But since my preference is for shy non-venomous snakes rather than aggressive venomous ones, I can’t really complain.

Blackroot (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum) was blooming in the pine forest areas.

Blackroot (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum)? was blooming in the pine forest areas.

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