May 5th, 2017

There is something special about the woods in a spring rain shower. The water beats steadily against my hood and I have a strong desire to pitch a tent, nostalgic for past backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail. The air is incredibly fresh and there is a silence that is unmatched. Bird songs sound crisper when they are accompanied by the sound of rain.

I came away soaked but it was an exhilarating dampness. The forest was alive despite its dormancy in the inclement weather. This trip reminded me why spring is my favorite season.

When I first entered North Beach, I was once again blow away by the hydrology. I thought my April trip was flooded but this was way worse. The North Beach Sign was nearly completely underwater, not at all serving its purpose. Even though the sign declaring Lone Rock Point closed for mud season was gone, the point was arguably muddier now than when it was supposed to be closed.

What appeared to be a vernal pool at the edge of the beach was still there although this time it was accompanied by more green and still seemed lacking of amphibian life.

As I walked to the point I was distracted be nearly every leaf and herbaceous plant I came across. There was so much visible change that I felt somewhat overwhelmed with the need to catalogue and record all of it. Red and sugar maples as well as aspens were unfolding their leaves while other leaves like that of the American beech and northern red oak were just beginning to escape their buds.

The dominant herbaceous species was trout lily, filling vast expanses of the forest floor its flowers just beginning to bloom.

There were lots of other random plants that I couldn’t quite identify and grew much less pervasively.

The ferns that I saw on the last trip were no longer covered in spores but there were several small fiddleheads in their clump.

Aside from the trout lily, there were a few other various plants and trees that were blooming or whose flowers just appeared to be on the verge of breaking forth.

The final aspect of the woods that impressed me on this trip was the lichen and fungi covering trees and stumps. The rain darkened the bark which really made the abnormalities stand out.

When I finally reached the point, I began to feel a bit sentimental. I was reminded of all the times I had wandered throughout the year. It seemed like it wasn’t too long ago that I was concerned I would get lost on the way to my site. It felt like such a long journey down the first few times and now it is a trip that feels so quick. Over the summer I will miss the views of the lake, the birds and all the intricacies in the cedar tree roots. I am looking again to visiting next fall and completing the phenological loop.

While I may see it as an escape into nature, my place is not free of human influence. The trails to my site are always filled with hikers and the the litter is a clear sign of human presence.

On this trip someone had even left remains of a fire on the bluff.

My place is even permanently marked by the Lake Survey.

The point is, people and their signs are everywhere. People mostly visit my spot for the purpose of recreation, or they are like me and consider this natural environment an escape from a busier life. My place would certainly not be the same without people, even though I do not always physically see them.

Everyone who ever enters a place always becomes a part of it whether they realize it or not. Places are defined by the smallest aspects of human impact. Simply walking through a forested area like my place will crush plants and bugs, forever altering the microcosm of an ecosystem that previously existed. Our impact on a place may not always be large but this impact will make us a part of it. The extensive time I have spent getting to know my place means that my impact to my place is much greater than that of mere hikers. Given I have been sharing my place with others, I would argue that I am also more of a part of my place than most. The best way to become a part of a place spend quality time in it alone while also sharing it with others.

I look forward to more trips to Lone Rock next semester. 

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2017)

April 9th, 2017

Evidently spring in Vermont is an anomaly. I was told to expect a lot of mud instead, and in this regard, I was not deceived.  Lone Rock Point was apparently closed for mud season yet I took the risk and ventured to my spot regardless.

The first thing I noticed as I neared my spot was the unusually high lake levels. The last time I had been, the sign announcing the end of North Beach was just slightly off the shoreline while this time there was at least ten feet between the sign and the water’s edge.



The high lake water had washed a lot of wood and litter debris to the shore and the gathered pollution detracted from the beach’s aesthetic while also likely harming wildlife. I cannot imagine the duck that I observed in these waters in March desiring to hunt in them now.

Continuing down the beach, I came across two pools of water that seemed to have vernal pool potential. The first was much larger and had a stream of water connected to it that was funneling right into the lake. The second pool was much shallower and had a clear leaf litter bottom, appearing a bit more like a vernal pool than the first. That said, I spent several minutes poking around each pool and neither of them appeared to show any forms of amphibian life.

Entering the point, hydrology continued to stand out as one of the most noticeable changes since my last visit. The distinctive crunch that reverberated underfoot with each step I took on my last trip was now replaced by a squish as the muddy land gripped my boots. I finally understood why the foot bridges along the trial were necessary.



Some of the stepping logs were so flooded that they were completely submerged. In some areas, the mud was so deep that it was necessary to walk off the trail to avoid it. It makes sense that they would ask people to stay off the trails until the end of mud season as I am sure the forested areas in Vermont are greatly degraded each year by hikers walking around mud and widening trails.

Aside from lots of water, the presence of green was the other main indicator that the seasons had changed. While the trees were not quite in bloom, fern and moss species were very much alive. 

The most dominant fern species was covered in spores on the underside of each leaflet. This species I later identified as marginal wood fern and the spores as sporangia. This species is coniferous so it did not bloom with the warmer springtime temperatures but rather was finally uncovered from the snow. It makes sense that this species would be found on Lone Rock Point as it prefers thinner, rockier soils.

There were also some interesting fungi growth like this one that I found at the base of a northern red oak:

Wildlife on Lone Rock is likely impacted by some very interesting edges. The only manmade edge on the point is a fence that runs briefly along the trail at the very entrance to the point.

Given this fence is short and very close to the lake, it likely does not pose too much of a threat to the movement patterns of animals and probably only really serves to keep people out. Natural edges are what really defines the edge effect on the lake. Surrounded by water on three sides, the point likely does not provide great interior forest habitat. That said, the lack of manmade edges means that the species living in the forest are relatively protected from human elements and have a wide range of movement. My spot exists on the very tip of the point and is essentially the epitome of an ecosystem surviving at a natural edge. With shallow soils and more sunlight than an interior forest, the point may not offer the best interior habitat yet still manage to be a very effective rare natural community. For woodpeckers in particular, the snags surrounding my site provide perfect habitat. Natural edges are perhaps just as important for species diversity as interior forests.

To conclude this week’s post, I attempted to sketch the highlights of my place in the spring:

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2017)

Rock Creek Park: Spring Break

As soon as I arrived at the airport in DC last Friday I was chastised for bringing the cold weather with me. The weather just before I arrived had been spectacular. Hyacinths, daffodils, phlox and forsythia flowers were all in bloom and the cherry blossoms were just budding, expected to peak the week after break.

My parents caught me up on the odd phenological trends I had missed in the city. After a winter of nearly no snow, spring seemed to come a bit sooner than usual. With record high temperatures throughout February, many flowers bloomed too early and were killed shortly thereafter by unexpected cold spells. For instance, the pink flowering magnolia trees that can be found everywhere in the city bloomed for exactly one day before turning brown with an overnight shift in the weather. The city’s biggest spring attraction, the Japanese cherry blossom trees were beginning to bloom much sooner than they should. Their peak week, an event that historically happens the first week of April, would be starting once again much earlier this year. On Friday, the Washington Post reported that for the first time in the 102 years of cherry blossom trees in DC, half of them will not be blooming this year because of the sudden cold weather earlier in the week (Stein).

Each year, the weather patterns in this city seem to behave less and less ordinary. A city that depends so much on seasonal tourism is extremely hurt by the extreme fluctuation in weather events we observe year to year as a result of climate change. It is amazing that so many lawmakers in DC continue to push policies that deny the human caused existence of climate change when the impacts can be seen right outside their office windows.

But enough about politics, the purpose of the post is to revisit my home forests of Rock Creek Park.

On Tuesday afternoon, my mom, Sable and I took a hike on the same trails we had explored over Thanksgiving break and countless times before that. I realized on this hike that my favorite thing about Rock Creek Park is its accessibility. When I was growing up my mom would always bribe my brother and I to go on hikes. Each hike had an end destination. We would hike through the woods to Cleveland Park where we would be rewarded with pizza and frozen yogurt or through the woods to the National Zoo where we would spend a few hours with the animals before hiking home. I walked through the park to get to school, church, the library, my brother’s baseball games and the grocery store. The forest was our highway. On this particular trip, we hiked from our house to the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood so I could get a haircut and make some phenological observations along the way.

It had snowed all morning so the forest was an interesting compilation of spring and winter. Several inches of quickly melting slushy snow littered the ground making walking tricky and animal tracking nearly impossible.

After spending several days learning about Biofinder a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but wonder about the habitat conditions of a forested landscape within a big city. People certainly love the park, using it for all sorts of recreation while also providing a slower rural atmosphere in the midst of such a big place. Last fall in my post about Rock Creek Park, I noted its maturity, made up of many more older growth trees than the forests I’ve encountered in Vermont. Tree age however, is only one indicator of a healthy forest. Modern fragmentation is arguably the most impactful current threat to the natural communities of Rock Creek Park. Sandwiched between neighborhood row houses and the busy parkway, the nearby city development redefines notions of preservation.

Rock Creek Park is also home to many more ornamental nonnative species than what I have observed growing on Lone Rock Point. These species were easy to spot as they were more green than their deciduous surroundings. English ivy, holly and magnolia species, and daffodils planted at a park entrance were among the most notable outsiders.

The presence of people in the park did not end with fragmentation and ornamental species. In fact, one of the most obvious signs that I was in a forest within a city was graffiti. Many of the American beech trees have names carved in them and other trees were decorated with spray paint.

I was alerted to the presence of birds in the park not by the steady chirping or woodpecker tapping that I typically hear on Lone Rock Point but by a sign. Evidentially spring  in DC means it is the season for wood thrush nesting, DC’s official bird. This piece of information was news to me. I’ve lived in DC my entire life yet I’ve never encountered a wood thrush.

The cold snowy day was perhaps not the best time for bird watching and I was shocked to see nearly no signs of bird life on my hike. Several days later, I went on a morning walk with my dog and I was amazed at the dominating presence of bird songs. If I closed my eyes I felt as though I had transported myself to a forest rather than my busy neighborhood streets. The sun was out, the temperature was in the upper 40s and for the first time all break, it actually felt like spring. European starlings, warblers, crows, robins, sparrows, blue jays, chickadees and pigeons each contributed to a very spring-like atmosphere.

Hydrology in the park is similar to that of Lone Rock Point this time of year. The only difference is that the hills in the park create many more streams than what is found on the point. The water in Rock Creek Park is also very well managed by people. In one spot a plastic runoff barrier was preventing water from flowing down into the parkway creating a small manmade, potential vernal pool.

I was happy for the chance to once again spend some time in Rock Creek Park. It is hard to believe that the next time I am here the forest will be a much different place as it begins to embrace the long hot summers of DC.

(A map of the park as well as information surrounding the natural history and woody plant species I’ve observed is provided in more detail within my Thanksgiving Break post.)

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2017)

March 5th, 2017

When I learned that we had to do a phenology post before spring break, I was not happy. With midterms on the horizon and a plethora of projects due, I feared I would never be able to find the time in my week to visit my place. Little did I know, visiting my place would be the best way to relieve my stress.

I was sure that my February visit would be the last time I would travel down to Lone Rock in cold wintery weather. Only one weekend earlier I was able to do homework outside in 60 degree weather but this weekend winter was back. Once again I was bundling up for a chilly adventure.

Despite the cold, the people of Burlington were out and about, enjoying the beautiful sunny day. For the first time, I was able to get to my place via the newly renovated bike bath and I fully enjoyed the lake views.

Moreover, the ice surrounding the lake was gorgeous and a facinating phenological phenomena. The ice stretched the entire shoreline, bordering the land with a thin strip of white. At the edge of North Beach the frozen ice was cracked in patches by waves hitting the shore and the ice was cut in beautiful shards like broken glass.  

Inlets where the water was flowing slower trapped the ice. When I entered the point at North Beach, small floes of ice were trapped in one such inlet. A lone duck was fishing around the ice. I sat and watched for a while and was amazed at how oblivious the duck was to my presence.

A sign several feet away from the shoreline indicating the end of the North Beach property was a good indicator that lake levels were abnormally high. Perhaps the snowmelt had was a contributing factor or maybe it was just abnormal tides.

The forest had been transformed since the last time I had visited. Now completely uncovered by snow, the woods had once again taken on a more scraggly unkept look but the bight sunny day gave everything a glowing aura.

Moss and fern species had been uncovered and I was surprised at how vibrantly alive they seemed, not at all damaged by the weight of snow.

Without the snow, I almost felt as though I had been transported back to a chilly fall day. My main reminder that it was still winter was a steady crunch under my feet as I hiked along. The ground was still very frozen in many places and if I looked closely enough there was a thin coat of white ice in the soil.

In some places, ice was still very present. For the first time, I understood why there were stepping stones and logs in place. I am sure that should temperatures rise again soon these areas will be very muddy. Although Biofinder suggested that there were none on Lone Rock Point, these areas also might become vernal pools in the spring.

When I reached the end of the point I was eager to see more ice so I decided to wander down to the Champlain Thrust Fault to see how the ice was accumulating. Here entire trees were coated in thick white ice and the stream flowing down to the lake was entirely frozen. The water must have been splashing very high in order to coat the trees.

Northern White Cedars continue to amaze me. Down at the Thrust Fault I came across two cedars that were alive yet their roots were almost entirely detached from the soil, instead sprawling out over a cliff. Other trees and stumps were tilted sideways, restricted from falling by an intricate root system. At my spot, the root system was once again uncovered by snow and exposed. It is remarkable that these trees manage to survive in areas with such shallow soil.

As with most of my trips, the most common signs of wildlife I found were related to bird species. I came across what appears to be a bluebird feather and heard several pileated woodpeckers as usual. I also discovered an interesting cedar snag that was missing bark on one side. This seems like it could be the work of decomposers or perhaps harsh winds created this unusual situation.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip to Lone Rock Point. Perhaps the next time I visit, the weather will show more consistent signs of spring!

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2017)

March 5th, 2017

My spot on Lone Rock Point can be described as a limestone bluff cedar-pine natural community. These are communities that are shaped by the limestone and dolostone bedrock that lies under a very thin layer of soil. As mentioned in previous posts, the primary vegetation at my place are northern white cedars with a sparse understory aside from moss and lichen species on the exposed rocks.

Biofinder identifies the limestone bluff cedar-pine forest on Lone Rock Point as a rare natural community.

On the walk to my site, I travel through a transition hardwood limestone forest community. This community is mainly composed of maple, oak and pine species and is commonly found adjacent to limestone bluff cedar-pine forests.


Natural Communities and Biofinder

My spot on Lone Rock Point can be described as a limestone bluff cedar-pine natural community. These are communities that are shaped by the limestone and dolostone bedrock that lies under a very thin layer of soil. As mentioned in previous posts, the primary vegetation at my place are northern white cedars with a sparse understory aside from moss and lichen species on the exposed rocks.

Biofinder identifies the limestone bluff cedar-pine forest on Lone Rock Point as a rare natural community.

On the walk to my site, I travel through a transition hardwood limestone forest community. This community is mainly composed of maple, oak and pine species and is commonly found adjacent to limestone bluff cedar-pine forests.

For the first time, I used Biofinder to better understand the rarity of my place. Surprisingly, all of Lone Rock Point was covered in overlapping yellow circles on Biofinder showing that it is a site inhabited by multiple rare plant species. It is interesting that the north shoreline is entirely outlined. This might suggest that there is a plant species in this area that only lives in limestone bluff-cedar pine communities.

Aside from the natural communities layer shown above, rare plant species was the only other layer in the species and community scale components category that was found at my place.


February 2nd, 2017

It’s a new year on Lone Rock Point! After almost two months without a visit, I was excited to return and see what had changed.

All week however, the bitter cold and heaps of old, unattractive snow urged me to delay my visit. As I walked to my morning classes Thursday, the cold gusts of air found their way through my layers and I began to dread the prospects of spending my afternoon outside.

Once I started the journey down and managed to get some blood flowing, the day began to feel much more pleasant. It was my first time visiting my place in the afternoon so I felt a bit more time pressured than usual but thoroughly enjoyed the sunny day views of the setting sun on the lake.

As I neared my site I was struck by how much more attentive I felt to observing and analyzing what was happening around me. I later realized that on this trip in particular I spent much of my time looking at the ground hoping to build on my newly acquired tracking skills. For a while this was disappointing. The snow was several days old at this point and the ground was a jumbled mess of dog and human prints. 

Walking across the beach to the point I came across one pair of tracks that showed a clear bounder pattern. The paw pattern of the animal was impossible to make out, frozen over by ice and covered in a thin blanket of snow. I suspect the tracks were made by a mink as they were found very close to the lake and match the stride and straddle of minks.

On the walk back, I stopped to glance at some buds in a nearby tree and looking down noticed some deviation in the jumble of human and dog tracks. I followed what looked looked like gray squirrel tracks through the underbrush for a short time until I finally lost them in some scraggly bushes. It was clear that the animal was a galloper and the two back feet were landing right behind the front feet as the animal moved. Tracks that went under small logs and ended at tree trunks confirmed my suspicion that they were gray squirrel tracks. By this time, my phone had died so I was unable to take a picture yet they looked nearly identical to the tracks I had seen on my last trip in early December.

Bird noises drew my attention away from the snowy underbrush.Thrush and duck sounds were very persistent. I also heard the sound of pileated woodpeckers on several occasions yet whenever I tried to look for them the crunching of my boots in the dry snow warned them away. The bare winter trees however showed their markings on dead snags more clearly than they had on previous trips. Many of the markings were much smaller than the ones I had noticed in the past showing species diversification. Woodpeckers certainly have a tremendous presence on the point.

My final glimpse of wildlife came on the walk back across the beach. There was what looked like a dead catfish lapping against the shore. It’s tail was barely intact and it appeared to have been chewed on by a larger fish or bird. It was exciting to finally see a creature that lives under the lake at my phenology spot.

When I wasn’t looking for wildlife I was pouring over the twig identification guide in an attempt to recognize the bare trees on my site. Paper birch could be identified by simply looking at the bark of trees and American beech had a very unique, long thin bud that was easily recognizable. Some of the trees I had already identified when they had their leaves like the common buckthorn found at the end of the point. Many twigs were difficult to identify and I picked up several that I found on the ground to bring home and analyze in a warmer environment.

Of those that I collected, sugar maple and northern red oak were very easy to identify. There was one that looked like an ash but it had alternate lateral buds so I believe it is a white oak. Another twig looked very similar to the common buckthorn twig but it had more alternate lateral buds and was missing a pointed terminal bud so I think it might belong to a glossy buckthorn. Finally, there was one that matched nothing on my identification sheet so I did some further research and think it could be a hickory twig but I am still very uncertain.

Distinctly long American beech buds.

Penologically, my site appeared different than it had in early December. As a whole, the forest seemed much more weary, with more debris from fallen limbs and sticks littering the ground. The clean, fresh snow that covered everything on my last trip was replaced by melting, weathered snow and the woods appeared a bit more scrappy.

When I reached my favorite spot on the end of the point, I sat and observed for a long time. The waves seemed to be rhythmically carrying golden rays of sunlight closer and closer to shore and the battering sound of the waves along the rocks was gentle and soothing. Everything slowed down and the political climate that I has been troubling me so much lately faded from my concerns. There is really something magical about being alone in nature. For me it encapsulates whole and true contentedness.

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2017)

December 5th, 2016

I’ve always been amazed at how still and clean the world becomes in a snowfall. At least this is what happens in DC. Here in Burlington it seems that people are so accustomed to snow, very little activities come to a halt. To find the sense of stillness that I associate with snow, I headed out after my chemistry lecture down to Lone Rock Point. The walk down was gorgeous and it took more time than usual as I felt the need to fully appreciate the beauty of the first winter snowfall.

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I love perfectly undisturbed snow. It is vastly entertaining to walk on snow with the intention of creating perfectly clean footsteps, leaving a visible track of your journey for future visitors. On the walk back I followed my footsteps down the trial and across North Beach.

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For the first time, I also noticed the tracks of nonhuman visitors in the snow. What I assumed to be squirrel tracks (mainly because they all seemed to end at trees) were everywhere. Little paws interlaced with my footsteps left a clear visual of who had explored my site that morning. Myself and the squirrels were the only walking visitors on Lone Rock Point. There is something almost eerie in knowing the exact creatures that have traipsed around a site before your visit.

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From a phonological perspective, the site was obviously tremendously different from my last visit in late October. Practically all of the leaves had fallen, with just a few stray stragglers hanging on and the remaining green of the buckthorn leaves.

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The leaves that had previously covered the forest floor in bright yellow and orange-brown colors were now covered in a sheet of snow and the visual changes between the colors of my last few visits are very obvious.


October 24th


October 31st


December 5th

I was fascinated on this visit to notice the ways in which snow falls on trees and manages to stick to just one side of a trunk or dangle suspended on a small leaf. In one case, the snow speckled an old snag, reshaping its visible textures. Somewhere else the snow clung to the backside of of cedar leaflets

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As I observed this phenomena, I began to notice specific aspects of the place that had previously gone unseen. For instance, the underbrush of the forest was redefined, uncovered from the fall colors that had previously hidden it. For the first time, I noticed a larger oak tree at the entrance to the trailhead, a tree appears much older than anything else in its surroundings. Further in, another beautiful tree was bent in a graceful fashion and the intricacy of tree roots around the rocks was further illuminated.

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Overall, the trip was an extraordinary experience and opportunity to see the world of Lone Rock Point in a new light as well as a new season. I hope to be able to visit again this winter and see what else the snow can reveal!

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2016)

Centennial Woods

Annoyed at myself for spending too much time indoors the past week, I grabbed a friend (fellow NR1 student Liz Palmer) and together we went for a hike in Centennial Woods. As the hike began, we lamented not coming more often. We discussed our journey down to these woods in the very beginning of the school year to complete the Centennial Woods Lab and our later trip down to identify trees for the upcoming tree quiz. We remarked on how much each of these trips had opened our eyes to a new understanding of natural environments that revolved around not just hiking in the woods but really examining our surroundings. In just a few short months we had learned to look at the forest in a whole new way, so much had changed.

For much of this hike, we walked in silence, each appreciating the break from the constant city noises and chatter from the swarms of people who live around us. Often we would stop and stand still for a second, each attuned to an unusual bird noise that broke free from the silence. At one point in the hike, we each stoped suddenly at the sound of a small woodpecker picking away at an old pine snag. We slowly creeped forward until we were within range of the little bird, later identified to be a downy woodpecker. I lost track of the time we spent watching the woodpecker in complete silence. The creature moved up and down the snag making small holes in the wood, tapping away at the wood and occasionally slurping down a bug. A little farther away, another woodpecker flew by, a flash of white against the brown forest.


What struck me the most about this experience was how seemingly oblivious the bird was to its surroundings. Planes were flying overhead incessantly and the light drone of a nearby road was exceedingly present. After a while, Liz and I began to talk to each other and the bird kept tapping away. The downy woodpecker appeared almost accustomed to the noises of the human world, unaffected by our presence.

With so much discussion lately on the topic of a human’s place in a natural landscape, my thoughts instantly jumped to reflection on the interactions between the human and natural world that had made this moment special. I was struck by how we had come to Centennial Woods to escape the noise of the human world yet this did not happen. Rather than entering a setting free of human interference, we instead noticed a new aspect of our world. In an odd sort of juxtaposition, the woodpecker fit in perfectly to the human noises in its surroundings, adding a new rhythmic sound of its own.  The little bird was a small piece of the surrounding environment just as the planes, nearby road and Liz and I were. Somehow we were all managing to coexist and add our own sounds to the euphonic vibrations of the forest.

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2016)


To supplement my own hypotheses of how Lone Rock Point may have existed prior to my visits, I did some research on the Burlington Geographic Website.

The exposed dusty, yellow bedrock that I noticed lining the lake on my site is calcium and magnesium rich limestone that is called Dunham Dolostone. This rock was formed from the calcium carbonate shells of aquatic animals that lived at the bottom of the Iapetus Ocean 500 million years ago. It makes sense that Dolostone is the bedrock on Lone Rock Point as it is dominated by Northern White Cedars, a tree that does best in mineral rich soils.  img_3198

The Champlain Thrust Fault that I visited once on Lone Rock Point, a site fairly close to my spot, evidently attracts visitors from all over the world. It showcases the unusual phenomena of the older Dunham Dolostone rock on top of the younger Iberville Shale rock. This inversion happened during the Taconic Orogeny.  This is not an uncommon occurrence but the Champlain Thrust Fault is one of the only faults of this type in which the fault lies exposed.


In more recent history, the land on Lone Rock Point is suspected to have been commonly visited by the Abenaki people before European settlement of Vermont. In the mid-1880s the south side of Lone Rock Point was cleared by loggers but the north side was still mostly forested, dominated by hemlocks. Episcopal Bishop John Henry Hopkins purchased the land and built a home on its high point in 1841. His family practiced subsistence agriculture and some of the point was cleared for pasture land. This explains why the forests on the land seem to be younger growth, aligning with the trend among other forested land in Vermont. In 1860, the Trustees of the Vermont Episcopal Institute built a seminary for boys on the land. Today, the land is still privately owned by the Episcopal Church of Vermont yet is commonly visited by the broader Burlington community.

(Original Photographs Copyright Colby Bosley-Smith, 2016)

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