Travel Tuesdays: Be a Traveler in Your Hometown or State

With the arrival of school vacation week here in Massachusetts, many families are off traveling. Since we'll be traveling to Italy this summer, this school vacation will be spent close to home.  Yesterday, we decided to go hiking.

We have hiking trails that literally start at our driveway, so we tend to fall into the habit of hiking what we already know. Instead of doing the same old thing, my husband suggested we explore some new nature trails about 3 miles from our house.

We know how dramatically the environment can change in just a few miles, but we were still pleasantly surprised by how different this trail looked compared to the ones outside our door. The most noticeable difference is how wet the Black Brook Wildlife Management Area is compared to our usual trail.
Parts of the trail have an ancient feel. Mossy, bright green patches brighten the forest floor and dappled sunlight illuminates lime green patches of moss on fallen trees.
Some ferns are still thriving, despite the (relative) cold, and holly trees abound. Our usual trail has a few hollies, but we know right were to find them. This area has fifty or more. We also noticed an abundance of two species of Princess Pine.

We also noticed lots of scat (animal droppings) along the way. This bright white scat stood out from the forest floor.
When I looked closely to the right of the scat, I also noticed an owl pellet just inches away. (An owl pellet is the indigestible bits of an owl's diet that get regurgitated). I've never found an owl pellet in the wild before, so I have to say, I was pretty excited! I used a couple of sticks as tools to break it open.
Inside, I found what looks like the skin of a snake. Can you see the scales? (Double click the photo to make it bigger). We could also see some small bones that looked like vertebrae.

All in all, we had a pretty good hike. We spent time as a family, explored outside, and made an exciting discovery. Not every hike reveals an amazing discovery such as an owl pellet, but there's always something wonderful to be observed in nature. 

Here in Massachusetts, every region has some kind of nature trail, conservation land, or parks. How about in your state? What can you find to explore? (I found these links by searching on "hiking trails Massachusetts").

What local hiking trail might you explore this week?