Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dirty Dancing Hotel & Nature

Yesterday, I led 70 first graders (in 3 separate groups) on a short hike on one of Mountain Lake Hotel's trails. We scared most of the birds away but did get a good look at a robin's nest with the panicked mother nearby and a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Warblers scattered before we were able to identify or even see them really. The kids also examined several holes and had some pretty exotic ideas of what animal might live in them (dinosaurs, boa constrictor snakes!) instead of the probable chipmunk (small hole) or ground hog (large hole).

Mountain Lake Hotel's elevation is about 4000 feet, almost 2000 feet higher than where I live. Consequently, I can see early spring again as the trees were just beginning to leaf out. Along the trail, we saw a few flowers.


Photo: May 21, 2008

This Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatrum) bloomed in the dappled sunlight. I only find this flower on Mountain Lake's and the Cascades Trails in this area.

After the school children left in the afternoon, I strolled around the grounds. I saw Dark-Eyed Juncos which stay here year round while others have left my place a couple of weeks ago. Barn Swallows swooped across the man-made wetlands area and back to their nests on the porch of the hotel.


Photo: May 21, 2008
The hotel was the location for one of my favorite movies, Dirty Dancing. This view is similar to the first shot of the hotel in the movie.


Photo: May 21, 2008

The gazebo was built for the movie (scene where Baby went to get Johnny to help Penny). It is popular for weddings in the spring and summer. The first graders played a camouflage game here. In the background, you can see the greatly diminished lake. The natural lake is fed by several springs but holes in the bottom drain it. Most times the lake is up due to ample moisture. But, the lake has not recovered from the severe drought even with the recent rains.


Photo: May 20, 2008

Back at home, blackberries are blooming while the shrub is just beginning to leaf out at Mountain Lake. If the rain keeps up, we should have lots of blackberries in July.


Photo: May 20, 2008

The Yellow Poplar trees are also blooming, mostly at the top of the trees. The large flower--3 inches across-almost looks tropical. I didn't see any poplars at Mountain Lake while this is the most common tree we have here on our land.

My nature hike was part of the environmental education programs of Mountain Lake Conservancy which is dedicated to educating people about nature using the lands around Mountain Lake Hotel.

13 comments:

  1. How wonderful that you were taking kids out to enjoy nature! This is a wonderful time of the year with many great colors that are showing up each day! Your Painted Trillium is stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  2. mon@rch--it was the first time for me to take kids on a hike. I really enjoyed it and hope the kids will remember their day at Mountain Lake.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very nice. I've been to Mt Lake, and still remember those solid stone walls in the hotel.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leading me back to yours.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved this post! Dirty Dancing is one of my favorites also and I'd love to visit Mountain Lake.

    I must commend on you on leading groups of first graders - they can drain your energy reserve quickly but they're so eager to learn!

    And Barn Swallows! I long for them to return to my front porch one day.

    I've missed visiting here.

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  5. the birdlady--thanks for visiting my blog and glad I was able to remind you of the stone walls.

    I enjoyed reading about your bird adventures on your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mary--I figured you would enjoy seeing pictures of Mountain Lake Hotel since I read on your profile that Dirty Dancing was one of your favorite movies.

    Yes, the first graders were full of energy!

    I don't have any barn swallows nesting here--I think they like being near a pond or lake. I enjoyed watching them fly at Mountain Lake.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Aunt Joan -- I love reading your Blog and looking at the pictures. I do not get out into the woods as much as I used to, but your pictures always remind me why I love being there. Thank you for sharing your hobby with everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rob--thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you can get out into the woods while the weather is still good.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Been there, done that; not the exact location but the school kids on field trips, yes. How wonderful your narrative and I loved your mention of their comments of who might be living in the holes.

    The painted trillum shots are beautiful and I'm afraid that I might miss them this year for I haven't found any yet.

    The movie I've seen too... your post has so many commentable items; I like your blog; its very nice.
    Nature Tales and Camera Trails

    ReplyDelete
  10. me ann my camera--thanks for visiting my blog. I hope to get the opportunity to take kids out again--they really are enthusiastic. At 6 years old, they have a lot of creativity!

    The painted trillium seems to hide under rhododendrum or azaleas where I live. So, it's easy for me to miss.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love Dirty Dancing (the movie). I plan to visit that same place next fall. Not far from here :o)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mary--you should stop by and visit--my place is on the way to it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. If you are willing to learn to dance with the help of online dance lessons, than you can avail dance video and easy to follow dance instruction dvd. For more online dance sites you can visit : http://www.learn-dance-online.com/dance_directories.html

    ReplyDelete