Cleaning out my field bag recently I came across a crumpled paper. Eli's unique, 6-year-old letterwork caught my attention: "What We Saw". Immediately I remembered our visit to Moulton's Mill Preserve in Unity, one of the most enjoyable in our weekly series of explorations on SRLT's Community Lands this past summer.
The launch site at Moulton's off Route 139 is a favorite destination for Eli. The water is easily accessible. Frogs are abundant. And the old mill structure provides just the right amount of mystery. Often, our trips are cut short by the intensity of mosquitoes. On this day, however, the absence of mosquitoes was cause for celebration.
A September 2014 visit to Moulton's Mill Preserve
The two of us waded intoTwenty-five Mile Stream and, over the course of 30 minutes, slowly worked our way the short distance from the boat launch to the mill site. At first slow and timid, he held my hand tightly and carefully picked his footing. By the time I retrieved the third or fourth "cool rock" he saw on the bottom, he had untethered himself and was splashing ahead, independent and free.
Ten minutes in, we were both squatting in the water, oblivious to our wet backsides, futilely trying to catch the tiny fish darting around our feet. Were they minnows? Dace? ("They're not minnows mom; they're dace. I know it.") Then we were startled by the appearance of an American eel, which bolted from one boulder to another before disappearing into the cobbles.
We watched a kingfisher speed past, caught frogs, explored the mill site, and followed a fisherman's path along the shore. By the time we left, we were soaking wet, holding hands again and laughing, despite the burn of stinging nettles on our legs.
At the car, he dictated as I recorded his list of observations. Now that I've recovered it, it will forever remain taped to my field book, the record of a perfect day as mom and conservationist.
What We Saw
caddis fly with case