Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Lollipop Trail

It was described to me as the shape of a lollipop - the stick was the straight trail from where we parked the car and entered the forest, the main trail was a more or less circular loop.

The Lollipop Trail, more commonly known as Brackloon, is just a few kilometres from where we're staying for most of a month, and it's one of Rooby's favorite places to walk because she can be off leash for the most part.

Walking the entire trail takes perhaps 40-45 minutes for Rooby's owners, who are in much better shape than I. Today it was roughly an hour, and we didn't do the "stick" portion.

Interesting message board at the junction of the stick and the pop (or is it the lolli?) that this is one of about two dozen forests in Ireland that are being monitored for the effects of climate change and man-made pollutants in the atmosphere. The message said the effects can be measured for years from a single major storm which deposits a lot of sea salt in the forest.

After three trips along the trail, I'm getting to recognize some of the landmarks -- the fallen white birch that forms a canopy, the brown bracken-bracketed steady upslope not far from the top of the pop entrance, the burble of shallow rapids from the Owenlee River, which wends its way to the Atlantic.

We often pass other walkers (or are passed by those of more rapid pace - including a couple yesterday who looked to be a few years older than us and who did multiple loops around the pop). When we encounter other dogs, Rooby is nervous and hides behind my legs. So it surprised me today when she loped up to an approaching Irish Setter whose color matched D-L's hair; I was relieved when the Setter's owner greeted, "Hi, Rooby," and the dogs clearly knew each other.

Haven't spotted any rabbits, Rooby's favorite pursuit. But there have been several "snapchat" birds which resemble a small robin with a bright orange chest.

More photos and description on Donna-Lane's blog:

Map of the forest trail below. My Texas friends will probably say the loop looks more like a lasso.

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