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Hunting Harlan the Gnome

Harlan hunter John Moores and his daughters have been champions when it comes to finding Harlan in the woods.  Here are some of his insights while wandering GCT properties.  Thanks John!

Musings while hunting Harlan

Harlan the GCT Grome will come inside soon!

Thanks for bringing hornbeams to my attention. I think I’ve been confusing hornbeams for beech trees for many, many years. Now I see that hornbeams have more furrowed/corrugated leaves with finely serrated edges.

While we’re on the topic of botany, I was surprised at how few Solomon’s Seals I found on the GCT properties. Therefore, whenever I found any of these plants, I would search the area very thoroughly.

Very nice job of hiding Harlan. First of all, he is well camouflaged next to the dark pine bark. Then there are three pines hiding him from view as you head northbound towards the river – only at very specific spots can he be seen until you are past him.

Kara and Kaitlin Kramer found him!

Former trustee June Johnson started the Harlan game.

Paul Funch got naming rights after finding Harlan for the first time on land donated by Harlan Fitch.

(Loved the emoticons in the 8/9/2017 clues posting on the Facebook page!)

The combination of these three clues: unmarked trail, water, and dead pine with ants were the most helpful to me. Water substantially narrows down the possible locations. “Unmarked trail” was helpful, also eliminating many locations, although some properties (e.g. Lawrence Woods, Skitapet) are completely unmarked, and some are mostly unmarked (Baddacook). And “unmarked” might include trails that are not on the GCT property maps or on grotontrails.org, which led me to do a lot of exploration. “Dead pine with ants” was helpful locally on-site, saving me some exploration in areas that otherwise satisfied most of the clues.

The past month has been quite a month of discovery and exploration of trails for me, after I noticed that you had announced that he was on an unmarked trail.  Specifically:

-I had not realized there were any trails on Cronin-Massapoag but discovered there are several.

-I had not been aware of the tree farm entrance with the blue trail marker near Crystal Spring Lane and had never walked in through the trail along the cul-de-sac. I also took the trail (hasn’t been maintained in a long time) that goes north from the trail off the cul-de-sac up to that property’s “hammerhead” and found that the trail eventually gets very close to Cow Pond Brook.

-I had never gone on any of the trails off Whispering Brook Rd (one goes north, then west, then north (not maintained) ; while the other is off the cul-de-sac.

-I went on the West Throne trails that are closest to Townsend Road – had never gone over there. While at West Throne, at the 5-way intersection, I discovered that the trail that goes north from there goes a long way, eventually getting to some wide roads that could be driven on with a 4-wheel-drive vehicle with ground clearance.

-I explored the many unmarked trails on the east side of Gamlin Crystal Spring.

John’s daughter Brynn finding Harland last fall.

-I discovered that there are trails in “Lost Lake Recreation Area” between Weymisset Rd., Moose Trail, Whiley Rd, Shenadoah Rd.that I had had no idea were there.  I went on Dan Parker Trail hoping to find an unmarked trail into Bruner Land, but did not find one. Also tried to find one going west from Gamlin Crystal Spring into Bruner.