Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friends in High Places

(belated entry for June 23, 2009)
Today, instead of a solitary walk, I went back up to the Spring Overlook with Jackie. We had planned on getting a hike and a paddle in sometime this week; my limitation was that I would have to be back both days by noontime, since I work in the afternoons. I am jealous of her retirement freedom!
The wind was already brisk by mid-morning, so the paddle was put off for another day.
We saw plenty on the way up to the Overlook, and came back again a slightly different route.

What caught my eye today was how colorful things were.

Off to a flying stop: we started seeing wondrous sights about twenty feet from the trailhead.

Wild basil in delicate bloom
While walking along a ferny easement, hermit thrushes on our left and right played catch with phrases of their flute-like song

Whirled loosestrife, whirling

At what moment does a blossom become a blueberry?

A lilac-colored mushroom.

Despite all the stops, we did eventually get to the ledges, and stopped for lunch. This cafe has a wonderful view, to put it mildly.

Along the ridgetop behind the ledges, we saw boulders and mushrooms and a friendly woodfrog. There were also lots of burned-looking stumps (I found out later that there had been a large fire up there several years ago, caused by humans.)
There was evidence of another possible cause of fire – a lightning tree! A red oak, with a long vertical scar running down to the ground. There were thin strips of wood that had peeled down along the scar. All in all we saw about 4 or 5 trees in that condition, all oaks. I could not help but look upward nervously, despite the clear skies above.

Maybe my instincts were right, two days ago, when that storm cloud swept over & I scurried to a lower elevation.