Thursday, December 26, 2019

Post-Christmas hike

Most of today's hikers
It seems that many of the Senior Trailblazers wanted to get out and about today, since we ended up with seventeen! Most of us met at the Senior Center, but others met us at the Lookout Mountain parking lot, where we headed up the lovely trail for a fine day. It was very cold (for us) last night, getting down to around 25°F (-4°C), but the sun kept trying to come out from behind the clouds.
Me, my new hat, and the trail sign
We decided to head up the Rufus Creek trail, and go to its end before stopping for lunch. Everyone was dressed for the weather, and we expected not to encounter any rain. Sure enough, it stayed dry, and the trails were in great shape. I don't usually wear a hat while hiking, but this lovely chapeau was a gift from my friend Lily, and it worked quite well to keep me toasty warm.
Hair ice on a piece of rotting wood
We saw white growths like this one on numerous branches on the forest floor. Although it looks like a flower, it's actually something called hair ice, which is a rare phenomenon only recently discovered to be caused by a fungus, Exidiopsis effusa, which allows the ice to form thin hairs as water emerges from the branch. Hair ice grows when the conditions are just right, usually during a humid winter night when the temperature drops below 0°C (32°F). The link I provided above (from an article written in the Daily Mail in 2015) describes how the researcher figured out the mystery behind this delicate and beautiful ice flower.
We didn't go this way
The Rufus Creek trail has many side trails, and I saw this one that I believe we ascended last time we were on Lookout Mountain. Now it's restricted to one direction, because of (as the sign says) "bikes traveling fast downhill." We encountered several bikers today, but there was never any problem sharing the trail with them.
Can you see the mountain?
We got to a place where we should have been able to make out Mt. Baker quite well, but because of the grey skies, it faded into the soft sky.
This is where I took the above picture
As you can see, there is a bench and when the sky is blue, a lovely view to enjoy. Today, we took a short break here and then went to the terminus of the Rufus Creek trail to have lunch.
Today's lunch spot
This is the end of the trail, although another one heads up towards the top of the mountain, we were ready for a break. It was truly a fine day, and although the forecast is for the weather to deteriorate later today, everything held off for us.
We took a different trail back down, so that we could check out this waterfall, which is roaring for a change, because of the recent rain. I've not seen this much activity before. We then headed back to the cars, having traveled a little more than eight miles and 1,800 feet up and down. A good day, and I think I'll sleep quite well tonight, after such a wonderful day on Lookout Mountain with my pals.


  1. I’ve never seen hair ice before. I learn something new from you all the time, Jan.

    It sounds like a great day.

  2. That hair ice is new to me too - and incredibly beautiful. Coloured it would look excellent on your new hat...

  3. Good idea to get right out thee after Christmas. The first time I saw hair ice I had a hard time believing it.

  4. We had cold fog until after 2:00 but we did get out for a walk about 3:00. It stayed above freezing here.
    You had a great day for getting outside!

  5. Don't laugh...but, I first read hair LICE...huh? Lice? Never heard of this before. Had to stop and go back to re-read. Lordy, you typed ICE. Okay, I never heard about this before, either. Beautiful hike, perfect day. And I too rarely wear hats!

  6. That ice flower is quite lovely. Glad you were dry throughout and had a good hike.

  7. You have intrigued us all with that amazing hair ice. Wow, just beautiful.
    Quite a gang you had for the hike and so glad the weather held for you.
    Love your hat.

  8. Love the ice flowers!! Your new hat looks good and glad it is warm, too. That is cold hiking weather! :)

  9. Hair Ice... that's a new one for me too. Sure is pretty! Hiking would be a great way to work off all my Christmas goodies... but alas, nothing quite like that scenery around here.

  10. 17! It's amazing how many people want to get out of the house at Christmas. We had a big turnout -- 28 -- at our table tennis club last week ... and probably will this week as well. P.S. Love the waterfall!

  11. Your hat is very pretty! So glad you had a good hike:)

  12. Brrr. To a Floridian, that sounds cold! But the pictures are terrific and that waterfall is lovely.

  13. I love the hair ice and I love your hat, DJan. You look fabulous with it on.


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