|Sign at entry to Reserve|
Today four Trailblazers headed out to the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, which has just under five miles of trails in a really beautiful area. We chose this place because it's short, and can be made longer if desired (by going around one of the two loops more than once) or shortened even more in case we get caught out in a real drencher. Happily for us, the rain held off, so we decided to go out to Geneva Pond, the shorter of the two loops, first.
|Al and Melanie taking pictures|
It was cold, but not terribly uncomfortable, at least while we were moving. We stopped often to take pictures with our cameras. I noticed that when we were here last, during a rainstorm, everything glistened. Not so much today, since the rain had not yet found us.
The Nature Reserve is a really beautiful place, and I continue to be so grateful for all the pristine areas around town that we have to choose from. Here's a quick excerpt from the above link:
The forest is largely undisturbed and displays characteristics of an old-growth forest, including Douglas Fir trees over 400 years old, a wide diversity of tree species, snags and decaying logs, and a complex architecture of canopy, understory, shrub layer, and tapestry of the forest floor.
Part of the reason that the forest is undisturbed is not allowing dogs or horses along the trails, and I found it pleasant to pretty much have the place to ourselves, at least in the beginning. Later, more people arrived to enjoy it with us.
|Al, Terry, Melanie (and me behind the camera)|
When we started around the longer loop, a woman coming the opposite way warned us about a barred owl that she encountered on the trail. She was wearing her favorite new hat, and the owl swooped down and snatched it right off her head! Apparently the hat had a pompom that the owl must have thought was an animal. She also had quite a bump from its talons. We didn't see it, though, and I was happy about that, but I don't think the owl was very happy with his prize.
We did see a few fungi, nothing like we saw on a previous hike, but still enough to add some interest to old fallen logs. The ferns are numerous along the trail, and I spied a little of my favorite species.
These ferns are delicate and almost always close to water sources. I found an article online that explains why:
Maidenhair Ferns naturally grow in many climates, from forests of the Northeast U.S. to highlands of the Andes mountains. They're commonly found in wet, high-humidity spots, like wedged between rocks next to a waterfall. The genus name Adiantum is actually derived from the Greek word adiantos, or "unwetted," because these ferns' leaves repel water (Emma Loewe).
When we got to the junction of the two loops, after we had navigated them both, we discussed whether or not to make another trip around the pond. We had already enjoyed quite a lovely walk, so we decided to call it a day and head home early.
|Thank you, Stimpson Family|