|Melanie and Al|
The rest of the Senior Trailblazers headed up to the High Country to hike the Yellow Aster Butte trail. Since I was pretty wiped out by all the rocks on last week's trip, I asked Mel if she'd stay local with me, and she agreed. Al went to the Senior Center parking lot to send the 14 Trailblazers on their way and then joined us for part of our hike up to Madrone Crest.
|A mound of pine cone chips|
I was really enchanted with this picture, showing a stump covered with little pieces of pine cone chips, left there by myriad squirrels and chipmunks after feasting on the tasty inside parts. We could hear them chattering away in the trees for most of the hike.
|Mel taking a picture of me taking her picture|
Mel likes to call this spot on the Lower Salal trail the "over and under" place, since we have to climb over a large tree root and then under this natural bridge. Once we finished this part of the trail, Al turned back to head home.
|One of the many signs|
These trails are well maintained and the signs certainly help hikers to tell just where you are. We had just finished the Salal trail and rejoined the North Lost Lake trail after having enjoyed a quick lunch at Madrone Crest. There is no view there any more, as the trees have grown up to cover it, but it's still a pretty spot.
|Coming down the Madrone Crest trail|
I did get this picture after we stopped for lunch, showing what a lovely place we had all to ourselves today. We didn't see any other people until we were halfway back down the Hemlock trail.
We did see a little wildlife (ha!), if you can call this banana slug wildlife. He's outnumbered in the forests by the black slug, which is not native to the area, but this yellow one is. We were careful to give him a wide berth on the trail. Pretty big guy, huh?
|Turkey tail mushrooms|
And we saw lots of this variety of mushroom, hard to the touch and nothing like the ones we see when it's not so dry. They are very pretty, though, and apparently harvested sometimes for their medicinal properties.
Our forests are definitely filled with plenty of lush greenery, even after a long period of drought. The streams are dried up, but we still have plenty of beauty to enjoy. I never used to hike these areas in the summertime, before Covid, but now I know these trails so much better, seeing them year round.
I couldn't resist taking a picture of this beautiful maidenhair fern, my very favorite of the many different kinds of ferns we have around here. By the time we reached our cars, we had covered more than seven miles (7.22 to be exact) and 1, 600 feet up and down. I was tired by the time we finished, but now I'm rejuvenated after sitting for awhile. I'm so happy to still be able to do these wonderful adventures with my pal Melanie.