Monday, January 28, 2013

A Day of Rest

Sunday is my day of rest. That means I get to do whatever I want rather than clean house, work on taxes, or any other onerous task. This past Sunday, it meant walking through our woods to check the trail cameras... and admire our own temperate rainforest. Although I've always noticed the moss and ferns on our hardwood trees, this time I noticed it more because it is so different from the coastal rainforest we hiked through last week. The Sitka Spruce on the coast capture most of the rain in their needles, keeping it from reaching their trunks. Our hardwoods, on the other hand, lose their leaves in the winter allowing the rain to grow lush moss and ferns on the tree bark. Here is our own mini-octopus tree, with green tentacles.

Licorice ferns love to grow in the moss on these trees.

Vine maples covered in moss and lichens and ferns make strange configurations.

 Some of the alders turn completely green. Who needs leaves?

We even have, in our personal rainforest, a waterfall.

Well, okay, it only has a two foot drop... over tree roots.

After fording this little stream, I discovered one of the big leaf maples had cracked and broken since my last trek through this portion of our property.

Part of it still stands, with bizarre finger patterns silhouetted against the sky.

Although it's sad to see these big maples go down, this one opened up the canopy for the struggling cedars and redwoods we planted years ago. Someday, this will be a Redwood Forest. At least, that was my plan when I planted them.

The reclining branch of the tree below used to arch gracefully well above the ground. It has continued to sag and split and now has reached the ground.

From the other side, that tree looks even stranger. This is one maple that is not giving up without a fight.

But to report on the trail cameras that precipitated this day-of-rest hike in the woods: no exciting bobcats or bears, just deer. Lots and lots of deer. Including this young buck with tiny nubs where his antlers will appear eventually.

By the time I returned to the house, Johnny had returned from church. We drove up Agency Creek then, to satisfy my desire to see how much of the upper reaches of Agency Creek that I had not yet surveyed for Dippers might be suitable for those happy birds. And Johnny wanted to go up Spirit Mountain road to see where the logging operation was going on that we heard on his birthday hike. He found his logging operation and I found a one mile stretch of creek to explore later in the year. I believe by searching this one last unsurveyed stretch, I will have learned how many Dippers live anywhere on Agency Creek, west or north forks.

On the way back down the creek, I saw one of "my" pairs of Dippers, making this a very good Sunday of rest. Any day I see a Dipper on Agency Creek... (or a Black Oystercatcher on the coast)... is a very good day indeed.

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