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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Spirit of the Woods Hike

Today was the Saturday for the November hike for our trail club. Loren and Ellen were both busy, so I wasn't sure if I'd have company. But three others came, and we had a great time. The weather was mild, although not sunny, but pleasant. (Vicky, Joan, John, Patty)


Along the way, we did a little trail work. Nothing major! There were a few small trees down. This one was still attached and couldn't just be broken, and I had a small folding saw. Here, Vicky takes a turn with the project.

trail work

I was amazed at how different the section looked with all the leaves down. Maybe I've never hiked that piece in late fall before. I noticed several valleys, two potential camping spaces, and a cattail wetland behind a hemlock swamp that I hadn't seen before. How could I have missed that?

Well, we also saw a couple of treats. Here's a sweet little clump of mushrooms. I have no idea what they are, other than cute.


We almost missed the prettiest find because we were looking so much at the ground. Two late witch hazel trees were in full bloom. Did you know that "witch" has nothing to do with magical women? It's a corruption of "wych" from Old English "wiche," which means "bendable." The wood is very flexible.

And yes, the astringent Witch Hazel is made from an extract of the bark and leaves.

witch hazel blossoms

This is the same piece of trail I walked with Maggie in September, and I've hiked it many times, but today it felt like a completely new place. I hadn't ever been so aware of the topography, and that it really has quite a few small hills. We didn't find any open water among the cattails, but I'll bet it has some in the spring. I'll have to look again.

We did have to tinker with the pump a little more this afternoon, but got the water going again without much trouble.

See Strolling with Maggie
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Lin said...

Looks like another great outing! Was it nice there like it was here today? It was warm, but cold is coming on Monday. :(

It's amazing how one place can look so different depending on the season, time of day, or the weather.

Rebecca said...

Great photos! It's been very mild here, too. I'm not complaining one bit!

Your post reminds me that I need to get out for a hike again....

Secondary Roads said...

You couldn't have picked a better day. Wasn't it beautiful?

Ann said...

Love the shot of the witch hazel tree. I also love how you can go to the same place hundreds of times but if you look at things from a different perspective it can seem brand new

Anonymous said...

hello sharkbytes its dennis the vizsla dog hay i did not no that abowt wot witch hazel ment!!! i do hav to say witch hazel is a ketchier naym then bendable hazel!!! tell maggie i sed hello!!! ok bye

Sharkbytes said...

Lin- it was high 50s here, which I think is nearly perfect for hiking.

Rebecca- Hope you get to go out soon.

Chuck- It really was great

Ann- I rarely get surprised quite as much as I did yesterday. Perhaps because I thought I knew it well.

Dennis- you could have fun chewing on bendy sticks.

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