Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Independence Day hike

Don and I celebrated Independence Day by taking a hike. Personally that seemed as fine an activity as any to honor the anniversary of our nation.

We left very early in the morning (trying to beat the heat) and found a trail some distance away across a river. It was hard to photograph Mr. Darcy, as he was in his Very Excited "let's go let's go let's go!" stage.

The river was beautiful. This is downstream:

And this is upstream:

I was in the lead, being pulled along with Great Enthusiasm by Mr. Darcy, who thought this hiking adventure was the world's greatest idea. That's why some of these photos are blurry.

This trail was very well maintained but surprisingly underused. We didn't see a soul for the entire time we were on it. But look at those stone steps!

For half a mile, we trudged uphill. At one point we stopped to rest at a switchback, and I noticed this tree covered with hanging moss(?).

In this moister environment, we saw lots of maidenhair ferns.

 Harebells were common.

The thimbleberry was already producing fruit.

This relative of the raspberry is perfectly edible, but the fruit is very very bland.

The elderberries were also fruiting, but nowhere near ripe.

Lots of heal-all along the trail.

We finally hauled ourselves to the top of the cliff, and were rewarded with gaspingly beautiful views.

We were on an absolute knife-edge of a saddle. These photos hardly do justice to the steepness of the mountains opposite a small stream canyon.

Mr. Darcy was definitely ready for a rest.

Showy daisies were everywhere.

This flower, growing at the higher elevation, is new to me. Any idea what it is? I thought at first it was kinnikinnick, but the leaves aren't leathery. Thoughts?

 My beloved oceanspray (common at our last home) was blooming.

We spent some time exploring the saddle and ogling the views.

Way, way below us we could see the creek which flowed through the valley.

You can see the patch of water shown above in just about the center of the photo below. (The wonders of a camera zoom.)

Here's the road we drove in on.

You can see the trail continuing, an easy trek along the contours of these otherwise steep hillsides. We walked along this for another three-quarters of a mile or so.

The long shadows show how early it was in the morning.

Here's the view of the road below us from further along the trail.

A tree gripping the rocks with all its might.

The day was starting to warm up (temps were slated to go into the mid-90s), so we decided to turn back. This is definitely a trail we want to explore more, when weather permits.

Before heading back to the car, we took Darcy down to the river's edge to let him cool down. Clearly this was his favorite part of the whole adventure.

Then he saw some Canada geese lounging on the shore, and took care of them in short order. Okay correction, this was clearly his favorite part of the whole adventure.

Back at the car, we looked up at the ridge we'd just climbed. Not too bad for a couple of old farts.

If this Independence Day hike did nothing else, it was a good reminder of how beautiful this nation truly is.


  1. Honestly, you have as much a gift for photography as writing. You should consider doing calenders. Perhaps large scale like an old David Muench calendar I've never been able to discard. Coffee table books, posters, who knows. Just a thought. You are very talented and have growing name recognition while remaining down to earth. People enjoy and support this sort of thing from someone who shares their values. Just a thought.

  2. I was surprised to see you describe thimble berries as bland. My experience with them has been largely the opposite, although I concluded back when I lived where they were common that it was important to find them in the ten minutes or so of the season when they're neither too green nor too ripe. I have no doubt you've experienced them in the full range of their season, given that I lived in the area only a few months, so I have to wonder what would lead us to such opposite conclusions. Perhaps the ones in B.C., where I had them, are somehow strikingly different, despite being only an hour or two away by car? Perhaps it's just that my taste buds respond differently from yours... As an aside, I very much enjoyed the tea we'd make from thimble berry leaves. Anyway, thanks as always for the blog and the beautiful pictures.

  3. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

  4. I have been trying to figure out what the berries are in my yard. Thimbleberries. I always learn something when you post pictures of birds and plants. We have a beautiful nation.

  5. The plant you thought might be kinnickinnick might be spreading dogbane. Its really common and blooms this time of year.

  6. The plant you thought might be kinnickinnick might be spreading dogbane. Its really common and blooms this time of year.

  7. What trail is this? Always looking for new hikes in the area.

  8. Your mystery plant is Spreading Dogbane.


  9. Great way to honor our independence, for sure!