Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Autumn Hiking - Inspired By SonjaM

Unfortunately there isn't any two-wheeled content in this blog post, but at least we got out and saw some fall color.

Inspired by SonjaM and Roland, and their many hiking adventures, we decided to drag our arses off the sofa on Sunday afternoon and go for a wee hike.  We grabbed our rain jackets and some water, hopped in the Fiat and set out.  We opted for the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, which we've been to several times before. It is around 10 miles (16 km) south of Corvallis. No bicycles, jogging, or dogs allowed because of the wildlife, so this means less people.

As we were driving through the refuge heading east towards the Woodpecker Trail trailhead we saw a heard of Roosevelt Elk in a field to the south.  They were a fair ways away so the pictures didn't turn out great, but in the second one below you can see a large bull elk with a great rack in the center of the photo.

(A heard of Roosevelt Elk at Finley Wildlife Refuge)

(Check out the rack on the bull elk in the center)

(A bit of information on the Roosevelt Elk - photo taken at the information kiosk)

A little further up the road and we were at the Trail head.  The Woodpecker Trail is a 1.1 mile (1.77 km) loop.  Intertie Trail also intersects with the Woodpecker Loop to connect the Mill Hill Loop. We opted to wander down it and back before finishing the Woodpecker Trail.  It added an additional 1 mile (1.6 km) and different scenery too. If you are interested, a trail map can be found at this LINK.

One of the first bits of interest along the trail is the old growth oak trees.  This one has a viewing platform built around it.

(Old growth Oak tree)

(View of the valley looking south east - rain in the distance)

(Troubadour checking out the rainbow)

(A full rainbow against an ominous sky)

A little bit further up the trail and Troubadour stopped to take a picture of some white berries.  I have no idea what kind they are.  I took a picture of him taking the picture.

(Troubadour taking artsy pictures with his phone)

(Photo by Troubadour - the one he was taking in the picture above)

Several bridges and boardwalks are located along the trail to traverse seasonal creeks and boggy areas.

(One of the many bridges along the trails)

(Many different types of leaves falling to the ground)

(So many leaves covering the trails)

(Me hamming it up with a Big Leaf Maple leaf - as big as a fig leaf)

Once we were on the Intertie Trail the foliage began to change.  Things were more green and the ferns were large and lush.  The trail was bordered in little tiny green plants leading the way, so pretty in the sunlight

(Sunlight streaming through the trees)

(Follow the green path.......)

Along the Intertie trail we saw another large oak. This one is an Oregon White Oak.  

(Oregon White Oak - do you think they need the "Oregon" in the name?)

(Sunlight streaming through the trees - getting later in the afternoon)

With all of the rain and wet weather this time of year comes different types of mushrooms and fungus.  While we always have a few varieties in our yard, the more interesting ones can be found in a forest setting.

(Pretty red color on theses mushroom caps)

( A different variety - these were the size of portobellos)

Another view of the path strewn with leaves.  Not much color on the trees anymore, mostly on the ground, but still bright.

( A leaf strewn path through the woods)

(Not sure what type of plant this was, but the small thistle type blooms were really bright)

Along the way we also saw several bird varieties.  A Varied Thrush was the brightest, but we also saw a Steller's Jay and a Red Breasted Sapsucker.  The sapsucker is a woodpecker - we had to see at least one woodpecker on the Woodpecker Trail.  Unfortunately most were too far away to photograph.  The clearest picture I had was the one of the Varied Thrush below.

(Varied Thrush)

(Oak gall attached to a fallen leaf)

The photo above is of an oak gall.  According to the Oregon State University Website: "there are several cynipid gall wasps that make galls on oaks in the Pacific Northwest."  More info at this LINK.

It has been several years since we've seen oak galls.  Normally we see them on the Bald Hill Path near our house.

The oak gall photo was the last one I took of the day.  We returned to the car and headed home for dinner.  I had chili bubbling away in the crock pot/slow cooker.  A nice way to end a fall hike considering the temperature was only 44˚F (6.6˚C). 

*     *     *     *     *

I haven't posted any pictures of Basil in a while so I thought I'd add two to the bottom of this post.  The first one is a typical Basil pose.  Giving you the "stink eye".  In this case it was aimed at Troubadour who was taking the picture.  The second picture is Basil relaxing in front of the living room window, basking in the filtered sunshine.  Belly up - a favorite position of his when sleeping.  He seems to sleep even more now - he is 12.5 years old.  Where did the time go?

(Basil - sitting on the back deck glaring at Troubadour)

(Basil doing what he does best - napping.  And he lets you rub his belly)

- Au Revoir

" .... I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as Autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.  So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, (10th October 1842)