June 23rd, 2021
This week Joy and I hiked on Tuesday instead of the usual Wednesday due to busy schedules and the weather forecast. During rainy season we look ahead at the week and try to select the day where we are least likely to get caught in a downpour. We chose well :)
I am calling this week's Photo Safari Report the Sesame Street Hike, because this hike was brought to you by the letters J and H:
J for Joy of course and H for both Humphreys (my married last name) and Hurley (my maiden last name). We were amused to see that while most of the trail markers were numbers, some of them were letters. Hah! We are easily amused.
We have hiked this preserve before but yesterday we found trails we had never been down before and actually, because of the current dryer than normal conditions, places that we probably never will again be able to hike. And in fact we finally got to hike a trail we have been lusting after as long as we've been hiking this preserve, which make it extra special. Let me try to explain.
Every time we hike Deer Prairie South, the first thing we see is this beautiful lake:
A little farther to the left of this idyllic spot is a place where there is a concrete dam. The lake water spills over with a merry splash, it is the prettiest sound. Often this water runs hard and the current isn't something to mess around with. On the far side of the dam is, what appears to be, another trail. But we could never get to it without either walking across the top of the dam - not a good decision considering the slippery algae growing there and the, normally, strong water flow - OR wade through the lake itself. Which we have considered many times but A) we don't know what's in the lake and B) we also don't know how deep it is. Hard to swim with cameras. So, unusual for us, wisdom thus far has prevailed and we continued to merely wonder where that trail led.
So without even checking the dam area, we, instead, went to the right as we always do and hit the trails. There were lots and lots of wildflowers. Wow! I just kept happy snapping away at flowers. Can never get enough of those. Here is a sampling:
We were surrounding by literal fields of wildflowers. Mostly yellows but spotted with occasional pinks, purples and whites. Absolutely gorgeous (a little sneezy but mostly lovely)
There were also a few flowers/insect interactions that were captured sneakily:
And birds of course. Actually not as many birds as other hikes. Joy got a lot more of them than I did but here are a few:
There were a couple of scary moments too. Once as we were walking down some of the new-to-us trails where the underbrush on the sides of the trail were so thick is was like a tightly woven wall, we heard distinctly piggy noises. We looked around frantically trying to decide where to go should this wild hog decide to bull his way out of the brush. Instead we made a lot of noises so that he knew we were there and tried to make ourselves sound very large and dangerous. It worked. We practically cheered as the feral pig noises moved further and further away until they disappeared entirely. Whew! Then as we headed down a section of trail that was relatively straight and we could see very far down it, we saw something large and dark slowly moving across. I pointed it out to Joy and said, "What the hell is that?" We both looked through the telescopic lenses of our camera trying to figure it out. We decided that it was either a large hog (once again) or a small (as in young) bear. Dang! This was the trail section and the dark spot was at the very end.
This is where we really began to realize how low the water was. We felt so badly for the birds who depend on this water. Usually these ponds are full to over flowing and huge! Now they are just puddles, tiny streams or dried up entirely. It is no an exaggeration to say that under normal circumstances, we wouldn't have been able to hike very far down those trails at all because they would be under water entirely.
As we neared the beginning of the alphabet, which means the end of the hike, we realized that, oh my gosh, we were on the trail we had never hiked. The one on the other side of the dam! Wow! So as we stood there marveling we also realized that either we would have to cross the dam or turn around the back track for a Very Long Way.
Fortunately because the water levels were so low we were able to safely walk across the top of the dam. We stepped carefully due to the algae creating slippery bits and in a few places the water was well over our shoes. Still, we crossed safely and landed on the other side knowing, finally, what that side of the trail is like! I know it sounds silly, but we were so tickled!
And of course, I have one last set of photos, the rando photo's, which are my favourites:
Another great hike, Another great day. Who knows what adventures we will have next week!
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.