It’s Monday here for about another hour, and I have a lot of mushroom photos to share – so you get Mushroom Monday. ;)
In between yet more storms and dressed for fall (all the layers: jacket, hat, light gloves…), we did lots of hiking this weekend. Seems like the weather hasn’t been very cooperative for much else – too windy for kayaking, and far too cold for diving. But, at least we have lots of beautiful places to explore on foot. I’ll check back in soon with some hiking images/stories. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite mushrooms from along the trails.
Have a great week! (I’ll be checking into all the blogs I’ve missed just as soon as I get my feed-reader working again!)
Remember a few years ago when Tony and I accidentally hiked a dozen miles in the UP? The mistake two years ago rests firmly on our shoulders: we didn’t consult the map at the trail-head that had distances clearly marked (unlike our paper trail map).
Unintentionally long hikes seem to be a bit of a theme for us. This Saturday, I feel like we were victims of badly marked trails instead of just being lazily uninformed. We settled on a two-mile route in the trails behind the old Traverse City State Hospital – after consulting the trail map. We even took a phone picture of it so we’d have it nearby. We set off, taking the first left as indicated on the map.
That was the last time, for two hours, that we knew where we were. The map indicates a few different trails, neatly marked in distinct colors. The woods, however, is a spiderweb of unlabeled intersecting paths. At each (frequent) crossing, we’d decide whether to fork left or right. Or continue ahead versus turning.
We never feared actually being lost. The entire system is sandwiched between some main roads, and we could often hear TC traffic if we just listened for it. Eventually we meandered back to some marked trails, though we never did make sense of where we had gone or how we had ended up where we did.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
At some point this afternoon, I checked the radar. Not for any reason; just out of curiosity. What I saw prompted me to send a warning message to a friend. A nasty line of storms had arrived on our doorsteps without so much as a peep. We didn’t have any storm warnings, so I did what
any reasonable person would do you’d expect me to do.
The rain began to pitter-patter as I arrived at the hilltop. I stayed just long enough to capture a few shots of the wicked clouds, and then headed back home. The torrential rains weren’t at the house yet, but having driven through them moments prior, I knew they were on the way.
Thankfully, the storms weren’t severe. At least not around here. Up near the Mackinac Bridge, things looked dicey (on radar). The sun didn’t come back out to play, but patches of clear blue dotted the overcast sky for the remainder of the afternoon. Today was a Petey-puppy “camp” day, so I took my camera with me when I went to pick him up this evening. As another system of storms approached, one long tendril stretched, leaving a patch of threatening clouds in its wake.
The next round of storms has arrived. I can’t decide whether I should have been out to chase the lightning, or been glad I didn’t soak my camera.
My morning walk with Petey is always a treasured time. Some days it’s windy; others it’s still. Some mornings we walk amid a quiet drizzle or – gasp! – an even quieter snowfall. This morning we walked under a light fog pierced by sunrays.
Alas, I only had my phone with me, so I missed some of the moments I’d like to have captured, Snap Happy Gal that I am (yep – shameless plug and silliness all in one!). Knowing that the morning fog is fleeting, I contented myself with catching other transitory moments instead after we’d returned home. After all, an ephemeral dew glistened upon every blade and leaf under sunny skies, visibly shouting at me to snap photos before evaporation restored the magical morning tableau to mundane grass and weeds.
I’m glad I listened. The day emerged beautiful and warm, but rather prosaic after all.
Between storms yesterday afternoon, we took Petey on a couple of small adventures to nearby natural sites. We stopped first at the Seven Bridges Natural Area. It’s been over a month since I visited, and I am always surprised at the differences. Mounds of goldenrod, asters, and ragweed – of course – surround the entrance. My last visit (which I somehow missed blogging about), the area was heaped in marsh marigolds. And whereas the pasture out back was verdant and dew-coated, yesterday it was crackly and brown. Different, but still lovely.
After meandering in the meadows and splashing in the river, we hopped down the road a few miles to Rugg Pond. It’s one of my favorite places around here in the fall. Friendly trumpeter swans always float gracefully nearby (there, but not pictured), and the hardwoods surrounding the water blush all shades of beautiful. If you look closely in the photos below, you can see the tips of the oaks doing just that.
We hiked along the pond’s edge and back into the woods under skies that couldn’t decide whether they’d rather be bright and cheery or dark and stormy. Petey sniffed everything at least twice, and especially enjoyed places where other mammals had obviously been at work.
I especially enjoyed the nascent fall fungi. Or maybe they’re still late summer fungi. Can you spot the edible (fruity, chewy) chanterelles? Can you identify my favored composition for mushroom photos? ;)
Do the maroon oak leaves and red/orange/yellow fungus signal fall’s arrival, or just the end of summer? Regardless, there’s no denying fall is on its way. We will not discuss what comes after that.