Some days I think my mind is failing faster than my body - I wrote this entry the evening of July 6th, had the photos all watermarked and ready to add first thing in the morning ..... and promptly forgot about it. I discovered it, unposted, when I came here today to do another post. So here ya go, oh patient ones, a rather belated post of a hike from over a month ago:
The problem with not blogging regularly is that I have no permanent record of some of my previous hikes - when I did them, how tough they were, how long they took. My writing on Facebook tends to be minimal in these details, plus Facebook tends to arbitrarily delete old posts. I do know that it was about this time last year that my hiking buddy and I did Nile Creek West - a hike which, for me, was one of the toughest ones I'd done in many years - log bridges, slick boards or thin logs with (or more often without) ropes to hang on to, rustic steps and round slabs of tree to help us through the boot-sucking mud. But it was one of so much beauty - a dozen waterfalls, so much greenery, birds, berries, creeks, trees that touch the sky and were so wide around that it would take several people holding hands to encircle their trunks.
|Sections of Upper (West) Nile Creek Trail|
|Some sights along the way|
|Waterfalls on Upper (West) Nile Creek Trail|
|So many waterfalls!|
|Our lunch spot....by a waterfall.|
The previous autumn, buried in a long blog post about many autumn hikes, I had mentioned hiking part of Nile Creek East (also called the Lower Nile Creek trail). I had gone with someone whose pace was not well matched to mine. It was a gentler hike than Nile Creek West, and not as dramatic, but the speed at which the other person insisted on going spoiled it for me and I swore that one day I would go back to enjoy it.
This week my regular hiking buddy and I did just that - we explored Nile Creek East at our well matched pace with lots of time to stop and enjoy fresh berries, listen to birds, discuss unusual plants or trees or whatever else caught our eye.
|Large white fungi|
|Huckleberries - lots of yummy huckleberries!|
|Monitropa Uniflora - also known as ghost plant, ghost pipe or Indian pipe.|
|One tree dies and serves as food (and a ladder!) for another.|
Okay, we did get a little confused as there were several forks in the path and very little in the way of signs. Never mind, we had compasses, common sense, a basic mental layout of the area, and although we did hit muddy bogs and steep inclines and took a few wrong turns, we made it back in one piece. Even better, we had a great time doing it.
|Only one log bridge, with a sturdy cable rail, on the East (Lower) Nile Creek Trail|
|An early-falling maple leaf drifts lazily down the creek|
|We called this a |"Neapolitan rock" as it was chocolate on the bottom, vanilla in the middle and strawberry on the top!|
The owl permitted me to take a few more shots before flying off. A few minutes further down the trail, we heard the robin ruckus again. Just as we rounded a curve in the trail, our barred owl drifted down right in front of us, facing us with wings outspread and lightly striped belly facing us as it gently slipped down into the sword ferns not five feet in front of us. My reflexes were not quick enough to catch the owl parachuting down, and once in the ferns where he hopped around doing a little owl dance he was partially obscured by foliage until once again there was lift off and he flew away. That is one image I may not have on my camera's memory card, but it is certainly in my cranial memory!
Our plan was to do a loop trail, going further than I had walked (or run!) on my previous visit. We found a sign directing us to the "Donkey Trail" and ascended a steep narrow path to another wider, flatter cross trail. Along that trail we discovered vanilla plant in seed, wild blackberries and raspberries, and - a donkey.
|Vanilla plant in seed|
No, not that kind of donkey - an old donkey engine. I would have been more thrilled to find a real donkey, the kind that goes hee-haw (one of my favourite animals!), but at least we figured out why it was called the Donkey Trail.
|Donkey engine on the donkey trail|
We then continued along until we were reached the point where one would go under the highway to connect to Nile Creek West, at which point we took a trail back down, sticking close to the creek whenever we came to unmarked forks. That decision led us through some mucky mud, and entailed a bit of bushwhacking, but we found some lovely spots and ate our lunch sitting on a log beside a tree where a redbreasted sapsucker was also enjoying his lunch. After a refreshing break, we headed on and eventually got back to familiar territory and the trail that would take us back to the car.
|Our lunchtime companion - a sapsucker|
I haven't done much hiking lately - between my hiking/walking friends' surgeries, record-breaking temperatures, and covid restrictions, we cancelled more than committed to our days out. And Maggie has had some health issues (arthritic hocks, a systemic bacterial infection that affected her paws, and a few other age-and-allergy related issues) so even my walks with her have been minimal. So my hiking buddy and I were both somewhat out of shape. East Nile Creek (aka Lower Nile Creek) would be an easy hike for a fit person, a moderate one (at least in places) for relatively out of shape seniors. We took 4.5 hours to go 5.5 miles ( just under 9 km). But as I said, we take our time to enjoy the scenery, to discuss what we see, to take photos, and to break for lunch.
For me, hiking is all about the journey, not the speed and distance. And a beautiful journey it was.
|A peaceful and pretty spot for a rest|