Monday, October 13, 2008

A walk on Sunday

Here on Roundtop, the weather this past weekend could hardly have been any better. The sky was clear, the wind calm, the temperature pleasant. It was fall at its best. Dog and I took advantage of it. On Sunday afternoon we walked through the forest in the narrow valley between Roundtop and Nell’s Hill. We didn’t see another soul. We never do.

Dog is a veteran hiker and backpacker, though we are a bit incompatible in our walking styles. He never wants to stop. I want to take pictures.

The leaf change is not yet at its peak, but the color is still pretty good and improving every day. I’m starting to think that pinning down the "peak" of fall color is harder to do than you might expect. In this area at least, I have many peaks. Some leaves are still pretty green. Travel 100 yards, and the color is suddenly well along. Some tree species are very yellow; others not so much.

On Sunday morning I woke up, turned over, looked out the window and saw that the woods had turned yellow literally overnight. That’s when I decided a walk into the valley would be my day’s priority. I waited, somewhat impatiently, until early afternoon to begin the walk because I’ve learned that the sun needs to be higher to penetrate between the two mountains. If I leave too early in the day, the light isn’t yet right.

Our first stop was along this old pond along Beaver Creek. Dog thought the weather fine enough for a swim. I stayed dry. Blue jays screamed through the forest, announcing our arrival. Perhaps as a result, we didn’t see many other animals. Dog found a gray squirrel that was in no hurry to run away, which thrilled him. The squirrel soon escaped up an oak tree, leaving Dog to stand with his front feet as high up the tree as he could reach.

We saw many ferns on our walk; most were sword ferns or common polypody ferns. Some of these are yellowing, some are still green. Even though it hasn’t rained for a week or more now, the valley still had wet spots from mountain run-off or small springs. Here, we saw opossum, deer and raccoon tracks, as well as turkey and smaller birds.

While I was walking, I was trying to remember how often I walk along this valley, and I think it only amounts to 6-8 times a year. I’d love to be able to walk it at least once a week, so I could really see the ebb and flow of the seasons down here. I know that’s not realistic. Between weather and work and other activities, I know I can’t make that happen. But perhaps I could make this walk 30-40 times a year if I made it more of a priority. It’s worth a try.


Dana Jones said...

Hi Carolyn, I thought about you this past week as I was driving up to the Taos ski area. I wondered how long before you'll be back at work at the ski resort on your mountain.

I love Fall. Hope to see more pics of it on your blog in the coming days.

love, Dana

Cathy said...

I have pretty much reach peak up here. The colors are wonderful and few trees are already bare. Glad you enjoy your walk.

Carolyn H said...

Dana: Thanks for thinking about me! I guess you were too far away for my ears to burn. I often work in the pre-season at Roundtop, so I may start soon. The resort won't open for a while, yet, though. We can open anywhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, depending on Grandmother Nature.

Cathy: I think the peak arrived here yesterday (or maybe today). The change from Sunday to Monday was pretty striking. Fall is moving fast this week.

Carolyn H.