Saturday, December 20, 2008

FROSTY MORNING IN PLACERITA CANYON

Noel & Paula on the trail.

As a sort of 'anniversary hike,' Paula and I went to Placerita Canyon this morning a year after our first hike. One of my friends from work, Noel, joined us for what turned out to be most wonderful stroll down the deep-shaded canyon. In what passes for winter here in Southern California, the ground, leaves, and other forest detritus was covered in frost, making everything look enchanting and magical.

Fiery leaves on this sycamore echo the fire that scorched its trunk more than four years ago.

Spent remnants of once green, then fiery yellow sycamore leaves lay piled and covered in frost.

A touch of yellow-green still lingers on this frost-rimed leaf.

Veins stand in frosty relief on this one.

Just a hint of rime outlines the edges of this one.

Leaves and grass touched with frost.

Frost so thick it looks like crystals.

Thick rime and crystals

Frosty log.

Some kind of 'shrooms on the floor of the oak forest.


The oak forest near the front of the park. The leaves were so thick on the ground that it felt spongy to walk on it.

This was a most excellent morning of hiking, shared with good friends. I am so grateful that this park was spared the ravages of another fire when the Sayre Fire was stopped on the ridge above Walker Ranch 2 miles to the east. If it had continued it march without the firemen there to stop it, this lovely place would have been wiped out.

It was very chilly today and we were all glad we'd layered properly. It helped when we encountered places along the trail that had some sun, too. These sunny spots seemed to agree with the birds as well, because these were the only spots along the trail where we'd see any.

There weren't a ton of birds, but we did see:

Oak Titmouse (lots of them)
Acorn Woodpecker (lots of them)
Scrub Jay
Northern Mockingbird
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-tailed Hawk
Common Raven
Lesser Goldfinch

But I like to think that even a few birds are better than no birds at all!

[Written while listening to Capercaillie--I haven't worn them out yet!]

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