Walking in the Woods

I went to a party at my kids’ house in Pollock Pines but I went a few hours early to do a little hiking. They were busy with getting ready so I went off by myself. I don’t do that very often–at least not somewhere other than around here. I guess I wasn’t completely alone because I had Ginny with me. I couldn’t take all three dogs because the property below where my kids live is part of the Sly Park Recreation Area and dogs are supposed to be on leash–I can’t deal with all three on the leash. Besides I didn’t want three dogs party-crashing.

This is a leisurely walk, all downhill at the beginning and then around the lake. As usual I had my camera and this time it didn’t matter how long I sat in a field of yellow flowers to get the right photo. There are hiking and horse trails all through the area and I walked down one that…DSC_5950…meets up with a short nature trail that follows a creek on it’s way to the lake.

Cedar bark dwelling

There is a cedar bark dwelling replica just off the trail.Sly Park, Jenkinson LakeThis is Jenkinson Lake. There camping areas all around it and lots of people on this Memorial Day weekend. I had Ginny on the leash and she had a lot of lessons in good behavior when meeting kids, bikes, etc. Matt had told me that it was about 10 miles from their house, around the lake, and back. When I was standing here I though that maybe I’d do that instead of just an out-and-back walk. I would continue to the left in this photo, go around the dam in the center of the photo and back to their place.DSC_5868After walking some more I came to this part of the lake and decided that maybe an around-the-lake walk wasn’t going to work for today. This is a finger of the lake that juts back up the valley and I would have to walk all the way around this part and the main part of the lake in the other photo. So I went a little further up the west side here and then turned around but took a higher trail back that avoided some of the crowds that were nearer the lake.DSC_5873This is Ginny sitting on the dock. She didn’t seem to care that the ground under her was rocking.DSC_5884That low growing shrub is mountain misery and here are some close-ups.Mountain misery, Chamaebatia foliolosaMountain misery is unique to the western slope of the Sierras and there is a lot of it. It has a pungent oily sap and can play a role in preventing erosion to hillsides in the years following major fires. On the other hand those same deep far-reaching roots use up a lot of moisture and may prevent other plants from becoming established. Mountain misery, Chamaebatia foliolosaI don’t live in the mountains so don’t deal with it as a “weed” and I like the fragrance–it reminds me of the forest after a rain.DSC_5916I came across a small area of striking yellow on a south facing slope. I didn’t identify these flowers but in their midst I found some…monkey flower, Mimulus sp…monkey flowers. At least I’m pretty sure they are Mimulus but I don’t know which species.What I noticed first about them were the seed pods.Monkey flower, Mimulus sp seedpodWhat I noticed first about them were the seed pods.

Monkey flower, Mimulus sp seedpod

DSC_5880 The deep green of the trees was in striking contrast to those yellow flowers but the new growth of the trees is a contrast of greens in itself. DSC_5874Back to the more shady woods, taking one of the trails up to the house.

Wild rose

Wild rose.

Buttercup, Ranunculus

DSC_5858I don’t remember this one but do you see what is on the leaf?DSC_5857

Sly Park, Jenkinson LakeDon’t tell Rusty and Maggie where we were. I feel guilty leaving them home.  This was fun for Ginny and me and Ginny got about 6 miles of on-leash work on manners.

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