Saturday, November 17, 2012

Recent Hike: Snow and Fall Leaves

About a week ago, MOH and I decided to brave the snow to take a hike up our current hiking hill. The first thing of note was a lone cottonwood with bright yellow orange leaves that glowed against the white backdrop of the Sonoma Range. The tree sits along the main dirt road, below the first campsites scattered along the creek coming out of Water Canyon.

I haven't blogged much about this newish hiking hill of ours, although through spring and summer we took as many hikes as my schedule would allow. On this snowy day, after parking at the road-end parking area, we hiked past the last campsite, crawled over a metal bar in the closed and locked gate, and went around the snow-slippery cattle guard. Above the gate and cattle guard, the trail follows a variably passable old road that is only open to motorized traffic in summer and early fall.

The creek runs down this part of the road in spring and early summer, making the first part of the trail quite eroded and somewhat rocky. I was surprised to find the creek flowing in it's regular channel adjacent to this rocky section, because that lower section of creek had dried up during the summer.

The creek was also flowing quite well here, where it crosses the road just past half-mile canyon (our name).

A little past the creek crossing, I spotted this dammed-up portion of the creek. Some trees have fallen across the creek below the little dam, possibly causing the stacked tree limbs to be caught during higher creek flow, although the dam also looks like it could have been man-made by neatly stacking the fallen or cut tree limbs.

Leaves behind the dam.

A bird was furiously scratching in the snow across the creek, presumably trying to find some seeds. It seemed to be using more energy than it could possibly have been replacing! We also saw a chickadee, a magpie or two, and one deer. The deer had come up out of the dammed portion of the creek, and had then walked along the road until it heard or saw us. Before we could get close enough for a photo, it jumped up hill and ambled away.

We made it up the main canyon past this fence; then we turned around before making it to one-mile tree. It was cold, and it was looking dark behind us.

Leaves under ice and water.

Looking down the main canyon after turning around.

Aspens in the rocky section of the lower trail or road.

Rose leaves showing their fall colors.

The lone cottonwood on the road out.


Anne said...


Gaelyn said...

It looks cold yet beautiful with the fall colors against the snow.

Silver Fox said...

Thanks, Anne! :)

Silver Fox said...

Gaelyn, it was chilly, a little hard to stay warm while walking fairly slowly downhill, watching beneath most steps for rocks hidden by the snow.

Hollis said...

Enjoyable photos ... it's so great to be able to get out this time of year!

jo(e) said...

What beautiful photos.

The gold leaves behind the dam look like coins.

Silver Fox said...

Thanks Jo(e), Hollis! :)