When Libby and I made our hike down the pond ravine in search of the congestion of cedars that seemed to be somewhere along there according to the satellite photo of Roundrock, I managed to take some pix that show a bit of the character of the area. I’ve not had much success with photographing the ravines. In part they are so clogged with scrubby growth that you get no sense of their depth and range. The photos in this series don’t try to be that ambitious. They’re all from the top end of the ravine below the pond, but they do give you a sense of their character.
Although mostly an oak/hickory forest, Roundrock does have a little diversity. There’s the lake, of course, and the grassy, good soil at the northwestern corner when my pines are flourishing. The north-facing slope of the Central Valley is wetter than the south-facing slope, so the plant communities are a bit different. The almost constantly wet acre below the dam is different from everywhere else. The ravines, however, are a group unto themselves.
In the photo above you see just about the top of the ravine below the pond. Those specks of light you see through the trees on the right and left are the sky over my neighbor’s hundred acre field to the north. The drainage coming from our pond is to the left of that tree with the hole in its trunk. I think you can make out the fold in the land to the right of that tree where water also drains down from the north. They converge just below that tree and begin the true ravine itself.
Until the rains of a few days before, this ravine was carpeted with fallen leaves. They make walking along there treacherous because they hide the large, ankle-twisting rocks. The recent flow of water, mostly overflow from the pond, has scoured the ravine a bit and shown the watercourse more clearly.
The ravines tend to have larger collections of fantastic trees. The one above rises from the rocky soil just a bit down from he photo at the top. I don’t suppose the soil here is very good, but I guess the more consistent supply of water allows trees along here to grow larger than up the hillside. This one seems to have been a training station for the pileated woodpeckers I occasionally see and generally hear in my forest. Despite all of this hard work, the tree appeared to be thriving, and being down in the ravine, perhaps it will be protected from the winds that have blown down other well-used trees like it elsewhere in the forest.
Many ravine are misshapen, in part by the force of the water and the constant barrage of large rocks that are washed against them, but also in their quest for light. The tree immediately above appears to have crawled along the ground in its hunt for life-giving sunlight. I especially like that stout branch rising from the left side. If I ever need a T shaped piece of wood, I’ll know where to go to find it.
Fallen snags like this one are common in the ravines. Sometimes they drop low enuf to block the flow and small pools form above them. The waterway here is narrow enuf that I can easily step across it, but if it weren’t, I don’t think I’d trust myself by crossing on that log. As a child, I used to dash across pipe above a creek near my home that was much wider and deeper that the little streamlet you see above. The pipe couldn’t have been any thicker around than this snag, yet I was fearless in my darting from one side to another. I think I must have been more fearless and nimble in those days.
- Walk a trail to enjoy the sounds of spring.