The coincidental sequence repeated itself! After we had crossed the dam (see yesterday’s post), we continued hiking around the lake. I steered my feet deeper into the forest though. I was hoping to see anything that might be blooming. On the drive down we passed many trees with white flowers on them — serviceberry perhaps? — and I wondered if there might be some in my forest. There weren’t that we found, but there was a nice log to sit upon and contemplate the universe for a while.
When we resumed our stumblings, we were soon back at the shoreline. Although the frogs were singing lustily, we didn’t see any eggs in the water. It may still be a bit early for that or it may be that the wild fish in the lake are big enuf to eat amphibian eggs now.
Our hike along the southern side of the lake had us facing west, which allowed us to see what was massing in the western sky. The rainstorm that we’d seemed to have outrun on our drive to the woods earlier that morning was catching up. In fact, the clouds were so dark and tumbling up there in the western sky that I was sure we would not complete our hike around the lake before the clouds released their rain to soak us. Of course had we been able to scurry back to the shelter area in time, we would have found no protection there since the tarp has been gone for weeks. We’d have to climb into the truck to wait out the storm. If it came.
The clouds seemed to be giving us a break. We visited our usual stops around the lake as our hike continued, continued unhurried by the threats of the weather. Some of our best visits to the forest have been in the rain, so we weren’t too worried if it happened to us then.
Once we were on the north side of the lake, we steered our stumbling steps farther up the slope, away from the water. I had a notion that I might find some nice round rocks if I went up into the trees. (There is a certain level in the slope where the rocks appear more frequently.) We ventured up one side of a ravine we don’t visit very often. It is the most rugged of the ravines, and a hike directly up its center would be a difficult task. So we stayed above in on the western side, the ravine falling to our right and a particularly amorous turkey calling lustily in the forest to our right. We couldn’t see the turkey through the trees, but we could certainly hear him as he sang his plaintive song. Despite being up on the slope, we could still hear the ceaseless frog chorus from the lake. Love was in the air.
Once we’d hiked far enuf to the north for the ravine to become passable, we stepped across it and started back toward where we’d left the truck. All the while the clouds were giving us a pass. It was still dark and ominous overhead, but the rain held back.
We don’t hike this part of the forest much. The road along our northern property line is not far away, and if we need to get from one end of the forest to the other, we generally use that. The lake, of course, is to the south, and we spend a lot of time in that area. So this part of the forest gets overlooked. Because it is on the south-facing slope, it is dryer. There are still some Blackjack oaks here (though they are concentrated more to the west), so passage through the understory can be difficult and indirect. There are patches filled with blackberries and others with sumac (though not nearly enuf). It’s a different hiking experience through here, but then it ends where our road cuts south through the trees and to our truck with the feed bag awaits. And that’s where we ended up.
Since we don’t carry watches when we’re at Roundrock, we had no idea what the actual time was, but we decided that the lunch bell was sounding. We gathered our cooler and the comfy chairs then carried them down to the lake so we could chew our food while we drank in the scenery. The clouds, in the meantime, had held off as long as they could, and the sprinkling began. It was pleasant for a while to watch it dimpling the surface of the lake, but it did hasten us through our sandwiches. I’d saved the last corner of mine to break apart and throw in the water. In the past, this has attracted a lot of fishy attention, but no one was interested in it on that day. The bits of bread floated unmolested on the water, and I suspect that the fish were in the deep water where it was probably warmer for them. I don’t suppose the bits of bread and turkey will go to waste in that dark water.
The rain grew more serious then, and we soon found ourselves retreating to the truck. For a while it was pelting down on the roof of the truck very hard. This would have been a pleasant state of affairs had we been under a tarp with the rain pounding down around us, but in the cab of the truck it was a cacaphonous assault.
We really had only one other chore for the day. I wanted to reset the game camera to shoot the suet feeder to see if I could get a shot of an ivory-billed woodpecker. This involved putting a nail in the opposite side of the tree where we normally hang the feeder. Had I wanted to shoot it where it normally hung, the camera would be pointing to the south, and all of the shots would have been washed out by the sun. Still, I wanted to keep the suet cage in the same general area since the birds know it’s there. The rain let up enuf for Pablo to get to work on this project, and without getting too wet, I soon had it all arranged.
About the time I finished, something happened. All of the clouds blew away, the sky was filled with blue, and some bright orange ball up there started to make my skin feel warm.
We took a different route home. I thought that maybe Toad Suck was open, but it’s still too early. Then I went in search of a dragon, but I must have turned down the wrong country road, for I didn’t see it. But there’s always tomorrow.
- Giant Canada goose goslings begin hatching.
- Columbines bloom.