It was 2014 the last time we hiked the eastern section of Pipestone Creek. Each year, the land was falling in even more, especially in the first section where the gorge was growing ever inward into a hay field. The trail had always been challenging to hike because of its ups and down, particularly on the left (northern) bank where it is steep and narrow. This summer, we decided to repair the trail to get it back in shape.For this hike, 12 people can out, even though the weather was cool and there was the possibility of rain. But it never did rain. It was a perfect day for hiking.
The leaves are just starting to turn colour. The flowers are mostly gone. But the forests are full of mushrooms. Here are a few of them.
In Waskahegan tradition, whenever we open or re-open a trail, we celebrate with a champagne toast. And that’s just what we did at the deck overlooking a particularly beautiful section of the creek.
Thanks to John for leading the hike and to Trail Maintenance for all their work on the trail. You can find more photos on our Flickr album.
Fifteen people came out to hike the trail west from Ross Flats (formerly Duhamel) campground.
These days, it’s hard to know how to dress hike when the mornings start so cold and fresh. Thank goodness for layers, because even though the skies remained overcast, the day warmed up comfortably.
And there were almost no mosquitoes! This really is the best time of year to hike.
In the oldest part of the forest, where it is least dense, there are ripe elderberries everywhere. In other areas, we found flora that we don’t normally see, probably because of all the moisture we’ve had this year.
Along a ditch, we found swamp smartweed, in a meadow we found an early blue violet blooming again, and in the forest we found a prominent tapioca slime mold (Brefeldia maxima).
Thanks to trail maintenance for their work in clearing the trail. You can find more photos on Flickr.
Canada Violet (Viola canadensis) is a common perennial that grows 10 – 40 cm tall, depending on surrounding plant growth. The plant arises from short, thick rhizomes, often with slender creeping runners that can be seen if you gently brush away dead leaves. The heart-shaped leaves (sharply pointed tips and saw-toothed edges) and the white 5-petal flower with its yellow centre—purplish lines on the lower three petals—are the main characteristics for identification. (Source: Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia).
WASKAHEGAN FIELD NOTES
You will spot these bright flowers in shady, moist usually deciduous woods and along the trails in late spring. Distinguish this violet from the also common Early Blue Violet (Viola adunca) that are overall shorter, have smaller oval leaves and blue to deep violet flowers, and are among the first to appear along the trails – see below.