Eleven people came out to hike on a cold and clear day, rather uncommon for March. Against a deep blue sky, the sun, now higher and brighter than at any time all this winter, cast a glowing light as it poured through the trees and lit up the pristine snow.
In the wintertime, Bunchberry Meadows is noted for its large forest of birch, including many very old trees, and the larch groves.
We had a magical moment when a large jackrabbit sat motionless off to the side and watched us while we walked by.
Other animals seen on this day were white-tail deer, here and there on the trail. And when Carissa scouted the trail earlier in the week she saw a Northern Shrike and heard a Grey Owl.
Back at the parking lot, there were chickadees and nuthatches hanging around some bird feeders. Carissa informed us that these feeders will be taken down. Well-meaning visitors had been going too far, placing pans of bird seed on the forest trails.
Such is the struggle between people’s soft spot for animals, and the need to leave the area as natural as possible for the wildlife.
If you visit Bunchberry Meadows, be aware that the sign is low-profile and easy to miss. Unless you know the road well, you’re likely to pass right by and eventually turn around once you figure it out. As a result, only eight of us arrived at the agreed-on time. The rest arrived later but still did the complete hike.
At the end of the hike, all eleven of us joined up at the picnic tables, which had been cleared earlier in the morning by Lee. By this time, the sun was warm enough so that we could eat our lunch without gloves.
Thanks to Carissa for scouting and leading the hike. You can find all our photos on Flickr.