Eleven people came out to hike the Middle Battle River from Peter Fidler’s monument to the “site of the old house”.
It was a day full of surprises.
First, we learned that a wasp nest had fallen right next to the trail in a dense part of the woods. Some members on the trail maintenance work party a few weeks earlier had been bitten. Sure enough, the wasp nest was still there, and the wasps were still buzzing and circling and flying in and out. One at a time, keeping 10 feet apart, we sneaked past quietly so as not to disturb them. Success! On the way back however, after five of us got past without problems, the wasps decided to launch an attack on the next hiker—the same one who had been bitten twice at trail maintenance! She sustained over a half-dozen bites.
Do wasps have a memory, or did we push them too far? We don’t know, but the remaining hikers bushwacked their way around the nest, certainly the safest action to take if you can manage it.
The second surprise on the trail was seeing a long, elegant red-sided garter snake. No photos, unfortunately—it moved too quickly to stay in focus.
The third surprise was the herd of friendly cows. As we made our way along the edge of the pasture, these beautiful jet-black creatures rushed up to us. We carried on, only slowing down to take photos. It is our rule that we do not to interact with farmers’ animals—nevertheless, a friendly herd is an awesome sight for city people.
With the cooler temperatures, we are now in the finest days of the hiking season—not too hot and not too cold. Fall flowers and fungus are abundant.
Thank you Lee for scouting and leading the hike and thank you Trail Maintenance for the huge effort in clearing the trail. You can find more photos on Flickr.