Nearly a month went by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I found that teaching writing classes not only involved lots of time grading papers but also focused my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but was not focusing in the short run on material I wanted to post here. Finally, in the month of July, I managed to resume my average of one post per day for the month. I plan to surpass that volume from here on out. What I post here, combined with my daily writing in journals, is mostly fine-tuning what I hope to publish in a memoir about my experiences in education as student, parent, teacher, supporter and critic.
Meanwhile, I am still available for guiding local nature hikes. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about rates and parameters of time, distance, and personal needs regarding matters of health and fitness.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
This is the last post about Sunday's sketch-walk in the vicinity of Gilson Creek. The first two posts were mostly about our time spent on a sunny hillside above the railroad tracks and above the last couple hundred yards of Gilson before it enters Spanish Creek. This last post is a group of images made on the hike back toward Oakland Camp. After crossing beneath the railroad tracks, Gilson Creek goes through a deep gully or canyon in a series of beautiful cascades. I've never seen this one dry up at the end of summer even though several other creeks on the east side of Spanish Creek do. Only this one and Tollgate seem to have a pretty good flow until the fall rains begin.
When we approached the mouth of Gilson, I was intrigued by textures of various plants such as in a large stand of Horsetails. This shot is of a fertile frond, the blackish button at the top producing spores and the stem having no side branches. There no sterile fronds yet, but they lack the spore-producing organ at the top, and they have many side branches which look like miniature versions of the main stem. A very lacy look, and easier to see why Horsetails are considered ferns.
The new branches on Black Cottonwood were a bright red, providing a nice contrast with the brownish color of the main trunk. When the tree gets older the bark of the trunk tends to become gray or white and resemble the higher altitude member of the family, the Quaking Aspen.
AS we re-entered the drier oak-pine forest east of Gilson Creek, the ground was covered in leaves of California Black Oak and needles of Ponderosa Pine. The occasional wet spots supported nice patches of moss. This patch has lots of new sporophytes (tan) growing out of the tops of the green gametophytes.
When the trees are wide-spaced, as they were in the open area half way back to camp, one is compelled to pay more attention to their bark. This mature black oak had a beautiful geometric pattern. Click on it for a closer view of the details. The Bluebelly Lizards must love running around on this bark. Easy to grip and I found I could climb a tree like this without relying on branches. Maybe I'm part lizard.
The Ponderosa Pine, sometimes called puzzle tree because of the patterns in its bark, is very impressive when it gets to be four or more feet in diameter. There are some really impressive ones along this trail, including a few that have survived lightening strikes.
This afternoon (Tuesday) was very warm, and I took a nice hike along the Feather River College nature trail. Some photos from that hike will be in my next post, but the narrative will have to wait until tomorrow.