Saturday, July 5, 2014

Still Thirsty

 We returned from a hike near Oakland Camp five hours ago, and I'm still thirsty.  We were on the Tollgate Creek Trail that starts across the tracks from the camp's pump house.  About a quarter mile in is a crossing of Tollgate Creek (above), or what was Tollgate Creek a couple of weeks ago.  It is now bone dry.  Actually, bones aren't even that dry.   Along the way we saw many dried up wildflowers and shrubs, gone to seed long before their usual seasons.  The only plant that seemed to be thriving more than in previous summers was the Pennyroyal. 
 Some of the Live Oaks were sporting tiny, young acorns.  I wondered if there is enough water in the soil for them to reach full size.
It was a relief to get to the Berry Creek crossing, maybe a couple of miles from our starting point.  Along this trail, Berry Creek is in a deep enough canyon that there is lots of shade.  Even though the creek bed is dry where it crosses the trail, there are so many large Douglas-firs, oaks, and Bigleaf Maples, that there's plenty of shade.  We enjoyed walking along the creek bed in the shade, and I stumbled across a pair of Longhorn Beetles mating (above) on a shrub I haven't identified.

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