...an unpaid sabbatical. Just call it a break. I've fallen well short of my original goals for this blog and am too busy to continue at this time. Thanks for the comments and feedback people have given me by email and other means. I will continue to find solace in nature walks, with or without camera and notebook, but I will take at least a two-month break from posting here.
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.
At around 3,500' elevation, this was the lowest point where I've ever seen the Snow Plant. After walking for a few minutes through widely-spaced young pines and firs which looked rather stark from the absence of underbrush, we spotted a couple of bright red beacons some 50 feet off the trail. My first impulse was to assume they were soft drink or beer cans, but on closer inspection, we found these healthy-looking Snow Plants. Then I started looking closer and enjoying the trail more.
My instinct for finding tiny things kicked in, and I noticed tiny white flowers amongst the pine needles. My wife didn't realize I had stopped so she and our dog kept on walking. On my hands and knees, I made a guess that this was a member of the Family Boraginaceae and was either Popcorn Flower or White Stickseed. This is the family that includes Forget-me-nots, so you may notice the resemblance. But this is a tiny plant, no more than 3" tall, as my intruding finger affirms.
Click on the photos for a more detailed look. It's hairy. Identification still not confirmed. I'll need to go back out there with a hand lens and a field guide.
There were lots of other interesting features on the first mile of the trail that I'll report on later. We're looking forward to taking the spur to Monument Peak, and to walking all the way to the connection with the Spanish Traverse Trail that we hiked a week ago.