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Ancient Trees and Snakes

The PNW heat wave was back. Again. Faced with that, we left on Friday morning in hopes of it being at least a few degrees cooler in the mountains. We hadn’t been to Ohanapecosh in I think two years, so we decided to stop before it got busy. The trailhead for Grove of the Patriarchs is nearly always packed on weekends. With temperatures already in the upper 70’s, the trail was thick with dust. Yet, in all that dryness, my eye saw movement.


It was a very large garter snake (non-poisonous! And very beneficial!). It was meandering down the trail, on the side hill. It was neat watching it go under and through the moss, to hide itself. I would guess it was about 3 feet long? Gorgeous though! You rarely see them and not often this big.


This was Alistaire’s first time here, and he wasn’t sure of the suspension bridge, so he held my hand as we walked over together. I went slow so it wouldn’t buck under us. By halfway through he was loving it, and pushing me to go faster!


Walker, on the other hand, went over by himself happily. He loves that bridge, and wants it to roll. Hah.


Ancient old growth forest speaks well for itself. These trees have been dead longer than I have been alive (they fell in 1970, in a storm).


So much life, even in the death, here. Stop, sit down, and touch the trees. The forests here are a blend of Western red-cedar, Douglas-fir, and Western hemlock. They have survived many centuries, often insulated from forest fires, but also volcanic activity.


We drove up to subalpine after, and as often is the case, it might be sunnier up high, but it’ll be cooler. It’s why you wear a large hat and good clothing if you don’t want a sunburn. One amazing blue sky day.


While taking a hike, we came across a bench to sit on. One of Walker’s favorite activities is to do “nature crafts”. Which means he goes and collects small pieces of wind-blown forest debris. He picked this up in outdoor preschool last year.


And then he builds whatever comes to his mind, whatever is his fancy.


He decided the baby birds needed a nest, to protect them from hungry cougars. Love watching him build, and his imagination, I’ll do all I can to keep that growing!


August 1st. The last of the wildflowers are already here. Mountain Bog Gentian, it is the harbinger of fall. The harsh summer and little snow pushed the flowers weeks ahead. Yet still so much time left to hike before the snows come.


Some more lake wanderings….


A large western toad in a stream, which was full of tiny fish fry.


The Mountain wished us to visit, I obliged.