We started our May 24th sojourn from the docks of the marina, traipsed across the pond on the floating bridge that leads to the Port Ludlow Yacht Club, and wandered the streets of the Village for a bit before entering the first of 4 trails, The Rainier Loop. Many of the well landscaped bushes and trees are in full bloom spewing out pollen, pheromones and other olfactory enticements for insects and humans alike. The first blooms we saw were covering a ceanothus “concha” or California Lilac next to the Club.
This type of ceanothus adorns the foothills of Southern California and at this time of year the hills take on a purple hue due to the blooms. The 3rd picture I believe is a ceanothus americanus “New Jersey Tea”. Both were buzzing with bees and other insects getting in on the abundant offering of nectar.
Next up were various types of pine trees displaying their sexual organs in plain sight for all to ponder. and of course the ubiquitous rhododendrons of all colors:
And a few others strutting their stuff to get their fair share of the glory:
We left the residential area, crossed Oak Bay Road and entered the the Rainier Loop Trail. It was the first of the 4 linked trails we planned on hiking. It meanders slowly uphill and loosely follows the course of a seasonal crick as opposed to a creek, the difference being that a crick is something easily stepped over, whereas a creek requires a bit more ingenuity to cross. My definitions, not Websters…
The next series of pictures capture some of the interesting ways that the seedlings of deciduous trees sometimes use stumps as their base for growing. Perhaps doing so offers up some advantages in the beginning of their lives. Obvious ones might be to place their tender emerging leaves out of the reach of hungry deer, and the stumps provide needed nutrients. But as the stump slowly decays and returns to humus, the structures that remain may not be strong enough to support the tree as it grows taller and heavier. As it reaches towards the sky, and starts to develop a larger crown of branches and leaves, the effects of wind and gravity become more important components of structurally stability. What seemed like a good strategy when it was young and protected from wind and marauding deer folk, becomes a dangerous liability as it’s base of support withers and continues to decompose. Seedling trees employing this tactic will most likely end their lives before maturity.
Continuing on, a few deer crossed our path and the flora became greener, mossier, fernier and wilder…
After a brief crossing of a residential street, we entered the Talbot Trail. This trail, being a bit higher up on the ridge is more exposed to wind. There were a few windfalls that had been removed since the last time we hiked here and the chips had been spread out on the trail for the first several hundred yards. Cushy walking…
After the Talbot, we entered the Osprey Trail. It was a bit steeper than the other trails and had quite a few woodsy stairways to assist gains and losses in altitude. There were quite a few stumps, some with springboard holes to assist sawing 150 years ago. How did they get the huge logs out? Winches and horses?
After the wildness and challenging topography of the Osprey Trail, we arrived back to civilization and sauntered down the Around The Bay Trail back to the marina. It meanders along the sides of Oak Bay Road so the singing of birds is interrupted by traffic noise. It does make up for all that by providing delightful visuals: