Theeking the Anther

Theeking the Anther. 

Er, no. Theeking the Answer.

Oh, pistil-whip me! … Seeking the Anther.

It’s a marvelous experience, walking at a slow pace for now nine days! 

Yes, I have blisters, one on each foot. (They’re beginning to get better.) Yes, these old joints creak whenever I start moving. However, I’m noticing how much easier it is to go up and down the steep hills compared to last week. I’m much more adept at the many mundane little chores of hiking such as hanging my hammock, treating water, constantly back-checking that I’ve not left anything behind every time I start walking again, changing frequently how I use — or don’t use — my poles, and on and on. 

Actually, as others have said, it’s pretty simple:  one foot in front of the other, keep looking up and around, smell the flowers, …

One more set of thoughts before the botany begins:  I need to thank my niece Alison & her mother (and my oldest sister) Margaret for hosting me for two nights as I passed around Hamilton, slack-packing with just a hip bag for one day. And they fed me food that wasn’t based in the gourmet water boiling of trail food. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, chocolate cake and maple mousse with raspberries … I shall dream of these for weeks to come as hiker hunger attacks!

One of my outdoor education heroes, Grant, joined us for a morning as we passed around the very west end of Hamilton and into Dundas. We all marveled at the stunning  Dundas Connservation Area as we chattered along. (For those who know Grant, we also shed a few puns …)  

I continue to hike with Kookork and Delta. Our sharing of steps, of food, of decisions, of stories, of history, of the landscape, and so much more is wonderful. I’m so much a better hiker for being guided by him, and I’m so much better physically for being paced by him. Thanks!

Citizen science

I am not fulfilling one of my hoped-for outcomes. I have not been recording my botanical observations. The reality is that there’s too much to do just in walking and enjoying. I’m only slightly sad about not doing the formal observing and recording. Far more than I even dreamed I am deeply observing and noting the progress of spring. In that, I recognize I’m being selfish.

Somewhat in self-defence, my original idea of formal recordings at break stops just isn’t actually workable. Breaks are irregular, often brief, and their generally chosen for ‘niceness’ rather than botanical value. Equally important is the ecological observation that vegetation along this beautiful Trail is distributed in a manner very much determined by past periods of cattle grazing. Forest floors almost denuded and trampled by summering cattle take a very long time to restore much species and much spatial diversity. I’ll try to get some clear pictures of this phenomenon. 

Several specific observations: 

  • Trout Lilies are rapidly senescing, almost instantly in fact, as we rounded the Hamilton valley. Within a couple of kilometres, Trout Lilies went from fully in flower, to senescing and falling petals with full ovaries. I am going to submit my day about Seeking The Anthers. 
  • senescent orange-anthered Trout Lily with fruit developing

  • Poison Ivy is sprouting! I always alert, having had my share of bad bouts with this stuff … I have not seen any tree-climbing Poison Ivy since leaving the Royal Botanical Gardens. Here’s hoping!
  • Poison Ivy at the early red leaf stage; b; note the phenomenal size of the tree-climbing vine!

  • Trilliums beginning to turn pink! Agan, quite suddenly as we rounded Hamilton. This is surely due to more southerly exposures, burning honk it’s more due to being farther from the moderating influence of the Lake. 
  • a senecscent Trillium, beginning to turn pink!

  • Leaves are busting out all over!

Finally, my #Blazeoftheday 

10 thoughts on “Theeking the Anther

  1. Up at my neck of the woods there is a real mix of red and white That’s (almost)the top of the escarpment a little east of Lake Charles hereafter to be known as Wyburne.( Mr. Wyburne built the house in the 1870’s.) Maybe you can do parts, at least, of this trek in future years, and make the botanical posts then too. So far as I know, one is allowed to return to the Trail whenever…. so you don’t have to do EVERYTHING this year, really…

  2. Maybe the answer is that citizen science is best done from a home base, going out every few days to report on local flora? Enjoy you time now drinking in all the details and taking breaks in the “nice” places! 😉 Looking forward to seeing you at some point in the next few weeks!

    • I think you’re right. Gilbert White (Natural History of Selbourne) & Charles Darwin (later in life) did their work in their home parishes.
      Yes, drinking so much in!

  3. Enjoying your blog. Understand the issue with grazing cattle well. At my place in Wellesley, I convinced my neighbour to move the fence so his cattle could no longer graze the steep wooded slope which was starting to erode. It has been wonderful watching the flowers, shrubs and young trees return over the years (oh, and the garlic mustard…not so much). Our trout lilies are white. Must look at anther colour.

    I too am seeking answers. Why do your entries today say May 13? Today is, I believe, Thursday May 12. This would not matter, except that since i am meeting you on Saturday May14, it is important that we agree on which date is NOW… since now has some predictive value for the date two days from now. Are you hiking so fast now that you are one day ahead of the mere mortals who are hoping to join you?

    • The date is assigned automatically, Mave. I wrote that Mt Nemo blog Thursday the 12th. Friday the 13th we’re aiming for the Limehouse area overnight. That would leave us 10 km to where we’ll meet on Trafalgar Rd on Saturday the 14th.
      We did a long day Thursday, and ‘blue-blazed’ one shortcut. So I’m back on my predicted schedule. Today will be shorter — which will be a good thing because the trail will be muddier & slippery …

  4. Hi Mark, Love love all the photos – except that one of the Poison Ivy! What a monstrous plant it must be, to have roots like that. There is a huge one here in town that I pass when out walking, but in summer I take another route; the whole horrible thing seems to be exuding droplets of oil that drift onto passers-by.

    How lovely it must be to see all the trilliums and trout-lilies, senescent or not; I miss them down here in this part of NC. We are proud of you for undertaking this adventure, and look forward to reading more of your blog, day by day.

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