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!
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Leaves are busting out all over!
Finally, my #Blazeoftheday