Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Walking near Carnation

Heading out: I started driving with Coal planning to go someplace new. A few weeks ago I had driven home from Mt Vernon by driving through the Snoqualmie Valley. I'd stopped and taken a short walk on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. The drive had been glorious so I meandered that way. Driving down the ravine from Snoqualmie falls the hillside was full of flowering foxglove and Shasta daisy. Then I headed out into farm land. I discovered the farm where my food comes from while searching for the trails. I like that connection to my food and community.

The Trail: I finally found the trail and it was a part I had never been to before. I moved from valley farm land to mixed forest and as I moved higher the forest thickened. It was amusing because after walking about 1 mile I came to a sign that said "Trail Closed 2.3 miles ahead". After walking another mile I came to another sign that said "Trail Closed 2.3 miles ahead". I walked another 1.5 miles or so.

I walked North of the trail closure

The Animals: There were plenty of farm animals to begin with. Horse and cows were seen and heard. I also heard chickens, turkeys and a peacock. As we moved out of the valley and up it was the birds that predominated. Of course since it was forest, many of the birds I only heard. I've been fascinated with the Cedar Waxwings at work and had planned to make an entry about them. I was delighted when I heard them. I caught a glimpse of one, but it was typical Washington gloom and other than shape and crest the colors weren't distinctive. But then heading down, one flew and the tail and wing feathers shone out brightly.

I'm forgetting many of the bird songs I learned in college and encounter completely new ones. I need to study up, but what I saw and heard was:
  • RW Blackbird
  • Raven
  • Cedar Waxwings
  • RS Towhee
  • Blacked capped chickadee
  • (maybe a chestnut backed chickadee)
  • Robin
I saw a chipmunk run by. It was very humid and coal was hot. I went much further than I planned (like normal) and I was searching for water for Coal. I found a ditch with clear, fresh water. I called Coal over but he was off sniffing something and then I got so excited. Tadpoles! I think maybe... They were Western Toad. I really want to go back and check. They were already developing back legs.

When I was almost back there was a rustling and 2 beautiful, large garter snakes heading off to hide. I wonder what the to were doing :) They were a chocolate brown with blue stripe and very thick compared to most I see. I tend to catch them and I would have liked to have done more identification, but if I did interrupt mating, I just didn't have the heart to bother them more.

We took one side trail down to a stream and there was a field so fully of spit bugs it looked as if it had rain spit. Of course I found this thoroughly delightful and not gross at all. I've never seen so many spit bugs in 1 place, it was amazing!

Other adventures: While I was still searching for access for the trail I drove under a trestle got to walk over it too. I know Alan will love that. We went past a working saw mill, a residential camp and a farm having quite the party. We also (to Coal's horror) encountered a horse back rider. She was great and must have realized Coal is a complete wuss, because she had the horse pulled well off to the side. I didn't have Coal on the leash and held his color as we passed in case he decided to panic and run. He did try to run past, but then after she had ridden off he had to walk back and thoroughly sniff the area. We probably had an hour were we passed no one and we really saw very few people. The biggest annoyance for me was a plane doing some stunts. It was just a bit noisy.


Blogger Alan said...



10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't WAIT to go walking with you. Even though I'm a wuss who's sadly out of shape. You know like everything. I want to know what all the bird songs and animals and plants are....


9:28 PM  

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