Saturday, April 23, 2011

A HIKE WITH DOUGLAS & SEARCH FOR WILD FLOWERS

The old turkey hen stayed with her nest of eggs until the last moment.  The footsteps came too near.  Tall grass made crunching sounds as it was bent and pushed aside by a human with a golden dog at his side.  Only then did she burst from her hideaway to fly into the forest a short distance away and alight in a tree.
She and her future brood were safe because her santuary was discovered by a human who empathises with all creatures found in these meadows and woods.
I wanted to go on a motorcycle ride today.  I actually did ride for a very short distance but, something was bothering me that made me turn around and put the bike away.  Douglas has been extremely lonely lately.   Usually he is standing at the gate ready to go.  It always makes me feel selfish when I leave without the dogs and especially him.  After I go through the gate without them;  Douglas retires through the dog door into the habitat.   Lately when I return to the yard, he won't show the slightest interest in my coming.  It used to be just him and me.   For the past two years he's been living with up to six other dogs that require my attention.  I believe his heart is broken.  Today is beautiful and it's his day.  Just him  and me.  We will spend a lot more time together from this day forward;  just him and me.
We are hiking along what I call the old Blankenship Cave Trail.  It's the trail I used when searching for the Blankenship Cave that lies in the side of a cliff overlooking Tellico Lake.
Marigold
The wind feels good blowing across the top of this mountain.  It also drowns out the obnoxious sounds of speeding ski and fishing boats traveling Tellico Lake below.  The lake is not a place to be on the weekend for guys like me.
This is not the easiest trail to walk and by the looks of it;  no one has used it for a long, long time.  We had to cross tall grass and briers to get to this trail and that grass is definitely chigger country.
The grass crossing is where Douglas and I frightened the hen turkey.  The trail moves into the mountainous forest shortly after moving away from the lake.  The incline is steep at times but the forest itself is open without scrub brush to block the views.  It's a pleasant environment.
Wild flowers flourish along the trail in many varieties.  I wanted to photograph all the flowers I could find along this trail.  It would be a good documentary of April lake flowers.  I'm finding out that most of the flowers are "woods" flowers.  Hence; a good representation of all the lake flowers won't be accurate.

Spurred Butterfly Pea
The greens are the richest, deepest greens imaginable this time of year.  I can imagine a world of chiggers living in all that splendor, however.
There were wild flowers everywhere.  I would have my job cut out for me identifying all of them later on tonight when I posted the pictures.
Douglas was a different dog this trip.   There definitely is something that affects his relationship with me when I take Happy and Shade along for our outings.  Douglas is staying with me and he is more responsive to my calls to him.  I wonder if he feels slighted when the others are along.
He runs to the lake at every opportunity.
I love him and won't deny him anything as long as he's doing whatever in a safe manner.
The forest ends and the grassland begins again.  It does this on and off for about a half mile.
Once  back in the forest we take a break.  A cool drink is in order for me.  Douglas is searching for the lake.  He loves the water more than anything else.  Down over the hill he goes toward the lake.
After a little rest I decide to go searching for some wild flowers.  They are not hard to find.  I took off my shirt to check for ticks as they are a continual bother out here.  Sure enough there was one working his way toward my neck on the outside of my shirt.
They are so bothersome!  I don't know what to do to keep them at bay.  I shall change clothes when I get home and wash these immediately to rid them of chiggers and ticks.
Douglas continuously searches out whatever his nose leads him to.
When we leave here we'll work our way down off this mountain to the edge of the lake and head back toward the truck.  It's quite a distance away.
As we near the lake we can hear power boats roaring about in all directions.  I anticipated this and was fully expecting all the hub bub on the lake.  When we want peace we go to Calderwood Lake.
Walking back along the lake gives Douglas ample time to swim and play in the water.  He is a water dog supreme!
The trail along the lake is an easy walk.  We are taking our time.  Douglas has lots of opportunities to swim and play in the sweet, green grass as he sees fit.  It's his day.
Nothing like a fun dry off.
There are many wild flowers along the lake.  Many I have not encountered prior today.  Flowers are interesting.  They make me wonder why they are shaped and formed the way they are.  If there weren't specific purposes to their design; they would all look alike and be the same color..  What is it that motivates the many differences in the design of flowers?

Spurred Butterfly Pea

Flowers were everywhere.  I can't imagine anyone not having an appreciation for flowers.  They are the colors of nature.  The greens and the browns are common place in the natural world but, flowers add the accent to the view.  They are to the wilderness the same as sharps and flats are to fine music.
Great Scott!  This is supreme chigger country.  This tall grass is close to the edge of the lake.  Chiggers love this environment.  I've got to get these clothes off before the little rascals find me under all this cloth.

Eastern Daisy Fleabane
 The flowers are gorgeous!

High Bush known also known as Sawtooth Blackberry

Quaker Ladies
I am impressed with the flower species present in this small area.
They are endless.  Each month has it's own colorful flowers.  They are with us such a short time.  It's a shame not to get out there and enjoy them.  They are free to us.
Spurred Butterfly Pea
Spurred Butterfly Pea
Spurred Butterfly Pea

Dwarf Cinquefoil



Wild Strawberry
  Spectacular display of flowers!

 Virginia Button Weed

Virginia Button Weed
 We left the lake and crossed a meadow containing very tall grasses.  All of a sudden we broke out into a field of blue flowers.  The sight was remarkable.  I won't waste words.  Look below:

Bachelor's Button
 Douglas is going to create a post card picture.  I know he is.

Bachelor's Button and golden dog
 And the post card picture appears.  That's my little boy out there in the middle of all the blue flowers.  He's gorgeous!

Bachelor's Button and Golden Dog
 They are Bachelor's Buttons.  A more definitive view follows.  There are purple ones mixed in with the blue.


Bachelor's Button

Bachelor's Button
 What a beautiful sight.  An entire field of these beautiful flowers!
Douglas is in need of water and so am I.  It's time to leave this wonderland and head back to the cool shade of the habitat and cool water to drink.   Hope you enjoyed today's outing.  We'll see what tomorrow brings. I've identified the flowers I could with my resources.  If you can lend a hand;  I'd appreciate it.  Just leave a message at the end of the post.  Happy Easter.  Stay safe....