Friday, September 26, 2008
Back at Mountain Creek
Hike: Alabama Historical Commission's Confederate Memorial Park, Mountain Creek, 9/26/2008, 10:40-14:00
Distance: 6.3 miles
Conditions: Mostly sunny. High, fast cirrus clouds. Light breeze. High 70's to low 80's.
Intake: 27 oz. water, one pack of Nekot, one Oat 'n Honey bar
Met one other person on trail. Also met a park ranger for the first time ever here. He was curious about what I was doing since the lady in the museum said I was there often. Had a good conversation about the ecosystem of the park, especially as it relates to the forest itself. Ranger thinks the forest is in decline - quite a few dead adult trees due to beetles and stress from the drought. He was concerned about my safety around the dead trees. There are some dead adult and young trees easily seen as you hike in the park. Most of the dead pines in the upland area are the victims of pine beetle. I believe most of the young hardwoods that are dead have succumbed to stresses from the drought. I have noticed some black pustules on the leaves of some of the hickories - some type of fungus? I certainly hope that this "Treasure Forest" is not declining but rather just undergoing normal growth and death in a forest. There is an abundance of young saplings throughout the forest - that makes me feel better!
Got a fleeting glimpse of a black bird with yellow on back of wings on way into the park. Not sure if it was an oriole or maybe an American Redstart. Lots of other pasarines: titmouse, cardinals, etc. Grey squirrel scampering around on the ground. Several fall wild flowers in bloom - most notable in the park right now is the goldenrod. Blackgum is well into its change to red.
Paced the boundary trail from yellow gate at field entrance to yellow gate at the spring - 0.9 miles, longest single trail in the park.
Thank YOU, LORD, for this time and this special place. Speak to my heart.