Weather was pretty good again today although a little cooler – highs in the low 50s but still sunny. We spent a little bit of time in Kanawha State Forest again this afternoon and I paid a visit to the Rattlesnake Trail, which is across the road from the Davis Creek and Teaberry Rock Trails leading into the opposite side of the forest. It’s rated Moderate-Difficult and goes for about a mile. When we were last in Kanawha State Forest (on 2/10/13), as we were leaving I had spotted some fungi growing on a rotted log a little ways up the Rattlesnake Trail but we were not in a good place to back up so I could get photos. This time, I made a point of visiting this trail while my husband and son went on to the playground next to Davis Creek a short distance up the road. My trusty Red Maple hiking staff in hand I headed towards the trail, taking the time to leave an offering for the trail’s resident landvættir at the entrance to the Rattlesnake Trail accompanied by a brief prayer. The start of the Rattlesnake Trail is steep and continues to be steep for a good distance before leveling out and sloping downwards. The narrow width of the trail and plenty of tree roots contribute to the difficulty of the trail.
As I worked my way up to where the fungi-bearing log was located I was able to get a better profile of the fungi – turns out that what I saw was the remains of a group of Stump Blossoms (Bondarzewia berkeleyi), which under normal circumstances would be a choice edible, but in this case, not so much. What remained was dried out and powdery, and had turned white, although in some place a pale remnant of the original colouration could be made out. Still beautiful, I snapped several photos of them before moving up the trail.
The trees here are younger than those on the Teaberry Rock trail although the arboreal profile is for the most part the same: predominantly Beech-Oak woods, with many Sycamores, although I did spot a lone Holly, find some Maple leaves, and noted the presence of Hickory nut hulls indicating that a few Hickory trees are present on this particular trail. No Eastern Hemlock, although there were some scattered Pines further up. Oaks were Red Oaks and Pin Oaks mainly.
Wild plants represented in this area include Spotted Wintergreen and Cinquefoil.
Animal-related finds were also noted today, included a rather large Owl pellet and two duck feathers laying side-by-side.
And of course, there were some other fungi on the trail, primarily in the form of Polypores, which is normal for this time of year as many Polypores are year-round.
I spent a few moments in quiet contemplation, allowing myself to feel the energies of the Rattlesnake Trail, before making my way back down to head back over towards Davis Creek and my family. I made sure to stop and thank the landvættir for allowing me safe passage up and back down the trail, and prayed for continued peace and friendship between us. Once I was back across the road I made a stop to say hello to my friend the Beech, and then made my way over to where the boys were. There were some fungi-related goodies along the creek today, including a vibrant and young patch of Turkey Tail merrily taking over a piece of log and some moss-covered Polypores dotting a log that was directly over the creek.
We did some clean-up of the area around the playground before we left, most notably removing an entire roll of toilet paper that someone had left sitting next to a tree on the banks of the creek. We employed a broken tree branch in picking that piece of litter up and deposited it in a trash can conveniently located about three or four yards away. I guess it’s too much to ask people to go such a short distance out of their way to dispose of their trash. As we worked, the sunny weather gave way to an approaching front heralded by cooler breezes, until the skies became mostly cloudy for the ride home. I’m not anticipating getting out to the woods tomorrow as there is a pretty good chance of rain/snow mix, but it has been wonderful to be able to get out and hit the trails the past few days.