I took a very itinerant approach to the weekend. No particular place to go, see or witness. I just had a pack, a map, and a capricious mindset. Every junction lay before me different opportunity. Sometimes I'd pick a direction in a careless way and sometimes I'd pick the trail that would lead to more options miles away, but I'd always pick impulsively. My wayward and aimless mode of walking took me to wide open vistas shared with feral ponies on the verge of bursting forth the next generation. It took me down steep and intimate rocky trails among the shade of mixed hardwoods. It took me to paths along creeks, over streams and beside cascades. I found myself sometimes surrounded by friendly faces stopping to share lunch with a group, help a frantic hiker lost in the clouds, or just chat about memories of trails elsewhere. I'd take the next turn and it would seem I had the entire Jefferson National Forest to myself for hours. Sharing it only with wildflowers and the ubiquitous little gray birds.
I entered this tripping proclaiming that this area was too small to fill up a weekend. "I'm making too good of time." "These miles are too fast" I'd proclaim to the rocks, birds and occasional sweaty Scout leader. I found a truly aspiring and varying network of hiking trails and horse trails that I occasionally linked together by following game paths or the hoof worn paths of the feral ponies and sometimes open terrain. I couldn't begin to tell you how many miles I did over the past couple days. Its not about the numbers, but I can't begin to put to words what it really is about.
Beautiful clear morning after a rainy night.
This tiny guy was tough to get a good picture of. I think its some kind of violet. They were sporadic across the fields in the high elevations.
Get down face first in the dew and rain soaked grass and really take in and experience all the life that thrives and coexists in a space as small as your footprint. Really be aware of what you're walking through. Mountain vistas aren't the only grand views to be found on the mountain tops.
Unknown. Growing in the grass. It sure was a stinker to get a good photo of this.
I have no idea what this is. They were 1-3 inches tall and growing around rocks in the high elevation balds. These were grouping around a rock in the middle of the trail.
I believe this is Chokeberry, but it could possibly be Blackberry?
Field of Bluets!
A few miles of fields Fringed Phacelia on either side of the trail. With some groups of May Apples and white Trillium mixed in occasionally to break it up.
This one was growing right smack in the middle of a horse trail near the Phacelia. Its tough to identify from this picture, but the leaves were different from the Phacelia.
Mountainside made of Ragweed and Dandelion.
A side not on my photos: I don't edit these in anyway. I used to practically live in Photoshop when I was studying in college, but don't really like to spend too much time on the computer. I don't find any fault with those who do. Its a great tool, but one I do fine without. Also you can always click on any of my photos to get the full high resolution versions, which is a must to get an idea of any of the panoramas I post.