The Pine woods of the east side are my favorite for their scent alone. A warm still day smells the best. The understory in these woods is usually open and easy to get in to. There you find a lot of fun things like mushrooms. Today there were Coral Mushroom erupting everywhere.
As I gained altitude I started finding Morels.
Once again I am reminded about wearing a backpack instead of a hip pack and inside that pack should be a plastic container and a paper bag. Paper for mushrooms, plastic for fruit.
The first 1 1/2 mile of the trail is actually an old road that has been gated. There are a few homes tucked into the private land leading up to the National Forest. There had been a lot of recent disturbance , including some logging. This old log was totally devoid of its outer bark. This pattern shows that a Pine boring beetle had been hard at work making its art, and damage. I somehow remember reading that some species of beetle has their own distinct pattern type. I like this wild artistic pattern.
I rambled off trail in many places to look about in likely areas for unusual plants. I climbed up rock slopes for Lewisia and other rock loving flowers. Hookers Fairybells were bountiful.
I was thrilled to find Wild Ginger. This has such an unusual flower and on the wet side, if you can find it, the flower is often smooshed small and soggy under the low growing leaves. There the leaves were up and the flowers neatly arrayed for photos.
I occasionally went over to the creek to admire its power and play Pooh Sticks. At one creek side I encountered a small "flock" of butterflies. Many butterfly species sip minerals from wet dirt and mud and this is the time of year it is easy to get somewhat near to observe. I was able to sit down and watch the little blue butterflies but they were too jittery to get good photos.
I pulled out my phone and was amazed that I actually had an active screen in this remote area. I also saw that it was 2:50! I had been on the trail 5 1/2 hours.
I encountered a flock of small blue butterflies that flew up from the ground like confetti. They allowed me to sit down next to the moist spot they were sipping on and I got some nice pictures. They are Spring Azure.
It took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to get back to the car. This does not count the time spent talking to two fellows about the trail and the mushrooms. They convinced me Coral Mushroom is good eating.
Near the top I did find some Twinpod starting to bloom. I will have to return and get the plants in full bloom to complete my set of photos of this curious flower.