May Chronicles – Gone West

Second week of May.  New longitude and altitude.  A trip to the West Coast afforded a few moments to explore the Sierra Nevada.  The woods were still emerging from their snowy winter blanket. At the time of my visit, there was still a good amount of snow on the ground, and the higher altitude road and trails were not completely open.  A local gave me directions to find a mountain rim trail.  The steep mountain, snow pack, and underbrush made for interesting walking, a fresh change after the spring underway back east. It was important to keep aware in all directions to make sure not to get lost.  Snow-melt was generating constant run-off into the streams and gullies, making it easy to stay along a very noisy river to my left.

The woods were thick with trees, evergreen tree branches, and snow, and the air was cool, clean, and pine-scented!  Stopping atop a large sturdy mound of snow, I suddenly noticed the trail ran underneath and off in either direction.  Lichen and mosses dotted the tree trunks, and a thick carpet of pine needles covered the trail.  The trail was interrupted off and on by snow pack, and it took some exploring to keep following and pick it up again.

At some point the snow overtook my ability to follow the trail, so I retraced my steps back and down the mountain back to where I started, river to the right.

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The trail was interrupted off and on by snow pack
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Lichen and mosses dotted the tree trunks
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 and a thick carpet of pine needles covered the trail
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Moss

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the air was cool, clean, and pine-scented

 

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Evergreen branches, and snow

 

Arctostaphylos patula – known also as greenleaf manzanita. wildflower.org says it grows in open, coniferous, mt. forests; 2000-9000 ft.

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