Let’s go for a walk together.
We step-off down the trail at the beginning of a lovely autumn day. The sun is bright and warm still, but the season lends itself to cool breezes. As we emerge from a petite copse of fir trees, we find ourselves walking down a gently-sloping meadow of huckleberry shrubs, brilliant red and dusted with early-season snow.
As we descend further along the slope, we dreamily fall into the cooling shade of an overhang of red cedar that trellises a clear, cold water stream. Along the banks are clumps of vegetation which include scruffy-headed black sedge and honey-centered partridgefoot. We pause to rest and admire the matting of green fescue with blades bent in all directions because of the soft, downy lops that were playing on them in the moonlight the night before. Nearby, the fan-leaf cinquefoils seem to all be pointing accusingly at the damp communities of bark streaked mushrooms and splattering of jelly fungi hugging the base of the Engelmann Spruce nestled in couples and small families surrounding this little Eden.
Refreshed of mind and body, we journey forth, this time with an incline towards a forest zone of ancient old-growth sentinels. We soon trek our way into a swaddling of Pacific silver fir. At a distance, we thought the silver-tipped highlights were just the accented needle tips of the seasonal makeover, but soon discover the silver treasures are really the cylindrical cacoons of next year’s babies, poised for their earthward plunge at just the right moment. You pick up a cone and hold it close to your nose, inhaling the pungent pine fragrance, then drop the outsized seed back onto the nursery of old needles. We trundle onward to our destination.