Saturday, April 14, 2012

Buckeye/Caney Loop April 6-7

With lows in the upper 40's and highs in the low 70's I just had to get out one more time.
I left home at my usual o' dark thirty (4 AM) and arrived at the Buckeye TH at 8 AM.  Four hours isn't really a long drive, but I sure wish I lived closer....maybe when I retire:) After several fun hiking and paddling trips with friends it was time for some solitude. It was a pleasant 52 degrees as I headed out, and while the trail's namesake were just about past peak bloom, I did find a few,especially as I moved down from the ridge.
Red Buckeye Aesculas pavia
Ohio Buckeye Aesculus glabra
 Spring's come early this year and the trail was already nearly overgrown in places.
The early morning view from the ridge
  I stopped for lunch a little before noon by the big leaning pine and then about a half hour later ran into another solo hiker making his way up the trail. It was taedawood. We'd crossed paths about a year before on Caney but were both in "walking meditation" mode, and only said a brief hello and kept going. He spotted my Hammock Forums sticker on my car at the TH and left a note. He didn't know the car belonged to the solo hiker he'd passed, and when I saw his signature, I recognized his trail name from the forums. This time we recognized one another and stopped to introduce ourselves and chat for a while. You meet the nicest people on the trail!
 lunch stop
Another solo traveler on the trail
 Ozark Spiderwort Tradescantia ozarkana (I think)
I headed down to the junction then west down Caney about a mile and a half before heading back and making camp for the night across the creek at Katy Falls.
Absolutely no idea :)
Once in camp I hung my hammock and stretched out to take in the trees and sky.  There were a few mosquitoes out briefly around dinner time and one bit through the back of my shirt (spray shirt with permethrin next time)  but they quickly vanished as the temperature dropped. No need for the tarp, clear skies and a full moon made for a wonderful night in the woods.The next morning dawned crisp and cool, the birds were singing and I dawdled around camp exploring the creek and some side trails.
 Hawthorne species unsure,still researching
more unknown but cool fungi
Bird's Foot Violet Viola pedata
It was a beautiful weekend to be in the woods. I made it back to the east TH around 1:30 and it seemed a lot warmer than 73 when I finally made it up the road to my car. Had I stuck to my original 3 day plan I would have made this trek early in the day,but I decided to have a day at home to look up all the plants I'd seen, and catch up on chores around the house.
The bugs were not bad yet, but soon will be . I'd taken a headnet and small bug net for the hammock but didn't have to resort to either. Permethrin on clothes and gear really seemed to help; no chiggers or ticks. I did have to exercise caution with poison ivy but long pants were sufficient to step off trail to investigate something. For over 50 years I never reacted to the stuff, but a few years back I pushed that too far, and now I do end up with a slight rash if I'm not careful.

Phlox-unsure of species
If anyone can id the unknown shots above, or if I've misidentified something, please email or pm me so I can correct it, I'm a tree geek and I'm just getting into id'ing wildflowers, and don't know any fungi :)
Some of the flowers I saw that I didn't photograph were:
False Solomon's Seal Maianthemum racemosum (not in bloom)
Wild Comfrey Cynoglossum virginianum
Blue Phlox  Phlox divaricata (everywhere)
Dwaft Crested Iris Iris cristata not likely the rarer Iris verna

There are more plant shots here, but I'm still in the process of adding captions: