I've not posted in a month, but that is not because I've not been hiking. I've gone hiking four times since then, and just didn't get posts written, which I plan on rectifying today and tomorrow. Here is the first of them, a mellow hike in the Hickory Hollow Natural Area in the Northern Neck part of northeastern Virginia on October 7. Being a natural area, I'd hoped to see and photograph the wildlife that Hickory Hollow holds, so I hiked with my binoculars and my heavier camera around my neck - not very comfortable. I really didn't see any noteworthy creatures, but I enjoyed the hiking and saw some interesting mushrooms. I really liked the sign at the trail head - it not only showed trail maps, but shows some artistic flair as well:
Here is a track of my 3.2 mile hike. The topo map is not very interesting so I am showing a satellite view. The Red Arrow marks my starting and ending point, the yellow arrow shows the direction of travel (counter-clockwise), and the yellow circle shows the interesting swamp that I got to.
The natural area is mostly deciduous forest, with some evergreens. There are a number of trails, each color coded, and the terrain is pretty level. It was a warm and humid day, but still always a good day to be out in the woods.
This is Indian pipe, a strange and ghostly flower. Can you see the tiny green bee near the top of the tallest one?
I saw a wide variety of mushrooms while walking along. Here are some examples.
I reached a swamp formed by the Western Branch of the Corrotoman River, and poked around there a bit, enjoying the interesting plants, flowers, and insects.
Here was an unexpected sight in the swamp - Old Glory flying from a tree!
Later on the hike, a totally different tree, I pondered if maybe there is a screech owl that makes this hole its cozy home. I have screech owls on the brain since being serenaded a week ago at Goose Creek State Park in North Carolina.
I enjoyed reading about this man and his good works. It is nice to remember people who made a difference after they are gone.
I'd like to get back here and explore this area further. Other than hearing some birds - Carolina chickadee, blue jay, and red-bellied woodpecker - and seeing a couple of salamanders and a frog, I didn't see any wildlife to speak of. But I enjoyed exploring a new area. I didn't see another soul while hiking here for a couple of hours.
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