Being in the mood for a bit of hiking, we took a drive today over to Parfrey's Glen, a scenic area rich in flora, with a rocky stream running through wooded sandstone bluffs.
As we start down the trail, the first thing I notice is an abundance of asters. It seems to be a good year for these little beauties:
If I were a bird, I'd be snacking on these luscious-looking berries:
A first glimpse of the stream running down through the trees.
The trailside is dotted with large, elegant seedballs. (Possibly salsify, although it seems a bit early for them to have reached this stage.)
A bit of history for the interested reader.
A gorgeous tree canopy arches overhead. (This place is heaven for a tree-lover such as myself. The very air seems green, and the light filtering through the leaves is beautiful.)
Tree or vine? I can't say.
A bleached log bears fascinating squiggly marks all down its length.
The stream is bridged here by the trunks of fallen trees (this was off the trail)...
...and here by large rocks, which are part of the trail. (As we reach the rocks, two adorable little boys are clambering across while their father snaps their photos. When they reach the opposite side, one boy says, "I never did that before! I never did that before!" And the smaller one shouts, "That was awesome!" There is something very satisfying and exciting about crossing a rock bridge.)
A rocky stair leads further up the glen.
To the left of the stair, the bluffs reveal mysterious caves and crevices...
...and are decorated with lovely shades of lichen.
Towering trees grow out of the sandstone, and lush ferns add to the sense of "forest primeval".
Large roots forming a graceful arch. Look at that pale aqua lichen.
The managed trail ends at this beautiful spot. The trail used to go farther up the glen, leading to ever more spectacular rocky views, but floods in recent years have washed it away, and repairs have been delayed due to the expectation of more flooding. To continue up the glen, one must pick one's way through the rocky stream - for which neither Mr. M nor I are properly shod. (Nor are we willing to provide the mosquitoes with an easy meal.) We content ourselves with a long look at the view, then turn back.
The sandstone walls on either side are embedded with layers of quartzite. (One website calls this type of quartzite "plum pudding" stone, but does not explain the reference.)
Roots sprawling over the bluffs. (I feel as though I've strayed into the Old Forest of "Lord of the Rings".)
These giant umbellifers resemble young trees, growing 5-6 feet tall.
The sound of splashing water punctuates our conversation.
A mullein grows on the stream bank...
...and here we have a veritable avenue of asters in bloom.
Hoary vervain, I think. (Why do the prettiest flowers have the most awkward names?)
More of the abundant red berries.
A large thistle (the plant is taller than I am) blooms just off the trail.
Brilliant yellow hawkweed.
I love these graceful grass seed heads.
Golden Alexander just opening up, like little splashes of sunshine.
Mr. M has reached the car already, but I stop for one last photo. Look at these luscious mulberries! They're much bigger and riper than the ones in our yard at home. Lucky birds and squirrels who get to eat these.
A very pleasant walk in beautiful surroundings.
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