Thursday, August 1, 2013

Evening Breeze Hiking

I don't know if you've noticed that my hiking posts have kind of slowed down here lately?

Well, if you have... I can promise you that there is good reason for that.  Summer is so busy, and full of things going on, not to mention the fact that we've had several weeks worth of temperatures up high into the 90s and even into the 100s... which means that our hiking adventures have been pushed to the back burner for a bit.

But last week, we decided to try a hike in the early evening, around 6:30 or so.  We decided we'd go for a short hike to get ourselves back in shape, and maybe gradually work ourselves back up to the 2-3 hour hikes that we normally do. 

I took Cosmo with me on this hike.  Usually I don't take the dogs with me, as they can be a bit overwhelming together.  Annie is a very strong dog, and keeping her on a leash with other dogs around ends up being more work than its worth. And because I don't want her to feel left out and only take Cosmo, I usually leave them both home.  But tonight, my daughter took Annie on a walk, which left me free to take Cosmo with me. 

Cosmo had just been to the groomers, and he was looking fine!  He was pretty proud of his new sporty look!


There were a lot of wildflowers still bravely blooming, despite the recent heat wave.

And we found some Oregon grapes just about ready for harvest!  We munched on a few as we walked. I didn't know that this particular plant is actually the state plant for the state of Oregon. Here is a link for more info if you are interested... Oregon Grape

Here is an excerpt from the above link:
The Oregon grape plant bears dainty yellow flowers in early summer and a dark blue berry that ripens late in the fall. The fruit is tart and bitter, containing large seeds, but can be used in cooking (used to make jelly locally). The inner bark of the larger stems and roots of Oregon grape can be used to make a yellow dye.

Oregon grape root is commonly used medicinally by herbalists as an effective anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial used in the treatment of infection. Oregon grape root also has anticancer properties and is used for treating inflammatory skin diseases such as Eczema and Psoriasis

So, I learned something new on this hike... that the Oregon grapes that grow here in the wild in our area are actually a state flower, and are also used for medicinal purposes!

As we continued on our walk, the dogs were feeling the effects of the heat too.  They weren't quite as energetic as they had been in the past.  Cheetah took her time following closely behind or beside us, with her tongue hanging out.

Cosmo and Cheetah got along excellent, and it was a very enjoyable hike with just the two of them.  Had Annie been along... not so sure how the dynamics would have worked out... they say two's company... three's a crowd!

We stopped here to get our bearings, and to make sure that we were on the path we intended to be on.  The logging trails, and deer paths criss-cross through the woods, and often intertwine with each other. 

Another picture of some of the beautiful wildflowers along the path as we walked.

We heard a strange twittering noise as we walked along, and it wasn't something I'd heard before. We stopped to listen and investigate what the noise was.  Soon, as I walked toward the noise, I realized it was a bird up in the tree twittering away at us with a very strange bird call. I'd never heard it before.  Not sure what kind of bird it was either, as it was too hidden in the tree for me to get a good look.  But he apparently was not happy with us walking through his territory, and wanted to make it known to us. 

We continued along on our hike, and the sun began to set off in the distant horizon.   The evening shadows were forming as the sun began its downward descent, creating a lovely scene before our eyes.

A picture of Hoo Doo Mountain off in the distance with the setting sun resting upon its banks. 

Soon we were on the path that led back to the house, and we had timed our hike perfectly, and made a big loop that took us about an hour and a half or so.  This evening hike was perfect for getting back into our hiking routine.  For now, with summer here in all its glory, morning or evening hikes are best.  And since I'm not real enthusiastic about a 2-3 hour hike starting at 6 in the morning, we'll probably settle on another evening hike soon!

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