Rainy Day Mushrooming and Birding

It was a rainy morning, but let up in the afternoon; temperatures continue in upper 50s to near 60F.

I went with KL to check out potential sites for her to take her mushroom workshop participants for the field part. We started at the high school access to the cross trail.

I knew there had been work on mountain bike trails off the cross trail, but I had not happened to go by them since they were put in. We ended up walking along one of them (only later realizing they are marked as closed to foot traffic.

Along the trail I noticed a bird’s nest fungi on end of stick (I think a very young alder that had died). I’ve seen them growing on small branches before, but never from the end like this.

I experienced a little bit of disorientation for a couple of moments after we rejoined the cross trail. I’m so used to coming up from the Baranof Street connector, my mind was trying to place me somewhere along the trail after that intersection, even though I had not actually reached it yet.

This didn’t end up being the only time I experienced some disorientation today.

We decided to go down the route of the now decommissioned lower part of Gavan Trail.

It’s been at least a couple of years, and probably more, since I had walked this whole section. I have come up from Baranof Street, but it’s even been a year or more since I had done that. As a result, my sense of location was not as clear as it could have been. A couple of times I did find myself thinking I was somewhere I remembered, only to experience a little disorientation when things didn’t quite line up right. Then, after we continued on, I would discover we hadn’t quite made it to where I thought we were, it had just been a vaguely similar spot.
In the section of forest nearest the muskeg, someone had put up a sizable configuration of tarps/shelter. Unlike many/most similar camps I’ve seen while wandering around, some effort was put into making this one uninviting. Old trees/logs (most trees are only a few inches in diameter in this section) had been erected in a sort of cattle fence style barrier. I saw a couple different signs that said “NO VISITORS” in bold lettering.

Instead of continuing down through the muskeg, we decided stay in the forest and wander across towards the current trail. There were some fairly well-used trails, but we opted not to consistently travel them.

I was a little puzzled when I saw a tarp shelter in the distance, closer than I would have expected for the large one we had passed. I even started to wonder if there was a second one that had been set up.

When we stepped out on to a cleared corridor, I experienced another moment of disorientation as I processed and tried to make sense of what I was seeing. It only took a moment or two, and I realized this was once again the old lower Gavan trail. We had walked a half circle, and come back to the old trail above where the tarp shelter was. This explained why I kept seeing it, but not as far away as I expected. In hindsight, I could have inferred that I had started to get turned around, but of course that’s often not the way it works in the moment when you think you know where you are.

I actually appreciated the feeling of disorientation. I don’t experience that too often these days. I am usually either places I’m quite familiar with, or on terrain that has a clear slope which makes it easier to stay oriented. I imagine in circumstances where consequences could be more dire, feeling disoriented would bring with it more challenging feelings as well. In this case, with nothing really riding on it, I was able to enjoy it.

Turning around again, this time I made more of an effort to cross, and didn’t do the wandering thing as much. We came to a place where a cedar had been felled across a trail. We had been here on our initial loop. Seeing it this time, I realized that choosing not to go over it was the final straw that led to me leading us back in the direction we had come.

After taking some time for lunch, we checked out some mushrooms on Japonski Island, then went out to Blue Lake Road.

There was still just a bit of snow left along the lower part of both avalanche track areas.

I got a text about a likely Blue-winged Teal and a kestrel seen out at the golf course, so we headed out there next.

We did find the Blue-winged Teal in the little pond, but didn’t see a kestrel. There were many robins around. While we were there the rain started more in earnest, so we didn’t stick around for long.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

Leave a Reply