Last week was our “on Wednesday we Walk in the Woods” dry run. I invited some family friends up from Pilot Mountain and we took to the trails. We had with us two young-ish boys, two college age girls, one father, two labradoodles, a camera, some water, and a reasonably good sense of where we were going. The walk commenced from the house barn and we found ourselves adjacent to our neighbor’s horse pasture in short order. The youngest boy formed a fairly natural alliance with two of the horses, carrying on a conversation and occasionally stirring up a whinny from one or the other. The dogs were altogether unsure of the situation so we started walking farther down the path, but we soon discovered an unfortunate combination of poison ivy and inappropriate clothing so decided to loop back to the forest trail.
Deep in the forest, or so it felt, we came across various edibles including sassafras, oxeye daisy, partridge berry, smooth chanterelle ( a mushroom ), and sourwood. One particularly magnificent sourwood specimen arched over the entire path and provided a challenging obstacle for the kids. Most of the crew appreciated the break in the hike and everyone else enjoyed the spectacle of bear-hug climbing as high as possible.
We had opportunity, as well, to practice some basics of wildlife photography. The youngest boy also took an interest here and was able to shoot two reasonably good shots of a green damselfly ( similar to a dragonfly but with wings that are held upright at rest ). Considering the lens selection we were afforded, he did a mighty fine job with focus, lighting and composition.
The end of our hiking loop was the production garden found near the main house. As we neared that location the three pigs ( or hogs now ) came out to meet us. Our new young photographer managed to snap this fantastic shot of all three Tamworths, and I am certain I couldn’t have taken a better one.
We hope to begin doing regular walks in the woods. Aside from edible and medicinal plant identification, we can focus on birding, basic forestry skills, photography or even walking meditation. If any of these possibilities are interesting to you, please don’t hesitate to call or email so we can set up a time. Until then, happy hiking!