Enchanted Forest 11-4-22

Photos by Kay

Ashland Hiking Home

Among the special pleasures of November for our hikers is a Fall immersion in the Enchanted Forest to enjoy the brilliant Big Leaf Maple leaves as they are falling and resting gently on the earth. Some years, we walk in a colorful rainfall of maple leaves; other years, weather conditions don’t provide the conditions they need. The heat this past summer and abrupt change to rain and cold seems to have stifled their cycle. So, the colorful maples were few and far between. Most were brown. None-the-less, we paid homage to these bountiful trees, and the Ponderosa pine, Douglas Fir, and Madrone in this forest.

We also focused on other natural phenomena, such as the prolific green moss–so soft to the touch—and tree lungwort growing on some trees. This is an epiphytic lichen consisting of a fungus, a green algal partner, and a cyanobacterium. (It pays to have a scientist—cheers to Kay).

Among the thirteen of us, a few had never been to the Enchanted Forest and were glad to experience it. We enjoyed our journey via the Felton Trail to the granite memorial to the three firefighters who died nearby in a helicopter crash in 1993. As usual, we had our lunches there, after which at least half of our group pulled out various versions of chocolate to share. Halloween candy, of course.

On our well-caffeinated return, we met a pack of children with their moms and dads at the intersection with the main trail (a cluster of home-schooling families). The kids were climbing about on the logs up the hillside, nature’s amusement park. Our RT hike distance was 5½ miles with a modest elevation gain of 500 feet. Most hikers went on to Pennington Farms to enjoy and bring home baked goods and jams. Four of us checked out the Applegate lodge near the intersection, now under new management. It looks charming for a stop to snack along the river, once it’s fully reopened for business.