|Frequently, when I stopped, I'd look around and see something interesting. Here's a perfect example. I stopped for a drink of water and, as I reached for my bottle, this Red Tailed Hawk feather just popped out from the leaves. I did move a piece of dead grass to get the picture but the image is otherwise composed as it was when I first saw it.|
|You can see some of the scrapes left by the buck I encountered. There were other signs in the area but I'm not certain they were all made by the same buck I saw on Sunday.|
|Here's another example. This bark is completely shredded and would make excellent tinder to get a fire going should one be needed. This particular tree was found earlier in the day and may well be outside the range of the buck I spotted. The height of the scrape is also a bit higher and the length of the scrape overall is longer.|
It is wholly possible that there is another more mature buck roaming through The Sanctuary that I didn't see. They don't get to be as big as the one I saw without being a bit shy and/or wary of people.
|One more shot of the big boy. I can hardly believe that I saw a buck in The Sanctuary let alone got two pictures of him before he spooked and ran.|
|Having the river nearby is always comforting. Should I run out of water, I have the gear necessary to boil and/or chemically purify enough water tto get me home. I have yet to find someone with the EPA who would be bold enough to take a drink of purified water from the river at this point however.|
|It is not uncommon to see two saplings grow together to form one larger tree. Seeing three trees of two different species, however, is. This is a black cherry in between two maples if I remember correctly.|
|The forest preserve was once private property (as recently as the 1970s) so finding an abandoned cabin on the property wasn't such a surprise. Finding it in such good condition was though.|
It was getting dark so I didn't spend much time exploring the old cabin. That's an adventure best saved for another day...
|Black Cherry bark to add to my tree bark photo album.|
October has been a good month for tree identification. The changing leaves add a facet to species identification as certain members of a tree family change different colors in the fall.
|Lo and behold, on the way out of the woods I find an old dried mullein stalk. Mullein used to grow here in vast quantities but in just the past few months the Forest Preserve District, in conjunction with the National Audubon Society, have ripped much of the flora from the forest preserves and replanted the areas with once-native grasses.|
Mullein stalks can be used in primitive firemaking but I suspect they'd miss this one if I harvested it as it appeared to be the only example left in the field.
|I think this picture does a good job of summing up the current state of the woods.|
What a fantastic time of year to be in the woods. Obviously I wasn't the only one who though so as I encountered more hikers on the trails on Sunday than I would normally encounter in an entire month. More people in the woods is a wonderful thing.
When I get tired of all the company however I always will have The Sanctuary for a little peace and quiet...
Thanks for reading,