Thursday, September 17, 2009
Might it be autumn yet?
Maybe by looking at the plant life in the mountains you won't quite yet think fall is in full swing. Sure, there are some colors starting to show as vine maples are red in a few places, huckleberries are barely starting to turn crimson but for the highest elevations where vivid red is already happening. But the wildlife is not waiting for some weatherman to indicate to them things are changing – they are busy doing their thing! Wait at most any ridge along the Cascade Crest east slopes and you’ll see numerous raptors soaring over them in their migration southward (turkey vultures, many hawk species, etc…). And as the photo shows, hiking virtually any trail will show signs of the Douglas Squirrel busy dropping the huge fir cones to the ground to then later scurry down to get the seeds out of. A hike into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to Melakwa Lake yesterday brought me to this lovely cone, and while looking at it two other cones came crashing down from high in the trees above me – bombs away and watch out!