Thursday, December 25, 2014

Light Like Christmas Cookies

How perfect: a sunny Christmas Day, 50 degrees, and eight off-trail hikers who met through, for various reasons all of us free on Christmas afternoon to explore LaBarque Creek Conservation Area and Natural Area, 639 acres, almost all forested, including seasonal waterfalls on LaBarque Creek tributaries. This was our second annual Christmas Day hike; last year's was snowy, cloudy, and icy. This year's had the pale yellow light of Christmas cookies. Recent rains allowed us to see running streamlets with green-and-gold pools up to three feet deep. We found that the Conservation Department has been sawing down red cedar trees, an invasive, non-native species, so that natural Missouri dolomite and sandstone glades can restore themselves. The downed trees made our going rough at times. But we were out for adventure. Above you see our leader, Kim.

I am always at the end of the line of hikers, about 45 seconds behind the rest despite my best efforts. This is called "being the sweep," and it is a job: The "sweep" makes sure the number of hikers leaving the woods is the same number that came in. One of us slipped on wet rock and fell, but it wasn't me; unfortunately he landed on, and broke the screen of, his cellphone.

(Excuse me--I have to go--the kitchen mousetrap just went "snap"!)

1 comment:

Pablo said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the holiday. I'm unclear on the non-native, invasive nature of red cedars. I'd always thought they were native and only invasive during one generation of the forest (right after clear cutting). Have I been wrong all of these years?