It was brisk when we set off on the Council Bluff Trail the day after Thanksgiving. Forest was on foot, something becoming more common these days, but Chris wore the toddler carrying pack just in case. Sometimes Forest is more adventurous and can finish an entire hike but other times he starts slowing day and dilly-dallying and soon enough he asks to get in the carrier.
The trail was gorgeous to start, with prickly pears finding ways to adorn themselves to rocks and crannies wherever they could deem suitable.
It wasn’t a big climb up to the top of the Council Bluffs trail, just enough to feel the burn in your quads. Once on the ridge we got a great view of the lake and surrounding landscape.
Mistletoe anyone? Very seasonally appropriate!
The lighting in this section of the trail was gorgeous and I kept stopping to check out different seed heads and ooh and ahh at how the light fell on a plant. The good thing about letting Forest hike instead of ride is that we tend to walk slow enough for me to do this kind of thing. Less walking with a mission, more walking with noticing.
And of course there were some more fantastic rock outcroppings to ogle at as we wound our way down from the Council Bluffs trail to the Texas Oak trail.
And then more plants begging to get their photos taken.
The leaf litter down on the Texas Oak trail had plenty of interesting vegetation to scope out. I really enjoyed this trail.
More prickly pears doing their succulent-y thing.
When we walk slower I tend to stop and turn around, to get a glimpse of the other way we aren’t walking. When we move faster it is never on my mind but when I make the effort to turn around I am never disappointed.
Most of the time my camera didn’t quite capture what I was feeling as I was enamored with the light. I kept trying, though.
I think the two photos above are yarrow, which I don’t believe I’ve seen ‘wild’ before.
Excuse me while I keep getting lost in tiny little scenes.
I did find a Texas buckeye!
Come on, we can all drool over some lichen, right?
Bluestem, you never fail for perfect autumn lighting.
Blackfoot daisy, Melampodium leucanthum, in its preferred habitat. It definitely does not like our mesic garden situation and has rotted every time I’ve planted it. Right native, right place. My garden is not the right place but this spot on the side of the trail was great for it!
Finally we wove down to the lower Texas Oak trail and huddled the lake shore with gorgeous overlooks.
I did some self portraiting because I’m realizing I am not in many photos these days.
Can I just pick this slab up and take it home???
And my two sweet goofballs!
And right before Forest found himself riding the rest of the trail out in the backpack, we scoped out a sweet little crag that would have made the perfect preschooler sized hideout!
We hustled back to the car because of said preschooler’s intent to start fading quickly and made a beeline back for the campsite for lunch. It was an excellent morning of adventuring and the trail was beautiful!