Though I hadn’t planned on a day trip today, the morning broke so lovely and promising my wanderlust kicked in. Warm and sunny, the drive out Hwy #2 was pleasant and fast. One other car waited in the parking lot at Spirit Sands trailhead. It was a perfect day for a hike.
We’ve had a bit of rain in last day or so and the sand was a little wet but drying quickly in the sunshine. Along the trail I saw this poplar leaf bejewelled with dew gems. (Click on any pic for HD view)
From the observation deck this year, you can see an interesting phenomenon. Due to the prevailing northwesterlies, the dunes at Spirit Sands are always moving, literally. The sand blows up and over the edge, down the duneface, building the dune forward. On the right side of this picture you can see a clean new dune that is active and quickly moving unlike the other dunes which have some vegetation and are thus more stable and slower moving. I seldom see such a clear example of a fully active dune.
With most of the leaves gone from the deciduous trees, the evergreens are in their glory. Also more evident are the rampikes and deadfall. Today the rampikes, leaning away from the wind, stood out against the deep blue autumn sky.
I have been told that the length of a tree’s life is also the length of its death, meaning the number of years a tree grew is how many years it will take to turn into earth. That beautiful, balanced definition of the pace of Nature is as good as any I’ve found.
The hike to the dunes through the mixed forest offers numerous opportunities to see the aftermath of windstorms, spruce bud worm and the parasitic dwarf mistletoe, all have had their way with the trees in the park at one time or another. This tree trunk lay split, gaping and dying well along the trail, its meat and bones humbled by time and the elements.
Out on the dunes, where seven-eights of the world is sky, the wind drew its crazy calligraphy in the sand using plants as brushes. Can you decipher the wild wind’s subtle message?
As I arrived at the information kiosk returning from my hike, a swarm of bright red ladybugs danced in a sunny spot, several of them landing on me. There is a soul connection between Linda and ladybugs and I always know she is nearby when her bugs turn up. We walked this trail so often together, I frequently turn and think Linda is walking right along with me. She was today, every step of the way.