Annie and I set out for a little walk this afternoon. I asked her what kind of a hike she wanted-- flat, steep climb, trail, off-trail, etc. She said she wanted to go find the things in the woods that I [really Michelle] had found last spring. "The shelter?" I asked, incredulous that anyone would trust me to lead them to this elusive and hard-to-find feature. But that's what she wanted, and I was so excited to have someone who was willing to slog through brambles and follow directions such as "head southeast, or, towards the chimney that's not quite visible but that will be soon; now we walk 168 steps and head left at the tree that used to be bent over the path" that I didn't hesitate. We used some of my old maps from last year, and then I drew a new one to record how things had changed over the summer and what last year's path now looks like.
Our first attempt was to head up the bramble slope behind the chimney, following one of the old maps that I had made of coming back that way. After about half an hour of climbing the ridge and skirting a rhododendron hell, what I had expected to be a gully turned out to be the Ruins Trail that I walk on many times each week. How on earth ---? I sketched out what I think happened in the map above, which is NOT at all to scale, and now am wondering if the mysterious "Shelterwood" sign on the Ruins Trail might not refer to the woods where the shelter is! Something to check out for sure. Meanwhile, we decided to go the roundabout way via the Ruins trail to the overlook by the clay flats.
At one point we came across some very nice bracket fungus-y fungus on a downed tree. We broke off a few pieces and did some Lascaux Cave-like drawings. I admire the way the cave artists used the bumps and lumps on the walls as part of the form of their paintings. I have a new respect for their skill. On the left is a drawing of a fungus on the fungus. On the right, the shelter itself, done after we actually found the shelter. It was exciting to find the shelter just as the sun was setting and the fast evening was slamming down. We each did a fast drawing of the shelter, then decided to try to find our way off-trail back down to the Mindy Sue Trail by the chimney. Using a map Michelle and I made last year, we succeeded in spotting the chimney and then slashing our way down the slope through the brambles and over the downed trees, back to the trail. A short half mile later we were home.
Meanwhile, a tiny baby has sprouted beside one of the larger tulips, and a new leaf is showing from the split in one of the larger ones!