Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumnal Photo Project: Strolling in the Suburban Woods

I've always had a fond feeling for suburban woods, having spent many happy hours as a child in suburban sylvan settings. The outdoors were always more fun than indoors (unless it was staying inside to read or build model airplanes).
The path into the woods in my neighborhood
My first real awareness of suburban nature was in the 1st and 2nd grade, where my outside escape was the desert near my house in Tucson, Arizona. Outdoors was filled with great natural surprises: roadrunners zipped around everywhere (without their cartoonish "beep! beep!"), tumbleweeds rolled through leaving a wake of small stickers (Dad called "goatheads, and they would pierce a rubber flip-flop), and lizards and horned toads were everywhere. There was a grove of mesquite trees that ran behind our house where we would hang out, and I was just sure that mosquitoes were born in tiny little nests in mesquite trees. As I recall, I asked my 1st grade teacher if this was true, and she told me all that stuff about water and mosquito larvae. I preferred the image of tiny little mosquito nests in mesquite trees, but that's just how reality goes I suppose.

Saturday was a beautiful fall day in Blacksburg, so Asta and I headed over a few blocks to take the woodland trail that runs along a ridge and above the quarry. On the way we walked past a scooter and evidence of children playing in a yard:
A scooter poised for action in Blacksburg!

I love the little dirty jeans, the yellow bus, and the classic "woody" Radio Flyer.  Fun was had here, to be sure.
So after a few blocks we entered the woods on the trail above. Filled with maples and other hardwoods, the woods were bright yellow and red. The trail runs along a flat ridge for some time, with the Virginia Tech quarry where they get "Hokie stone" to the left of the trail.

The trail, with the quarry down to the left. 
A great tree beside the trail.
The quarry from the trail, overlooking Ellett Valley. The quarry produces 30-50 tons of Hokie stone each week.
Once we got past the quarry there are a few places where you can see through the trees to the mountains beyond, such as this photo below:
Ellett Valley, looking to right from the trail.

Several clusters of rock formations are beside the trail.  Oh, to have this to explore as a little kid!

A rare bit of flowery color on the trail.

The edge of Blacksburg.
Asta, actively exploring the trail.
The road uphill after our adventures. 
Birds were everywhere yesterday.  This house finch and tufted titmouse were hanging out near the bird feeder in our backyard.

Yum!  Black sunflower seeds!
Cameras: all photos taken with a Panasonic ZS15, except the last two taken with a Panasonic G3