Rush Oak Opening State Unique Area hike held 10/6/2013

During the hike did any hikers sense a time warp despite definitively different appearances?

The path through to grass of the Oak Opening

The path through to grass of the Oak Opening – Amy

Of note this hike was ~ 2 weeks after Autumnal equinox, whilst the Rush OOSUA hike on March 10 some seven months earlier this year was ~ 2 weeks before Vernal equinox, thus providing similar sunset times and sun angles.  (Do you remember the temperature for our March 10, 2013 hike? hint-answer further down)  Two contrasting photos are shown: green & trees with foliage is 10/6, while brown and leafless trees is 3/10/2013.  

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Sunday’s hike

ST Climbers numbered 5 plus some accompaniment time by one “confused” hiker who started as a Climber but wanted to be a Tourist and eventually got there.  ST Tourists numbered 7 including the one confused hiker who eventually settled in with Tourists – no names here please, and two dogs named Mac & Duff.  ST Naturalists numbered 3 for the walkabout and mushroom hunt with a photo of plenty of mushroom varieties as proof. Quite a variety, but not the edible crop the Naturalists had hoped for.

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Where did everyone go?

A few last minute arrivals trickling in one after another, and some other factors too (sharing info about looking for lost dogs, other announcements, questions, etc) delayed our hike start a bit, but we did get off with two groups heading one way and one group another way.    Earlier on Sunday a warm front pushed thru and brought temps for this afternoon in the upper70s-low80s, a bit warmer than preferred by some hikers who noted such.  No wind to speak of and hazy to near full sun and humid (such was our hiking weather) after the very substantial rain leading that warm front. With mostly dry weather for ~ the two preceding weeks and warmer than avg temps too, we had a greatly dry footed hike.   On hike day temps were some 15-20 degrees above average for this time of year (avg is 63).  The cooling and sun-protected woods helped alleviate some of the heat & sunrays.

P1090977In addition to the varied mushroom crop, groups viewed some mostly early stage changing foliage colors, majority of trees still holding most of their leaves. Virginia Creeper vines climbing tree trunks now display vibrant red leaves.  Some vivid yellow beech tree leaves freshly fallen to the ground.   And of course we saw poison ivy in multiple forms and color.  (note – in contrast – here is a note of previous viewed conditions   — Later December 2012 hike preview: tall amber grasses, swaying seedheads, birds aflutter eating the seedheads, dusting of snow on ground.  March 10th: most grasses no longer grace the fields with their collective vertical presence but instead lie down, seedheads are gone and fields look substantially barren and brown, a few green sprouting plants close to the ground can be found in areas.)

Char, Amy, and others got some great photos, likely some will be posted.  Saw an example of inosculation (intergrowing or “kissing” of tree branches or trunks) on the marked trail not far from the main haul road, the same example Naturalists had seen in March on this OOSUA hike.  Other sightings were a garter snake, several frogs varying in color, head high Savannah Grasses still holding some green yet drying and browning in the “openings” or fields, Mac & Duff cooling off in the creek, and a scenic view from a south end hill top.

ClimbersOh the smell of the woods, and the early stages of fresh fallen leaves.  Speaking of which, … at one point Climbers found that “Two trails diverged in the wood” and they took “the trail less traveled”  (bordered by two wood edges ) and that made all the difference.  Reward was viewing a tree with a unique horizontal branch with a vertical branch growing from it, and further on was a partially foliated maple and under it a leaf drop all in fantastic yellow leaves.  (For poetry fans, seems that Robert Frost may have been on to something .  Are you now thinking that perhaps you should reread “The Road Not Taken” by Frost?)    Feel free to read it here – http://www.bartleby.com/119/1.html

Shortly after hiking the trail less traveled a chance meeting of ST Climbers & ST Tourists occurred. After  Climbers and some Tourists lending assistance in helping to find one of two lost dogs, possibly one with chain in tow, the owner said he now has “Restored faith in humanity” as a result of assistance we gave.  Prior to the start of the hike the local resident advised us that two of his dogs accomplished a “Houdini act” from his home on Honeoye Falls Five Points Rd  and likely headed into Rush Oak Openings.  (Yes, some dogs enjoy a solitudinous hike just like some people do.)  We kept an ear out for barking and an eye for sightings, and assisted in tracking down one as we hiked (barking was heard) and found the owner not far behind him.  No signs of the second dog though.

ST Climbers while staying fairly consistently moving throughout the hike, did occasionally stop a bit to inspect some unique wonders of nature, and some photo ops.  Various conversation topics, much of them hiking related and some about things we would see or were seeing ensued.  But at one particular point, this writer noted that there were no conversations, all of us were silent while moving, and what was heard then was the swooshing of the cut long grasses upon which we tread.

After the hike about half of the hikers from the three groups came together to share a meal and some further camaraderie at an after-hike social held at Tom Wahl’s in Avon, and pleasantly were joined by one more ST hiker who could not make the hike but was able to make the social.

March hike

March hike

Accolades were given to the open sided picnic pavilion behind Tom Wahl’s restaurant where we gathered.  All enjoyed a meal of some sort from Tom Wahl’s and additionally we were treated to seasonal fresh fruit salad and pumpkin cookies prepared by some of our hikers.  A delectable treat – times two.   And of course there was discussion of Hike Planning future hikes.

It was a wonderful day for a hike.   — (note- if you remember temperatures on March 10, 2013 during our hike reached 65 or so degrees which is well above avg,  congrats,  you remember correctly)

– Thanks to Don, the Hike Planner for this hike, for this hike report.

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