The seven hikers who made the trek to Big Flats on Sunday were rewarded with a afternoon of pleasant Fall weather in which to explore the Steege Hill Preserve. Although some trails were soggy from all of the recent precipitation, the skies were clear, and the temperature was almost toasty.
Sadly, we did not have the benefit of our usual guide, Bob who is the longstanding steward at the preserve. Therefore we had to create our own script, recalling some of the tales he has shared with us in the past. We did encounter the manager of volunteer patrols, John Abbott, who thanked us for visiting and contributing over two hours to the schedule.
At this season of the year the forest is quieter. The sounds of gurgling streams were prominent. Instead of the cries of hawks, the droning of small planes from the nearby airfield filled the air. We saw a glider being towed through the sky. No wildlife were evident. The rattlers and mound ants were tucked safely away in their nests. Although the foliage was significantly diminished, new forest color emerged. The delicate yellow flowers of the witch hazel shone through in many places. In one section of the woods, brilliant red barberry shrubs burst with color. John has put up a lovely slide show that captures our afternoon adventures. http://springwatertrails.org/november-2018-steeg-hill-2/
The sun was already low in the sky when we picked our way down that steep hill to the parking area. The setting sun lent a lovely glow to the surrounding hillsides as we departed Steege Hill Preserve. As always, Tag’s Restaurant provided a fine feast for famished hikers. The small group size made it easy for conversation.