Friday, June 16, 2017

Mildred Kanipe Park

Well, it can't all be hiking, boys and girls, gotta take care of business sometime. And on a Friday morning Luna and I drove around, performing errands, shopping, and doing other non-fun non-hiking activities. But since we only used up the morning and a small part of the afternoon, we both decided to sneak in a short hike in Mildred Kanipe Park on a sultry and overcast day. In an amazing coincidence, in the back of the Jeep were my hiking boots, poles, and how did all that stuff get in there?

View to English Settlement
Luna seemed to understand the peacocks at the trailhead were off limits, so as a reward. she got to hike off leash once we were out of sight of the beautiful hooting, but dog-tempting, birds. The park has 7 loop trails that are named, but in between the 7 loops, a spider web of smaller, unnamed trails connect them all. We grabbed one such trail and immediately charged uphill to join up with the Oak Savannah Trail. The Oak Savannah Trail is both appropriately and inappropriately named.

Oaks, both poison and benign varieties
Yes, the trail undulates through grassy savannahs dotted with regal and stately oaks, newly leafed out against a (on this day, at least) gray sky. The trail also undulates through grassy savannahs where the "other oak" grows in overwhelming profusion. I, of course, am referring to poison oak, Satan's favorite plant. There I was in shorts, too, with copious fronds of the progenitor of itchy rashes waving across the trail, caressing my exposed legs with malevolent tenderness. I could almost hear the snarky laughter of the poison oak gods every time a poison oak plant swiped one or both of my legs. However, I am glad to report that somehow, I did avoid getting a rash, apparently I was under the benevolent protection of the Great God of Technu.

Guardian of an oxeye daisy
Spring was in full song and the grassy slopes were abloom with white hyacinth, ookow, self-heal, wild iris, and wild rose, just to namedrop a few. Oxeye daisies grew close together, turning slopes and meadows white. I found some blackberry bushes blooming an uncharacteristic pink color and elegant brodiaea elegantly lived up to its elegant name.

Luna leads the way
As the Oak Savannah Trail descended gently through rolling grassy swales dotted with stately oaks, we grabbed the Fern Forest Trail to add a little more distance to a short hike. The trail dropped quickly through a lush forest carpeted with ferns and poison oak, but mostly poison oak. The path was muddy and treacherously slippery and I daresay I tripoded it a couple of times, silently praying as I headed earthward that I would not land in the poison oak bushes flanking the trail. Luna didn't care, she had no mud-sliding issues, plus she'd gladly romp off trail in the poison oak entirely of her own volition if I'd let her do such a thing.

Pink blackberry blossoms
Once out of the forest and into the meadowy bottom lands we made a side-trip to Bachelor Creek for the sole purpose of affording Luna the opportunity to splash and frolic in the water. While she cavorted, I took lots of pictures of wild roses and pink blackberry blossoms. We each play in our own singular fashion.

Trail through the poison oak jungle
From Bachelor Creek, the loop hike was closed off by hiking on a combination of footpaths and gravel roads through some more of the parklike oak savannahs and poison oak. Poison oak is such an evil and highly adaptable plant. I saw it sprawled on the ground in a thick ivy-like ground cover, in dense upright bushes four feet high, and even vining to the top of an 80 foot tree! There is no stopping that accursed itch-spawning plant!

A peacock performs, ever hopeful of receiving a treat
Back at the parking lot, peacocks came by to mooch handouts, displaying their ample feathery foliage as an enticement. Leashed to the car Luna could only think about chasing them while I took pictures freely. All in all, a nice way to reward ourselves for a job well done running errands.

Ben More Mountain rises above the trail
For more pictures of the hike, please visit the Flickr album.


  1. Glad you were able to fit in a hike despite the busy morning! Ugh...poison oak is the worst. Hope you didn't suffer any ill effects.

    1. Got very lucky, Linda, for some reason I was immune on this day