Saturday, May 19, 2018

Taylor Creek

Hmmm...getting a feeling of deja vu about Taylor Creek, but with reason. A month prior, I had taken an exploratory scouting trip in advance of a scheduled hike with the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club which was to be led by your merry blogster. But now it was show time, so to speak, and  it would be interesting to see the difference from a month ago.

The ever ubiquitous larkspur
The first different thing was that we could not park at the trailhead as there were a ton of vehicles occupying the small parking lot. Turned out that this was the day of the Sasquatch 50k and Relay Run and the parking lot was full of Sasquatchresses manning a rest stop for the trail runners. Sheesh, us hikers never get anyone to handout snacks and refreshments but then again, these guys and gals were running 31 miles on uneven trail so I'll quit sniveling and bow down to their athletic prowess.

My namesake flower
So down the Taylor Creek Trail we went, "down" being the operative word here. The trail began high above the creek's deep canyon and we dropped down to creek level, losing elevation in the process. Already, I could see the difference from a month ago. The vegetation was more lush and encroached the trail in many places. Gone were the trillium, calypso orchids, and snow queen, supplanted by later-blooming stalwarts such as Siskiyou iris, false Solomon's seal, and the ever present larkspur. Also fairly profuse in sunny open areas, was a dainty six-petaled flower known as Pretty Face, which I swear is named after me. 

We had to share the trail, or vise versa
It didn't take long for us to meet the runners running up the trail, and they seemed to be a fairly congenial bunch, despite having already run for many miles. I know what my disposition would be were I to attempt such a venture and I certainly wouldn't be wishing hikers a cheery "Good morning" and I probably wouldn't say "Thank you" when they stepped aside, either. However, I did make the observation that the latter half of the runner contingent were less talkative and seemingly less happy about running 31 miles in the woods, than the front half.

Golden iris
The hike quickly degenerated into more photo-shoot than hike since I had done this a month ago, and also because I had hiked 10 miles the day before. Legs were tired and bored, apparently. But that's OK, because there were plenty of things to take pictures of, mostly of the floral variety.

A moth basks in the sun
Spring was in full song. I know that's what I said last month but it was definitely more songier on this May rendition of the Taylor Creek hike. A whole new cast of floral characters were blooming away, dominated by the irises, and I think I got a photo of every single one! Most photos were taken while standing erect on the trail, for the poison oak was exuberantly waving newly leafed fronds and branches everywhere, just daring hikers and photographers to take an itchy step off-trail.

Fairy moths are apparently impervious to poison oak rash
Naturally, I soon was walking alone and far behind as my non-camera toting friends power-walked somewhere far ahead of me. Where the trail left nearby Taylor Creek and hied it uphill for a bit, that seemed like a good place to turn around. On the way back, I got to meet and greet the trail runners all over again as they were on the return leg of their run, and they seemed more amicable after having enjoyed the fruits and refreshments at the rest stop. Unfortunately for me, the rest stop was all packed up by the time I arrived at the trailhead, so I couldn't mooch a snack or two.

A beautiful day on the Taylor Creek Trail
For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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