It's Christmas Day, and as usual my job has kept me from being able to go "home" for the holidays. Coco and I have instituted our own little Christmas traditions, including a hike in the Metroparks... so off to the Rocky River Reservation we went.
Just a day or so ago, the ground was dusted with snow... but today the dried, sun-bleached flower and seedheads were some of the lightest colors around. The Rocky River itself was swollen with snow melt, so much so that the water stretched uncharacteristically from bank to bank:
On warmer walks, the dog often gets to splash in the river to cool herself down, and amuses me by snapping at the top of the water to take drinks. (Yes, I've gone into the water with her a few times--and at least one time was NOT of my own volition! lol.) For example, Coco usually ambles down this old ford (I think that's what it is, anyway) where fisherman can often be found, to take a drink and get her feet wet...
... but not today! It was a brisk 25 degrees, and as you can see by the roiling on the downstream side of the ford, the flooded river was very fast:
Since water fun was not to be on this hike, we took the time to sniff every log, stump, and leaf... and catalog a few of the more interesting ones in photo form. We saw delicate little fungus sprinkled across the north side of this rotting sapling:
We admired pretty twists of tree roots, with the sandy ground around them washed away to reveal their form:
We cringed at obvious clues that some people who visit the metroparks have no respect for nature:
We were tempted to take our gloves off and touch a few of the bigger, more substantial shelf fungus, which look like they would feel soft and velvety:
And we wondered what would result from a few of the interesting seedpods that were scattered atop the quilt of maple, oak, and other leaves on the forest floor:
Deeper in the woods, where the rain and sun do not penetrate well--and where foot traffic had mashed down the snow--a pathway of ice marked the usual route. Between the slippery surface, the increasing amounts of brush, and a huge fallen tree that blocked the path ahead, we decided to take our cue and turn around:
We were only walking for about an hour altogether--my gloves were a little inadequate, and without the river to quench her thirst, I didn't want to keep the dog out too long. But it was nice to continue a Christmas tradition. (And it made me feel better about how much food I ate later, when I joined a good friend for her family get-together, too!)
Hope that you all had a wonderful, very Merry Christmas!