We followed the Kent Trail for a little over a mile as it undulates along the shore taking us from beneath the deep shade of Douglas Firs, to open landscapes with serpentine boulders and low growing chaparral. Checker Lilies were inconspicuously blooming along the trailside in places and are easy to miss if you’re not looking hard.
We traveled a little further before venturing out onto a secluded peninsula where we relaxed at the edge of the lake. We enjoyed views out over the lake with Dutchman’s Rock and Liberty Peak in the backdrop.
A red tailed hawk circled above the lake taking advantage of a thermal. We also observed an Osprey dive repeatedly into the water in the same spot again and again with no results. It was flying awkward and I wondered if it was ok.
We relaxed a bit before heading back towards the Bon Tempe Dam. Right on the side of the trail we noticed a dismembered bird wing still fresh with bloody flesh. It was certainly not there when we passed by an hour earlier and we were curious as to what had happened. Could it have been the wrath of a Cooper’s Hawk?
We arrived back at the dam where I hiked a little further down the Shadyside Trail while Sarah made her way to the car. Not long after we parted ways Sarah was lucky enough to have an experience with an otter. The otter swam towards her near the spillway and got right out of the water and walked towards her before sliding back into the lake. I’ve never seen an otter in the vicinity of the Fairfax reservoirs and was quite jealous that I missed the opportunity.
I hiked along the Shadyside trail where Milkmaids and Hounds Tongue bloomed among the shaded forest floor. There were still enough rains to be supporting a variety of fungus including Witches Butter and Orange Peel Fungus. About halfway down the Shadyside Trail I was looking for signs of Coral Root Orchids starting to pop up when I noticed several turrets which are home to the Turret Spider.
Turret Spiders are exclusive to California. Northerly facing slopes in the state’s moist woodlands provide the preferable habitat for Turret Spiders. It is believed that females are the respected elders living up to sixteen years, nearly twice as long as their male counterparts. Stir Crazy seems to be an unknown concept to these spiders as they spend nearly their entire life in their burrow with the exception of the males who leave once to search for a mate before dying.
I tried to coax one of the spiders out using a blade of grass as a decoy without any luck. I’m not sure whether the turrets were empty, or if they just weren’t interested in my spider charming.
Remembering that Sarah was waiting for me back at the car to have lunch, I jogged back to the trail head. We tailgated at the edge of Alpine Lake watching several Ospreys soaring overhead in search of fish. Meanwhile a fisherman of the humankind had a bit of luck himself as we watched him reel in a large fish.