We've had a mostly dreamy autumn this year, and by that I mean a full embrace of whatever the weather throws at us--rain, wind and mild temperatures. We're up for venturing out, always!
In mid September, Vi and I joined another mother-son duo and a third grown-up gal pal for a early autumn pack packing trip. It was a total trip of discovery to a part of the Olympic National Park which I had never set foot in, and whose history I knew little about (I got my fill of old photos at the ranger station and discovered this beautiful woman here).
Our riverside camp site--accessible only by trail--was nestled in a grove of moss-laden giant maples just beginning to turn. Giant sword ferns carpeted the ground around us, muffling any sounds other than the river's flow and later, a river otter's squeak along the bank at dusk. I heard the otter before seeing it, and caught sight two siblings, peeking at me curiously. The two adolescent otters shimmied in the current like little mermaids, back and forth, while their mother scolded them follow her into some boulders out of sight.
Soon after, dozens of bats fluttered against the not-quite-dark sky. I sat along the bank, hoping for another look at the disappeared otter family. My son and his buddy were having a story read, which allowed me this quiet time. While I am sorry he missed seeing the otters, I felt like I'd been personally visited by the forest fairies that night.
Below is another photo from that weekend, along with several shots of birds we saw or heard on the trip, images courtesy of Mike Hamilton. The photos Mike shot are taken at other locations, but of birds and plant life occurring throughout Western Washington mountain foothills and riparian environments.