A good plan for an overcast day is to wander in the woods. There won’t be any special views nor any summits to reach, but we can experience the forest, watching for small surprises along the way. On this last rain-probable day, I hiked in the Outer Inks Trails area, making my own trail for part of the way, following a single or double track for a while, and exploring knolls, hills, gullies, and ridges. I saw a deer skeleton, mining claims, a few cows grazing (this is a grazing lease area), squirrels, a variety of birds, ducks on ponds, fungi, old stumps and snags, lichens and liverworts, wildflowers, rosehips and snowberries, reeds and rushes, outcrops and erratics, pothole ponds and stream courses, meadows and glades, scats, burrows, and more. Going off trail provides the best rewards.
The north-south track is the Trans Mountain pipeline right of way, soon to be expanded. The east-west tracks are old double tracks, but there are dozens of single tracks too set by motorcycles and sometimes used by ATVs and mountain bikes.
With whatever route I choose in this area, I try to go past Dam Lake, Long Pond, or Spade Lake. On this trip, Long Pond was full and had some resident ducks. Dam Lake had been drawn down for irrigation, leaving some skeletal stumps on the shoreline.
Most of the wildflowers were well past prime, but there were some asters, chicory, and smartweed (on the shoreline) to note.
With such a dry summer, fungi have begun to emerge, but are still dormant in most parts of the forest
A variety of snags and stumps are abundant too and many need closer inspection. A wander in the woods is about exploration, going off trail with curiosity to discover and witness the treasures that await the hiker who can go quietly, taking a few photos, but leaving nothing behind, not even footprints.