autumn amble

10.30.23 ~ Piedmont Nature Trails
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Another gorgeous walk! The Piedmont Nature Trails meander through an 88-acre forest behind the North Carolina Botanical Garden. On this day we started with the Streamside Trail, which follows Meeting-of-the-Waters Creek and crosses it twice. We are currently in an abnormally dry spell so there wasn’t much water flowing.

Meeting-of-the-Waters Creek
sunlit fallen leaves found everywhere
one of the bridges over the creek
looking back at the steps leading to the bridge
stump puffballs
little brown jug

In a moment of weakened ch’i
even a small patch of blue sky
a glint of a sunbeam
autumn light on the forest floor
can grant you strength and resolve.

~ Frank LaRue Owen
(Blister & Resolve, The Temple of Warm Harmony)

a lot of the forest is still green
looking straight up

The above picture was a happy accident. These two squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees, tackling each other and taking off again. Were they playing or courting? This is the only picture of the dozens taken that came out! Since the internet says they breed in mid-December or early January, and that a few breed again in June, these two were probably playing.

One online source says the fall colors peak in this part of the state in early to mid-November so we are starting to notice some larger patches of them as we drive around town. On the bright side, we will get to enjoy colors for a longer period of time since the trees seem to be taking turns being spectacular.

18 thoughts on “autumn amble”

  1. Lovely walk! What are those puffballs? Maybe mushrooms? Great photo of the two squirrels! They are so fast. It is incredible that you were able to capture even one non blurry photo. And their look is something else!!

    1. Thank you, TD! Yes, they’re a kind of mushroom called stump puffballs. I didn’t have much hope of getting any decent pictures of those frisky squirrels but I’m glad I tried and at least got the one. The are incredibly fast!

  2. I can hear your feet rustling the leaves as you meander these trails! 😉 Such pretty captures! I don’t know about those squirrels, I just caught two courting a couple days ago in my woods, right there in front of me! 😉 Maybe they like to practice a lot before mid-December, hehehe. Practice makes perfect!

    I missed so many posts, did you luck out on your search of homes?

    1. Thank you, Donna! 🙂 Then again, maybe the internet has it wrong about squirrel mating season. I couldn’t make out if one was doing the chasing or if they were taking turns running after each other. They were so fast! Maybe it does take a lot practice to catch a mate. 😉 Yes, we found a lovely little place, tucked in the woods and just a few minutes away from the grandchildren. Life is good!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the photos and the poem, Ally. Here’s to the boost in spirits that small patches of blue sky and autumn light on the forest floor can bring.

  3. Barbara, I haven’t seen puffballs in years! I always like your leaves backlit by the sun pictures – they seem so delicate. This looks like a peaceful place to roam and I like the poem which is just as peaceful. Well, squirrels will be squirrels. Sometimes they chase each other and race around and up the tree with endless energy. We humans should be lucky to have a small portion of that energy that squirrels have. I like the pictures of the tall trees with you looking up at them – how small we always feel in the forest.

    1. I’m pretty sure I’ve never noticed stump puffballs before in all the years I’ve trekked through woodlands. That’s interesting that you’ve had them up there in your neck of the woods, Linda. It’s amazing how there is always something new to discover. That little brown jug plant was new to me, too. At first glance I thought it was a wintergreen but it wasn’t shaped the same. Then I saw a picture identifying it on a sign at the trailhead on my way out. This was a very peaceful and inviting forest and I’m looking forward to going back and exploring the other trails.

      1. I don’t know where I saw the puffballs Barbara – could it have been in Canada while I still lived there until age 10? I know it’s been awhile. I like when they identify plants along the way – it helps when we want to write posts and include the names of them. The state park I go to sometimes also has signs identifying animals and birds. It looked peaceful there – you have something to look forward to during quiet escapes from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

        1. The signs really are so helpful. You never know what you’re going to come across and when we see an informational sign on the way in we can be on the lookout for what we’re more likely to see. I’m finding many land conservancy properties online now with great descriptions of which unique things can be found on each one. We won’t be able to squeeze them all in this fall but hopefully they’ll be pretty in other seasons, too. Plenty to keep us walking…

          1. That’s great you can find info online, not just to enhance the experience, but to use in your post later on. Now you have found your groove Barbara – go for it!

  4. I’ve never heard of “stump puffballs” before — fascinating things! Such a lovely walk, Barbara, and I’m happy your area is far enough behind mine that I can enjoy the greening again. Such cute little gray squirrels (but Monk would’ve had a fit, seeing two of them playing like that, ha!)

    1. I can just imagine Monkey’s reaction to those two squirrels — it’s a good thing he wouldn’t be able to run up the tree after them. 😉 The fall colors are starting to show in earnest now, it looks like we’ll just have to be more patient waiting for them next year!

A box for your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.