During November the world inside the woods opens up and you notice things you pass by in the summer when the leaves are so dominant. At this time of year some of the hidden messages of the forest become apparent, and there are many if you know how to read the signs in the woods.
In the valley here we often have signs of former farmland in the woods. Valley slopes are long and steep, but pioneer farmers bravely cleared the slopes and pastured them. As early mixed farming became uneconomic though, the fields were abandoned and trees started to regrow. But the signs of farm fields, like this old 'snake' rail fence built of split cedar rails with no fence posts, are still there to see.
In the Kimberley Forest where I walked the other day, cross-country ski trails were cut 40 years ago. Wide and easy to walk, they provide numerous easy trails to walk today - though some are now badly eroded and need some rehab.
This was one of the old ski trail bridges I came across. There were four of them across this little stream, providing trails back and forth across the slopes. Only one remains in usable condition today.
But the stream itself tumbles down the slope, originating in a year-round spring higher up, just at the base of the steepest slopes. The sound of its bubbling over rocks was with me for quite awhile as I climbed up the slope beside it.
Eventually the slope became gentler, as the underlying geological formations changed (that's another story), so much so that the stream formed 2 or 3 different channels in places, as here. It was certainly a nice day to be wandering in the woods. With temperatures just below freezing and a skiff of snow, walking was easy.
And then there were deer beds, where their body heat had melted the snow overnight. I saw several deer, but certainly not close enough nor standing still long enough for a picture.
One of many deer trails through the woods - more easily visible in November with the thin layer of snow on the ground.
In other places there were more signs of earlier civilization, like this now heavily overgrown apple tree. The slopes of the valley are still used for apple growing, because the slopes provide cold air drainage lessening the danger of late spring frost.
Another sign of a former farm now a rural retreat, this old farm lane high on the slope, lined with large maple trees. The former field on one side is filled with young ash saplings and on the other with planted pine trees.
And several more remnants of old 'snake' cedar rail fences sit in different parts of the forest, this one marking an old boundary between two farms.
Now and then there was a view out of the forest too, here with the familiar landmark of 'Old Baldy' or 'Kimberley Rock' in the distance, a photo taken when walking out the old concession road on the flats down by the river.
Hope you too get out to enjoy the woods in November.
Note: I've been playing around with photo editing in 'Lightroom', and adjusted the lighting in these pictures more than I usually do, and I think I'm pleased with the results. As you can see I've also learned how to put a copyright on them, though I've tried to keep it inconspicuous (lower right hand corner of each photo).