Friday, November 22, 2013

Exploring the November Woods

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).

Linking to:


  1. Your winter scenes are so beautiful. Your area is such a great place to be able to see great wild woods.

  2. I love the idea of the woods giving up hidden messages this time of year. I think that is true. Around here you see the remnants of stone walls running all through the woods once the foliage thins out. Wonderful photos you posted today! Beautiful!!

  3. I like how you found, observed, and then photographed the signs of former life, that were not immediately evident during the summer. Nicely done!

  4. I love those snake fences that I call jig jag fences.
    I'm lucky to walk in the woods any time I want to at Happy Trails. : )

  5. A lovely walk in the woods with a dusting of snow. I would never have known that the deer rested in those spots on the leaves. Interesting. I wish I could have some of those old cedar rails for a fence for our property. We're trying to find some around here but no luck yet. The fences sure look pretty through the woods. Kind of sad to think these were farms many years ago and now they're all grown up into woods.

  6. I have some woods on my property, so I am content to see them. I don't see the deer as much now, but when our apples were falling on the ground they got pretty bold and would come and eat when we were working not too far away. I'm afraid I have too much work still in the garden cutting out overgrown bushes and trees to be able to take walks, but it's nice to join you in yours. I hadn't seen snake fences and wouldn't have known what the fallen ones were. We have a dusting of frost on the ground now.

  7. What a lovely walk, the trees and lighting are beautiful!
    Happy weekend to you!

  8. These are beautiful, and what I like most is finding signs of previous inhabitants. Nicely done!

  9. There is beauty everywhere in every season! We just have to take the time to LOOK!!! Nice photos!

  10. There are some photos I think I should (c) as well; I am not certain where people get the proper copyright symbol but will have to check further on that.

    1. Cindy, I use Lightroom, and found the copyright function on the screen that pops up when you export the photos. I make the file sizes smaller, edit them a bit, and then export them into a file where I keep all my blog photos. You could choose letter size, colour, font, location, etc. and it was really easy once I found it. Check the software you use for something similar.

  11. The deer beds are so cool! I like the fence too.