|Smoke from the west coast adding to the haze|
Yesterday morning, a little closer to home, the view west from Wanakee Hill (just west of Lake Wicwas) was almost as bad.
|Looking west towards Pinnacle Hill from Wanakee Hill|
But the smoke does make interesting sunrises as the particles in the atmosphere absorb and reflect the shorter-wavelength blue light, lending a nice red color to the morning. (Read more about atmospheric optics here.)
|Sunrise over Wicwas|
Still on the topic of the sky, after last weeks discovery of a hemlock struck by lightning, this week I found another tree that was even more devastated.
Seeing chunks of wood six inches thick blown out from both sides of a large tree is impressive.
Much lower down in the understory of the forest the fruiting trees are doing their part to sustain the animals through the winter. The hobblebush, which a few weeks ago had bright red berries, are now ripening into a shiny dark black color.
I've seen a few green acorns start to hit the ground, and the black cherries, which have been ripening for a few weeks now, are clearly being enjoyed by the local fox population.
|Fox scat loaded with cherry pits|
These are signs we're well into late summer now, a transition I'm sure residents and firefighters in the west can't get soon enough. Perhaps some cooler weather and rain will dampen their fires, and allow our skies to clear up in time for crisp blue skies to return for the fall hiking season.
|Just keep an eye out for these little guys when you're walking the woods|