John Lees-Extreme Hiker at 65 (and still living)

John, you have made it to 65 and who’d have ever guessed it, leading the life of thrills and adventure that you do. Over the years your courage, limitless strength, your cunning, your skillful handling of danger, your ability to follow trail blazes, all have combined to make you one of the outstanding lowland hikers in the country (sorry, I meant county). Who shall ever forget your slide up the gully in Meadowlily, or for that matter, the downhill slide on the same trail. Such poise, such courage, such dedication to your chosen sport. Someday fellow hikers will say of him: he knew where he was going, he followed the white blazes without hesitation, he understood the different challenges of up and down, and he always respected his fellow hikers when the need for relief struck him. He was a private man, always seeking out a private spot for that private act that, now and then, visits us all. He knew the importance of a good hat and always respected what lay behind a good long thumb.

We, your lifelong companions, wish you a very happy 65th birthday and we really mean it when we say…. Take a hike!

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There’s something rotten in the woods



Depending on the season, time of day, your state of mind, a walk in the woods changes as the conditions change. Right now it just happens to be autumn and gradual adjustments in the forest are becoming evident.

This morning I hiked one of my favourite trails, Kain’s Woods, with some long-time hiking friends. The maples have started to take on their autumn colours, and the air was a bit cooler. Yesterday it rained, and a feeling of dampness still permeated the air. However, what struck me most was the very pungent smell of decaying vegetation. All around were downed trees in various stages of decomposition, producing a very obvious musty odour, not altogether unpleasant, but still very evident. My nose informed me to search for the source of these smells.  What I found was an unusually colourful variety of the most interesting fungi growing out of these downed, rotting trees. Obviously the season, coupled with the rain from the night before, had created the desired condition to promote a very lively growth of these wonderful, otherworldly plants.

When I got home after our strenuous hike, I lost no time in packing my camera and heading straight into the Medway Creek Valley, at the end of our street.  It didn’t take long to find a very similar selection of fungi to the ones I had seen on my earlier hike.  This is a much busier trail than the one we covered this morning, and I received some curious looks from people who thought it odd to see someone on the ground taking pictures of rotting trees.

I hope you will enjoy the wonderful variety and outrageous designs of these plants.  I will collect many more at different times of the year. Thank you John for adding your excellent photos to the collection.

I welcome you to the ‘ Fall Collection of Fungi, October 2017’

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