Whenever I spend some valuable time with my ex, it seems that the moment we step out of the forest and drive away we are already planning another excursion out into the verdant realm. Partly I think because we just both hate being around humans or bogged down by the city. So it is an escape, an ephemeral but fertile experience of nature, and curiosity. She shares my passion for taking a long time to see EVERYTHING in the woods, so we usually end up cutting through diverse overgrown forest, striding past mossy fern grown riverbeds, over boulders or down all the side trails. This hike actually happened over two days, the first of these occurring with another friend for some photography sessions and ‘mountain climbing’. It is was at Mt. Nemo, here in the Karst regions of southern Ontario, on an escarpment 200 feet high.
On the first day, I spent a lot of time veering off the path looking for obscure plant life, fungus, or bones. I did not find any but discovered was seemed to be one of the primal cedars that had fallen, unveiling it’s elaborate root system. I hid under the dirt clodded remains and took some hermit-like self shots. Then I found a triangular tent-like encroachment off the main trail made of rotting logs and dead saplings. Towards the cliffs, I stumbled upon some the crevice caves that had tunneled in narrow avenues near the edge of the cliff. The bats in these regions have been suffering from a disease called White Nose Syndrome which is believe to be caused by a fungus spread in the soil (Geomyces destructans). It affects the muzzles, wings, ears, and exposed skin of the infected bats and eventually leads to their death. It lives in cold atmospheres, and thus in caves, or mines while bats are hibernating. It is apparently spread by bats transferring from different caves, but I also believe humans have an impact, so I was skeptical about entering their hibernaculum habitat. I did take some interesting photos of the passageways, and gouges of the cave walls, and my friend decided to scratch a message in runes on the limestone for others to find. After getting covered with cobwebs and entering into whatever rock hideouts I could find, I found my way to the mountain edge, which had a scenic view of some farms. Lying amidst one thousand year old cedars, high above the earth’s floor, listening to acoustic neofolk bands, and watching wondrous vultures coast in the aether above. One of the turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) had enough patience for me to sneak up on it while it arranged it’s feathers on a birch tree protruding outwards. After nearly falling asleep on a rocky outcrop and attracting some odd attention from hikers, I left not knowing I would eagerly return the following day.
This time I was with my ex and her mate, and we did not have to pay because of the inconvenience of a quarry being built. In my opinion, it is absurd that the materialists out there actually claim this land, and charge a fee to go interact with nature. This sylvan place that has reigned much longer than we have been alive. I usually find alternate entrances inside a park or what have you to avoid this. I found a peculiar attraction to the stones this time, trying to absorb their inherit energy and knowing I was in a place where some of these stones might date back several thousands of years, slowly grinding into particle dust, but still here. We found a dash of big stones, swallowed up by green lichen, rich feather moss (Hypnacae), and slime mold. Then we veered towards a portion of the forest I had not entered the day before. Some of the caves here went for hundreds of feet in tunneling wedges. One of which penetrated about 50 feet below, and was peppered with some intriguing gold colored rock fragments all over the wall in the way blood drops spatters in a murder scene. The roof was spindled about by cave spiders, and I had an intimidating encounter with one rattlesnake, who’s hissing echo off the hard surfaces and empty space to create an ambient echo. I convinced my ex to peer off the edge of the towering summit, and believe I had some impact on her for having one intense nature-life experience. Later, she found some milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and cut open one of the flowers. It is a dicotyledonous and herbaceous plant with white flowers in a spherical shape (kind of looking like an exploding star. Some are toxic species, and it excretes a milky substance that has alkoloids, and latex. The same latex that is used for your kinky fetish clothing. I have never actually seen one of these before, and felt a close connection with the Milkweed. To observe the steam pouring out a thick whitish substance was truly special, and I feel like I might come to use this plant in some way in the future.
(I don’t put the more exquisite, and hi-res versions of my photos here, this is merely a recollection of sorts, enter here to see my photography project journeyoftheseer.tumblr.com)