Things to see and do at this stop:
These handsome glossy-leaved evergreen plants are of the huckleberry branch of the blueberry family. Every farkleberry begins life as a stiff-branched shrub but, with time, matures as a small, crooked tree, up to 20 feet tall – a habit quite unusual for huckleberries. Some of ours were well over half that tall before a hard freeze and careless pruning some years ago. In spring to early summer, truly delightful small, delicate, pendant white blossoms appear. Equally small black fruits ripen in winter: they are dry, sweet and edible but perhaps best left to our winter birds.
Before long this will become a truly beautiful grove. We are fortunate to have them here as well as along our Winding Trail.
A few feet down the trail, at the railing, find a small gap in the greenery and look across the creek at one of the very few great dead pines remaining. Victims of pinebark beetles during the droughts, many tall pine trees along the creek became homesteads for woodpeckers: redheaded, red-bellied, and piliated. Abandoned woodpecker nests across the way become homes for flying squirrels, screech owls or other birds each spring. But surely, there will be new woodpecker nests excavated as the year develops. Keep an eye out and see what happens.
Directions to the next stop: