November 16th Spirit Sands hike
Fred (and the canines) and Bert joined Judy for a hike in the Spirit Sands with Tyler of the ACC Interactive Media Arts Program, who hoped to feature the Westman Wilderness Club in a class video project.
The wind was howling as we met at the car pooling point to wait for everybody to show up, but once we got onto the trail, the hills provided shelter and made it a very agreeable jaunt. We hiked all of the trails, including the farthest loop through the picnic area at the far East, the upper lookout over the Punchbowl, and the lower path that leads down to the Punch Bowl.
No wildlife, as usual on this trail, although we did see quite a bit of scat. The botanical highlight was the bittersweet that continues to show it's brilliant color into the winter. What never ceases to amaze me is how fast the forest and grasslands are encroaching on the "desert". When I first started visiting the hills 30 years ago, it was easy to imagine that I had been transported across the seas. and that a camel would appear momentarily over the nearest dune. Very little pure sand dunes remain, and it is evident that this remarkable ecosystem will disappear in the next few years. Better visit it soon, if you hope to even visualize what it once looked like.
Judy met with Tyler again later in the week for an interview at ACC. Hopefully, we will see the finished product in a few weeks.