Waterman Mountain and the Morbid Art of Dead Giants
Yesterday was 22 miles in beautiful weather on what I will call the Waterman Mountain Loop. My previous experience on this mountain was limited to birding on the trails on its lower reaches. On this day, I climbed up the trail starting on the northeast side near Buckhorn Day Use Area and took the out-and-back trail to the summit. The summit is broad and bouldered with three labeled prominences on USGS topo maps. The highest, where I found the marker and photographed it, is on top of a boulder at an elevation of 8,041 feet. I then retraced my steps on the summit trail, then descended the Waterman Trail for a bit, eventually coming to an unexpected junction: left was a one mile trail to Twin Peaks Saddle which was labeled as a dead end, right was the Waterman Trail. I was curious what was out there that they'd build a dead end trail to. Twin Peaks Saddle was, indeed, a beautiful area and perhaps the "birdiest" spot of the entire day. I decided to sit for a bit and eat there before venturing on. Waterman Trail is a beauty that is mostly rolling and runnable, if it weren't for the preponderance of fallen trees. Unlike most low country areas which often become moon-scaped in a burn, then later so choked with dense brush, the high country areas are often typified post-fire by the skeletons of large trees. While the deaths of these gentle giants is saddening, I also find their remaining gnarled and charred bodies to be beautiful art and a testament to the grand forest that once stood there. A careful observer will note that these trees are very much still alive, however, with woodpeckers and other wildlife that rely on dead wood, making their homes here until decay and wind bring them crashing to the ground.
Yesterday, I added six new species of birds for the project. These were Calliope Hummingbird, Clark's Nutcracker, Violet-green Swallow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Hermit Warbler, and Cassin's Finch
Link to Garmin Data: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1139542638