This arch of volcanic basalt reaches out from a western Cascade ridge toward the North Santiem River. The arch is at 4,000ft, and in mid-October, the maples are deep red and the berries are frost sweetened. The morning sun warms the lichen-covered rock and dries out the mushrooms on the forest floor.
I came to the woods to hunt the grouse that hunt the berries and choose a few golden fungus to enjoy them with. Now, I'm a lover of birds, great and small. If there's a bird of prey watching over a field as I drive by, I can tell you what species it is, what variation and probably whether its male or female. When a nuthatch visits my backyard feeder to grab a sunflower seed to hammer on a nearby perch. I notice, I observe, and I listen. When I'm out on a summer hike on a Cascade ridgeline and spot a blue grouse on the trail, I stop and watch and admire. If the same thing happens on an October weekend, though, I have my 20 gauge, and I take that grouse home. I also pick some chantrelles in the woods to go with it in a nice casserole. It's another way I connect with nature.
This Saturday morning yielded three grouse (2 Blues and 1 Rough), approx. 20lbs of Chantrelle Mushrooms, a good deal of exercise, and this photo.