Ninety-nine days. Ninety-nine days without any measurable rain. But not a record. That was 112 days in 1929 (just before the Dust Bowl got going :/ ). Then a mighty 0.04 inches (1 mm) fell last Wednesday night. Huzzah! 🙂 Not enough to break the extreme drought we’re currently wallowing in. But enough to lower the temperature, clear the air of smoke, and take the stuffing out of some of the wildfires. It may even rain again tonight (it did!). Miracles! Huzzah! Then the weather is forecast to get back to dry, hot, and smokey. 😦 So time for a quick, local hike before we return to the griddle! 🙂

There are over 40 miles of trail in nearby Jacksonville Forest Park. If you really wanted to exercise your inner topologist, you could twist them all into one big 40-mile epic. Just drawing a circle seemed simpler. So I settled for a 10-miler that connects the trails on the park’s perimeter and goes around and up and down to yield a gain of around 1,500 feet: Parking Lot P1 > Rail > Ponderosa Snag > Siskiyou > Halls of Mazanita > Pipsissewa > Halls of Manzanita > Grotto > Jackson Ridge > Atsahu > Madrone Grove > Owl Hoot > Ol’ Miners > Parking Lot P1.

The LovedOne decided to stay home, clean-up the garden, and joust with the squirrels for possession of the bird feeder. The forecast was for partly sunny followed by increasing clouds with rain overnight – I got an hour of sunlight before the clouds arrived. But the air was clear and cool, the trails were smooth, and the rambling was, as usual, good exercise. I got home to find the squirrels in control of the backyard – but still unable to reach the feeder. We’re pretty sure they’ll keep trying…

Getting started on the Ponderosa Snag Trail
Fall colors have started
An oak leaf comes to a colorful end
Madrone abstract
More Fall color – before the clouds arrived and the light faded
Two tone
On the Grotto Trail
On the Jackson Ridge Trail
On the Atsuha Trail
Fall color along the Owl Hoot Trail
On the Ol’ Miners Trail
The Big Loop around Forest Park