A week off to go camping! I headed straight for the Desoto National Forest, to the end point of the Tuxachanie Trail, known as POW camp. This site was a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, but little trace of those days remains, just a grassy meadow under the pines beside a 7-acre lake.
I arrived just as the trail was exploding into a riotous bloom of pink flowers, running alongside and overarching Tuxachanie creek. From the camp there is a two-hour loop renowned as the most beautiful stretch of the Tuxachanie trail.
Alas, I was unable to locate the 'Mystery Bush' that I photographed last month. My daughter Amber, a recent graduate with a degree in biology and plant science, asked for some closer pictures and a better description in the hope that we could identify what I had seen three weeks ago. Now I have a date to return here March 25, 2008, to search for this short-lived floral wonder.
Flowers weren't the only notable growth: huckleberrys could be found on the bushes, blackberries were rumored, and a good-sized raspberry patch lay just 50 feet from my campsite. Have you ever tried romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell pepper sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and chopped wild raspberries? Delicious!
Back at camp, the morning alarm clock was provided by Canada Geese arriving by the pair (or one, or three) announcing their landing run on the lake with enough honking to satisfy rush hour on the Los Angeles freeway. Their joyful noise thoroughly made up for the puddle in my tent after the overnight rain on Wednesday.
Oh God, Creator of the Universe, Lover of your Creation, I give thanks to you for the Fifth Day, on which you declared that everything you had made was Good. I give thanks to you for the Sixth day, when you took some of that Good Stuff and made humankind in your likeness and image. And I give thanks to you for that Resurrection Day, when you restored us to yourself through the death and resurrection of your Son, our Savior, Jesus the Messiah.