Saturday dawned bright and clear in the Sandhills,
a perfect day for a walk down memory lane with Cousin Danny.
Danny and Brother Henry and I shared many a memorable moment wandering the pine woods of the Carolina Sandhills as children and teens,
so we were delighted to spend a few hours reminiscing with cameras in hand.
All manner of familiar creatures were right there with us,
eastern gray squirrel and white-breasted nuthatch greeting us from high in the shade of the pines before we even made it to the trailhead,
while green clearwing dragonflies
and ebony jewelwing damselflies filled the air all around,
pausing from time to time for a closer look at Danny's lens.
The reptiles were clearly up for some time in the sun,
and this healthy old tree lizard refused to yield its spot,
even as Danny crept close enough to switch from telephoto to macro.
The six-lined racerunners, or "sand racers", as we always called them,
dashed up and down the sandy trails,
weaving in and out of the wiregrass,
pausing ever so briefly to peer up at their pursuers,
only to vanish in the underbrush when we got too close for comfort.
Recent rains had replenished the reservoir of the sphagnum bogs,
and this southern leopard frog seemed delighted with the situation,
as temperatures neared ninety,
even in the shade.
Along with the carnivorous pitcher plants and thick moist mats of moss,
the bog margins were dotted with the familiar orange "buttons" of yellow milkwort,
and lush stands of fern, both large and small.
Cousin Danny zoomed in for a closer look at the red-veined purple pitcher plants,
quite plentiful here in this little pine barrens peat bog;
hollow liquid-filled leaves bearing ample evidence of their hapless prey,
and reminding us again of countless adventures we both enjoyed
while growing up wild in the Carolina Sandhills.
It's good to know that such adventures still await in some of the same old places...
Thanks to Cousin Daniel Clark for sharing his time and memories and photos. Let's do it again soon!