|Woolly bear caterpillar in a defensive posture|
|Dead Dung beetle or Scarab beetle|
|Our rare and beautiful native orchid, Lady's tresses, (Spiranthes cernua)|
On Monday, November 6th, a Brownie troop of 14 arrived for a scheduled hike, along with a half dozen chaperones. The girls were working on earning their hiking badge. Jean, once a Brownie herself, lead a Rainbow Hike, looking for the colors of the rainbow. The group pointed out the red of a Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera), the orange of Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), the yellow of Plateau Goldeneye (Viguiera dentata), the pink of the Palafoxia (Palafoxia callosa), and the blue of the Juniper berries (Juniperus ashei).
|Plateau Goldeneye (center back), Poison Ivy (foreground, upper left & right)|
They saw the stone trail markers that their "brothers", the Boy Scouts had made to mark parts of the trail, and they realized that they would never be lost in the Canyon, even if the trail is hard to see, because they can always orient themselves to the sound of Bee Caves Road.
They felt the rough edges of Devil's Shoestring (Nolina lindheimeriana), and skirted around the pointy tips of the Twist-Leaf Yucca (Yucca rupicola) that likes to grow right at the edge of the path. We found some dry, black, crusty Blue-green algae (Nostoc) and the girls poured water on a piece of it in Jean's hand. By the end of the hike, it was beginning to rehydrate and turn into a rubbery greenish mass.
|Witch's Butter (Nostoc) is a cyanobacteria|
They smelled the musky scent of the crushed leaves of Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana), the sweet fragrance of our rare and beautiful native orchid, Ladies tresses (Spiranthes cernua), and the wintery smell of crushed Juniper berries.
At the end of the hike, sitting on the stairs that the Boy Scouts had built, the girls shared what they had noticed and thought during the hike. One said she wanted to learn more plant names. Another noted the importance of taking care of this sensitive environment and taking care of endangered species. Congratulations, Brownies, on achieving your hiking badge!