Autumn’s arrival

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After a rain storm cancelled my summer-ending hike I decide to greet fall with a trek and headed out to Morgan Territory’s Old Finley Road for the first hike of fall.

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This would be my first hike in Morgan Territory since the Morgan fire that ripped through more than 3,100 acres of neighboring Mount Diablo State Park.  I would be hiking in the extreme south west corner of the park so I didn’t expect to see any fire damage. I was expecting muddy trails following the rain storm and the damp fog that shrouded the park at my arrival early Sunday morning.

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Old Finley Road follows an old stage coach road that wound through the old ranch properties and makes for easy hiking when the ground is a sticky mess. I had to stop often to knock the thick clots of mud building up on the soles of my boots. My hike was a going to be a quick 8-mile adventure out Old Finley Road to Sulphur Springs and then make the loop on Black Hills Trail. I was the only hiker on the trail as I set out under the fog overcast on the loop.

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Driving to the park I had to swerve to avoid a family of wild turkeys milling about in the road. On Sulphur Springs Trail a family of deer emerged from the thick brush to run up the hillside stopping long enough to stare at me on the trail. The fog gave the trail an eerie quiet as the only sounds were the occasional bird in the distance. The moss covered trees seemed to glow in the shadow of subdued light from the fog that blew across the hilltops. The occasional shaft of sunlight breaking through the fog would light a stretch of trail and then disappear as the wind shifted the fog bank over making for an almost surreal scene at times.

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After a short climb along the Black Hills Trail loop I was heading back to the trailhead to my car when the fog finally lifted. Fall has arrived and the colors on the trail are going to be spectacular as fall gets in full swing. this is one of the best times to be a photographer on the trail, before the rains and the muddy months make hiking a chore. I look forward to seeing more colors develop along the trail in the next few hikes.