At the beginning of October we decided to take a walk around Woodard Bay Conservation Area. This time around we definitely wanted to walk the Newt Trail within the conservation area. On our previous visit we hadn’t walked that trail, but it looked interesting as it meandered into the forest and disappeared.
Fair warning about this post, it’s photo heavy, mushroom photo heavy! But who doesn’t like looking at interesting little vignettes of mushroom kingdoms? My wife and I do, that’s why it took us 3 hours to walk the 1.5 mile trail, haha!
Parking at this conservation area can be tricky, there isn’t very much space for cars. We got lucky this afternoon and found the last bit of space in the lot and squeezed our car into it. We headed up the main asphalt trail and started spotting mushrooms right away.
On the walk to the end of the trail, we only passed a few other people, so it was a pretty peaceful start to the afternoon. The whole day would stay that way, which was kind of nice. After a nice walk down the trail we arrived at the visitor area, where they have a few restrooms and picnic tables.
From this spot there are two directions to go in. One way leads South to a nice sitting area over looking an inlet that featured a logging railroad trestle/bridge many years ago. And the other way is to the North where a logging trestle/dock still sits today, as a bat habitat.
The Southern sitting area is very quiet and peaceful and I think I could sit there for hours watching the water ripple by. Each time we’ve been here, there’s always tons of birds flying around and squawking in the trees across the inlet.
The Northern sitting area looks out to a larger part of the Puget Sound, where the bat habitat sits out under the old railroad trestle ruins. We haven’t seen any bats moving or flying around, maybe one day. That would be fun to see them leaving their home for the evening as they flew out to eat.
Just to the East of the trestle are some old pilings that must have been a dock of some kind. And on those pilings were a bunch of seals that were relaxing and barking loudly at each other. We sat there for a while just listening to them talk to each other. And still, just a handful of people came and went as we were there, not too bad.
After a fair amount of time in the main conservation area, we decided to walk the Newt Trail. It’s about a 1.5 mile loop that begins and ends along the main asphalt trail. At certain times of the year the newts run through the trail area on their way to an old logging company pond where they do their reproductive cycle.
Right from the get-go we were treated to shroom after shroom. Fungi everywhere! And so many variations it was ridiculous. Now, I don’t know names or types, but I do know cute and awesome when I see it. And since it was the afternoon, the sun light would stream in through the trees and light up all these mushrooms really well.
There’s a small viewing platform looking out to the pond where the newts handle their business. Nothing to see today, not their time of the year I guess. But we did encounter a fuzzy little chocolate-color squirrel close by. He was up about head high on a tree in front of us, telling us all about how he’s this tough warrior of the forest and don’t mess with him, haha! I didn’t get a pic of him, since I was too frightened by his prowess.
But as we continued on our three hour wander, we would also come across a little mouse, a deer and even an owl encounter. Awesome. We got really lucky when we saw the owl, but the owl was having a rough day, it was being harassed by some birds. At that time a family came along the trail towards us and also got to see the owl as well.
So we continued on, winding through the forest at a snail’s pace. I think we actually saw a few slugs as well, as we wandered. There was absolutely no hurry on this day. Randomly, people would pass and or jog by, everyone doing their own thing at their own pace. It would be such a bummer to be in a big huddle of people all at the same pace.
Towards the end of the trail, we start descending a bit towards the main walkway back to the car park. By now we’re about three hours down and getting a bit tired. So the main trail and the sound of cars along the road were welcoming. But this whole time, the fungi show never stopped.
The Newt Trail at Woodard Bay Conservation Area is a must see if you’re into mushrooms and photographing them. What a fun weekend afternoon we had, which was nice to have, since I was looking forward to a week of possible jury duty the coming week. That was it’s own adventure, one I’d like to NOT repeat ever, if possible. Thanks for reading, more wanders to come.
All photos made with a Panasonic Lumix LX5