3:10 p.m. Decided to hike down to the River on the back trails to try to snap myself out of the funk I’ve been in recently. The back trails are pretty messy. They need someone with a chain saw to pay attention to them. I almost walked right by the RATTLESNAKE PLANTAINS I used to visit regularly in hopes of seeing their flowers someday. I backtracked to check on them, and finally saw one tall flower stalk rising from one of the plants! The flowers had gone by and were withered and brown, but the stalk was still standing straight and strong. So do RATTLESNAKE PLANTAINS flower in early to mid-August? More research to be done. 3:50 p.m.: I’m sitting on the comfortable rock just beyond the wet spot I always have to jump across. There’s just a little bit of water seeping through the soil here right now, and not much at all in the brook either. I wasn’t aware of this summer being especially dry, but I guess it has been. With four days of sun and heat in the forecast, things are likely to get even dryer. Just felt a small breeze drift through. It felt good. On to the river ….

When I got to the Chute, I encountered a man throwing a stick into the pool there for his dog to retrieve. Can’t say that made me happy, especially since this used to be such a peaceful and meditative spot. Next I encountered two people — a man and a woman — with two dogs, both off leash. Another bummer. Got to the Observation Pool at 4:00 p.m. and finally spotted the dog I had heard barking all the way down the back hill. It was one of two dogs out in the river with two women who were sitting in the shallow riffles between the big rock and the far shore. Next I ran into two people on mountain bikes, but at least they didn’t have dogs. I headed back toward the main trails saw the guy who had been at the Chute down by the river now. He was still throwing his stick out into the water for his dog to retrieve, and the barking dog, which was just a short distance downriver, was still barking.

While I was poking along another stretch of the river looking for a rock to sit on, I found a few RIPE BLACKBERRIES to nibble on but no rock. At 4:25 p.m. I finally got to the only part of the river I can count on these days — the stretch behind the old Heath House. The sun is too high and bright for me to look down the river, so I’m looking up the river toward the bridge. It’s not a very inspiring view. The only consolation is the sound of the water. I’ve always liked the sound of moving water, and I do like to look at it too. Time to head home at the end of a disappointing walk. Oh well…. Home at 4:40 p.m. having heard 3 birds (PILEATED WOODPECKER, RAVEN, GOLDFINCH),  seen 5 dogs (one of them barking), and 1 flower stalk.