My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Exploring the Tammany Trace, A Rails-to-Trails Trail

After getting my car serviced Thursday morning in Covington, Louisiana, I decided to take a little walk. My GPS, after a few false directions, finally got me to the Covington trailhead of the Tammany Trace, a Rails to Trails trail. twenty-seven miles long. We spent Wednesday under light rain with a few heavy showers sprinkled in. Thursday was supposed to be partly cloudy, and started off that way, but the sun soon won the sky back.

The trailhead is actually several blocks away from the where the trail starts.  Both places have parking. This is the end of the trail for now, but there is another few miles further to the west, which is still in the planning stage. There is a little museum the trailhead, but it wasn't open yet when I left, and I forgot to check in on it when I finally got back to the car.  

I enjoyed the shops along the start of the trail

I was in a tiny green area looking at birdhouses against a background of building and sign

Loved the visual signage

After a few blocks of walking, I got to here

Closeup of flowers on blooming trees 

And enjoyed a series of these flower boxes on the second balcony of a large office building

I glimpsed these horses from the trail but had to take a short detour to get their pictures. 

Horse pair

Traffic was light - three walkers and six bikers were all that I saw in six miles of walking

I enjoyed the trees and birds along the trail.  The trees are from a remnant of a mixed hardwood/pine forest. I saw several kinds of oaks with pines mixed in.  I didn't take time to try and figure out what they all wore.  But I was glad the pines were there for the pine warblers, a few of which were singing their musical, one-note trills. I was also surprised to hear fish crows in town.  But all the crows along the trail were American Crows.  It was good to see and hear quite a few of them.  Many areas lost all their crows, and other corvids, to nile virus, so I appreciate them even more now. 

One of the oak species

Cardinals were also foraging and occasionally singing, along with Carolina wrens, chickadees, and red-winged blackbirds. White crowned sparrows were busy feeding but ducked out of sight before I could bag them with my camera. As I was walking back, the day got warm enough for the vultures  to fly, and one black vulture lazily circled over the trail. My last and best bird gift was a red-headed woodpecker who flew down in front of me to catch an insect, then flew back to a tree.  I thought he would let me take his picture, but I was shooting into the sun my maneuvers made him camera shy. I heard his call and realized I had just been stalking the same bird - probably his mate. These birds are in decline and are listed as threatened or threatened in most states so I so hope this was a mated pair. 

I was looking at invasive tallow trees when I spotted a small group of cedar waxwings

Most of the sweet gum balls were on the ground, but a few persisted, attracting chickadees

I'm sure this black vulture was enjoying the sun after having to sit out a rainy day yesterday

I had one sad note to my day.  I came to a lovely roofed rest stop and found it was in memory of Justin D. Addison. I found he died at this intersection after colliding with an SUV. (The only drawback to this trail is that the cars to not have to stop before crossing it. The stop signs are only for the people on it. ) It would be much safer it it had bridges over the many streets that cross it or made cars stop at the intersections. )

The Justin D. Addison rest stop and the decorated bike placed in his memory

But one nice safety feature is that  these little plaques occur frequently along the trail.  The numbers tell your location if you need to call for help.

In south Louisiana, real winter seldom happens and a few plants can be found in bloom in any season.  But the clover seemed to foretell spring's imminent arrival.

White Clover

Could not find a four-leaved clover but three leaved ones are still fine

This magnolia grandiflora bud needs to get growing if it's to flower in late March to April

I found one lonely little dandelion,  growing bravely

As I came back to town, I took a short detour to enjoy these steps

This was the first time I've walked the trail. Hulin and I used to ride it when I came to visit, sometimes riding it all the way out and back, with lunch in Mandeville.  This time I only was able to see a little under three miles of the trail.

Walked just under six miles - started at 0.34 miles

Rails to Trails has trails in most or all states.  Find one near you and have your own adventure.  Click here and then scroll down to find a trail in your state.