Traveller's journal

The Rogue River National Recreation Trail bursts in earlyMay with color at every step: yellow irises veined with crimson,blue delphiniums, fiery orange paintbrush. We were on day one, hourone, of a four-day, 40-mile, lodge-to-lodge hike when my husbandCharlie ― new to the trail ― shouted, "Hey, wow! Look!"Before I could turn, I had an inkling of what it was. Vanishinginto the trailside scree was a tiny, slender, electric-blue lizardtail. "That," I said, with the authority of an old Rogue hand, "wasa Western blue-tailed skink."

"A skink?" he asked, incredulous.

"Yep." This is someone who can forget his own children's names,so I spelled it out: "S-k-i-n-k."

The day was everything we'd hoped for: cloudy but warm ―perfect for hiking. Side creeks gushed with spring runoff. We hadsettled into a meditative silence, and by mile 5, I was deep intomy own musing ― probably planning the next hike ― whenI found out what Charlie had been silently chewing over.

"Stink? No, no," he said quickly, then with a satisfied smile,"Skink!" Find out about hiking the Rogue River National RecreationTrail at www.or.blm.gov/rogueriver or 541/618-2200.

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