Thursday, June 20, 2013

Disco Fireflies on Clear Creek Trail

I haven't posted here much, but I've been hiking quite a bit. I've gotten in the habit of hiking a particular three-mile loop along Clear Creek in the evenings several times a week. It takes me a bit under an hour and a half ordinarily, and it's a good workout and a lovely trail.

Last night I had a headache and was grouchy as a result, and I decided fairly late that what I really needed was some trail time. I didn't get out to Clear Creek until 8pm and I took my phone, which slowed me down because I haven't had a smartphone long and I'm still delighted at being able to send pictures to Twitter while I'm on the trail (until I lose signal, of course). Well, because I started so late and was so delayed during my hike, it was getting dark when I reached the last quarter mile of trail. The fireflies were out in force, hundreds--thousands--of them. And they were flashing in sync.

I've heard of this, of course. There's some place in the Smokies where people travel from all over the world to see the synchronous fireflies. You have to make reservations well in advance. But I had no idea that this type of display happened anywhere else. And here it was, only a few miles from my house, only a few minutes' walk from where my car was parked!

It was eerie and amazing. No possible description can do it justice. The longer I stood and looked--in any direction--the more flashing I saw, everywhere through the trees just off the trail. It didn't seem real. It almost looked like an electrical display of some sort.

Tonight I brought my camera with me. It's a modest little camera but it has video capability, and I hoped that it would pick up the fireflies. I hadn't intended to take any other pictures--I wanted to keep my memory card free--but I couldn't resist taking one of this handsome guy.

Unfortunately, while the fireflies were just as spectacular tonight, my camera just couldn't pick them up except for the ones that were very close. You'll just have to believe me that they're out there. For what it's worth, here's the video I shot--fifteen minutes of mostly darkness, me mumbling about what I'm seeing that the camera isn't, and occasional tiny flash-flash-flashes as I pass fireflies close to the trail.