Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘hiking’ category

Working and playing in the park

I walk in this park almost every day of the week. It conveniently borders our neighborhood, and is wonderfully maintained. It is also designated as an Important Birding Area by Audubon, and park naturalists lead frequent nature walks along the trails. I created this photoblog and titled it “Seen Along the Trail” because I felt the need to do something creative with the (literally) thousands of photos I have taken along these trails over the years. Today’s photowalk focuses (Poor pun, but “What the hey?”) on people who work and play in the park, with a few birds thrown in, because what’s a park without birds? Click on the first picture to bring up the gallery, and enjoy the photowalk.

That’s it for today. See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

Magical

Sometimes a simple walk in the park on a brisk fall afternoon can turn into a magical experience. My walk today was like that. I’m not sure if it was the crispness of the fall air or just the time of day, but the animals were very active. I posted my favorite images in the slide show below, but had no way of capturing everything I saw and certainly no way to capture the feeling of peacefulness. At one turn in the path, several chickadees circled around me, flitting near and then away, only to return, circle around me and fly away. Finally, one of them swooped down and landed on the end of my camera lens and sat there silently looking at me. I’m sure he wanted to say, “Don’t you have a treat for me?” I drew a handful of birdseed from my pocket and held it out, and was delighted when he touched down on the tip of my fingers and daintily picked up a seed in his beak, then another, and another. He was a greedy little bird and he wasn’t the only one that wanted a handout.

Nearby I noticed some tiny birds with broad yellow stripes down the middle of their heads. A little flock was foraging in the tall grasses along the edge of the trail. They were quick-moving and well hidden in the patch of weeds, but I managed to capture a few pictures. As I watched, the sound of footsteps drew my attention to something that was happening behind my back, so I turned and discovered three deer, a doe and her two fawns, staring at me from no more than four feet away. Like the little birds, they were foraging for food. I lingered for a long time in that patch woods, enjoying the solitude, the silence, and the magic of the moment. Those are the intangibles I couldn’t capture with my camera, but I felt blessed. I had started out for a short walk in the park and didn’t reach the end of the trail until two hours or more later. You might think it was a long trail. That’s not the case, but today it was a magical one.

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Bloom, Bloom, Bloom!

Walking along the edge of Corning Lake this afternoon,  I paused when these faded blossoms caught my eye…


They are clearly past their prime. Their colors have faded, and they no longer possess the vibrant blossoms and upright stems that would have drawn my attention a month or two ago, but they have aged gracefully, and they now possess a new kind of beauty, the beauty that drew my attention today.

I know an older woman, well into her ninth decade, of whom we could say the same. She’s not as vibrant today as she was when I first met her 30 years ago, and she doesn’t stand as tall, but she has undeniably grown more beautiful day-by-day-by-day.

Maybe that is something we should all aspire to as the years roll by. Let’s not give in to the ravages of time! Let’s age gracefully! Paste a smile on our faces, stand up as straight as we possibly can, and bloom, bloom, bloom.

Here’s some more of the beauty that was “blooming” in my corner of Ohio today:

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Thanks for visiting. I hope you will join me for another photowalk soon.

It’s not a rainy day…

just a very cloudy one. It’s not even very cold (48 degrees), considering this is mid-November and we are in northeast Ohio. If I weren’t a nature photographer, determined to get outside with my camera every day, I would stay inside today, curled up on the sofa with a cup of cocoa and a good book. I am retired after all, so I don’t have to go anywhere.

That’s what runs through my mind on a grey day like today; then I remember that I have challenged myself to become a better photographer, and I remember other grey and even rainy days, and how much better the world looked once I went outside, instead of hanging around inside looking out. So I grab my camera and my jacket, and off I go to the Arboretum. Come along and see the sights. I would enjoy your company.

First stop: Visitor’s Center and picnic shelter-I wandered from the Visitor’s Center through the picnic area, taking a few pictures along the way:


Then I took the staircase, leading into the valley, where I snapped a few more pictures before heading back up the hill to Blueberry Pond, where some Canada Geese were enjoying a family swim on the still waters.





Detouring through the wildflower garden, I headed toward Lotus Pond. Although there aren’t any wildflowers blooming during this time of year, it is a peaceful place with interesting sights to see. I especially like the boulders that frame the exit from the garden. In warmer weather, there are always chipmunks scampering over the rocks, but not today. They must be hibernating by this time.


Since I only have time for a short walk today, it is time to head around Lotus Pond and back to the parking lot…stopping for a few photo opps along the way.



So there you have it: my photo walk for Wednesday. Despite the lack of sunshine, I enjoyed the trek and capturing my “daily dozen” photo opps wasn’t a problem. Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today. I hope you will join me again soon.

A goal achieved

The wind is whooshing and whistling through the trees in our backyard tonight. It makes me a little nervous because the trees are so tall, but it makes Gulliver, our springer spaniel, more than a little nervous! He usually sleeps downstairs in his special corner, but right now, he is snoozing on my bed. This change of weather arrived earlier today with rain showers and a light breeze, and it has gone downhill since then.

After breakfast I drove out to the Holden Arboretum for a hike, but didn’t get far down the trail before I heard the pitter-patter of raindrops in the trees overhead. Nor did I get many pictures. When the raindrops began to accumulate on my Nikon, I decided it was time to retreat to my car and head for home. However, I did achieve one goal. I had set out to capture my first picture of a black squirrel, and I succeeded.

According to Wikipedia, the city of Kent (Ohio), which is about 40 miles south of us,

…developed a significant black squirrel population after 10 were legally imported from Canada in February 1961 by biologist Ralph W. Dexter to study whether they would upset the ecosystem on Northeast Ohio.

We don’t have them in our neighborhood, but since it has taken those squirrels 50 years or so to migrate 30 miles from Kent to the Holden Arboretum, I’m guessing we have another five years or more before they are climbing those tall trees in our backyard. The photograph I took today isn’t great. The rain and dull light didn’t make good conditions for photography, nor was the squirrel cooperative. I’ll try for a better picture another day, but here’s the one I snapped this morning…

Black squirrel

The only other picture I have to share today is this downy woodpecker…

Downy woodpecker


I was hanging around the feeding station with the chickadees, woodpeckers, and one little chipmunk because that’s where I spotted the black squirrel. When this downy flew over to the feeder, I was amused by his inquisitive expression. I imagined him saying, “Time to fill this feeder, guys. It’s getting kind of low on my favorite sunflower seeds” Later, looking at his picture on my computer screen, I was impressed by those claws and how adept he was at using them to get a grip on the feeder. He looks like he means business. I’m thinking the person in charge of filling the feeders better get on the ball.

It’s getting late, so that’s it for now. Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today, and thanks to everyone who visited yesterday, clicked on the “like” button or left a comment. A special welcome to my new subscribers. I was amazed and delighted to discover that I had been “Freshly Pressed.”

Take a hike!

Pack up the camera, put a leash on the dog, pick up the grandchildren and head to the Holden Arboretum for a hike. That’s what we did on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Once we reached the arboretum, we took the trail that leads, via the Molly Offutt Memorial Boardwalk, into the Pierson Creek valley. It would be a beautiful trail to follow at any time of year, but the fall colors made it special today.

Head of the trail


My companions on the hike


I didn’t count the stairs we descended to reach the valley floor; there were a lot, but the scenery made every step worthwhile.

Down in the valley


A carpet of fallen leaves


Reminder to be a responsible hiker


All the comforts of home!


At one point, the boardwalk projected over Pierson Creek and provided a great view upstream where a fallen tree trunk became an irresistible temptation for intrepid hikers…although not the one with the camera nor the one with the dog.

The "bridge"

One hiker braves the bridge!


The second hiker steps out.


We made it!


Time to head home! That means clambering up the stairs and heading back down the trail to the parking lot.

A long way up


The hike is over for this time, but it was great fun, something to store in the memory bank for future withdrawals. If you ever chance to be in northeast Ohio, look up the Holden Arboretum. It’s worth a visit.