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Posted in My trail walks, nature, photography, trailwalking

Let’s go trail walking!

 

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Hello friends. Several years ago, I created this blog by combining three of my favorite activities…

  • trail walking
  • photography,
  • and writing.

I named it Seen Along the Trail because most of the posts will be about the sights  I see and the people I meet on my trail walks in local parks. If you enjoy the outdoors as much as I do, I hope you will follow my blog and become a trail walker too. I will add new posts on Tuesday, Thursday, and at least once on the weekend. Please leave comments or “like” the posts you enjoy, so I will know you have been walking the trails with me.  I’m looking forward to your visits!

A little more info…

  • I sign my blog posts “Trail Walker,” but my friends call me Carolyn or Skip. I hope you will too. If you want to know more, you can read my full profile here.
  • I took the picture at the top of this page along the trail in Chagrin River Park on July 5, 2016.
  • I love visitors, especially when they leave comments on my blog.  😊
  • To see my recent posts, please keep scrolling down!

 

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you will come back soon.
Trail Walker

 

 

Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography

Walking the trails in Holden Arboretum

This is the first of three posts about our Holden Trail Walk.
More to come next week!

Our grandson Michael is home from Indiana for the week, so he and I planned a trail walk in Holden Arboretum. On Mike’s last visit home, the Emergent Tower and Canopy Walk were closed for the winter, and he has been anticipating a climb to the top of the the 12-story tower to see the view of Lake Erie. Today was the day! Weather-wise, it couldn’t have been more perfect. I’ve climbed the Tower six times, and the view today was the best I’ve ever seen. Take a look:

After our climb, we took a hike that eventually brought us back to the visitor’s center and Butterfly Garden, taking lots of pictures along the way. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time (or energy) this evening to process all of them. All the hiking and climbing depleted today’s supply of both, so this brief post is just a “teaser” because I am going to make this the first of a three part series.

Thanks for visiting today.
See you soon with another post from the Arboretum.
Trail Walker
Posted in My trail walks, nature

Better luck next time…I hope!

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I tried, with moderate success, to get sharp pictures of some dragonflies on my recent visit to Penitentiary Glen Reservation. There were dragons galore, constantly on the move, swooping over the pond, and flitting from place to place, always lighting some place new, only to lift off when I turned my lens toward them. They seemed to be very restless. Maybe it was the 90 degree heat, the bright sun, and high humidity, or the persistent breeze. Whatever it was,  I was not happy with the outcome of my hour at the pond. Here are a few of the picture I captured on my memory card:

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hummingbird moth
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dragonfly
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dragonfly

I think my best plan is to return to the pond another day soon, a day that isn’t nearly as hot and humid, for another dragonfly photoshoot. Hopefully I’ve learned something from this experience, and I’ll have “better luck next time.”

I’m running a day behind with my posts this week. My next post should be on Thursday or Friday. I hope you will join me then to see what we can find along the trail. There’s always something new.

Thanks for being here.
Trail Walker
Posted in Fabulous Friday Faces, Memorable Moments, My trail walks

Making connections and fulfilling a quest

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Two years ago when the Tall Ships visited Ohio, Bob and I and our granddaughter, Carrie, drove into Cleveland to see them. That was my first time to get  close up to the tall ships, and I tried to capture as many different pictures as I could. This week they returned to the Great Lakes to participate in the Tall Ships Challenge, a race through the Great Lakes, the world’s largest body of fresh surface water. This would be my second opportunity to photograph these beautiful ships, but this year, instead of trying to capture as many pictures as possible,  I was on a single-minded quest to tour a Viking ship from Norway, the Draken Harald Härfagre, and, if possible, to connect with Kalle, a member of their Expedition America 2016 team.

What was my quest?

In the spring of 2016, one of the photographers I follow on my photo-a-day site (Blipfoto.com) wrote several posts in her photo journal about her “nephew” Kalle and the Viking tall ship from Norway, which was preparing to set off on a voyage across the North Atlantic, and into the Great Lakes. I googled Draken and discovered that they would be visiting Fairport Harbor, Ohio, on July 8-10, only 15 minutes away from my home! I immediately began to think about what fun it would be to meet Kalle, take his picture, and post it on Blipfoto for my friend Betsey. That was my quest, and on Friday I set out to fulfill it.

Finding the Draken

There were about eight Tall Ships with homeports as close as Erie, Pennsylvania, and as far away as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Baltimore, Maryland, New York, New York, and Haugesund, Norway, tied up along the Grand River, just inside the breakwater from Lake Erie. What a sight they made!

As soon as we paid our admission and passed the security checkpoint, I headed down the line of ships. They were all beautiful and, as we had purchased tickets to tour the ships, we could have boarded any one of them, but I was on a quest, so I continued my walk  down the quay, searching for the Draken, until I reached the sign below. There we joined a line of people waiting to board the ship.

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Thankfully it was only about 15 minutes before we stepped onto the deck of the Draken and joined the small group pictured below for a guided tour of the ship, narrated by crew members. An unbelievable 4000 people had applied to join the 32 member crew of the Draken, the largest Viking ship to sail in modern days. The men and women we saw today were the lucky ones. After standing on the deck, looking around, and imagining what a challenge it would be to weather the rough seas of the North Atlantic on this small vessel, I have the greatest respect for each one of them. May God go with them and the winds be favorable as they continue their voyage through the Great Lakes and eventually back across the North Atlantic to Norway.

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Below is a gallery of pictures I shot during our tour. If you want to know more about the construction of the modern day Viking ship and its launching, click the links and view the videos.

 

Completing my quest

There was something very special about standing on the deck of the Draken and meeting some of the crew, but I still had to complete the second part of my quest…to meet Kalle and take his picture. So I asked one of the crew where I might find him and was directed to the Draken’s merchandise tent just down the quay from the ship. A few minutes later I was face-to-face with the very tall, red-bearded man I had first seen in Betsey’s journal on Blipfoto. Although I already knew the answer, I said, “Are you Kalle?” His puzzled look turned to amazement, and then, I think, to joy, when I mentioned Blipfoto and Betsey, and he realized why I was there. My quest was complete.

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Thank you, Kalle, for posing for the camera so graciously; thank you, Marti, my friend, for taking the picture of me with Kalle; thank you Blipfoto, a fantastic community of photographers and friends, where amazing connections are made, and, if you have taken the time to read this extra long blog entry, thank you for joining me on today’s trail walk. If you have time, you can click here to see the journal entry I posted for my friend Betsey on Blipfoto.

My next trail walk will be on Tuesday (tomorrow).
See you then.
Trail Walker

 

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In my photographer’s mind, summer is the season for photographing dragonflies as they skim through the air over ponds and rivers, but this is what I read when I looked up dragonfly in the dictionary in preparation for writing this post:

drag·on·fly
ˈdraɡənˌflī/
noun
plural noun: dragonflies
a fast-flying long-bodied predatory insect with two pairs of large transparent wings that are spread out sideways at rest. The voracious aquatic larvae take up to five years to reach adulthood.

Predatory? Voracious? Not the words I would have chosen. I guess beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Today’s trail walk was at Penitentiary Glen Reservation, where I saw far more dragons and damsels than people. I think you would have enjoyed it too.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

‘Tis the season

Posted in Lake Metroparks, My trail walks, nature, trailwalking

A muggy misty morning

Good morning trail walkers. The heat and humidity were both up this morning, so the light wasn’t very good when I reached the park at 7 am. However, the colors are more saturated as a result of the dew on the grass and mist in the air. Here are a few pictures I took along the river trail. Look closely and you will see the water droplets clinging to the grasses as we walk along the trail:

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Taken from the pedestrian bridge
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View from the same bridge, looking north toward Lake Erie

The pedestrian bridge is always a good place to start out. From there, I headed down the trail alongside the river where I took the next five pictures…

 

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When I reached the steps leading down to the river that I call “the fishermen’s steps,” I spotted a great blue heron fishing for his breakfast. The pictures I got weren’t  great because he was almost out of reach of my lens and I foolishly forgot to increase the shutter speed on my Nikon, ending up with a lot of motion blur, but I’m going to share them with you anyway because it was a pretty dramatic episode. Take a look at the five images in this slide show:

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At that point, I had to leave the heron to his fishing because it was almost time for me to head home for breakfast, and I still hadn’t taken my morning walk. I really hadn’t done much except stroll down the trail and take pictures. As much fun as that is, it really doesn’t count as exercise, so I will cut down the trail through the bog. That will take me the long way back to my car in the parking lot, and if I’m lucky, the wren will be near her nest, and I can add her picture to this blog post.

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Mrs. House Wren

We were lucky to see Mrs. Wren. She was singing loudly, but I almost didn’t spot her perched on a very shady branch. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trail walk this morning. I would love to hear if there was anything you especially enjoyed.

See you in a couple of days for another trail walk.
Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, My trail walks, nature

Meatballs, meds, and trail walking

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Gulliver, our senior springer spaniel, has been taking meds for his arthritis and Cushings disease for the last 6-9 months. Not only is he feeling better, but he has turned into an early riser. That, of course, means that his people (that’s Bob and me) must also rise early. Gully has taken to his new routine like a duck to water, but me…not so much. I’m okay when my feet hit the floor between 7 and 7:15, but any earlier than that is “crazy o’clock” in my book. I’m retired, you know, but Gulliver doesn’t seem to realize the significance of retirement.  Most mornings he’s ready for an early breakfast  around 6 am, followed by his meatballs. He loves his meatballs, which I make from canned dog food, the senior dog diet kind. Four mornings a week he gets three meatballs, each with one of his pills hidden inside. For some reason, Bob hasn’t mastered the meatball recipe (clever man), so as soon as Gulliver polishes off the morning ration of diet kibble that Bob poured into his food bowl, he ready for his meatballs. And because neither Bob nor Gulliver has mastered meatball making, that’s when I have to get up. And that, my friends, is why I was in the park, camera in hand, before 7 am to take pictures along the trail. The air was cool and the light was great. I took a few pictures along the river trail and some in the bog. These are my favorites:

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That’s it for today. To my surprise, I enjoyed my early morning trail walk, so tomorrow or another day soon, after Gulliver has his morning meatballs, I’ll hit the trail and see what I can find. My next blog post will be on Tuesday, because I’m committing to a new post from the trail every Tuesday, Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday.

Thanks for joining me today for pictures from “along the trail.”

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Chautauqua Institute, Lake Chautauqua, landscapes, Memorable Moments, Road trips, Trail walking

Road trip: Chautauqua Institution

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Lake Chautauqua

On Monday, a sunny, hot summer day,  Bob and I took a road trip from our home in the northeastern corner of Ohio to Chautauqua Institution, located on Lake Chautauqua in the southern part of New York State. The weather was quintessentially June, perfect for a “getaway day.” Some people describe Chautauqua as a modern day Brigadoon, and it does have a way of casting a spell on people who walk through the gate (and pay the price of admission). Although we only get there once or twice a summer, we’ve been taking this get-away trip for many years, so I guess you could say we are under its spell.

Built in 1874, the Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit, 750-acre educational center beside Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State, where approximately 7,500 persons are in residence on any day during a nine-week season, and a total of over 100,000 attend scheduled public events. Over 8,000 students enroll annually in the Chautauqua Summer Schools which offer courses in art, music, dance, theater, writing skills and a wide variety of special interests (Chautauqua website). 

Visitors  come to Chautauqua from all points of the compass for the opportunity to study, relax, and hear renowned speakers on politics, religion, literature, and much more. What drew us there this week was a morning program on the stage of the iconic Amphitheater, hosted by Roger Rosenblatt,  a conversation with television journalist Jane Pauley and her husband, writer/satirist Garry Trudeau and an afternoon lecture by John Shelby Spong, a retired Episcopal bishop who was speaking on “Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy. Spong was once voted public enemy number 1 by the Ku Klux Klan in the small, racially segregated North Carolina town where he was serving as pastor. He didn’t earn many friends for his unpopular stands on civil rights, social justice, and a less literal interpretation of the Bible, although eventually the local Chamber of Commerce named him Man of the Year. Throughout a long career, Spong did not waver, holding fast to his beliefs. Retiring  in 2000 he has continued to teach, lecture,  research and recently wrote an autobiography titled, Here I Stand.

I could happily have stayed at Chautauqua for the rest of the week, one day was just not long enough, but our daughter, who was dog-sitting with Gulliver, wasn’t available for the full week, so we headed home, satisfied that our getaway day at Chautauqua was well worth the price of admission. We had been entertained, enlightened, challenged to consider new ideas, and we drove home happy.

I have hundreds of pictures from our numerous visits to Chautauqua. Here are just a few from our recent trip:

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I’m trying to stick to a schedule for posting my entries, e.g. Tuesday, Thursday, and once on the weekend, so I will be back with more pictures in two or three days.

See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in nature

A glorious day in June

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My friend Marti joined me for a short walk in the arboretum yesterday. In search of butterflies, we only saw two, a tiny white one and a swallowtail. I didn’t get a picture of either, so I changed to Plan B and instead of butterflies, I began photographing dragonflies, damselflies, and birds. Click on the gallery to take a virtual walk in the arboretum.

You will probably recognize the red-breasted bird as an American robin. We spotted it hopping around on the ground, where it apparently found something interesting, picked it up and flew over to land on a sign post, while I snapped a few pictures. (Later at home, when I looked at the pictures on my computer, I was puzzled to see that the poor bird had no face. However, on closer examination, I realized it (the bird) was gripping a clump of dirt and weeds tightly in his beak. In several of my pictures, his face was completely obscured by his prize capture. In the picture above, you can see one eye peering around the dirt.)

Dragonflies are fun to photograph, but these were not really interested in posing for the camera, so I will include two water lilies. I can’t help loving the lilies because they are so delicate and colorful.

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Lily #1
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Lily #2

That’s it for today’s trail walk, but if you aren’t in a hurry to get home, you can join Marti and me on the bench overlooking the lily pond. We’re going to sit in the shade for a while and soak in the glory of this beautiful June day.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in backyard birding, bird photography, blogging, My trail walks, nature

One more week to go

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For the past three weeks I’ve been on a self-imposed break from my regular trail walks so I can take an online course in photoshop for photographers. As a result, I haven’t had much news to report from along the trail. Photoshop doesn’t come easily to me, but it is a lot of fun, and hopefully will lead to improvements in my blog posts. Only one more week to go in the course, then I plan to resume posting  Along the Trail three times each week on Tuesday Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday. Although sticking to a regular schedule for posting, doesn’t come easily to me either 😋, I believe it is the best approach to take, and I hope you will return to see my posts on those days.

As you have probably noticed, I am always interested in the behavior of birds. Today I want to share something I observed yesterday when one of the red-bellied woodpeckers (RBW) visited our yard. Between our property and the neighbors behind us are 12 very tall trees where the birds love to nest, rest, hide, and perch. The picture at the top of this post shows an RBW investigating a hole high up on the trunk of one of the trees. She was very curious about the hole, maybe checking out its potential for a future nest. I’m not sure what she expected to see, but she gave it a good look. Click on the gallery below to see her in action:

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they nested in our tree, and we could watch their little family?

That’s it for today. Starting next week, I will resume regular posts and visits to your blogs. To those who have continued to visit and leave comments during my break: thank you for your patience.

See you soon.
Trail Walker