Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature, nature photography

Faux-Spring ūüƧ

2017_02_21_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0101

Anyone who has lived here, on the south shore of Lake Erie, is aware that the sunny warm weather I have written about in my last two posts is far from the norm, and is, in fact, a false spring. Nevertheless, that knowledge shouldn’t¬†keep us from enjoying the warm weather. Instead, we should¬†see this for what it is, an inbreaking of spring during one of the coldest and bleakest months of our year. A¬†gift, one we should enjoy. For that reason, I intend¬†to squeeze ¬†as many trailwalking opportunities¬†as I can into however many hours this “false spring” will provide for¬†us.

And I am not alone in my intentions. On Saturday, when the temperature reached 72 degrees, the Arboretum was crowded with families who had shed their warm winter garb and headed outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. I had just started my walk on this sunny Saturday when I ran into one of those families. Two young boys were climbing into the tree house, and were setting out to enjoy what the older boy termed “investigations.” From my observations, the older family members were enjoying it as much as the kids. And what could be more fun than climbing into a real tree house?

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_00012017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0004

After the stop at the tree house, I took the trail around Lotus Pond. In this picture, you can see the pond with the golden willow tree and, on the opposite side of the pond, the tree house.

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0029

There is a bench under the willow, a favorite stopping off point for people as they walk the grounds of the Arboretum. I have captured many pictures of people relaxing under the willow, and today was no exception.

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0008

Look closely and you will¬†see a little ice on the surface of Lotus Pond, but it won’t be there for long, not with the temperature at 72 degrees! Continuing my walk, I took a short detour to see what might be happening on Corning Lake. ¬†If you’re not tuckered out yet, let’s keep moving.2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0022

As you can see, there wasn’t much action on or around the Lake. A little flock of¬†Canada geese was enjoying a swim, and two of them were nice enough to float in reach of my lens. Another (human) family group had the same idea I did apparently, ¬†and they were walking beside the lake, and then there was this woman who had found a perfect place to relax in the sun.

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0026¬†As you can see in the distance, there isn’t even a hint of green on the trees. Because at this point we are only a few miles south of Lake Erie, the arrival of spring is delayed until much later than I would like; however, when it does arrive, it is just that much sweeter!

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0012

If you’re still with me, we’ll end our¬†Saturday afternoon walk by heading back around around Lotus Pond. That’s it on the right side of the trail, and as we follow the trail, you can see the parking lot in the distance. Right in front of you is another of my favorite trees, the gingko. It’s not an attention-getter right now, but just wait until next November¬†when its delightful little fan-shaped leaves turn a vibrant¬†yellow,¬†clearly announcing the end of autumn. Then it is absolutely gorgeous, but I’m in no hurry to see that. Right now I am eagerly anticipating¬†spring, and apparently our faux-Spring hasn’t ended yet, so there will be more pictures coming soon. Watch for them!

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0047

Thanks for coming along on my “faux-Spring” trail walk.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! ~Trail Walker

 

Posted in Holden Arboretum, memories, My trail walks

Searching for Spring

2017_02_21_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0092-edit

February is a little early to search for signs of spring in northeast Ohio; however, we’ve had unusually warm temperatures in recent days, so I set out to look for some color in the Arboretum that would hint that spring is in the wings. My most exciting find was these beautiful snowdrops.

2017_02_21_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0069-edit

I was walking with my friend Lisa, not really expecting to see anything blooming, when she said, “Look, there’s snowdrops!” Sure enough, several little clumps of snowdrops were blooming beside the trail. I sat right down on the ground to capture their beauty and when Lisa gently lifted the face of the flower, I took another picture.

2017_02_21_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0072

That was an exciting moment…the first flower of spring. It reminds me of when I was just a young girl¬†and still living at home. At the first sign of spring, we would go for a walk in the woods, searching for arbutus, another early bloomer. We would trudge across fields, climb stiles to get over fences in the farmers’ fields, and carefully search among the leaf litter for the low-growing, aromatic arbutus. Those days are long gone, part of another era, but the sight of those¬†snowdrops today was reminiscent of the sweet-scented arbutus flower. Good memories! It was a special moment, and I’m smiling as I think about it.

That was just the beginning of our trail walk today. I’ll share¬†a few more pictures now, and save the others for tomorrow. Sooner or later, February is going to return to its usual cold and probably snowy self, but for now, I’m loving this break from winter.

2017_02_21_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0009
Footbridge into the Wildflower Garden
2017_02_21_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0014
Tree roots
2017_02_21_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0051
Can you see the turtles on the log in this bog?
Thanks for coming along on today’s trail walk.
I’ll post a few more “spring walk” pictures tomorrow.
See you then! ~Trail Walker
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography

Spring arrived in Northeast Ohio today!

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0029

Not that we expect it to stay. Real spring doesn’t arrive here along the north coast (the south shore of Lake Erie)until around the end of April, but we were loving it today. Hopefully it will linger for a few days at least. Today’s high temperature reached 72 degrees. That’s practically unheard of, but you can be certain we’re not complaining. I think all of Northeast Ohio turned out to celebrate the event, and some of them were even wearing shorts! In February! Here’s one more picture from today’s visit to Holden Arboretum. I’ll be back tomorrow to share more.

2017_02_18_holden-arboretum_winter-trail-walk_0026

Thanks for joining me today!
Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, deer, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

Before the warm up

2017_02_16_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0029I won’t say this has been a mild winter, but I’m not going to complain about the harsh, frigid weather we’ve experienced this year. Have we have some really cold days? Oh yes, we have! And even more overcast, just-plain-dismal-days! However, we are way down in total inches of snow this winter, and there have been too many days when the dreariness made me decide¬†to stay indoors and work on other photo-related projects instead of heading outside for a trail walk. As it turned out, yesterday was a good day for trailwalking. It was cold, but not bone-chilling. And it was dry…a real plus.

Gulliver, pictured above with Bob and one of the many deer that call the park home, was scheduled for a quick visit to the vet to have staples removed from his recent (very successful) surgery.We decided to take him for a short walk in the park before his appointment. Side note: Gully gets over-excited at the vet’s office and isn’t always his usual well-behaved self. We consider it a good¬†visit if he doesn’t leave an unwelcome gift¬†on the vet’s floor…all due to his nervousness.¬†Thanks to our walk in the park, this was a good¬†visit, although our walk was short to allow us to get to the appointment on time,

The meteorological  experts are predicting a February warmup over the next five days, meaning no new snow on the ground and probably mud in its place. We shall see! At any rate, here are just a few more pictures from the park to show what it looked like before the (predicted) February thaw.

Thanks for coming along on this short trail walk!
Trail Walker
Posted in My trail walks, North Chagrin Reservation, trailwalking

Winter walking in North Chagrin Reservation

2017_02_14_trailwalk_north-chagrin-reservation_0006

On a sunny February afternoon, I found myself in the vicinity of North Chagrin Reservation with about a half-hour of free time on my hands. North Chagrin is part of the Emerald Necklace, the unofficial name for a network of parks that more or less circle the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Many of the parks are interconnected. The timing and the weather for my visit were perfect for a short walk around Sanctuary Marsh and Sunset Pond, where I captured these images:

North Chagrin Reservation is a 1700 acre wildlife sanctuary, and as you can see, I had a great day for my trail walk. The giant “snake,” located near the nature center, is a popular spot for capturing photos of the children who enjoy climbing on it and a pair of nearby equally large frogs. The trails around Sanctuary Marsh and Sunset Pond are easily accessible for visitors using walkers and wheelchairs, with other trails for cycling, in-line skating, and bike riding (no motorized vehicles allowed). If you are in the area, and seeking a place to enjoy outdoor recreation, North Chagrin is the place for you. Whether you’re considering a half-hour stroll or an all day hike on rugged terrain, you can find it here.

Hope you enjoyed our trail walk today. Thanks for joining me.
See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in dogs, Dogs and their people, Fabulous Faces, My trail walks

Beaux

2017_02_13_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0081

I love dogs! When I meet a new dog walking along the trail with his or her person, it’s not easy to walk past them without saying hello, especially when the dog is as cute as Beaux and the person as delightful as Phyllis. Today is the first time I have met them in the park. I learned¬†that Beaux, a shih-tzu, is a rescue dog who came from Houston to live with Phyllis after her other shih-tzu had passed away. Losing a much loved canine companion is very sad, but rescuing another lovely furry friend is a blessing for¬†both the person and the new pet. Beaux has ¬†only been in Ohio for about eight months, but it’s obvious¬†he and Phyllis have already become fast friends. When I asked for a photo opp, Phyllis lifted him onto the bench, and he posed briefly…until another dog came down the trail. That was the end of posing, as far as Beaux was concerned. ¬†Obviously other dogs have more puppy appeal than a stranger pointing¬†a camera at his face! But it’s such a sweet face, I’m happy I got a chance, however brief, to take his picture, and add him and Phyllis to my gallery of Fabulous Faces.

2017_02_13_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0075

Although the sun was shining today, it was still pretty chilly, but a sunny day is always a good day to walk along the trail. I captured a few bird photos today also, but I’ll save them for another day.

Thanks for walking the trail with me today!
See you soon! ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, My trail walks, my website

Introducing my newly refurbished website and two new Fabulous Faces

2017_02_11_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0064

If you follow my blog, you probably remember that I especially enjoy taking pictures of people and dogs when I meet them on my trail walks. I met Cindy and Lynn, two fabulous and friendly trail walkers, in Chagrin River Park this morning, and after a brief conversation, I asked if I could take their picture for my Fabulous Faces gallery. You can read about it here and see the many faces, human and canine,  I have photographed over my years of walking along the trail. Meeting Cindy and Lynn was truly the highlight of my walk today.

About my website and blog

I have a website, hosted on the SmugMug platform and a blog, hosted by WordPress. Both are named Seen Along the Trail because they are based on my frequent trail walks and the photos I take along the trail.The website and blog work in tandem. I take my camera with me on my trail walks and capture pictures of things I see along the trail.Then I bring them home, remove them from my camera to my computer, and upload them to my website where they stay until I am ready to write a post for my blog. Four or five times a week, I choose the photos I want to write about, write the post, and share it on the blog. (An analogy for this is the process you follow when you prepare a meal to share with your family or friends. You go to the store, buy good food, bring it home and store it in your refrigerator. Then a few days later, you take it out of the refrigerator, process it (i.e. prepare the meal) and serve it to your guests).

Refurbishing my website

For the past month I have been hard at work reorganizing my galleries and refurbishing my website to give it a fresh¬†look and a design¬†that is¬†easy for visitors to navigate. I drew up the design, chose the picture galleries I want to share, and wrote the text. Then I began to build the site. Some parts of that process were easy, but sometimes¬†I couldn’t make the pictures and text display on the screen the way¬†I wanted them¬†to. When that happened¬†I called my granddaughter. Carrie is a web-developer with a company in Memphis, and she was a huge help to me. Just for example: One big problem I couldn’t resolve was how to get the images of the four seasons ¬†to display in a row on the home page. Nothing I tried¬†worked, so I told Carrie what I wanted to do, and she wrote the code that made it happen. Now they are lined up just as I pictured them.¬†So with Carrie’s help on¬†the technology end, and advice on layout from my daughter Becky, ¬†the site was finally finished last night. Carrie and I gave each other a virtual high-five, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The website is “live.” You can visit it here, and I hope you will¬†return for frequent walks down the trail with me on both¬†my website and my blog.

How’s the experience from your perspective?

If you have any questions or comments for me, including about how the site looks on the device you are using¬†to view it (desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone), just send an email my way. The contact form is in the menu at the top of the website’s home page.

Finally, a few pictures from today’s trail walk

Thanks for joining me for today’s trail walk.
I would welcome feedback on the website from your perspective.
See you soon! ~Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, My trail walks

Cardinals, woodpeckers, and food fights!

The second of two posts on my freezing cold trail walk.
Read part one here.

2017_02_09_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0056

Cold, snowy weather brought out the birds, and like this cheerful red cardinal, they were all hungry to the point of squabbling over the food! The female cardinals in yesterday’s post were the worst. They flew at the fence post as if to see who could be first to land¬†and grab all the food. If they arrived at the same time, there was loud squawking, with¬†a quick change of direction to avoid a collision.

When the red-bellied woodpecker flew into the scene, she got first choice. As my kids would say¬†when they were little, “She got dibs on the bark butter bits!” She was queen of the fence post, and she knew it.

2017_02_09_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_00612017_02_09_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0062

As I mentioned yesterday, it was cold and starting to spit snow again. My hands were painfully cold from holding the camera, so I decided to head for home. Then I heard the distinctive sound of a pileated woodpecker pounding on a tree. It didn’t take long to find him, high up in a dead¬†tree in the nearby bog. So high up, in fact that he was almost out of reach of my lens. I got a picture, but not a very good one; ¬†however,¬†unless I wanted to wade in the half frozen water that surrounded¬†his tree, it was the best I was going to get.2017_02_09_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0106

By that time I was having visions of a mug full of hot cocoa. Pulling my gloves out of my jacket pockets, I pulled them on over stiff fingers and walked down the trail to my car.

That’s it for today!
Thanks for walking the trail with me.
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, My trail walks

It’s freezing on the trail today!

2017_02_09_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0027

Around noon, I saw a glimmer of light in my window and a little blue sky. Thinking that meant good weather for a trail walk, I grabbed the camera and put on my boots, heavy coat, and warm hat. It had snowed overnight, only about three inches, but enough that I was glad for the cleats on my boots. When I got to the park, I realized that I had been mistaken about the weather, which really wasn’t good for holding a camera and shooting photos of birds. I didn’t give up however, not right away, not until I had captured some pictures. No way was I going to trudge down that frigid trail and come home with nothing to show for it. The birds flocked around me as soon as I arrived at the fence rail where they gathered in the tree and along the rail, hoping for a handout. Yes, they got what they were looking for…bark butter bits! And they were very happy. Take a look:

The birds got their treat and I came home with frozen fingers! I checked the temperature once I was back at my computer. It was only 22 degrees with a wind chill factor of 17. AND before I got back to the car it was spitting snow again. Brrr!

That’s all for today.
To be continued¬†tomorrow…
See you soon!
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, My trail walks

Vile!

17_february_04_untitled_untitled-shoot_-2

That’s the word for our weather today. As the saying goes, it’s not been fit for man nor beast. Nor photographer, I might add. Yesterday was a decent day, but I didn’t have time for a trail walk, and today…? Well, today I was NOT going out with my camera. The river is flooding, for gosh sakes, and the ground is a sea of mud. So I truly was at a loss for today’s blog post¬†until another blogger, Eliza Waters, came to my rescue.

In her comment on my recent post, Eliza asked what the tube in the bog was for. She was referring to the straw nesting tube in¬†the picture at the top of this page. I replied¬†that it is (theoretically) a nesting tube for ducks; however, in all my years of walking down the trail through the bog, I have never seen a duck, or anything else, nesting in the tube. However, I have seen a duck dancing on top of the tube, and I have the pictures to prove it. So thanks to Eliza, I am going to share the dancing duck with you today. Here she is…

It was in March 2013 that I saw the duck dancing. Since it was March, I imagined she was doing a dance to celebrate spring. Maybe in another six-eight weeks, she’ll be back on her “stage” performing another spring celebration. We can only hope! Meanwhile, I hope the rainy weather goes away so I can return to the trail. Today’s post didn’t involve any trail walking, unless you count the walk I took four years ago!

That’s it for today…Thanks to Eliza and the dancing duck!
Trail Walker