Regrettably, I’m not a gardener, …

…but thankfully my son-in-law is, and…
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…fortunately there’s no law that says I can’t enjoy his flowers. That is what I was doing today while Bob helped Alison adjust the new gate she designed and constructed to keep the Mabel and Cooper from dashing down the driveway, barking at people that walk past the house.

When I was a girl, my mother would try to encourage me to take an interest in the flowers she loved. As winter waned and warmer temperatures hinted at the coming of spring,  she would pour over the seed catalogs that  came in the mail.  When spring finally arrived and the ground was warm enough for planting, she spent hours digging in the dirt, planting, transplanting, and weeding, and we always had vases of cut flowers in the house.  Mother loved her flower gardens. Unfortunately the proverbial green thumb passed me by, but thank goodness I can occasionally sneak into Mike’s amazing garden and take a few pictures. Although I may not enjoy the process of growing flowers, I do enjoy the process of taking pictures of them to hang on my walls and post on my blog. When fall gives way to winter and the flowers of summer slowly fade and die, I miss the color. Gray is the predominant color of winter, and it just doesn’t bring me much joy.

While I wandered around Mike’s garden with my camera, the work on the gate continued with the help of Mabel and Cooper…

 

Before long, the job was finished, and we headed home where I was greeted by a surprise; a colorful butterfly had discovered our new swamp milkweed plants. That’s color that doesn’t require digging , planting, and weeding…my kind of color!

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That’s it for Saturday. Thanks for stopping by!

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Keeping busy!

Summer time! The best time of the year for street fairs, art festivals, outdoor markets, and caramel corn.

Recently I was given the opportunity to spend all day Saturday at our local arts festival as a volunteer photographer. I had a great time. Those pictures, some of them, are what I want to share in this blog post. I hope you see images here that remind you of your own summer days filled with similar activities.

 

And then there’s the food. There’s nothing better than a gigantic bag of caramel corn, licking an ice cream cone on a hot day, or feasting on a plate filled with barbecue.

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Are you hungry yet? Thanks for visiting the arts fest with me today.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Back yard birding

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Oh no, I messed up! I promised myself that I would post at least three times each week, but there has been so much happening recently that I couldn’t keep up. Mea culpa! It probably doesn’t bother anyone except me, but it really bothers me. So tonight I am posting some pictures I took today, and tomorrow I will get back on my Tuesday, Thursday, and weekend schedule.  

We purchased a swamp milkweed plant on Saturday, hoping to attract more butterflies, but today the only butterfly that landed in our back yard was this little one. Except for a very few, I can’t identify butterflies. Hopefully I will learn. I’ve been told that this is possibly a Peck’s skipper butterfly, so I will go with that. Here are a few images I captured this morning when it was sunny.  (The skipper and the pink flower were taken with my 50mm lens -more about that in a future post).

 

After supper, I returned to my bench in the back yard, hoping to see a hummer or two and possibly a monarch butterfly. Got the hummingbird. They were very happy to pose, especially this little female, but the butterflies were nowhere in sight tonight. That milkweed plant wasn’t earning its keep, but here is the lady  hummer. She perched in my neighbor’s tree and surveyed the situation and then made repeated visits to the feeder. The male came too, but he didn’t hold still for his photo opp.

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So that was today in the back yard. I’m glad you came by for a visit.

See you tomorrow!
Trail Walker

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

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

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

 

‘Tis the season

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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

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

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

 

 

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