Reconnecting with a friend

A note to my blog friends: I wrote this blog post especially for my friend Dollie. None of my regular readers know Dollie, but if you had a special connection with a friend at sometime in your life, a friend you haven’t seen for many years, my words in this post may resonate with you. If they trigger memories for you, as this experience has done for me, you may even find yourself creating blog posts based on those memories. If that happens, I wish you happy blogging!

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This was me, back in my high school days when I met Dollie.

Several weeks ago, a special message showed up in my email box. As I read it, my eyes got wider and my smile grew bigger. The message was from someone I have never met, but she introduced herself as Kim, and explained that she is the niece of one of my very good friends from high school, which was a long time ago…back when I was growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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I think (but I’m not sure) that this was Kennard-Dale High School.

Our high school wasn’t large. As I remember it, there were only 61 members in our graduating class. Located in the country, surrounded by beautiful farms with rolling hills and lots and lots of cows (my father was in the dairy business), the school was new when we entered 10th grade. The students came from different elementary schools. Many of us only knew a few of our classmates at this new school. Fewer than a dozen had gone to grade school with me, so high school became a time for making new friends, which thankfully didn’t take long. That is when I first met Dollie, and we were good friends all through our three years at Kennard-Dale High School.

After high school,  I went off to Philadelphia for college. There, as these stories often go, I met someone special. When I graduated from Beaver College (now Arcadia University) in 1959, Bob and I were married. He started a career in sales, I taught school,  we raised three daughters, and I never returned, except for short visits, to my home town in southeastern Pennsylvania. As a result, I lost contact with my friends from Kennard-Dale.

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Bob with our daughters
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Me with our daughters

But home never stopped being important to me, and occasionally we still drive through that little town on the Maryland-Pennsylvania line, bringing flowers to the cemetery, located on top of the hill with a wonderful view of the valley and houses below. We drive down Main Street (There is only one main street. It really is a small town) to see what has changed. And of course we always drive from end to end on Chestnut Street, past the home where I grew up, which sadly has changed way too much. One of these years I expect the old homestead, built by my grandparents in 1907, will be gone. That will be a sad day for me.

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My parents are both gone now, and my sisters as well. My husband and I rarely make trips back to the corner of Pennsylvania that I still call home, but there is a very special corner of my heart where I keep my memories of that time and place. Was I glad to get an email from Dollie’s niece Kim? I was more than glad; I was deeply touched, delighted, and grateful. It means so much to me to reconnect with that time and place and with my good friend, Dollie.

Happy Birthday, Dollie. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope we can continue to keep in touch. As they say Best Friends Forever (BFF)!

Carolyn

A few more pictures

Unwrapping gifts

Color Me Autumn…Again and Again!

Today was a perfect day to wander the trails in the Arboretum and marvel at  God’s amazing creation. Each turn in the trail revealed another amazing sight… many multi-colored gifts. Because you weren’t there,  I brought home a few “gifts” to share.

Click on the sugar maple at the top, then imagine you are strolling along the trail as you scroll through the pictures. Enjoy!

 Thanks for taking this trail walk with me!
Trail Walker

Trailwalking in Chagrin River Park

More photos from my  Color Me Autumn Collection

I was wishing I had dressed for winter when I decided to take a trail walk in Chagrin River Park yesterday, but despite the drop in temperature, it still felt good to get out on the trail. For the first time in weeks, I snapped some pictures of a few little birds. It was getting late in the day, and I didn’t set a fast enough shutter speed, so unfortunately the pictures aren’t as sharp as I would like, but I’m posting them anyway because the little critters are cute, and the pictures mark my return to taking (occasional) bird photographs. The chickadees, titmice, and even a nuthatch were in a celebratory mood because one of the trail walkers had sprinkled a handful of birdseed on the bench and the ground below it. During summer people rarely leave such treats, which doesn’t matter much to the birds because they have easy access to berries and blooms all along the trail. With the recent chill in the air, they have become more interested in handouts.

This little doe and quite a few of her relatives were hanging around the trail, probably hoping for a handout. I didn’t have anything to give them, so they went to work grazing on the greenery instead.

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Enjoying her salad greens!

With images of the wildlife captured on my memory card, I turned around, retraced my steps, and returned to the river trail. Standing on the pedestrian bridge, I took these pictures:

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Looking southeast, with the light behind me
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I saw a little bit of blue sky, but the clouds added the most interest.

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…and then walked down the trail to the top of the fishermen’s stairs, to take one last shot.

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That’s it for this trip down the trail.
Thanks for coming along!
Trail Walker

Can you believe…

This sugar maple tree at Holden Arboretum is one of my favorite trees. Can you believe how quickly it has changed over the past few weeks?

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Sugar maple tree at Holden Arboretum on October 3, 2016.
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Same sugar maple on October 11th
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Here it was two days ago-October 18, 2016.

 

Here is what it looked like last October.

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Same tree a year ago: October 22, 2015!

If the weather cooperates, I will head out to the Arboretum this weekend and take a picture exactly one year after the one above. Why am I doing this? No scientific reason, but I think it is interesting to compare the seasons, and it looks as if we are pretty much on track to match last year’s seasonal transition….According to the sugar maple tree at least.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

Autumn…Rain muted

A day truly does make a difference. Here in northeast Ohio we have been blessed with a succession of delightful days that drew this nature-loving photographer outdoors to walk the trails, ignoring anything indoors that may be calling for my attention. Dusting, vacuuming, reading, and more have received scant attention during these glorious autumn days as I answered the clarion call to “Come outdoors and enjoy autumn at its finest.” However, today was different! I woke very early to the sound of wind and rain, which hasn’t abated over the last 14 hours. It was the beginning of a very different day!

Despite the inclement weather, I pulled my winter jacket and hat out of the closet and headed to Chagrin River Park late this afternoon to see what effect the sudden changes would have on my October images.  I didn’t get far before the rain began to fall with enough force to send me indoors, but here are three images from today’s short trail walk . Although they are muted by the wind and falling rain, I’m happy to include them in my “Color Me Autumn” collection.

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So there you have it, fellow trail walkers. Muted rather than vibrant, they are still beautiful, wouldn’t you say?

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

Covered bridge tour (part two)

A Color Me Autumn blog post

From my point of view, little could be better on a gorgeous Fall day than a tour of Ashtabula County, highlighting several iconic covered bridges. In my previous post, I mentioned the tour I took this week with my friend Lorna who lives in this far northeastern Ohio county, bordered on the east by Pennsylvania and the north by Lake Erie. When I came home at the end of that day, I had neither the time nor the energy to review my entire set of pictures and decide which ones to post, so I promised to do it “tomorrow.” Although it’s actually been two days since the covered bridge tour, and I’m a day late, here are the covered bridge photos I promised, along with classic “Color Me Autumn” scenery from northeast  Ohio.

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After breakfast at a friendly family-style restaurant in Geneva, I dropped my car off at Lorna’s house, and she drove us to nearby Doyle Road bridge. My goal for the day was to photograph some different covered bridges and their surroundings. The first bridge was the Doyle Road bridge. Walking through the bridge, I took a picture looking out the window at the creek and then took more pictures of the creek.

The Netcher Road bridge was next on the tour, followed by the bridge on Mechanicsville Road with irresistible autumn scenery along the way.

The last bridge on our tour was the Harpersfield bridge, which I have photographed quite a few times in the past. Today Lorna found a boat ramp we could walk down, so we took our first pictures from beside the river.

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Harpersfield bridge
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Walking beside the river
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Framing the bridge
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Bridge from the driver’s point of view
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Fisherman approaching the covered bridge

The Harpersfield covered bridge was built in 1868 to span the Grand River, designated a wild and scenic river by the state of Ohio. In 1913 the northern approach to the bridge was washed away in a bad flood. After the flood, they built a 140 foot steel truss section that completed the span. The largest covered bridge in Ohio, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

At this point we had reached the last bridge on our tour, and it was long past lunch time. As well as being on the map for its many covered bridges, Ashtabula County is a wine-growing region. Many wineries dot the roads throughout the county, but few are open on Monday. We pulled into one that was open, and when we discovered they don’t serve lunch on Monday and Tuesday, we settled for relaxing with a glass of wine on their patio with a view of the vineyards.

This would have been a great way to end our bridge tour, but we had one more stop planned, so we left Ashtabula County and drove to Lake Erie Bluffs, a place I have blogged about in the past, but that Lorna had never visited. The tower is a great place to view Lake Erie and enjoy the Autumn colors.

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Fifty foot observation tower at Lake Erie Bluffs
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View from the top of the tower

Now we had finally reached the end of our tour…a fun way to spend an Autumn day. Thanks for joining us. I hope you had a good time too.

See you again soon for another “Color Me Autumn” blog post.
Trail Walker

Covered bridges and Autumn colors

More from my “Color Me Autumn” collection

Today was a special day…the day my friend Lorna and I had highlighted on our calendars as the day we would visit covered bridges in Ashtabula County, and the weather couldn’t have been better!  Starting early, I met Lorna for breakfast in Geneva, Ohio, and from there we hip-hopped around northern Ashtabula County visiting bridges. I’m at a loss for words to describe how beautiful the day was. Maybe tomorrow, with a clear mind after a good night’s sleep, I’ll be able to find more words to tell you about it…and maybe I’ll just let the pictures speak to you, which would probably be better than any words I could conjure up. Because it’s late and I am short on time, I will stop now and share a few pictures with the promise of more tomorrow.

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Harpersfield covered bridge
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Fishing the Grand River at Harpersfield
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Roadside scene
That’s it for today.
Tomorrow is another day with more pictures to share.
See you then…Trail Walker

Saturday’s miscellaneous moments

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For the past few months I have been hard at work organizing the 50,000+ photos I have accumulated on my computer’s hard drives. I have categorized, keyworded, labeled, and even deleted photos in my effort to gain control over what had become a massive mess. For some photographers, 50 thousand photos wouldn’t make a dent in their collection, but for someone like me, someone who had no logical method for organizing my files as they continued to accumulate, 50 thousand is a lot!

I primarily use Adobe Lightroom to import and optimize my pictures, but although Lightroom has a great system for organizing photos, even 50 thousand or many more, I had no conception of how to use it to my advantage. Then one day, a few months ago, I signed up for several online workshops by Ben Willmore. Since the day I began taking Ben’s workshops, I have had multiple “eureka moments”and now, finally, I am on the way to being in control of my massive mess of picture files. Bit by bit, I am getting them categorized, labeled, keyworded, and (dare I say) ORGANIZED. I don’t have total control yet, but I’ve taken control (thanks to Ben) and I’m gradually getting there.

Then today I went out with my camera and took a bunch of pictures, in a bunch of different places, for a bunch of different reasons. I came home, downloaded them to my computer, and began to wonder about the best way to organize them. I needed to keep track of them and know exactly where they resided on my hard drive, so I can find them when I’m ready to share them on my Blipfoto journal, this Trailwalking blog, or even just to email them to family and friends. And hallelujah, I figured it out! So tonight I am celebrating, and I just had to tell someone, so I chose to tell you. If you’re not interested, if you could care less, that’s okay. You can just ignore the last three paragraphs. But before you check out, please take a look at these miscellaneous moments I captured with my camera today.

The day started with our usual Saturday visit to the Willoughby Outdoor Market. To my delight, I heard music and discovered two young musicians had taken a space at the market and brought their instruments (and their mothers) because they wanted to raise money for their friend Marik, who is undergoing cancer treatment. I was impressed by these ninth graders, both by their talent and their initiative to step up, organize, and implement such a special fund raiser for their friend. They are generous spirits, and I believe Marik must be also.

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Next I ran into our old neighbors Harold and his daughter Sandy, who used to babysit with our daughters many years ago. One of my favorite things about the Outdoor Market is running into people I haven’t seen for a while, and stopping for a conversation, which is what Sandy and I did. As we were talking, Harold kept on walking past other vendors, so I said, “How old is your father, Sandy?” It turns out he is 97, and Sandy had to keep moving to catch up with him! I took the opportunity to snap their picture.

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Harold and his daughter Sandy

I also ran into our friends Ruth and Mike Lovett. Ruth was eating a scone that she said was delicious, so I made sure Bob and I bought a few before we left the market.

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Ruth and Mike

After the market, Bob and I drove out to Patterson Fruit Farm. It was getting near noon, and I hatched the idea that a warm apple dumpling would make a great lunch. Patterson’s makes great apple dumplings, and just thinking about them was making me hungry. However, when we arrived at Patterson’s, we discovered a fall festival in full swing. The fruit farm had been overrun by families of all sizes and they appeared to be having a great time. The lines were long, the kind that wind out the door and down the path. Bob took one look and said, “We can come back Monday,” and I agreed. So we came home without our apple dumplings, but fortunately, we had those scones, and they were delicious too!

After taking a few pictures of the festivities, as well as several landscapes, we headed for home.

 

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Orchard Hills, which once was a golf course, adjoins Patterson’s property.
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The narrow blue line on the horizon is Lake Erie.

So that’s it for the visit to Patterson’s, but I’m looking forward to a return visit for those apple dumplings. It’s time for lunch, so we should head for home, but if you have a few extra minutes before we sign off, why don’t you go back and look at my last several blog posts. I’ve labeled them “Color Me Autumn,” because they are all about the beauty of Autumn as I’ve photographed it in my walks along trails in Chagrin River Park, Holden Arboretum, and on the beach at Headlands Nature Preserve. They start here at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve.

Thanks for joining me for today’s “Miscellaneous Moments.”
See you soon for more Color Me Autumn trail walks.
Trail Walker

A day at the beach

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My destination for today’s trail walk was Headlands State Nature Preserve, a unique combination of beach, dunes, and water, with a lighthouse thrown in as a bonus. I hadn’t visited Headlands for the better part of a year (that’s an estimate). As this was a beautiful fall day, with plenty of sunshine and blue skies, I decided this should be the day. So off I went. If you like beaches, get your water bottle and walking shoes and come along.

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We’ll park at the far eastern end of Headlands Beach and begin our walk here at the Northern Terminus of the Buckeye Trail.

Wickipedia describes the Buckeye Trail as “a 1,444-mile hiking trail and long-distance trail that loops around the state of Ohio. Part of it is on roads and part is on wooded trail. Road portions of the trail are gradually being relocated to separate trail. The trail, begun in the 1950s was marked by blue blazes, and according to the plaque pictured above, the last blaze was painted on a post at this spot on October 10, 1970, completing the trail from Cincinnati to Mentor, Ohio.

At the beginning of the trail, we will walk through sand dunes, and you should heed this sign:

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Our goal today isn’t to “Follow the Blue Blazes” and hike the trail. This is just the starting point for our walk along the beach, so follow me through the dunes until we reach Lake Erie. Fortunately it’s a very short walk!

There’s Lake Erie, and believe it or not, there are people on the beach, looking for “sea glass” and simply enjoying the sun. There is even one person covered by a blanket and apparently taking a nap.

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A sleeper camped out on the sand

Now that we’ve reached the beach, look to your right and you will see the lighthouse. Until recently it was an operating light guarding the breakwater into Fairport Harbor, but several years ago, it was sold, and it is currently being renovated by the new owner. Once a year, she gives a tour to anyone hardy enough to clamber across the rocky breakwall to get inside. Have I done that? Nope, never even considered it. I’d be likely to break a leg, falling off the breakwall!

If you want to climb out on the breakwall, go ahead, but I’m going to turn west and walk down the beach for a short way to see what else we can encounter:

This is about as far as we have time for today, so let’s say goodbye to Lake Erie, and head back through the dunes to the parking lot.

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We’ll pass by this sign…
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…turn and take one more good look at the lake…
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…and walk past these tall trees to get to our car.

That’s it for our trip to the Nature Preserve and Headlands Beach. If you enjoyed it, maybe we’ll come back in the winter. I did that one time (and one time only) and discovered that someone had built a snowman on the beach. It looked just a little bit out of place!

Thanks for coming along today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

 

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