Winter walking in North Chagrin Reservation

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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

Beaux

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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.

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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

Introducing my newly refurbished website and two new Fabulous Faces

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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

Cardinals, woodpeckers, and food fights!

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

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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.

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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

It’s freezing on the trail today!

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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!

Vile!

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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

Believe it or not…

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…we’ve been blessed with several sunny days this week, and I still have photos to share from my recent trail walk. The image at the top of this page is a view of the river with snow-covered rocks in the foreground. It’s a view I never tire of. Here are a few more views of the river trail and the pedestrian bridge:

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Even as I post this, three days later, we are still seeing sunny blue skies. Although they turned a little overcast as the hours went by today, it is still beautiful. Here is a picture I took this afternoon in the bog, so you can see its wintery beauty. I have to admit that I am looking forward to spring trail walks, but meanwhile, I will enjoy the bleak beauty of winter…especially on sunny days like this one.

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That’s it for today. Thanks for walking with me!
See you soon!
Trail Walker

More memorable moments

My family then, then and now…# 2 in an ongoing series

On a rainy day in late November,  I went to Holden Arboretum for a photoshoot with two of our grandchildren, Michael and Emmy. A few days later, I created a blog post using the pictures from the photoshoot, along with pictures of them when they were about four and five years old. I titled it “A Fun Photoshoot.” If you missed it, you can see that blog post here.  At the time, I saw it as the beginning of a series titled My family: then and now.

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Michael and Emmy…2016

Now fast forward to today…

For about a month I have been working on my SmugMug website, bringing it up-to-date. I have seriously neglected it, so it truly needs more than a little reorganizing and updating. As I was working on that project today, searching my years of accumulated photos for snowy day pictures to use in a winter-themed gallery I want to create, I rediscovered these long ago photos of Michael, Emmy, and their cousins on the sledding hill in Chagrin River Park.

 

The discovery stopped me in my tracks and detoured me down a different trail. After a brief , “Aww, weren’t they cute” moment, I jumped into creating today’s blog post, “Number 2” in the series I mentioned above. When I come across old family pictures, my parents, sisters, children and grandchildren, I can easily lose myself in reminiscing. Many memorable moments come to mind, and I enjoy every minute of those detours.

And that brings me to the purpose of today’s post. Plain and simple, I would like to encourage you to set aside some time to dig into your photo archives. Until you do, you’ll never know what trails they will lead you down. Get out the old photo albums or that big box filled with snapshots (that hopefully someone has labeled with names and dates 😊 ) and have fun with them. I can’t think of a better snowy day project!

Thanks for joining me on the trail today. If you’ve had similar photo detour experiences, I would love to hear about them in the comments. If you dig into those old photo archives, have fun! I hope you’ll come back and share some of your memorable moments.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

 

 

A touch of whimsy

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On my way down the trail, I had to smile when I saw this miniature snowperson sitting on the bench. That, and the brilliant sunshine, added a very happy note to my day.

Hope it made you smile too!
Trail Walker

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