There’s nothing quite like it!

 

Nothing quite like what, you ask? Well, to be honest, you may or may not agree with me, but I maintain that there’s nothing quite like a trail walk in the first real snow of the season. It isn’t even winter yet, just the downhill end of Autumn, but on this December morning we woke up to snow-covered trails, slippery slopes, and frigid fingers. And oh, how glorious to walk down the trail through a pristine white world…such a contrast to our earlier Autumn walks.

I’m reluctant to admit it, but Autumn with its blue skies, crisp air, and vibrant palette has truly come to an end, and we are faced with Winter: the season of boots with cleats to prevent slipping and sliding, gloves that challenge me as I try to press the shutter button, and lenses (the camera and mine) that constantly fog over as I exhale in the frosty air. Winter brings with it a myriad of new challenges for the trail walking photographer, but new joys come with the challenges. Here are just a few that I spotted along the trail this snowy morning:

Whitetailed deer
The does are more curious than fearful.
A female northern cardinal
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White-breasted nuthatch
Another cardinal. The red male cardinals were hiding today!
A stare down with two does!
I’m not sure of the identity of this bird, but it posed perfectly!

That’s it for today, trailwalkers. I hope you liked this preview of sights we’ll see on future  wintry walks. Be sure to wear lots of layers and get some cleats to put on your boots for our next winter walk.

Thanks for trudging down the trail with me!
Sharing the trail makes each walk extra special.
~Trail Walker

Fall festivities

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Fall festival at Patterson’s fruit farm is a wonderful family occasion…especially for those who have small children in tow. However, Bob and I don’t have small children or even small grandchildren. The youngest grandchild in our family turned 21 in April, so we usually avoid the fall festival, as colorful as it is. But on this day, when our visit to the doctor (to get some stitches removed from my face) took us in the direction of Patterson’s Fall Fest, Bob had an idea that appealed to me in more ways than one! He said, “Why don’t we stop at Patterson’s to get some apple dumplings?” How could I say “no” to that proposal? Had it been a Saturday or Sunday, I would have said, “Let’s not. It will be way too crowded!” But it was the middle of the week, so we decided to take a chance, and we were thankful we did. Although there were plenty of visitors, the crowd was manageable and everyone was enjoying the beautiful day. We had a great time, the apple dumplings, apple butter, and apple cider were delicious, and the view from the top of the hill was a bonus…especially for an amateur photographer like me. I couldn’t resist adding a few more “Color Me Autumn” pictures to my photo gallery.

Thanks for making the visit with us today. I hope you can find a fall festival to enjoy where you live. Be sure to take your camera…or at least your phone, which is the camera I had with me today.

See you again soon.
Trail Walker

Color Me Autumn!

Earlier this week, I lifted my eyes from the keyboard and glanced out the window next to my computer. It was already late afternoon on what had started out as a gloomy overcast day. To my delight, outside my window the sun was shining! I immediately went into action. Leaping out of my chair and grabbing my camera, I invited Bob to leave his desk and head to Holden Arboretum with me for an impromptu trail walk.

Two weeks earlier, I had visited the Arboretum, hoping to find the sugar maple tree crowned in glorious autumn color…not an unreasonable expectation in the middle of October. Normally we would have nearly reached peak color here on the south shore of Lake Erie by that time, but that afternoon, to my disappointment, the tree still looked much like it had in mid-summer: beautiful, but almost entirely green.

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Sugar maple on October 16, 2018

Today, with the late afternoon sun shining and puffy white clouds in a beautiful blue sky, I almost held my breath as I hurried down the trail to where I could catch sight of the tree. My expectations weren’t high because the end of October is well past the time for peak color in northeast Ohio, and in a normal year, the maple would have lost most of its color and many of its leaves by the first of November (the day I am writing this post).

Then I rounded the curve in the trail and saw the maple.
My heart burst with joy.
I hadn’t missed its peak color after all!

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Sugar maple on October 29, 2018
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October 29-Another view of the sugar maple

Three more for today from my Color Me Autumn trail walks (Click to enlarge pictures)

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
I’ll be back soon to share more Autumn joy.

Trail Walker

Autumn in the Arboretum

 

It was a perfect day for a trail walk, so I headed to Holden Arboretum because the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I hoped to find some photos to add to my “Color Me Autumn” collection. Parking my car, I hurried down the trail to the sugar maple tree, which by this time should be showing beautiful color. One glance at the tree, pictured above, told me that Autumn wasn’t making much progress. At least not yet! If I were to give it a grade, based on the colors I could see, I would probably give it a D+ (I’m a tough grader and, based on recent Octobers, my expectations are high). Frosty nights (but not too frosty) and bright, sunshiny days are the necessary conditions  to create the colors that make Autumn my favorite season. Walking all around the tree to view it from all angles, I realized, to my disappointment, that it was still mostly green. It’s a beautiful tree, but green isn’t what I was expecting to see the second week in October. Sigh! Oh well, I’ll just go back to the Arboretum next week and update my Autumn color report. Meanwhile, here are a few more pictures from week two. Although I’m giving today’s trail walk a low grade for “fall color,” it still earns high marks for overall beauty.

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Golden willow tree
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Golden willow tree
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Finally: a fall colored tree!
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Gazebo in the rhododendron garden
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Fisherman’s blind
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Unusual color for Autumn
That’s all for this week, trail walking friends.
See you next week!
Trail Walker

Peaceful morning trail walk

Rising early this morning, I knew I had a busy day ahead of me with places to go and people to see. So I chose to start the day with a quiet walk in Chagrin River Park, and that, as Robert Frost might have said, made all the difference. Join me and take a look.

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Pedestrian bridge over the Chagrin River
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Morning shadows on the river

Two views of the fire pit. On this chilly morning…jacket weather, someone had come early to build the fire, well before I got there.

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A man was tending the fire, but he was some distance away.
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Empty benches

Before long, I had to leave the park and hurry off to begin my day. It was as full and busy as I had expected, but a glorious day for the end of September. Autumn was in the air!

Thanks for joining me today. Hope to see you soon.
Trail Walker

Recent trail walk revisited

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Bob and two of his fire pit friends

I “mined” my recent trail walk album for other pictures I want to share. In yesterday’s post, I focused (pun intended) on some deer I saw along the trail; today  I want to share  a few other pictures from that walk, starting with the group around the fire pit at the top of this post. In some neighborhoods, you would find a group like this meeting over a cup of coffee in the local Starbucks or over a beer in the neighborhood bar. In our neighborhood, the fire pit in Chagrin River Park is the gathering place for this group of men every afternoon in all seasons. When the whole group is present, the benches are filled, but this was a slow afternoon.

Take a short walk down the trail, and this is the view you will see:
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Sometimes, like this afternoon, there will be fishermen on the river like this one, hoping to catch some steelhead trout. I didn’t hang around long enough to find out if he was successful, but it is a pretty popular fishing hole.

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Further down the river there is an overlook where we stopped to see if any herons were fishing for their dinner. No herons today! Possibly because of the kids playing on the beach.
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They were having a good time, but I’ll have to wait for another day to capture my picture of a heron in the river. To close out today’s post, here is one more little deer, cropped into a tight closeup.
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That’s it for today. Time to get supper on the table.
See you again soon.
Trail Walker

Lake Erie Bluffs

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The day dawned with sunny blue skies and a perfect temperature for trailwalking at Lake Erie Bluffs. Happy with the beautiful morning, Bob and I, and our friend Tom, were on our way to the Bluffs!

Once at the Bluffs, the best view can be seen from the top of the tower, located on the edge of Lake Erie, 20 miles east of our home.
2018_08_31__Lake Erie Bluffs_0015 copyI haven’t been doing much trail walking this summer, and even less climbing, so I was out of breath by the time I reached the top of the tower, but the view was worth the climb.

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Looking west-toward Cleveland

After soaking it in (and catching my breath), we climbed down and followed the trail to the beach.

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Goldenrod along the trail is a sure sign summer is coming to an end.
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Bob on the beach, waiting for me to catch up.
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I made it!

There weren’t many people in the park this morning. As you can see, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. After a while we decided it was almost time for lunch, and we still wanted to visit Painesville Township Park to see the new fishing pier that was built in the last year. We had heard about it from a neighbor, who was part of the crew that engineered the pier, but this was our first visit. And it involved another climb!
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Getting down to the pier wasn’t a problem, but climbing back up was a breathtaking experience, for me at least. The view was great though, and that made the climb worthwhile.

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Looking east, toward Erie, Pennsylvania

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Definitely lunch time now, so we drove over to Brennans’ Restaurant in Grand River. My crab cakes were delicious, and according to Bob and Tom, the perch was just as good. By the time we finished our lunch, it was nearly 3 pm, so we decided to finish off our day trip with ice cream cones at Scooters. I’m very sure that after all the hiking and climbing, I had earned that cone, and it was a great way to end the day.

Thanks for visiting the Bluffs with us.
Hope to see you soon!
Trail Walker

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