Posted in Holden Arboretum, holidays, Lake Erie, My trail walks

To labor or not to labor?

Friday was the beginning of Labor Day weekend. After cleaning the house all morning, I decided I had labored long enough, so I thought  I would put in some time at my computer, making a dent in my really neglected blog. However, before I even got started, a phone call came from my daughter Becky, asking is I would be interested in taking a trail walk at the Arboretum with her and her dog Darby. My mind was made up pretty quickly and off we went to the arboretum where we did more walking and talking than picture-taking. Nevertheless, here are a few of the pictures we captured along the trail  that afternoon, mostly snapped around Lotus Pond and the edge of Corning Lake. If you have joined me any trail walks in the past, you are sure to recognize the Golden Willow Tree at Lotus Pond, seen here from several angles:

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There is something special, almost magical about that tree. It draws people, myself included, to it, and I can’t resist the photo opps. However, there are other interesting sights to see along the trail in the Arboretum. Here are a few more pictures I captured before the end of the afternoon.

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The Overlook-An entrance to the rhododendron garden.
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In the rhododendron garden
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Darby, my daughter’s dog
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Darby sitting beside me
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A tiny frog I almost didn’t see when I walked past Lotus Pond

The rest of Labor Day weekend was peaceful except for a loud storm in the middle of Saturday night…so loud it woke both of us up. I thought Sunday would be cooler as a result, but unfortunately, when we took a walk at Lake Erie Bluffs on Sunday afternoon, it was still hot and muggy. Happily, visitors at the Bluffs were able to enjoy playing in the water and hiking along the beach.

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The beach at Lake Erie Bluffs
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A lot of driftwood and a few swimmers
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View from the tower on the Bluffs

That sums up our Labor Day weekend. We relaxed as much as possible, labored only a little, and were blessed with plenty of sunshine, only one storm, no flooding, and a lot of reasons to be thankful!

Thanks for stopping by today.
I appreciate your visit to my blog.
Trail Walker
Posted in butterfly garden, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

August in the Butterfly Garden

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After time spent walking the trails at Holden with my friend Lisa, I captured some pictures in the Butterfly Garden before heading home. Strangely enough I didn’t see many butterflies. I was hoping some monarchs would pose for my camera, but didn’t see a single one. However, it was a beautiful day, and I captured some pictures that made me happy.

So, the butterflies were scarce. but the frogs were pleased to pose, and it was an altogether peaceful and pleasant half hour.

Thanks for visiting!
Trail Walker
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography, Northeast Ohio, trailwalking

A gift!

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What a gift it was to take a trail walk in the Holden Arboretum with my friend Lisa for the second week in a row. It is, without parallel, my favorite place to walk, and I have missed it this summer. As always, I took time to pause at Lotus Pond and capture a few shots of the golden willow tree (above).

From there we walked around Corning Lake where we were lucky to spot a cedar waxwing. I used to see the waxwings near the bridge in Chagrin River Park, but haven’t had a glimpse of them this summer, so I felt really blessed by this one that hung around, almost as if offering us a few photo opps. Isn’t he a beauty? A real gift!

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Watch this place for a few more Arboretum pictures as I get time to post them. Hope you have enjoyed these.

Trail Walker…Back on the trails again!
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography, Northeast Ohio

Summer in the Arboretum

Regular walks in the Arboretum, easily my favorite place for trail walking, have been missing from my schedule this summer. Bob has made a great recovery from his heart attack and quadruple bypass. He has continued regular walks in our neighborhood park, as well as the shorter evening walks we take with Gulliver around our street. Now he has begun attending cardiac rehab three times a week. But, until this week, I have had neither time nor energy for long walks. Can’t tell you how great it felt to walk, talk, and “bag lunch” on the patio at Holden overlooking the gardens with my friend Lisa. Here are a few pictures I snapped along the trail.

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Thanks for stopping by today so I could share a little beauty with you. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

Monday Meander

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In my last post, two days ago, I promised to return with more pictures from the trail walk Lisa and I took in the Arboretum on Friday. Yesterday was so full, I didn’t have time to keep that promise. The weekend flew by, as they usually do, and Monday morning has arrived already, and, finally, here are my favorite pictures from that stroll along the trails in the Arboretum. Because I have a weakness for alliteration, I am taking the liberty of titling this post for the day I am posting it.

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Along the edge of Corning Lake
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Iris closeup
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Corning Lake and the Emergent Tower
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A nesting box, but I don’t know what might have nested there.
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Beautiful flowers everywhere!
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At my request, Lisa knelt next to the little pink rhododendron for a photo opp.
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Trail into the rhododendron garden
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Rhododendron in full bloom
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View across the pond
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So many rich colors
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Rhodie blossom
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One very large rhododendron
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Single blossom, many hues
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Trail out of the rhododendron garden

The long months of winter, from November until well into April, are almost devoid of color, making this trail walk, with so many richly-hued blossoms, a joy to share. Thanks for joining us on this walk. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as Lisa and I did. If you didn’t see the mini-meander I posted on Saturday, check it out to see three more pictures from along the trail (including my favorite golden willow tree).

See you soon.
~Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, Mini-meander, My trail walks, nature photography

A mini-meander in Holden Arboretum

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This was a beautiful day to wander the trails in the Arboretum. The sounds, smells, and colors of spring were intoxicating! Although I don’t have much time for blogging today, if you enjoy this mini-meander, please come back tomorrow when I’ll take you on a longer walk.

Hope to see you again tomorrow.
Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

Back to my search for spring

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Marsh marigold

Lisa and I were trailwalking in the Arboretum, in search of more early signs of spring. Treading through a marshy area on our way to Blueberry Pond, we spotted some marsh marigolds. The vibrant yellow of this early bloomer is pretty hard to miss. Then, when we reached our destination at the top of a grassy hillside, we paused to appreciate the beauty in front of us.

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Blueberry Pond

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As you can see, few of the trees display any greenery. That easily visible evidence of spring is another 7-10 days in the future, depending on the temperatures in the week ahead. Our location, so close to Lake Erie, delays the in-breaking of spring, which is probably why the search for spring looms large in my mind from February onward, until true spring finally arrives.

On today’s trail walk, we saw some early wildflowers. Although she is a pediatric dentist, Lisa also has a background in horticulture and was able to identify the beautiful Lenten rose, and in the same area we spotted the ferns, just beginning to unfurl.

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Continuing along the trail, we came to the clump of white birch trees, where I took a picture of Lisa sitting on the lowest limb. It looks to me as if that limb was created for that very purpose, and this isn’t the first time I’ve paused to take a picture of it. Finally reaching Lotus Pond, we each posed beside a pink magnolia hybrid with the pond in the background.

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Lisa and the white birch tree

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Because the person carrying the camera rarely gets her picture taken, here is one Lisa snapped of me.
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As we circled Lotus Pond, we watched the birds skimming over the surface of the water, apparently hoping to catch some insects (another sign of spring)! Although I didn’t see any insects, apparently the birds were on to something…or it is an annual spring rite of the swifts, purple martins, or whatever they were. They were flying way too fast for me to identify them with any certainty.

Although I have a few more pictures from today’s trail walk, I am going to stop here because this post is already a little long. I will post the others in a day or two. Meanwhile, even if the weather isn’t sunny and warm, and even if it isn’t spring where you live, I hope  you all enjoy a beautiful weekend.

Thanks for joining us on this walk in the Arboretum.
See you soon!  ~Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

Continuing my search for spring

Rain and thunder  through the night and into the morning hours convinced me that this would not be a good day for another trail walk. Instead I will continue with part 2 of yesterday’s post: Searching for Spring in the Arboretum.  I ended that post when we reached the entrance to the Rhododendron Garden, so I will pick up there and return via the Blueberry Pond trail to the Corning Visitor Center, where we parked the car.

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We won’t take time to visit the Rhododendron Garden on this walk because its most important features, the Canopy Walk, Emergent Tower, and the rhododendrons themselves, aren’t on display this early in spring. The Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower open for the season on April 1, and it will be June before the rhododendrons and azaleas burst into glorious full bloom. We will need to be patient and return on future trail walks to see them.

But there is still more to see from yesterday’s walk, so we will follow the sign post and wend our way back to our starting point at the Corning Visitors Center.

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The view from a bench along the trail

Imagine you are sitting beside me on a bench where I paused to soak up a little solitude (and take a welcome rest). Gaze into the distance, and you might notice, on either side of the trail, small green leaves just beginning to unfurl on the trees. That’s a welcome sign of spring that wasn’t visible a couple of weeks ago. Another early sign of spring here in northeast Ohio is the sound of the spring peepers.

Because we’ve had a lot of rain recently, the vernal pools along the trail are filled with these tiny frogs in full voice. Even in full daylight I have been treated to their song as I walk along the trail.

As we reach the end of the woodland trail, we can see the entrance to the wildflower garden (another future blog post). Up the hill to our right is Lotus Pond, but right now we will take the trail to the left, skirt the edge of Blueberry Pond, pass the white birch trees on the left side of the trail, and stop for a good look at the pond.

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White birch trees along the Blueberry Pond trail
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Blue skies over Blueberry Pond
A feature I find fascinating near Blueberry Pond is these bald cypress trees perched right at the edge of the water.

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From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) website…

The Baldcypress is “native to wet areas of the lower and middle Mississippi Valley drainage basin, the south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal states, and especially Florida of the south coastal states,” but it has been planted extensively in other areas, including Ohio.

“As a deciduous conifer, the leaves of Baldcypress drop off in autumn, and its cones are round balls that release their seeds in autumn and winter. Trees in Ohio may reach 80 feet tall by 30 feet wide when found in the open. As a member of the Baldcypress Family, it is also related to Dawn Redwood and Giant Redwood.

Not far from the Baldcypress trees, stands this tall, majestic Dawn Redwood, another deciduous conifer mentioned on the ODNR site,

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Dawn Redwood tree, Holden Arboretum, August 2014

Whoops! Sorry! I’m a little bit off the trail here…actually more than three years off. Because I didn’t stop to take a photo of the Dawn Redwood on this visit to the Arboretum, I decided to dig into my archives and find one to include in this post…a detour relevant to the topic of today’s walk, although definitely off the trail.

Back to the trail…

From Blueberry Pond,  it’s only a short walk down the hill to reach this footbridge that will lead us to the stairs and back up to the parking lot. The sign points back toward Woodland Trail, which is the trail we followed until we reached the Blueberry Pond trail. Now we are going to leave the Blueberry Pond trail, cross the little footbridge, and climb the stairs leading to the parking lot.

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It’s time to go home! I hope you have enjoyed this trail walk.
Thanks for coming along! ~Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, Northeast Ohio

Dreary…AGAIN!

Part one of a two part post in which we continue our 
Search for Spring in the Arboretum.

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Thunder, buckets of rain, and puddles deep enough for ducks to take a swim! That’s today, drowning in dreariness,  but yesterday was beautiful…a great day for a trail walk at Holden Arboretum. That’s where we will continue the search for more signs of our elusive spring.

Let’s start  at Lotus Pond where daffodils bloom in the foreground and no ice remains on the surface of the pond, ice that was still visible on our last visit a week ago. That’s definitely promising.

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Lotus Pond without ice

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Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a few tiny clumps of netted iris. These irises are early bloomers, so they have passed their prime by now, but they are still lovely with their delicate shades of soft blue and yellow. I hope you agree!

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Netted Iris…past its prime

We will end today’s walk, on the trail that leads into the rhododendron garden.

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Entering the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron garden
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The Overlook, a recent feature in the rhododendron garden
That’s it for part one of this walk in Holden Arboretum.
Come back tomorrow to continue our search for spring!
~Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks

And then the sun came out!

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As I wrote in my last post, Tuesday morning was chilly and completely overcast, but my friend Lisa and I had agreed to meet at Holden Arboretum for a “walk and talk,” so off I went.  As I drove down Sperry Road to the Arboretum entrance, the clouds parted, the morning haze vanished, and then, suddenly, the sun came out. Truly an unexpected event.

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Lotus Pond, still partially covered by a thin layer of ice.

Lotus Pond was beautiful in the early afternoon light, so we wandered over for a closer look and a few photos of the pond and the golden willow tree.

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Lisa at Lotus Pond
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Leaning against the Golden Willow tree
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Distant view of the willow
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The willow framed by the trunk of a river birch tree.

Leaving Lotus Pond, we headed toward the rhododendron garden, and on the way we met Hank, a beautiful corgi walking with his human.

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Hank posed for a profile shot…
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…and smiled for the camera, convincing Lisa there should be a corgi in her future!

In the rhododendron garden, Lisa spotted a carpet of purple blossoms, and agreed to pose for one more photo.

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On the trail back to the parking lot, we walked along the edge of Corning Lake where one lone duck was enjoying an afternoon swim.

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Before we reached our cars, Lisa pulled out her cell phone and took one shot of the photographer at work:

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We had reached the end of our “walk and talk” at the Arboretum. It wasn’t our first “meeting” there and probably won’t be the last because Lisa and I both love walking in Holden Arboretum.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. See you soon!
Trail Walker