Fall field trip

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As it does every year, last week the calendar heralded the time for our “friends fall field trip”. Some years we drive around the countryside in Ashtabula County, visiting covered bridges or we be-bop around other scenic locations in Lake and Geauga Counties. This year rain was threatening, and we got a later start, but we headed out anyway and had a great time. I just didn’t take as many pictures. Actually only a few, and three of them were these mini-jack-o-lanterns I spotted at the farmer’s market where we made one of our stops. I couldn’t resist the bright colors and funny expressions on these creations.

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Despite the fact that it was October, we haven’t had much in the way of crisp, cool weather, and except for the little pumpkins, we didn’t see any significant fall color. However, that didn’t keep us from enjoying the scenery and tasting the food at a popular neighborhood restaurant and a couple of farmer’s markets. At one market, this bee-control device caught my eye. It was obviously effective, and inexpensive as well, because there were plenty of cucumbers for sale.

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Along the way, I also spotted a mural that included the many covered bridges for which Ashtabula County is known.

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At another stop, although still stuffed from the lunch, I purchased a chocolate muffin and cup of coffee and parked myself in a rocker on their covered patio to enjoy the view. (I can never resist a chocolate muffin and this was a particularly good one.) The view from my rocker included a pond surrounded by (mostly green) trees,  and one lovely orange one. Walking back to the car, I snapped a picture of the pond and one Halloween-themed tree.
2019_10_02__Almost Autumn_00072019_10_02__Almost Autumn_0001 I wish I had taken more pictures, but that’s it for our 2019 friend’s fall field trip.

Thanks for coming along today.
Trail Walker

Almost Autumn

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Today’s temperature hovered around 90 degrees as I headed out for a trail walk in Holden Arboretum. Although most of the trees along the trail are still green, a few, like the beauty above, are definitely announcing the arrival of Autumn. Am I looking forward to cooler temperatures? You bet I am! Hands down, Autumn is my favorite season, and I’m anticipating some colorful trail walks during October…and into November.

Here are the first pictures for my Autumn album:

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And finally, one of my favorite trees: the sugar maple. Every year, I photograph the transition of this magnificent tree from summer into autumn and eventually winter. Here’s the first picture, still dressed in green garb, but preparing for the dramatic change coming in the months ahead.

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That’s it for week one of this year’s Autumn Album. If you are a trail walker who loves Autumn, come back next week when I will share more Autumn images.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Happy Anniversary to US!

Last month Bob and I celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary. You might say that’s a milestone occasion, worthy of a major celebration, and I would agree. However, neither of us was in the mood that afternoon to get dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner like we did last year. Instead, as the chilly day drew to a close, we put on our jackets and headed to nearby Chagrin River Park for a  walk along the trails.

One of the advantages of being married to your best friend for 58 years is that a quiet trail walk together is equally as celebratory as throwing a big party, with the bonus that it is peaceful, free, and five minutes from home!

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

O what a beautiful day!

A beautiful morning like this one brings people out to the park in large numbers, some taking their dogs for a walk; others bringing their toddlers to the playground; and still others come out with their cameras. I’m in the last group. I thought about going to the Arboretum today, but really didn’t have enough time, so I headed for Chagrin River Park instead. If you’re up for a trail walk along the Chagrin River trail today, come along with me as I look for some vibrant fall colors.

Our first stop will be the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Chagrin. Walk part way across the bridge, sit down, and aim your camera downstream, and this is what you will see:

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For a slightly different view, we’ll leave the bridge and walk to the overlook by the picnic tables. From there, we can get a closer look at the river. Kneel down by the fence rail and snap your picture from there to capture this scene.
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In the first few minutes of our trail walk, we’ve tried two different vantage points, but did you notice that there isn’t a lot of color along the banks of the river? Let’s walk up the steps to the sledding hill. In a couple of months, there will probably be snow, and crowds of sledders, flying down the hill with abandon or crowded around the fire pit, but today we have it to ourselves, except for a few walkers, and it will be our third vantage point for looking at the river.

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It’s a great view, but there’s not much in the way of vibrant color so far. Follow me, and we will take a trail through the woods where I know we will find some colorful trees.

Not only did we find colorful trees, we also ran into Earl and his wife Linda. They were getting ready to head down the trail in search of some good photo opps, but they took time to show me the fantastic eagle pictures Earl shot recently at Lake Erie Bluffs and at Conowingo dam, a well-known site for eagles in Maryland, quite near where I grew up. When I say Earl’s pictures are fantastic, that’s probably an understatement. If you know Earl, be sure to ask him to show you the eagles, especially the ones with fish in their talons. They are amazing! And if you are a photographer, take a look at the kit Earl has devised so he doesn’t have to carry all his camera equipment on his back. It’s very clever.

One last picture, and it will be time to head for home. I had parked myself on a bench on the evergreen trail to look through the pictures on my memory card, when I saw three people and two dogs headed in my direction. If you follow my blog, you probably already know that I like to take pictures of the people I meet along the trail and their dogs.  “Photo opp!” flashed through my mind. Then I realized that I had already met one of the dogs, Bailey, and his person, Ron. Bailey and Cosmo, the other little dog, greeted me effusively, joining me on the bench, and enthusiastically bestowing kisses on my face. Getting them to pose for a picture was no problem, so here they are: Ron and Bailey on one end of the bench and Cosmo and Liz on the other.

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Cosmo and Bailey look like twins, although they are actually two different breeds. Aren’t they adorable? That was the end of today’s walk. I was only a short distance from the parking lot, and it was time to go home for lunch. We did manage to see some color today. I was glad because I don’t know how many more days like this we can expect before the curtain comes down on my favorite season of the year. Thanks for joining me on the trail today. Come back soon. Weather permitting, I am planning another trip to the Arboretum this month and hopefully a trail walk at Lake Erie Bluffs. Maybe we’ll see an eagle there. Although I can’t match Earl’s fabulous photos, I wouldn’t mind trying. 😉

Trail Walker

A sunny walk in the Arboretum

Hello friends. I started today’s walk in the Arboretum with no particular plan other than to wander for awhile and take some pictures. If you want to walk with me, get your jacket on. It’s chilly today. Look how this group of school kids is bundled up in jackets and hats. Still, I imagine that their teachers must feel very lucky to get such a great day for their trip. If you were walking with me I would tell you about a very soggy field trip years ago when I took my class to Chapin Park in an all day downpour. It was a couple of days before my heavy coat dried out after that trip.

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After passing the school group, we would follow this trail, veering off to snap pictures of some cypress knees (I had to get down on my knees in the wet ground to take them).
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I find it difficult to chose a favorite place in Holden Arboretum. My choices are as changeable as the seasons. In early spring  I like to visit the wildflower garden. In June, when rhododendrons and azaleas burst into bloom, a walk in the rhododendron garden is a special treat.  Later in the summer, the butterfly garden becomes my go-to spot, requiring frequent visits to capture pictures of the butterflies and blossoms that make this garden so special. But one place that I enjoy all year round, is Lotus Pond. Frogs, damselflies, and dragons are abundant around the pond, but my main reason for making this a regular stop every time I take a trail walk at the Arboretum, is the beauty of the landscaping around the pond. Here is what you would see today. There is something special about that willow tree. Whatever the season, I am drawn there to add a more pictures to my collection.

Photography isn’t the only reason to visit the Arboretum. You will see lots of people walking their family dog(s) like this dog walker with her two handsome dogs. I couldn’t resist asking for a photo opp.

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Follow me as I wander over to Corning Lake to check out the progress of the restoration in that area. We can see that the new entrance to the rhododendron garden is open, making for easy access from Corning Lake into the rhododendron display. From there, it is an easy walk back the new trail, past Lotus Pond again, and down to Blueberry Pond. Take a look and you’ll see what I mean:

It’s time to head for home, but first let’s take a short detour through the picnic area near the visitors’ center so we can see the scarecrows and the maze set up for the weekend’s Halloween festivities. Maybe we could return then and join in the fun. (Postscript: I didn’t return. It rained BUCKETS that weekend).

After driving out of the Arboretum, if we stop on Sperry Road and look back, we can take one more picture of the Emergent Tower.
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Does that give a different sense of the height of the Tower? It’s one thing to say that it is 12 stories (120 feet) high, but to see it towering over the tallest of trees gives a different perspective.

That’s the end of this trail walk, but you can be sure I will be heading back to the Arboretum soon. I hope you will come along with me the next time too.

Trail Walker

No turning back!

Rudbeckia
Rudbeckia

Summer is almost over. Autumn is making its way into northeast Ohio, and there’s no turning back! This rudbeckia is proof-positive of the fact. Sigh!

I snapped this end-of-summer flower in the Butterfly Garden at Holden Arboretum this afternoon.There were no butterflies.

Carolyn aka Skip

Park Photo Project

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been participating in a photo project originated by another photographer on Blipfoto.com. She was motivated by a book published in the early 80s entitled Blue Moon over Thurman Street, a collections of photos and related poems by Ursula LeGuin and Roger Dorband. As a result of her enthusiasm, many other Blippers* have selected one street in their community as a focus for their journal entries on Blipfoto. Because I rarely do street photography but take photos almost daily on the trails in Chagrin River Park, the park has become the locus for my project. My hope is that anyone viewing my blog will gain an appreciation of this special place. Here are a few of my keepers for today:

* Blippers are photographers who post a picture each day in their journals at Blipfoto.com.

The river is a popular fishing spot when the steelhead are running.
The river is a popular fishing spot when the steelhead are running.This fisherman drove 200 miles for some good fishing, and he was kind enough to take time for a photo opp.

The National Audubon Society has designated the park an "Important Birding Area."
The National Audubon Society has designated the park an “Important Birding Area.”

The chickadees are friendly little birds. They seem to know I carry birdseed in my pocket.
The chickadees are friendly little birds. They seem to know I carry birdseed in my pocket.

The riverbank reclamation project is in full swing! Hopefully it will prevent future erosion.
The riverbank reclamation project is in full swing! Hopefully it will prevent future erosion.

Paul, a retiree, and his dog Murphy are trail monitors for the park district. They put in a lot of volunteer hours walking the parks and helping visitors.
Paul, a retiree, and his dog Murphy are trail monitors for the park district. They put in a lot of volunteer hours walking the parks and helping visitors.

One of the many deer that call the park home
One of the many deer that call the park home

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back another day to see more photos from this special park.
Carolyn aka Skip

Misty Morning

12__2012_CRP_0098Rain fell during the night, but the temperature this morning was a bit warmer and the air was very misty. Despite the less than favorable weather, I headed to the park, leaving my usual lens, the 70-300mm telephoto, at home, and was delighted to discover that my little 50mm lens (nifty-fifty) was more than equal to the dull light. For the past week I have been experimenting with this lens to see what effect it would have on my nature photography. I’ve been in a bit of a rut, photographically speaking, and had come to the conclusion that, after four years of daily blipping, I was losing my photo mojo. My pictures were beginning to all look pretty much the same, and I was dreading the transition from October with its rich and varied landscapes to the dreary, gloomy, grey days of November.

Recently someone on Blipfoto, my photo-a-day website, challenged other photographers, i.e.”blippers”, to create a series of pictures taken on the same street. That wouldn’t work for me because my daily photowalks take me to the park, not down a city street, but (Iwondered) why not take a series of photos on the park trails and post those in my Blipfoto journal? So that is what I have been doing, and I have chosen to use only my nifty-fifty lens for this challenge. At this point, one week into my double-headed challenge, I have a confession to make. The telephoto lens is no longer my favorite lens for my daily photo walks. Not only have I fallen in love with the versatility and sharpness of the nifty-fifty, I am asking Santa for a new lens for Christmas, a 35mm prime lens. And nobody is more surprised by this turn of events than I am!

Below are a few keepers I captured on my misty morning walk in the park, but first, a word about the turkeys. The flock of turkeys that make their home in our neighborhood park (and beyond) has grown quite large over the years. I have no idea how many there are, but today I saw at least 21 of them roaming along the trails. The second time I encountered them they were on the sledding hill, and that’s where I captured the two pictures I included in my collection of keepers for today. They simply reminded me of little kids racing to see which one would be first to reach the bottom of the hill.

Deer playing follow the leader.
Deer playing follow the leader.

Her mother told her to look both ways before crossing!
Her mother told her to look both ways before crossing!

Very young deer
This is a very young deer.

Food fight at the bird buffet
Food fight at the bird buffet

Race you to the bottom of the hill! Last one down is a .....TURKEY!
Race you to the bottom of the hill! Last one down is a …..TURKEY!

This turkey was too dignified to enter the race.
This turkey was too dignified to enter the race.

That’s it for today. Thanks for joining me on the photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Skip aka Carolyn

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