2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0175
Gingko tree on November 16, 2016

With all the wind, rain, and near freezing temperatures we’ve “enjoyed” in the past five days, I wondered what I would find when the sun came out yesterday and I went to Holden Arboretum to walk some of my favorite trails. My first stop was the gingko tree. I had waited for weeks, since Autumn began, for it to make the annual transition from green to golden. Last week before the wind, rain, and even a few snowflakes moved in, I finally saw what I had been waiting for. That’s when I took the picture at the top of this page. Unfortunately, here is what I saw yesterday when I rounded the curve in the trail and stood beneath its branches:

2016_11_22_places_holden-arboretum_0002-edit
Gingko tree on November 22, 2016

The weather had taken a sad toll on my beautiful tree, and I will have to wait another year to see it in all its glory. Thanks to this blog, I can see it in living color any time I want to revisit my “Color Me Autumn” blog posts.  😊

After taking several pictures of the gingko ,  I continued along the trail, pausing to take pictures of some of my favorite spots. But before I share the gallery of those photos, I want to show you another unusual tree, the baldcypress tree. It’s the only tree I am aware of that is noted for its knees. That’s right, knees. Take a look at the picture below. Do you see the knees?

2016_11_22_places_holden-arboretum_0047-edit

They are those little stubby growths that almost look like large stones on the ground to the left of the two trees. According to Wikipedia…

A cypress knee is a term used in the biology of trees to describe the distinctive structures forming above the roots of a cypress tree of any of various species of the subfamily Taxodioideae. Their function is unknown, but they are generally seen on trees growing in swamps.

Most tree roots are underground, but, in another source I read, the knees of the baldcypress tree are part of the root system that come back to the surface. You can see these trees and their knees in swampy areas where the baldcypress trees grow. Apparently no one is sure of their exact purpose. If you visit Holden Arboretum and want to see them, take the trail around Blueberry Pond and keep your eyes along the edge of the water. That’s where you will find them. Below is another baldcypress, growing at the edge of Blueberry Pond. All baldcypress trees are deciduous conifers that lose their leaves (or needles) in the Fall.

2016_11_22_places_holden-arboretum_0052-edit

If you look at the ground beneath the tree, and you will see that it is covered with orange-colored needles. I’m not sure why so many ferns are growing there, but I’m guessing the baldcypress needles have something to do with it. If someone reading this blog has the answer, I hope they will tell us what they know in the comment section. That way I can add it to what I have written here. Obviously my knowledge of these unique trees is limited.

Side note: Someone who has taken more biology classes than I have, called me to explain the reason for the baldcypress knees is that the roots of cypress trees are often (or usually) under water where they can’t get enough of the air they need to survive. For that reason, some roots will protrude out of the soil to get air. The “knees” are those protrusions.

Now let’s take a look at the other photos I captured on today’s trail walk:

That’s it for today’s trail walk.
Thanks for coming along.
Trail Walker

A late afternoon surprise

2016_11_13_places_chagrin-river-park_0034-edit-edit
One of the big bucks in Chagrin River Park

Since we turned our clocks back to standard time, I have to watch myself or dark will descend before I am ready for it. Some days I have barely started my trail walk when some photo opps present themselves, and I don’t have enough light to get a good shot. Here is one example:

2016_11_18_places_chagrin-river-park_0032-edit
Two things went wrong with that shot. First off, I was not prepared. I was focused on a cardinal on the fence post right in front of me when this big buck dashed into the scene. I quickly changed my mind and snapped off several shots of the buck. However, while I was prepared to capture a stationary bird, I wasn’t expecting a fast moving buck, so this shot didn’t work because the light was low and my settings were all wrong. The most I can say is that I captured the moment, so I’m keeping the picture. You win some and lose some. The best thing to do is to learn from the “losers” so the next shot will be better.

The big buck pictured at the top of this post was also taken in late afternoon, but that time I was ready. I had watched him follow some does across the trail in front of me, so when he came back across the trail after giving up the chase, I watched and waited and captured this brief stare-down. Success! (Note: I wasn’t close enough to be in danger. The buck was calm,  totally disinterested in me, and I was using my long lens and standing a good distance away).

Here are a few more late afternoon photos from the past week in Chagrin River Park.

That’s all for this post. Sadly, we have nearly reached the end of my “Color Me Autumn” series of posts. I still have a backlog of photos that I haven’t posted yet, but I don’t think there will be many (maybe not any) new beautiful autumn photos.A cold wind has blown in and several inches of snow fell in the area tonight, although thankfully not in our neighborhood.

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

Could we ask for more?

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0001-edit

The day dawned with fog which gradually lifted during the 2 1/2 hours I wandered the trails at Holden Arboretum. After snapping the picture above, I headed down the trail toward the gingko tree.  Eager to find out if it was finally dressed in the rich golden hue I remembered from previous years, I was delighted when I rounded the curve in the trail and saw this:

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0012

and then this:

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0010

…and my heart was filled with joy and gratitude. Could I ask for anything more than what we have already received from this amazing, colorful autumn? But truthfully, there was more, as you can plainly see.

On down the trail from the gingko, I circled Lotus Pond where I captured two more shots of the golden willow to add to the collection I posted last week, showing it from two different sides of the pond.

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0171-edit2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0166-edit

The other area I wanted to explore today was the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden. I have posted a few picture from there recently, but today I decided to spend more time in this area because it is quite large and there is so much to see. Walking along the trail into the rhododendron garden, I was confronted with some large earth-moving machines and a crew of workmen. For several years Holden has been engaged in major redevelopment projects that are ongoing, and the constant rumble of the earth-moving machinery, along with the beep-beep-beep warning sounds reminding walkers to take care, are signs that big things are happening!

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0079
Men and machines at work

While all this activity was happening on the right side of the trail, on the left the scene was very different!

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0081

Past the construction zone, the trail winds through the rhododendron and azalea beds, which will be beautiful in June. Although in November little is in bloom, I spotted a trio of wilted rudbeckias, a startling contrast to the vibrant red and orange tones of autumn.

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0115

It’s time to end this post. If you are still with me, thanks for your patience, but I’m getting weary and you may be also.  I did a lot of walking today , followed by several hours at the computer preparing this post, so instead of sharing all the images that I collected today, I will save some for another day, or maybe even two days, making this post part one of another series.

Here are two more autumn images from the rhododendron garden before I wrap up with something that was a happy and totally unexpected surprise.

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_01402016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0148

Serendipity

As I was leaving the rhododendron garden after taking the picture of that beautiful orange-red tree, I was surprised and delighted to see an Eastern bluebird perched on a limb nearby. So surprised in fact that I couldn’t believe my eyes. Of course I didn’t have the best lens on my camera for catching birds, especially little birds that flit from tree to tree, but I gave it my best shot and managed to get these two pictures:

2016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_01552016_11_17_places_holden-arboretum_0150

Eastern bluebirds aren’t rare in northeast Ohio, but they are migratory birds and many (although not all) of them fly off to a more temperate climate by mid-November. These are the first bluebird pictures I’ve captured this late in the season, so I’m happy to share them with you.

See you soon for another visit to the Arboretum.
Thanks for sharing this walk with me.
Trail Walker

Brrr! I’m not ready for winter!

2016_11_09_places_chagrin-river-park_0002
Walking the trails in Chagrin River Park

Unwelcome changes are coming…and I’m not referring to politics. There are big changes coming in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and even in the White House, but I don’t plan to delve into that subject here on my blog. This space is primarily devoted to my trail walks and the amazing beauty of God’s creation, and on this morning’s trail walk, despite temps that had dropped into the 40s overnight under overcast skies, I found plenty of beauty to enjoy. That’s what I’m sharing today, and I hope it will bring you joy…today and always.

As the picture at the top of this post indicates, I was walking the trails in Chagrin River Park this morning. Wearing a winter coat and hat and definitely feeling the chill, I still enjoyed an hour on the trail. I saw a large buck stalking a couple of does. They were ignoring him, but sadly one doe had a badly injured leg. It looked broken, and that is something I always hate to see. Nevertheless, it was browsing for breakfast, and the buck left it alone. They were in deep brush, so I couldn’t get pictures, but I watched them for awhile.

The little birds were active…and hungry. These birds, the chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, and sparrows live here all year round, but during good weather they are more heard than seen. As leaves fall and the branches become bare, they become more visible. I haven’t been taking bird pictures for much of the summer, but the time has come. The downy woodpecker and blue jay escaped without posing today, but here are a few that did pose:

My walk wouldn’t be complete if I couldn’t find a few landscapes to photograph. Although the colors were considerably less vibrant today, they were still beautiful, as you can see in these pictures I snapped.

And finally, here are a couple of deer I did capture with my camera.

2016_11_09_places_chagrin-river-park_0068

2016_11_09_places_chagrin-river-park_0174

I walked the trail twice before I decided I was ready to go home and make a mug of cocoa. As I said at the top of this post, I’m not ready for winter, but when there’s a chill in the air, I’m always ready for a rich, chocolatey beverage. I make my mother’s recipe for cocoa, using regular Hershey’s cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. It warms me in more ways than one.

Thanks for joining me today.
I hope you enjoyed our trail walk…the first chilly one of the season.
Trail Walker

 

Autumn is rapidly advancing…

…but there is still wonderful fall color for us to enjoy!
Do you have time for a short trail walk in Holden Arboretum?
It’s an easy one. Just click on one of the pictures and stroll through the photos I captured on my trail walk today. Take a close look at the sugar maple tree and compare it to this one to see how things have changed in the past week.

2016_10_28_places_holden-arboretum_0009
Sugar maple at peak colors
Ready to walk? Click on a picture and let’s head down the trail.

There you are! Didn’t I say it would be an easy walk? And still filled with wonderful Autumn hues! I still have one more beauty to share, and it is another of my favorite photo spots in the Arboretum. I haven’t photographed it yet this year, but the time has come…

2016_11_07_places_holden-arboretum_0083

I really don’t have an explanation for choosing that little footbridge as a favorite; it just is…plain and simple! I especially love it in Autumn when it’s covered with colorful leaves. I hope you like it too.

That’s it for today.
Thanks for keeping me company on the trail.

Trail Walker

Late afternoon trail walk

Another post for my “Color Me Autumn” gallery

2016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_0008
I started down the trail around 4:30 pm, while there was still plenty of light. I caught up with my friend Kathy a short distance down the trail, and we walked together for a little while. That’s when I took the picture at the top of this page. By the time I circled the long trail, dusk had fallen, and the headlights on my car came on as I drove home from the park. Here is another picture from the top of the trail:2016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_0008

After Kathy reached her car and we said goodnight, I continued to meander along the trail toward the river, wondering what I would find to add to my Color Me Autumn gallery. My next photo stop was at a deck overlooking the river, a popular access spot for fishermen.  Looking to the right (northwest), I could see, about a mile away, the towers of the Akron-based First Energy plant that stand, tall and imposing, on the Lake Erie shoreline. There is a peregrine falcon nesting box about 300 feet up on one of the stacks that is accessed from a small portal in the concrete and steel-reinforced smoke stack. Since 2005, falcons have nested in the box and hatched chicks each year.

Turning away from the river overlook,  I continued to follow the trail that would eventually circle around and lead me back to my car. The woods along that stretch of the trail were beginning to look “dark and deep” (to plagiarize Robert Frost’s beautiful lines…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.

I snapped one more picture along the trail…

2016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_0042

And then, after about 15 minutes of poking along, I reached the top of the hill overlooking the river.

2016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_0063
Viewing the Chagrin River with the sun behind me.

And it was none too soon because when I turned to look back, I could see that the sun was just beginning to slide below the horizon, and I was just in time to capture some images of the beautiful sunset.

2016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_00642016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_00682016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_00692016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_00472016_11_02_places_chagrin-river-park_0078

We’ve reached the end of the trail. It has been a great evening for a walk, and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. There is still more Autumn color for us to enjoy, so…

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Script Cleveland

A unique Color Me Autumn photoshoot

Early in the summer of 2016, when Cleveland was preparing to host the Republican National Convention, “script Cleveland” signs were erected at three different locations in the city. This week I finally made it out to one of the locations and captured these two shots of the sign. I don’t know who originated the idea, but I love this one with the city in the background, and it has become a very popular attraction with groups of all sizes clustered around the sign. For this photoshoot,  Bob and I were the only people available for the photograph, which was taken by our grandson Bryan.  As the season will soon come to a close and the vibrant colors will fade,  I was happy to be able to add this to my Color Me Autumn collection.
2016_11_01_places_cleveland-sign_0016-edit2016_11_01_places_cleveland-sign_0019-edit-edit

That’s all for today. It’s a brief post, but one I am happy to add to my blog. Hope you like it.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

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.

2016_10_25_places_chagrin-river-park_0030
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:

2016_10_25_places_chagrin-river-park_0003
Looking southeast, with the light behind me
2016_10_25_places_chagrin-river-park_0002
I saw a little bit of blue sky, but the clouds added the most interest.

2016_10_25_places_chagrin-river-park_0007

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

2016_10_25_places_chagrin-river-park_0015

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: