Walking the trails in Holden Arboretum

This is the first of three posts about our Holden Trail Walk.
More to come next week!

Our grandson Michael is home from Indiana for the week, so he and I planned a trail walk in Holden Arboretum. On Mike’s last visit home, the Emergent Tower and Canopy Walk were closed for the winter, and he has been anticipating a climb to the top of the the 12-story tower to see the view of Lake Erie. Today was the day! Weather-wise, it couldn’t have been more perfect. I’ve climbed the Tower six times, and the view today was the best I’ve ever seen. Take a look:

After our climb, we took a hike that eventually brought us back to the visitor’s center and Butterfly Garden, taking lots of pictures along the way. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time (or energy) this evening to process all of them. All the hiking and climbing depleted today’s supply of both, so this brief post is just a “teaser” because I am going to make this the first of a three part series.

Thanks for visiting today.
See you soon with another post from the Arboretum.
Trail Walker

Spring trail walk in Holden Arboretum

Today’s visit to the Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower marks my fifth time to experience these special features at the Arboretum. Links to those earlier visits can be seen here and here.

2016_05_24_Trailwalk_Holden Arboretum_0028

One of my favorite sights in the rhododendron garden is the gazebo pictured above. Sometimes, when I want to just enjoy the peace of the garden, I will take my lunch and sit in the gazebo.

But today I met my friend Lorna at the visitor’s center where we purchased tickets for the Emergent Tower and Canopy Walk, and we are going to head down the trail to the rhododendron garden. Lunch will wait until after we enjoy the garden, climb the Emergent Tower, and make our way back to the patio at the visitors’ center. If I had special ordered the weather for today’s visit to Holden Arboretum, it would have been for a day exactly like this, so let’s head on down the trail. Click on any of the pictures in the gallery and immerse yourself in the sights of summer in the Arboretum.

I hope you enjoyed your virtual walk in the garden. And I know you didn’t get out of breath like I did when we climbed the Tower! Thankfully they have places you can stop and catch your breath while you enjoy the view on the way up. I needed them! Now it’s time for lunch. Lorna and I brought ours, but you’re on your own! Thanks for joining us for this virtual tour in the Arboretum.

Note: If you want to see my earlier posts about the Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower, click here and go back to last fall’s trail walks with more pictures.

See you in a day or two for another trail walk.
Trail Walker

Winter walks in Holden Arboretum

2016_02_18_Trailwalk_Holden Arboretum_0055-Edit

My project for this week is assembling a portfolio of my winter trail walks . Although I take regular walks in Chagrin River Park which is only five minutes from my home, another of my favorite places to walk is Holden Arboretum. If you follow my blog regularly, you have seen many pictures from my walks along the Arboretum’s trails. Today’s post is a compilation of my personal favorites from the last three months of trail walks in the Arboretum. It is a special place, and we are blessed to have it so close to home…not quite as close as Chagrin River Park, but only about 20 minutes from home to the entrance. So put on your boots and let’s head down the trail for a snowy walk!

As we continue to ease eagerly into spring, I hope you enjoyed today’s wintery trail walk.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

Solitude

I enjoyed a solitary walk in a snow-covered Holden Arboretum recently. For 90 minutes I wandered the trails without meeting another person. Ninety minutes of snow-covered solitude is  a very peaceful experience.  Although the walking wasn’t always easy, the landscape was beautiful. It’s truly surprising how different the Arboretum looks when the ground, trees, and water are covered with snow. Here are a few photos comparing similar locations in different seasons.

First: Lotus Pond, one of my regular stops on any visit to the Arboretum, looked like this when I was there in October.

2015_11_05_untitled_015
Sugar maple and golden willow tree

 

But on this snowy, 20 degree day in February, it looked like this.

2016_02_18_Trailwalk_Holden Arboretum_0052

If I didn’t know that tall golden willow tree was on the edge of Lotus Pond, I might have walked right out onto (and possibly through) the ice.

Here’s another comparison: Blueberry Pond on October 1, 2015 with rocks in the foreground to anchor the image…

2015_10_01_Holden Arboretum_018
Another of my favorite photo spots is the rocks by Blueberry Pond

…and Blueberry Pond in February with the same foreground rocks covered by snow.

2016_02_18_Trailwalk_Holden Arboretum_0034

Just one more comparison. Our grandson Michael walking the Blueberry Pond Trail when he was home for his winter break needed a warm jacket and hat, but he didn’t need boots to hike the trail in that light coating of snow.

2016_01_07_Trailwalk_Holden Arboretum_0004
A brief pause before heading down the trail

Two months later, after a heavy snowfall, this is Blueberry Pond just a few yards to the left of where Michael was standing in the picture above.

2016_02_18_Trailwalk_Holden Arboretum_0009

A blanket of snow changes the landscape dramatically, and it changes what the walker needs to wear.  On this February day, I wore a heavy jacket, a warm hat plus ear muffs, and cleats on my boots. I don’t fool around when the trails are icy and snow covered, but this was a beautiful day, and a trail walk in the snow-covered Arboretum was one of my photography goals for this winter, a goal I am glad that I accomplished.

Enjoy this gallery of snowy photographs:

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
I hope you enjoyed the wintry beauty and solitude.
Trail Walker

Photo Almanac: January 1-8, 2016

A new feature on my blog, the Photo Almanac (originally titled The Week in Review), will appear every week to highlight some of my favorite photos from the previous seven days. While many of them will have already been included in other posts throughout the week, some will make their first appearance in the weekly Almanac. This week I have categorized the selected photos and  posted them in three separate galleries. You can click on any picture to open and scroll through the gallery.

Gallery one: Wildlife

As you know if you have been following my blog, I love being outdoors, and trail walking is one of my favorite activities. It is on the trails in local park that I usually take most of my photos. This week, after experiencing Northeast Ohio’s warmest December on record, things began to cool down. In midweek we had a few very pleasant days with temperatures in the forties and low fifties, but by the end of the week, they continued to drop. Happily (from my point of view) there was little snow or rain and not a lot of windy days either, so I  headed out on the trails almost every day.  My most exciting day on the trails this week involved a confrontation between a red-shouldered hawk and a hapless field mouse, but other critters made an appearance too. All the photos in this gallery were taken on trail walks in Chagrin River Park.

 

Gallery two: Landscapes

Although Chagrin River Park is my most frequently visited place for trail walking, Holden Arboretum is another favorite. At Chagrin River opportunities to observe and interact with birds and other wildlife are plentiful, while at the Arboretum there are seemingly endless trails and gardens, each with its own special beauty. I try to visit Holden at least once a week, and this week I was lucky to be able to enjoy it with my grandson Michael. Here are a few pictures from our visit on Thursday.

 

Gallery Three: Fabulous Friday Faces

In December 2013, I screwed up my courage and began asking  many of the strangers I encounter on the trails if I could take their picture for a special feature on my blog called Fabulous Friday Faces. Prior to that time, when I saw people I didn’t know, I would pass by with little more than a smile and a nod or brief “hello.” I was essentially a solitary walker and happy to be that way. I’m not sure what triggered my decision to change, but, however it happened, I began to pause, engage strangers in conversation, and ask them to pose for photo opps. It was difficult at first, but has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made as a photographer. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I have come to enjoy these brief encounters immensely. Of all the new people I have encountered, only one has refused the request to pose for my camera. Over time, I have learned a lot, met many fantastic people, and become much more connected with the world around me when I am on the trail. I keep an ongoing gallery of Fabulous Friday Faces and an explanation of the process here on my Smugmug site if you want to know more. Here are two new FF Faces that I added during my trail walks this week followed by  a new photo of one of my earlier Fabulous Faces. One of the benefits of the FFF is the number of friends I’ve made. I repeatedly meet some of them in the park, and it’s always a great feeling to see them.

2016_01_08_Trailwalks_CRP_0026
Bill Arotin, Chagrin River Park
2016_01_08_Trailwalks_CRP_0015
Tom Dodge, Chagrin River Park
2016_01_08_Trailwalks_CRP_0022
Joe Morandini, Chagrin River Park

That’s it for this week’s edition of the Photo Almanac. If you have enjoyed this new feature, I would love to hear your comments.

Thanks for visiting!
Trail Walker

Peaceful trail walk in the Arboretum

In contrast to my recent exciting (and slightly gory) hawk and field mouse gallery, today’s photos were taken on a peaceful trail walk my grandson Mike and I took this week. Mike carried his Canon, I brought my Nikon, and on Thursday afternoon we set out for a two hour walk through several of the gardens in the Holden Arboretum. It was a great day, cold but not quite freezing, dry, calm, and blessed by a beautiful deep blue sky filled with amazing clouds. Most of the photos are landscapes, although a few dogs got into the mix because I love dogs, and the Arboretum is a great place for dog walking.

That’s enough talking for now. Let’s head out on the trail and enjoy the beauty of Holden Arboretum. You can click on the pictures to scroll through the gallery and read the captions.

That’s it for today. I promised peaceful landscapes, and that’s what we saw. I hope you enjoyed the trail walk. Tomorrow I plan to post my “week in review.” I hope you will come back to see some of my favorites from the past 10 days.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Autumn’s amazing display

Two months ago, around the end of September, I wondered if we were going to witness the glorious Autumn colors that we have seen in other years. If the amount of light and rainfall has been just right, the display will be eye-popping. This year didn’t start out looking so promising, but it gradually turned breathtakingly beautiful. As an example, here are four photos of the gingko tree in Holden Arboretum, taken on three different dates:

 

 

This sugar maple tree is another example of stunning beauty. On October 12th (top picture), it was displaying some promise, but I was worried that it was peaking and this would be “as good as it gets” for this year.

2015_10_12_Holden Arboretum_253

However, when I returned to the Arboretum 10 days later, I was greeted by this sight, and it made my heart sing.

2015_10_22_Holden Arboretum_007

This is why Fall is my favorite season, and it is a reminder of how blessed I am to be able to take trail walks, especially during Autumn.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today!
Trail Walker

Fabulous Friday Face: Bob

Bob: A fabulous Friday Face
Bob: October 22, 2015

I encountered this week’s Fabulous Friday Face when I made my fourth climb to the top of the Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum on Thursday. I should have posted it on Friday, so I am a day late. Where does the time go anyway? There’s always a volunteer on duty at the top of the Tower, and that’s where Bob was stationed this week. In our very short conversation, he listed four or five states where he has lived. Didn’t like Florida, not at all, but apparently would move back to Colorado at the drop of a pin. He would move there, if he only could, with his deceased wife. Then he would be living in his favorite place with the love of his life. Meanwhile, he is living in Ohio and  doing a terrific job of volunteering at the Arboretum, chatting up the visitors and taking photos of people who hand over their cameras to record the memorable moment. Well done, Bob. And thanks for being my Fabulous Friday Face.

What is your happy place?

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

Lily pads and the willow tree
Lily pads and the willow tree

Whenever I feel the need to get away, I pack up my camera bag, pick up my keys, and head out to the Holden Arboretum. Almost anywhere outdoors with walking trails is a happy place for me, but my first choice is the Arboretum, which has many spots to choose from, depending on the weather, the time of day, and how much time I have to spend there. Quick visits to the Butterfly Garden or lengthy rambles along the trails, the Arboretum has provided many memorable moments for me.

Because it is not far from where I park my car, I almost always visit Lotus Pond (pictured above). The huge golden willow, lilypads, and quiet water, populated with frogs and dragonflies, call out to my camera, so I pause there. It gives me a sense of peacefulness and always provides a digital image or two for me to share with others who might not have access to their own happy spot that day.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: