Brrr! I’m not ready for winter!

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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.

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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

 

Late afternoon trail walk

Another post for my “Color Me Autumn” gallery

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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…

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

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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.

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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

Splendiferous

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Trying to think of a good word to describe the view from the top of the Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum, I’ve settled on splendiferous. I wasn’t actually sure it was a “real” word, so I checked the dictionary and discovered that it means, extraordinarily or showily impressive. Its origin is splendor + i + ferous, and it was first used in 1843. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, but I like it, and it perfectly describes the landscape I could see over the tree tops 120 feet in the air. Even under an overcast sky, the rich Autumn hues were impressive.

I hadn’t intended to climb the tower on this visit. It was Halloween, and I had   only planned a short walk in the Arboretum, but when I drove up to the entrance and read the sign announcing the Tower and Canopy Walk were closing for the season on November 1, I knew I had to climb it again today. That’s why, when the person in the booth asked, “Do you want tickets for the Tower and Canopy Walk,” I responded, “Yes!”  Despite the fact that I had already climbed the Tower eight or nine times this year, I had to climb it again today for one final look over the splendiferous multi-colored tree tops before winter.

That’s the last “top of the tower tour” for this season, but I will still post more sights from Holden Arboretum. It is a fantastic place to experience nature. As you’ve probably guessed if you visit my blog often, it’s one of my favorite places for trail walking.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
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

Color me Autumn

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Sitting in front of my computer screen looking at photos of fall scenes posted on several other blogs propelled me out of my chair and out on the trail with my camera. The weather couldn’t have been better for a walk in the park, so here are a few pictures from my very short walk. Take a look at that sky! Maybe it’s just me, but I think it is amazing.

If you have checked out my recent blog posts, the river and pedestrian bridge are probably beginning to look very familiar. Ever since 2002, when they constructed the bridge to make both sides of the river accessible to walkers, it has been a magnet for me. It’s a photogenic bridge in a lovely setting. What more could I look for when I am carrying my camera?

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

Holden Arboretum

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Purple flowers for my purple-loving granddaughter

Friday was a beautiful, sunshiny day…a perfect day to visit Holden Arboretum, so I called my neighbor Marti and asked if she was ready to climb the Emergent Tower. She didn’t take any persuading, so off we went, and our first stop was the Tower with its wonderful view of Lake Erie.

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View from the top of the Emergent Tower
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Marti on top of the Tower

It’s a rare day that I visit the Arboretum without stopping to say hello to the golden willow tree by Lotus Pond. It is one of my favorite places and one of my most photographed in every season.

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Before leaving the Arboretum, we stepped into the Butterfly Garden. I was hoping to capture a few butterfly pictures before the annual migration ended. To my disappointment, I didn’t see any butterflies, not even one, but I did take a couple of photos just to show how beautiful the garden is.

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Waterfall in the butterfly garden
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A bridge on the trail. No trolls live under that bridge, but I have occasionally seen a snake in the vicinity.

That’s the photo shoot from this trip to the Arboretum. I hope you enjoyed the walk. Soon cooler weather will move into northeast Ohio, and we will begin to notice changes in the landscape. I’m thinking it would be a good idea to take a weekly walk and document the transition from summer through fall to winter. Maybe I’ll give that a try! First though, I think I will make another Arboretum visit and add a few more pictures to my “Summer in Holden Arboretum” gallery. See you soon, friends.

Happy Trails to you!
Trail Walker

Lake Erie Bluffs

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Built high on the bluff, overlooking Lake Erie, the new observation tower at Lake Erie Bluffs is drawing large crowds. Knowing that the tower will be crowded on weekends, Bob, Gulliver, and I chose to visit on Thursday morning. It could not have been a more beautiful day. Blue skies and cool temperatures made perfect weather for climbing the tower. The view from the top is amazing. Instead of telling you about it, I’m just going to show you. I took so many pictures I haven’t finished reviewing them all, but couldn’t wait to share some so you can see for yourself what a great experience it is.

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The tower seen from ground level
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Looking northeast…The plume of smoke is from the reactor at the Perry atomic power plant, which is just a short distance away.
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Another view to the northeast
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Looking northwest
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Walking the beach below the tower
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Bob and Gulliver waiting for me to finish taking pictures

That’s the first batch, but I have others that I will add later. The tower is a fantastic addition to an already wonderful metropark, one of many parks in Lake County. The management and staff of Lake Metroparks have done themselves proud. If you are in the area, take a ride out to Perry and see for yourself. It’s open in the evening too, and I can’t wait to go out to see the sunset!

Thanks for visiting the tower with me today.
See you soon.
Trail Walker

The Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower

The third, and last, post of my trail walk at the Arboretum with Michael.

Today’s trail walk starts in the rhododendron garden at the entrance to the Canopy Walk. Both the Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower were first opened to the public about a year ago, around the beginning of September, giving thousands of visitors the amazing opportunity to view the seasonal transformation from the top of the Tower. You can see one of my autumnal Tower visits here. As I did in that post, I am going to let the pictures do most of the talking today.

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The Canopy Walk begins (and ends) here in the Rhododendron Garden
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The incline is gradual.
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When filled with visitors, the walk sways, making it a challenge to take clear pictures.
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You can feel the sway, but it is solidly constructed.

The Canopy Walk is actually a loop.  When you start out, it is at ground level, but gradually climbs until you realize you are walking through the tree tops, looking down on Pierson (spelling?) Creek. When the Walk reaches its greatest distance from the entrance, it loops around to begin the return trip, but first, you must stop and look up because here you have a fantastic view of the Emergent Tower. It’s a great place for a photo opp.

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At this point on the Walk, you can see the nearby Emergent Tower.

Follow the Walk as it loops around, and soon you will find yourself back where you started in the Rhododendron Garden, facing a sign pointing down the trail to the Emergent Tower.

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From here it is only a short walk to the Emergent Tower. If you feel the need to rest before you make the 120 foot climb to the top of the Tower, you can stop at a bench along the trail to catch your breath. And I hope you brought some water. From personal experience, I will encourage you not to make the climb on an empty stomach and always be hydrated. I can tell the difference if I carry water or at least drink plenty before the climb. Maybe that’s just me, but the Tower is 12 stories or 120 feet tall, and that’s straight up! Fortunately there are places at each level to stop, take pictures, catch your breath, and even sit and rest for a few minutes.

Okay, here goes. More pictures:

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Entrance to Emergent Tower, taken in October 2015
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Entrance to the Tower, July 2016
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Looking up as you climb
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Looking down as you climb
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Almost to the top
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Michael near the top
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Taking pictures from the top of the Tower
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Lake Erie and miles of Lake County spread out below you
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Sky, Lake, and landscape

That’s it, Trail Walkers. You’ve reached the top of the Tower. You can take your time up here. Enjoy the view. Take as many pictures as you want. You can even take a “selfie” with Lake Erie in the background. But eventually you have to descend to make room for more people to enjoy the view.

When you reach the ground, you can follow the trail back to the visitor’s center or parking lot, but if you have time, there’s still plenty to see at the Arboretum. It’s a great place for trail walking, with or without a camera, but I guarantee you that you won’t forget your experience at the Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower. You’ll want to return…again and again. At least that was my experience…and Michael’s too. Here’s what he said to wrap up the experience…

“I really enjoyed the Canopy Walk and even wish that it was longer. The Tower was amazing. Despite the somewhat daunting walk up, the view was still worth it. I don’t think I could imagine a better day in the Arboretum.”

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Turtle on a log in the bog

That’s it for this trail walk. Thanks for coming along.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Meatballs, meds, and trail walking

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Gulliver, our senior springer spaniel, has been taking meds for his arthritis and Cushings disease for the last 6-9 months. Not only is he feeling better, but he has turned into an early riser. That, of course, means that his people (that’s Bob and me) must also rise early. Gully has taken to his new routine like a duck to water, but me…not so much. I’m okay when my feet hit the floor between 7 and 7:15, but any earlier than that is “crazy o’clock” in my book. I’m retired, you know, but Gulliver doesn’t seem to realize the significance of retirement.  Most mornings he’s ready for an early breakfast  around 6 am, followed by his meatballs. He loves his meatballs, which I make from canned dog food, the senior dog diet kind. Four mornings a week he gets three meatballs, each with one of his pills hidden inside. For some reason, Bob hasn’t mastered the meatball recipe (clever man), so as soon as Gulliver polishes off the morning ration of diet kibble that Bob poured into his food bowl, he ready for his meatballs. And because neither Bob nor Gulliver has mastered meatball making, that’s when I have to get up. And that, my friends, is why I was in the park, camera in hand, before 7 am to take pictures along the trail. The air was cool and the light was great. I took a few pictures along the river trail and some in the bog. These are my favorites:

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That’s it for today. To my surprise, I enjoyed my early morning trail walk, so tomorrow or another day soon, after Gulliver has his morning meatballs, I’ll hit the trail and see what I can find. My next blog post will be on Tuesday, because I’m committing to a new post from the trail every Tuesday, Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday.

Thanks for joining me today for pictures from “along the trail.”

See you soon!
Trail Walker

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