A new personal best

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I was working on my computer yesterday afternoon when Bob stuck his head in the office door and announced, “I’m going for a walk.”

“Where are you going?”

“To the end of the street.”

Curious at the lack of a definite destination, I asked, “You’re not walking to the park are you?”

“Maybe. I’ll see how I feel.”

Now the park entrance is about a mile from home. Not a long walk, but the longest he has taken since his surgery. So I replied, “Let me know how you feel when you reach Reeves Road please.”

You can’t keep a good man down, and Bob definitely fits that category, so I was not surprised when he called a little while later to say he was heading down the hill to visit with his friends at the fire pit.

Wrapping up my work on the computer (a little sooner than I had planned), I grabbed my camera and car keys and headed to the park where I met Bob at the fire pit.  After I took a few more pictures, we walked through the woods to the Rural Road picnic shelter where I had parked the car and headed for home.

It was a good day for both of us, and definitely more than a few steps forward. I’m not sure how Gulliver would have felt if he knew we were taking a trail walk without him, but he is a senior canine now. Trail walks through the woods are not his favorite pastime these days. For now he’s happy to roll and relax in the grass in our front yard.
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That’s it for today’s trail walk.
Thanks for coming along. ~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

Back Yard Birding and more

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I know some people take their feeders down when spring arrives, but we still like to keep some food and water available for these little creatures. So the other day I parked myself on a back yard bench to decide how to rearrange the feeders, and here are a few of the visitors that stopped in to say hello:

So with all those visitors to entertain me, I stayed longer in the back yard than I had intended, but eventually I got up from the bench and went with Bob to take Gulliver for a walk in the park. There I encountered a few more birds (but no squirrels this time). Take a look at these beauties:

A white-crowned sparrow

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A little yellow warbler sitting on a branch

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A downy woodpecker admiring some yellow flowers

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And last of all, on the trail back to the parking lot, we saw an indigo bunting. 

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With that beautiful bunting, my day was complete!!! The ruby-throated hummingbird at the very top of this post and the indigo bunting are my favorites. I enjoyed sharing them all with you. If you have a favorite, please leave a comment to let me know.

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

Winter walks in Holden Arboretum

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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

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