D.R.O.O.L. – July 2019

Daily Reminiscence Of Our Lives

“When all else fails, take a vacation.” – Betty Williams

7/31

Shockingly enough I did not take any pics today….I checked twice….really. No photos.

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7/30

We had to drive down to Silver Spring this morning so I have looked for suitable parks to do our morning walk at. I was very happy to find Rock Creek trail just 5 minutes from our destination. I was super excited reading up about this 1754 acre park within D.C. giving us ample of miles to discover.

The parking lot we have used is from Freyman dr. right next to East-West Highway. However our joy didn’t last long since the trail is closed for rehabilitation towards the north.

Since I didn’t want to walk over a busy highway ⬆️, we ended up getting back in the ca, driving 1 mile down/south the road to another parking spot at Meadowbrook Local Park/Candy Cane Park.

Mag in Rock Creek

We ended up looping around shy of a mile. Unfortunately the trail here was almost all the way treeless so we had to skulk around as close to the tree line as possible not directly following it.

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7/29

Short morning walk on the trail at Lake Roland.

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7/28

We went doggie beach hunting today. We checked out two of them below Annapolis. Weren’t blown away with either.

Quiet Waters park is just below Annapolis on the South River. The park itself is awesome, we’ll be back to walk the loop. But the doggie beach is super small! There had to be at least 50 people with there 4 legged companions. It was crowded, even though Mag loved it. For some reason entry fee was waived for this day.

The other one was Bayfront Park below Chesapeake Beach city. Parking is ridiculous (26 cars) and the entrance fee is $18/car. The beach itself wouldn’t be too bad, about a quarter mile long – even though it’s narrow – but half of it is blocked off with drift wood. Both sides of the path leading to the beach is covered with poison ivy. Amenities include 1 porta potty. There is a nice boardwalk towards the north going toward Chesapeake Beach city but it was way too hot, sunny to be able to stay on it.

The East coast of the US has 95471 miles of coastline. The internet lists about 25 beaches total on the east coast that are dog friendly. WTF?

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7/27

Morning walk at Oregon Ridge Park

‘Shroom fest

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7/26

Blackeyed susan

Louie

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7/25

Morning at Leakin Park

Vinca

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7/24

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7/23

Dewy crepe myrtle
Halo

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7/22

Back home with his caterpillar

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7/21

Picking up Mag today….

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7/20

Vacation is over, it’s time to go home….

Last picture of the bay

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7/19

Monaco from the water
The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
Fontvieille’s cliff
Full moon from Villefranche-sur-Mer

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7/18

Rovinj, Croatia

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7/177/167/15 – I am sick in the middle of our vacation. Staying in.

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7/14

Driving over to Rovinj, Croatia. This little car can haul! (111mph)

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7/13

Lighthouse, Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat

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7/12

Nice (french city) view from Mont Boron overlook
Fort de Mont Alban, Mont Boron

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7/11

The Casino de Monte-Carlo and the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo
View from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat of Villefranche-sur-Mer

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7/10

Oleander, Bougainvillea, Lantana camara, Agapanthus aka Lily of the Nile

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7/9

Driving over to St. Tropez today for a day of fun. It’s about 2 hours, give and take depending on traffic. We got “unlucky” to hit stop and go traffic on the east side of the bay which is not uncommon. It’s summer time!

Port de Saint-Tropez
This pretty picture sums of the beauty of this small town
Mags French cousin
Streets of St. Tropez
Plage de la Fontanette
Empty street view

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7/8

This is the beach of Monte-Carlo. They have an elaborate plan to fill the outskirts of the beach with sand and build new buildings since they have ran out of space on land. They have started in December and I take pictures of it every time we visit to see the progress.

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7/7

We have arrived in one piece (each).

Nice (French city) Airport
Port de Nice / Port Lympia
Directions
Streets are smaaaaalllllll
View of Villefranche-sur-Mer

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7/6

Flying to Europe from JFK

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7/5

Morning walk through Leaking Park

Wooden instruments
This platform in the tree canopy is part of Outward Bound

Woolly Mullein
My little, surprise seedling tomato plant

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7/4

Insects @ Meadowood

Red milkweed beetle
Cisseps fulvicollis / Yellow-collard scape moth

Bumble Bee
June beetle on milkweed

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7/3

Lake Roland – blue trail – morning walk

Critters

Hickory Tiger moth, Black Leaf-footed bug

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7/2

Soldiers delight

Fresh green
Serenity
Where is Waldo? I mean Mag
Morning rays
Dove

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7/1

Quick morning walk around Leakin park. Tried to squeeze in 1 mile.

Boxelder bugs and their nymphs
Dramatic morning shadows
Black swallowtail

Lake Roland – Lakeside dr. off of Falls rd. – main entrance

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“Forgotten places, Do they wait for us to come and sit there?” – Architha Reddy

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In 2001 I came here with my then employer’s English Bulldogs to go for a walk. Back then, this place was a clustrofuck and anarchy of cars parked everywhere and I managed to bump the Jag on arrival and ended up leaving a ball of nerves, being intimidated by the whole situation. Fast forward to 9/5/19, giving this place another chance, being curious if anything has changed – I am here again.

It did wait for me….and what a change! I am not a firm believer of positive changes I guess.

There is no parking on either side of Lakeside dr. anymore thanks to these wooden posts. Speed bumps have also been installed through this quarter mile stretch, leading to the parking area. I am usually in favor of these yellow suspension killers but these are in need of a little shaving….poor Yoda was screeching over them, even after stopping to tackle their height.

Rules of the park heading towards the lake from the compact parking lot. We have ignored the “pier” and followed the road back to the flood gate to the left.

Lake Roland is a 500 acre park with several easy trails as we demonstrated in previous posts. I found parking on Falls rd. still more convenient but until this day we haven’t seen the serenity of the lake.

The bridge ahead, looking beyond the serene lake

Crossing the bridge over Jones falls leads us to the Nature Center and the beginning of the park. There is a small path behind the building that leads to the light rail and two option to head towards the park. We are heading up onto the right, following the railing dividing the path from the water.

On top of the hill the space opens up to a beautifully maintained park, circled by the paved trail.

We were pleasantly surprised to find Paw point dog park as we were proceeding on our walk but unfortunately needed a permit to enter. Mag got very excited seeing the other doggies playing around but we had to keep walking with disappointment.

Following the trail upward will take us to a right branch leading us to generous steps down into the woods.

Within a minute or two we are crossing the light rail. Being careful we look both ways, snap a pic then disappear on the other side.

The other side of Lake Roland. Looks like a beach but it’s just yuck.

Mag takes a selfie sitting on a stone wall.

We could go all the way to the Falls rd. entrance but turn around at the green trail marking and head back.

Tricks for chicken
The old railroad tracks are still present at certain points

Climbing back up the steps gives us some much needed extra legwork, so I welcome the pain. Mag doesn’t seem that enthusiastic about it.

Keeping right at the top of the steps will take us back towards the playground and the pavilion.

This photo was taken on the foot bridge over Jones falls.

We have made it back after a leisurely 2+ mile walk which we could have stretched to 4 or 5 if we wanted to. Come early enough and you pretty much not going to see any people.

We’ll stick to Falls rd and will walk back here doing a big loop next time.

Have a great week y’all!

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Falls road – Wrights lane (Lake Roland) – Orange trail

We start out as usual parking on the side of Falls rd. following the red trail paint.

This morning one of the houses above the trail draining their pool because it smells like pool water and the whole path is flooded. I have to tippy toe around not to get wet. The morning rays are pretty though.

We are following the orange trail on the right, after we crossed the bridge. We are taking the second “entrance” up the little hill. It will be a quiet walk since most people stick with the main path usually.

Every so often there are reminders of the color of the trail on the trees if we would forget…. Here it’s a slight uphill, both sides covered with running weeds and grasses.

Some flowers are small and some are hiding in all the green vegetation.

Common rose pink, Nettle?

This trail has several elevation and surface changes even though I still cannot say it’s even medium hard. We have to be careful when you get to the basalt stone covered path, can be tricky.

I love the difference surfaces, here there are still small stones covering the path but fallen leaves are starting to hide them.

Fall in August

And here hundreds of roots crossing our path over a small hill to give a little challenge.

And sometimes it’s a man made change over mud.

I forgot to take pictures when we turned right towards back to main trail (red) to get a bigger loop out of today’s walk. But on this pic we are already back on the red where we can again enjoy the trail art.

Spike balls made of sticks
To me this photo looks like the aliens in The Fifth Element
Metal bird sculpture

When the red trail splits we follow the right side to get ahead of some other walkers on the trail. I thought….not with Mag in tow….smelling everything….

Before we would get to the bridge, we take the small path down the water so Mag can take a dip. There are some friends here already!

Spending an extra 15 minutes playing with the other doggies was a blast! Now he is tired, wet and dirty! Let’s go home!

True mileage is 3.3 miles by ResQwalk. This App seems to be more accurate than AllTrails.

Have a great day!

Lake Roland – Blue trail – 3 miles

Entering as always from the Falls rd entrance….at Wrights lane.

Following the trail up to just before the bridge then we turn left and head slightly downhill to the water. Great opportunity for dogs to take a dip under the bridge at the sandy beach.

We will follow the blue trail today which will add up to about 3 miles total. This path is less traveled or popular for some reason. I love that about it because nature is more alive here.

My first find is an ugly little cardinal chick screaming its head off for some food. Still super cute though. I am glad I am tall, otherwise couldn’t have taken this pic.

Heading further down the path, we come across these sculptures. There are 3 of them. You have to go and see the other 2 for yourself.

Mag is so handsome in my humbled opinion that I always catch myself taking portfolio pictures of him….

Just like pretty much every other trail, this gets muddy after rain as well so there are a few places where tiny “bridges” are used to help us cross these areas.

The following about fifty feet gives me a great opportunity to look for all sorts of critters….

Praying mantis, Harvestman, Red eyed moth, tiny fly, bug with eggs, Venusta Orchard spider

The vegetation here is perfect for their needs.

A beautiful specimen of American Sycamore tree.

I think 4 or 5 spots on this trail we get a choice between two possible trails to go around either mud or collapsing cliffs. Here we have dead tree trunks helping us around the mud pit.

We usually turn around when we reach this cute house but the trail continues for a little bit longer. Not much. Maybe few hundred feet.

On the way back we are able to take some pretty pics of native plants and a cute toad hopping away from Mag’s invasive nose. Ending up wedged between small trees.

Beautiful mossy tree

We also squeeze in a quick swim then getting back on the main trail walk to our car. Happy day!

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – Côte d’Azur – French Riviera

For obvious reasons Mag is only with us in spirit on this walk. We miss him like crazy.

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“No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” –Jewish Proverb

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Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat is a 613 acre peninsula. To better appreciate the beauty of Cap-Ferrat and its surroundings we’ll take the approximately 14 km/8.7mile coastal path around it.

We are driving from Villefranche-sur-Mer (M6098) but which ever way we would come from (M6098, M125 or D125) we’ll end up taking M25/Av. Denis Séméria to park somewhere on the Peninsula.

We are parking our car in the open parking area at the Port de Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the corner of Le Port de Plaisance. Make sure you get a parking ticket before you leave (weirdly enough we have to estimate the time we will spend here) and display it in the front windshield. We guesstimated 5 hours.

View from the port

We start our walk to the left, towards the water’s edge, passing restaurants and small shops on the way. At the end we keep left and in about 50 feet we cut through another parking area to the right, through a small playground next to a dolphin statue. We could take a dip here at the Plage Cros du Pin (beach) but instead we will climb up the stairs on the left crossing through the little town: Passable. We follow Av. (Avenue) Denis Séméria after crossing the road uphill a bit, through the little path between the houses staying straight. After passing by a nursery on the right, we’ll have to cross the road towards the portable restroom. Another path downward (Chemin de Passable) takes us to the Plage de Passable. (The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is really close to here. Just another amazing thing to see later.)

The tolerable beach

From here we can either follow the water to the left or walk through the restaurant’s boardwalk to get to a big apartment building on Chemin de Lido. Walk by the monstrosity (compared to other buildings around here) then take the steps downward to the right. Chemin des Douaniers is the coastal path around the Peninsula.

The Celebrity Edge docked in the Mediterranean Sea

Stopping for a sec to take a few pics. From here we can see Mont Boron across and Villefranche-sur-Mer to the right, tucked away in the bay. Cruise ships come and go pretty much every day, docking in the morning and leaving in the evening. Hundreds of smaller ships also anchored in the bay, some bigger yachts even have removable slides to enjoy their own “piece” of sea water 😳.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

The waters are mesmerizing azures and aquamarines.

Pirates (friendly ones nowadays) have been also spotted in these waters even today and used this site as their base until the 11th century (Wiki).

We’re not going to find any sandy beaches around here but the rocks give us the perfect platform to jump into the cooling Mediterranean. The blues of the water the whites of the rocks and the greenery also provides an amazing capture….some would say dramatic.

We can spot Nice from here….looking beyond the cruise ship and Mont Boron….just above the small sail ship to the left ⬇️.

Here is a better pic of Nice from December 2018

I took this Pano at Latitude 43.6841 and Longitude 7.3233 after taking the stone steps down to the tiny cove, keeping to the right and climbing out on the rocks (Don’t do it!).

Here you can see the steps leading down to the cove….

Pic was taken December 2018

The houses on the cliffs above are understated and scream: “Don’t look at me! I am so plain!”….NOT. They all have their own pools and some of them even have heliports. Cap-Ferrat has one of the most expensive real estate in the world.

I find it interesting that even though it’s the middle of summer there are not as many flowering trees and bushes as I was expecting. We have been here in the winter and it had been more colorful then. Also the air is visibly clearer in the winter months (see some of the pics). Could be that temperatures from September through May are more favorable along with rainfall. The cacti love the summer month though. They get pretty big and their flowers are a bright yellow.

Fruit of the Passion Flower, Bougainvillea, Cactus, Acacia

Here you can see the path. I do not recommend to wear flip-flops. There is no fence etc. towards the water, just about a 10 inch wide cement border, if even that. At certain spots the drop can be more than 50 feet through bushes and cacti onto the rocky cliffs.

Several hidden serpentine paths lead down to elevated jumping spots or hideaway pebble beaches. Some are stone but some are just narrow paths through the terrain with roots, stones and dirt.

Small pebble beach location Lat.43.6816-Long.7.3251
Cliff beach with the Corsica ferry in the distance

From the path you can see the steps in the rocks “paving” the way to the elevated jumping spots but it’s not always easy to find where they began. We might have to look for them. This one below is an easy one but will need some biceps to pull ourselves out from the water. See the floating dude?

The lighthouse is located on the east coast of the peninsula and was built in 1862 by the decision of Napoleon III. We yet to climb up to it and explore – maybe next time around.

There is a cooling water fountain at the “base” of the lighthouse still on the trail. Lifesaving…. Lili looks like a homeless doggie, in need of a little break. Don’t feel bad for her though! She had a jumping fest on the beach. We also take turns carrying her when the terrain gets rough.

We are about halfway around.

After our little break we are heading downhill a bit, on a much needed stone trail.

Seems like this plant is taller than the lighthouse

We have reached the southern tip with a full view of the Mediterranean Sea. No beaches here just wave crushed rock surfaces. Most jumping spots are through steps down to cemented small areas. Not all of them have steps to come out of the water though, most of them are private with removable ladders.

There aren’t any vegetation here so brace yourselves walking on the sun for about 15 minutes. Amazing, unobstructed view of the Mediterranean though. With laser sharp eyes we could see Corsica from this spot.

Somewhere around here the trail’s name changes to Chemin de la Carrière for some reason.

I didn’t take a picture of it but at the tip of the Peninsula is one of the most famous hotels in the world, the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat. The pool is visible from the trail with its umbrellas, cabanas and an elevator for convenience.

Docking station or jumping spot?

We are in the last stretch and as you can see the rest of our little troops are way ahead of us ⬆️. They either cannot wait to have some beer or ice cream….or wanna catch those clouds swallowing the mountain tops.

This is one of my favorite panorama pics from this trip with the giant stone graffiti fish in the middle. In the background from the left are the cliffs of Cap-Ferrat, in the middle is Plage des Fosses in the Bay of Lilong and then Cap-Ferrat stretching into the sea again.

Fish close up

Just took this pic from google maps to show you Lilong bay from above.

Before turning right onto Av. Claude Vignon, I have the opportunity to feast my eyes on some beautiful flowers climbing on fences.

Yucca?, Oleander, Purple and Pink Allanda?

While turning left to Passage des Fossès (cut through), the bay is visible and gives a great opportunity to snap a photo.

Well deserved break on a whale’s tail on Av. Jean Mermoz.

Keeping to the left and following the water, we’ll round back to our car.

As you see we didn’t reach our goal of 8.7 miles because we ended up cutting our walk short not going around the protruding east side.

I guess we’ll do that as well as the light house and some other interesting, beautiful, must see spots around here.

We will be back….

D.R.O.O.L. – June 2019

Daily Reminiscence Of Our Lives

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“June is the gateway to summer.” – Jean Morgan

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6/30

NCR – PA line

It’s before 8am and close to the 80s. Mag takes a dip.

As soon as Ollie sees Mag, he approaches us. He has no interest joining just me.

Ollie’s beautiful eyes.

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6/29

Morning walk Lake Roland – Falls rd entrance

Summer heat is killing me…. On the positive side, we are done shopping before 7 and on the trail 20 minutes later.

Morning rays

This cheeky little dove landed right next to me to get some water.

Bridge over Moores Branch

Pooped out

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6/28

Morning walk in Leakin park

Purple coneflower

Red gladiolus buds

Pink gladiolus

Thistle flower with Carpenter bee
Bindweed with itty-bitty worm

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Evening walk

Daylilies in our garden
Plantain lilies at a neighbor’s house

One of Mag’s fave rolling spots

Hibiscus syriacus
Persian silk tree
A tiny hover fly on my buddleja

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6/27

Short morning walk in Sudbrook park

The Mag

Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus)
Wild garlic
Swamp Milkweed buds
Birdsfoot trefoil

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Carpenter bee on a branch at home.

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6/25

Evening walk

Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus)
Carpenter bee on milkweed
Great grey slug (Limax Maximus)
Unknown desert plant

My knock-out rose

Wolf spider
Groundhog with apple

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6/24

Neighborhood walk

Our pleasant neighbors

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6/23

Soldiers delight morning moon

Ruby-throated hummingbird (male) drinking

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6/22

Morning walk on NCR – PA line.

Early enough to be by ourselves.

Daylily, Moth mullein, ?, moss, ferns, berries, ?, ?

Mag and Ollie

Bridge over Prettyboy reservoir

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6/21

Morning exercise at Falls rd.

Got the trail for ourselves

I was able to approach the mystery snake I was talking about a few days earlier. He/she was in the mood to pose for me today before sneaking off into the greens.

Watersnake?

River view

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6/20

Evening walk….

Milkweed pollinator
Before the storm

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6/19

Cylburn Arboretum

Beautiful flowers great us at the parking area.

Moth mullein, wild basil, Linnaea grandiflora, Aphrodite, Japanese meadowsweet
Crepe myrtle, ?, Red hot pokers, Aphrodite sweet shrub, chicory

We are backtracking today, starting out behind the Vollmer building into the woods through Ravine trail.

Few feet after the deer gate, my chase buttons are pushed, looking at a tree with clearly the Pileated woodpecker’s signature on it.

He is actually sitting up above us, chuckling. They should’ve been called road runners.

Ravine trail overlook
Up-up we go
American beech, wild berries, Chicory, Bottlebrush buckeye

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6/18

Lake Roland – Falls rd. entrance

As a misanthrope I can say that today was a crowded day at the path. Counted 3 people on our 2.8 mile walk. Also made a snake jump off a cliff into the water with a big splash. First day – after 2 years 1 month- that I let Mag walk off the leash and he followed me like a champ. Love this little dude!

Suspicious stone (sorry it’s sideways)

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6/17

Leakin park

Just wondering around for a short walk this morning. Humid and hot already @ 8 am….yuck. Mag has found a turtle. (Jeez I sound silly.)

Bottlebrush Buckeye bush

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6/16

Making my breakfast for the next 2 weeks. If I haven’t mentioned it, I am a vegetarian, part time fruitarian.

Who wouldn’t love this guy?

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6/15

Puffy Rice hijacked Mag’s cot

And the others took ownership of the car. Good luck cleaning the hair off of that top, Hubby! Front and center: Pompadour aka Puss in boots. On top right to left: Bagheera, Jaffa and Puffy Rice.

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Soldiers delight – Choate Mine trail

June 26th

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” Summer heat is proof that Mother Nature is menopausal.” Maxine

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It’s 7:30am and already in the upper 70s. We have parked on the side of Deer Park rd across from the overflow parking area since the Nature Center’s lot only opens at 9. Here the car is in the shade until we get back. Choate has two entrances, we’ll be using the further set to get through both grasslands before we bake out there on the sun.

Until we get to the plains the trail here is a bit wild. Since it’s early, I catch all the spiderwebs flexed between the bushes. Lovely.

Here is one I have missed.

Getting over the first grassland takes about 5 minutes. I would melt by that time in the afternoon so I am glad we came early. Depending on the season this area can be full of birds, butterflies and other cute little critters. I can hear a beautiful melody sung by – maybe – an Oriole.

White Ermine moth, Ridged yellow flax, wild berries, Crofton weed

As soon as we arrive at the tree-line, temperatures drop at least 5 degrees. Just before though, we take a small bypass to the left onto a small path taking us down to the creek to cool off.

Walking back to the bushy zone and up the little hill, we get to an “intersection of paths”. Taking the left side again still “climbing” up, will lead us to the small plain.

Crossing this grassland is pretty quick and we will have a nice surprise at the end. Nature presents us with a lush meadow, in the middle is the previously small creek swollen into Red run. It’s still modest in size but looks amazingly inviting.

We spend about 15 minutes here, Mag is fooling around in the water and me just taking pictures. Lovely to be in the shade in this pretty valley, surrounded by ferns, singing birds and all sorts of dragonflies zooming everywhere. Keep looking around for magical deer or at least a unicorn to appear….

Catching back up on the path we have a bit of an uphill, following the red markings on the trees.

Good that I have my eyes open for hidden little treasures along the way, peeking from underneath the fallen leaves. I always hope for seeing wild orchids but any pretty or interesting find will do.

Amanita caesarea
Indian pipes

The only distraction is the far away traffic noise filtered through the woods (795?).

When reaching the top of the hill – parallel some row homes (?) – we’ll follow Choate trail (red) to the right. This section is mostly swampy after rain but now when it’s dry the forest looks younger and lets more sunshine in. I haven’t heard the birds since the creek but here, they are back again.

Bigger branches help to get through the muddier areas

Before we get to the crossroads – keeping right again – I hear deer huffing in the bushes but they stay “invisible “.

This part gets super muddy after a storm. Boots are a good idea.

On our left, there are some fenced in small parcels with audio options to learn about the miners life – back in the days when the area was used for this purpose -, but it’s not in working order. Keeping to the right the gate to the parking area is just a minute away.

Checking Mag for ticks revels 7 bloodsuckers! Ouch!

We have done 2.1 miles in sloth pace. Might be a new record! And it’s still before 9 am. Awesome! Another 12 hours to find something to do…..

Ta-ta!