Making a heartbreaking decision – Pet euthanasia

RIP – Louie XVII of Windsor Hills ✝️ 11/18/19

Louie has been with us for a number of years. Don’t really know how old he is since most of my rescues come when they are already mature. The first time I have taking him to the vet was in 2004. He moved in way before that and instantly became my Mom’s favorite. He “suffered” from Feline Cryptorchidism – Undescended Testicles – which was only discovered 2 years ago. So after arriving to us – since I’ve thought he has been neutered by his previous owner – it wasn’t an emergency to take him to my vet.

He was the last one to hold a grudge against Mag and until he really got worst took every opportunity to show him who is in charge. He also has been very protective towards us. Several times when he thought that Mag was being overly playful he came to especially my “rescue”. Once even injuring my right calf pretty badly in the process.

Even though there were moments when it seemed like even he forgot about being a pain in Mag’s butt. Authority still showing on his face on this pic.

We had a lot of funny moments together too.

Bigfoot
After a wild night out

I was suspecting that something was off for a few weeks but only took the initiative to ask for a blood test on the 1st of November. He had lost a lot of weight and his appetite but was drinking a lot of water. The diagnosis was kidney failure. Even after this we have tried to perform a miracle but unfortunately his time was up.

Fair well my beautiful boy! I’ll see you again over the rainbow bridge once my time will run its course. All of us will miss you tremendously.

About 45 minutes after Louie slipped away to never never land the sky opened up and the sun shone down on us. I knew then that he is smiling at us from beyond the rainbow bridge.

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It’s an extremely difficult decision to take the last logical step after hoping for a miracle but even though as we drive to the vet I feel defeated.

My heart has shrunk to a size of a prune and even though I thought I will not cry I am already sobbing in the car. I did postpone this deed from Friday to Saturday to today because somehow I was hoping he’ll start to eat again and get better. But he was just laying in a carrier (which he has chosen sort of waiting for me to take him already) all weekend without almost any sign of life.

I knew it will come to this when he was diagnosed but I was too selfish to let him go just yet. I feel awful that I took my time but I also feel terrible for letting him go. It’s definitely a no win for both of us.

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Over the years I’ve saved countless cats and I’ve also had to let some “go” when the time came for various reasons. Some got sick, some got old but they all lived a free and wonderful life with us. I carry their memory in my heart forever. I feel though that I carry the weight of losing them as well.

My mind inadvertently drifts to the millions of unnamed shelter pets that are euthanized each year alone in the US. Here I am making a heart wrenching final decision about my beloved cat while people all over the globe toy with dogs and cats lives like they are nothing. (And of course livestock who were just bred to die, to feed the ever growing human parasitic chain. Please keep your comments to yourselves about killing fruits and vegetables.) It’s a crying shame that in the year of 2019 humanity is still so inhuman. Especially with pets who would only give us unconditional love and devotion.

It actually would make more sense to rename kill shelters to slaughter houses. Kill shelter is an oxymoron anyway.

And yes if you guessed that I am not a fan of humanity you guessed right. If I would have the chance to save or destroy the human race like Kim Basinger did in the 1988 movie “My stepmother is an alien”, we would be going down. I will not apologize either.

Look at our deeds throughout history. Look at all the awful things we have done even to our own race – even while I am typing this sentence probably. Not that doing any harm to other creatures on this planet we all call home would make sense to me. Did we learn from the outcomes? Nope. We are keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

I wish I could take away 4 things from humanity….politics, money, sex for pleasure (sorry but it would be necessary to keep especially men’s head on straight) and religion.

This amazing, beautiful, mesmerizing Earth of ours could finally breath again.

At last but not least one of my favorite quotes:

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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RIP – Ziggi ✝️ 8/12/19

I also want to use this post to say goodbye to Ziggi who was part of our family for over 15 years. He and his 2 brothers (Rusty ✝️ and Clorox) started this whole operation or if you will awesome adventure of “cat rescue” aka crazy cat lady (me).

He was the most vocal of them all. Always had something to say. Just a sweet, sweet tiger striped soul. Lots of memories with him make my eyes fill with tears now. I will love him forever!

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This pic is for all the lost souls we have loved and lost and also for the ones that were not fortunate enough the ever know what compassion, love and devotion means. They are in a better place now.

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P.S.: I think we now live in an age where doing wrong should be absolutely unacceptable. We need better and stronger laws period but we need better and stronger laws and followthrough about animal neglect, abuse and cruelty.

I would make pet breeding a luxury with breeders holding special licenses and have all pet owners be registered (it is mandatory in Baltimore city even though I am afraid I am one of a handful of people who actually has them. Who would check all residents for this when this city has way bigger problems.) Also should be mandatory to spay and neuter and microchip all cats and dogs who are part of a household.

I know….utopia is a beautiful place!

“Venting through a blog is also beautiful.” – me

Leakin park – Franklintown loop

10/19 Gwynn Falls/Leakin Park, 1981–1999 Eagle Dr., Gwynn Oak, MD 21207

(Note: unfortunately something happened to WordPress after the last update to my iPad and now I cannot make notes on pictures. Sorry.)

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“Closeness has nothing to do with distance.” – Except today.

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I have planned a new adventure for today but life (aka GPS) has interrupted….

We left early to visit Patapsco Valley State park, the Cascade trail in particular. It would have taken us about 30 minutes to get there but our ordeal lasted more then an hour.

My phone gave me this address – 5103–5113 Landing Rd., Elkridge, MD 21075 – which by the way is incorrect. Not knowing, we drove there. Parking here is limited and on the side of the road with barely any space to walk next to the parked cars to reach the trail’s entrance. I will not jeopardize our safety for a walk.

On the way there I have noticed a cool hanging bridge (actually called Railway bridge) when crossing over Patapsco river from River rd. to Ilchester rd. (name changes on the other side of Patapsco). Even though there is spacious parking on the side of the road, there are prohibition signs to do so. We had to keep going.

Then I thought we can go to Patapsco Valley State park in Ellicott city – 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21043 (it’s a huge park as you see). Well….not so fast! This entrance only opens at 9 am. So….we couldn’t hike here either.

Frustrated and angry I have decided to go home and walk the Franklintown loop 5 minutes from our house in Leakin park. I’ve wished that I could have a crystal ball.

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This time I figured it’s better to drive in on Eagle drive and park at the beginning of Franklintown loop. Saturdays can be crowded at the main parking lot.

After harnessing Mag and locking the car we head right, following the wooden sign. I have never encountered anyone on this portion of the Leakin trails. Looking forward to solitude for an hour or so.

Stone wall in the middle of the forest….

Last time we walked this path the BGE pipeline project ruined part of it. We have actually got off of it, almost stepping on a yellowish colored snake and barely finding our way back.

Now it’s clearly marked and cleared. We have no problem following the blue paint markings on trees. Even though it touches the pipeline’s clearing, right after the small wooden bridge we turn left and get swallowed by the forest.

Cutting through the woods towards the bike trail, we are entertained by falling leaves and chattering chickadees. There is another sound….Franklintown rd. It’s below us on the right and it provides us with a different rhythm. Morning traffic. It’s a cut through to the city for most people living in the area.

Mag is in hunting mode, pulling me behind him. We have encountered so many deer already, their smell he cannot ignore.

The abandoned looking bicycle trail is on our right now as well, running from the beginning of I70. We hook up to it while looking down from about four story high. It’s gradually winds down like a serpent.

This portion of the bike trail is parallel to the road for less than a mile and gets right next to it after passing the first small metal bridge. There is also a cut through on the left before the bridge if we want peace and quiet.

There is traffic barrier between but I usually speed up to leave the traffic behind us.

Running to leave the busier Franklintown rd. behind us we quickly get to the next bridge.

If we keep right at the end of wooden fence, there is a small shortcut trail instead of using the bike serpentine down the hill. This little path will also take us to the old water wheel. Follow this sign.

We spend a few minutes at the wheel taking pictures and smelling everything. We also walk around the wheel on top of the stone surface. After all the wheel has to offer we get back to the path following the river until the next bridge appears ahead of us. Instead of crossing we head towards the small building and keep to the right with the water.

Looking back and ahead on the trail

There are two options of trails to take when we reach yet again another bridge. To the left is Stream trail which will end up where the right trail is going but faster. Stream trail also has a fork in the woods which can be followed to end up at the junction of Wetheredsville and Hutton roads. However we will take the right path onto the bridge and then turn left to also end up just there but walking on paved surface instead of trail material.

You could not guess! Another bridge is just ahead us yet again!

Crossing this one will take us to Wetheredsville rd. aka bike trail. After the bridge there is the wooden passage up to Stream trail through the ridge on the small hill.

Wetheredsville rd. aka bike trail

Gwynn’s Falls is shimmering across the road in the morning sun.

In about a quarter of a mile we could choose to go up on Hutton rd. towards Carrie Murray Nature Center but we walk right up the hill towards Windsor mill road to make our loop extra long through the end of Wetland trail.

View of Gwynn’s Falls from up above

When at Windsor Mill road we hook up to Wetland trail on the left and hike uphill for a bit.

It’s either my age or I am just out of shape. Huffing and puffing. There is a small clearing while crossing Hutton road but we jump back into the woods and on top of the planks of the other side of Wetland trail.

Thankfully Mag caught on a trail of smell and enthusiastically pulls me up the hill. Awesome! Within 5 or so minutes we reach the Nature Center. Take a look at the metal Squirrel and the Praying Mantis giant sculptures while here. There are several trail heads from here as well but we will cross Ridgetop road – leads to buildings – and hop on the Norman Reeves loop across from the parking area.

It only takes us a few minutes to get a view of the grassy field ahead. Walking across it towards the stone labyrinth and the Mansion I catch a deer frozen in time looking at us from the woods. Mag is clueless….

After Mag doing about 53534356227 rolls in the grass in front of the Mansion we get back on track and reach our car before I would grow a beard.

Here is our mapped trail. About 3.8 mile.

I love walking Leakin park. It’s really a nice loop for us on any morning. Hope to see you there!

D.R.O.O.L – October 2019

Daily Reminiscence Of Our Lives

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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

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Note: I have had some trouble with this app since the last update to my IPad from around the 24th. I can upload pictures but cannot always comment on them. Sorry folks.

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10/31

Happy Halloween!

Self made decoration at our shop

Onyx didn’t like me taking his photo.

10/29

10/28

10/27

Pouring rain this morning. We’ve even skipped walking since Mag is not a fan of getting wet if he is not in the tub or a river. I went shopping without him and got soaked thanks to the lack of an umbrella.

After getting home I got mauled by my stinkface then we got upstairs to take a nap. Few hours later, sunshine woke us up. It was 75F and no clouds in sight. CRAZY!

Mag getting some Onyx love….as always.

Chris, my 15 years young white fluffball

10/26

10/25

Chilly morning. I have to remind myself to dig out my gloves. Mag didn’t mind the dreary day and happily walked around in Silver Creek park.

Later on at the shop I dressed him up in his warm hoody to keep him toasty. And adorable.

Little red riding hood

10/24

Seems like Leakin park is becoming our busy day staple. It’s next door so why not?

Intensely staring at the deer
Steaming Gwynns Falls

Bathtime during the day

10/23

Such a gorgeous day! Mid 50s in the morning, upper 60s by the afternoon.

10/22

Rainy morning at Silver creek park. Almost impossible to juggle umbrella, leash and iPhone to take pics.

Water droplet sailboat web

Chinese fountaingrass under heavy rain

My favorite porcelainberries even shinier when wet

Mag after wipe down

10/21

We usually don’t come to the Lake Roland trails after a rainy day but the arboretum is closed today and Meadowood is farther up the road.

Jones Falls is finally swollen to its regular self after yesterday’s heavy all day rain. It also shows on the trail, at several spots the runoffs from higher ground are clearly visible. There are some trees down as well, mostly cleared away already.

Sawdust coloring the trail yellow (middle of pic)

I am a bit underdressed since it’s a little cooler in the woods. It felt warmer at home, in the city, between the houses. Just have to pick up pace and will warm up.

The floodplain on the left has also gotten some much needed water but still not enough for the turtles to come back.

Even though the flow of the water is bigger and faster I still don’t see nor hear either the herons or the kingfisher. Fluffy white clouds running above our heads when I peek through the fading canopy. Fungi and mushrooms are in their element on the wet, mossy ground cover and the long ago fallen and now rotting away tree trunks.

Worms of all sizes scooting by below are feet, trying to get on the other side of the trail. Some of them are victims of ignorant trail users. I am, on the other hand stop and pick up every one of them I can see. Tossing them far away from foot traffic. Even though they flip and flop to escape my beaks (fingers). My mom thought me when I was little that they are very important for the soil. Have loved them ever since.

Lovely discovery awaits us on the elevated portion of the trail, looking down below Lake Roland. Handful of Mallards swimming gracefully while a Great Blue Heron watches over them sitting on a tree stump above the lake. They quite far away from me to take a more presentable photo but I still love this.

We’ve also came across two slugs and a super delicate tiny spider web – sort of giving and impression of being a soap bubble floating in the breeze, reflecting sunlight like rainbow.

This is my fave pic for the day. Trees above us reflecting in a tiny water pond on a leaf.

At the end of this straight I have spotted two kingfishers chattering with each other. They were up high in the trees so I didn’t even attempt to take a photo. But they made me smile. And that was enough for me.

We’ve ended up rounding out at 3.12 miles. Not too shabby for a quick morning walk.

10/20

We got rained out. So we stayed in. Almost. Went to Steve’s in Alexandria 😁.

10/19

I have planned a new adventure for today but life interrupted….read about it here

We have ended up in Leaking park instead, 5 minutes from our house, walking the Franklintown loop. It’s a great trail. Easy and pretty scenic.

The beginning of the trail from Eagle dr.

Mag chasing deer

The abandoned looking bike trail

The Old Wagon wheel

10/18

Interestingly enough today feels chillier than yesterday even though the temperature is the same and the gusty wind is almost gone. It’s also partially sunny today.

More and more sunshine is seeping through the leaves in the forest. We are at Lake Roland.

Playing shadows

Berries

Doodling is harder than it looks!

Turned our to be a gorgeous day.

Mag is taking advantage of the sunshine.

10/17

I think I am in love with autumn. My only enemy is the wind. Details or close ups are out of the question. But the colors are amazing!

Meadowood….

Chinese Silver grass is hard to photograph since it’s always moving.

Porcelain berries are still my most colorful subjects

10/16

Mag needs to be comfy even when playing.

Forecast shows rain from 10AM so we are rushing to Silver Creek park to beat it. Spotted the Bald Eagle again but since it was flying over our heads, picture was impossible.

Dreary but we need the rain!

Pano from the circle

Fall wardrobe

Evening colors after a day of rain.

10/15

Feels little chilly today but suppose to warm up after noon. Walking in Cylburn Arboretum ’cause we have lots to do at home.

I have finally accomplished something visible today. Our driveway entrance.

10/14

Leaking park 1.3 mile loopty-loop.

Flowering Honeysuckle

The forest has started to change.

New art on the trail.

Mag and Toto hanging out.

10/13

We met up with my exwork sister today for a morning stroll in Cromwell Valley state park. Since my knee is not yet hike ready I’ll blog about this amazing place in a later post. Here are some pics though.

Educational board about the stream

The beginning of our 1.7 mile walk

Gorgeous view

Native American campsite reenactment

Puffy Rice and Mag getting cozy the first time

10/12

Oregon Ridge – Miner’s trail in slow-mo. My right knee is still recouping.

Dewy flowering wild flower

Wildflowers are still flowering in the meadow

Handsome Mag

Dried mystery berries

At several spots on the trail these boards gives us an insider view of the past.

I truly love this shorter, more relaxed, small trail with so much to discover! Wonder around with open eyes or you might miss something magical.

Man made bee house.

10/11

Got up early since my hubby will not be at the shop today so I have to fill in. Quick walk in Silver creek.

Sunbathing Yellow-collared scape moth

Waiting for my command

Seed pockets

When my hubby is not at the shop it’s quiet so I took some pics to make time fly faster.

Sleeping cutie

Plum, blue and purple porcelain berries

Porcelain berries after a cooler night

10/10

Uneventful day, spent at the shop pretty much.

Leakin park beauties

TIER beauty

10/9

It’s quite miserable to walk a dog while limping. But it has to be done.

Amur peppervine

Red-shouldered hawks

10/8

We did get some rain finally, after more then a month of drought.

I’ve managed to slip on one of the wet wood barriers at the mini train track in Leaking park. It wasn’t pretty. The wind was knocked out of me after a huge thud, hitting the gravel with my right side. Even though a couldn’t move for a minute the only logical thing I could actually do…..is quietly, miserably laugh….in pain….go figure. My right knee is scraped up and feels like my whole lower leg got twisted. And we still had a half of a mile to walk back to the car. Yippee!

Daddy long legs

Another unidentifiable plant with fruit

Passing clouds

10/7

Got a day off today and did some much needed yard work. Rain is coming….supposedly.

Christophoro

Garden snakes and curious Mag

10/6

I have soooo many things to do today thanks to the turn in the weather. It’s finally doing season! Convenience wins out today, so we are heading over to Leaking park.

The art trail always has new art displayed

Am I the only one who sees a face?

We are within city limits so it’s so refreshing to only hear crickets around us. Lots of loud crickets. Pretty awesome.

Three bridges

Crayfish in Dead run

Crazy S-es bike trail

Lavender

10/5

Cylburn Arboretum is always a good idea for a quick walk.

Grasses

Portion of the trail

Fallen leaf

In the evening we head over to the Damascus area and stop for a short stroll in Oak Ridge conversation park. We only do 1 mile since it’s just before sundown.

Vinyl on a tree

Giant hedgehog in the creek bed

Soybean plantation under the power lines

10/4

Since we had a vet appointment this morning to drop off Silver for some much needed TLC we are doing our morning walk at Meadowood park.

Seeds before dropping

Milkweed seeds

10/3

Gorgeous day today. Still in the 70s but there is a light breeze and the rain is misting. My favorite!

Tiny triple decker spiderweb

Empty Monarch cocoon

Yellow-striped grasshopper

10/2

I spoted a tiny but mighty mantis on the bird feeder stake at home. It looks like he is doing yoga.

We are sticking with the Lake Roland trails because of the heat and work arrangements this morning. Insane heat today 94F….crazy.

The forest is quiet, I can still spot the Kingfisher but not the herons. There is a gorgeous crow bathing in the river. We meet a few doggie friends on the path and Mag takes a – possible last – dip in the water.

10/1

It still in the 70s today so we are heading to Lake Roland for our morning walk. Autumn is definitely here with the changing temperatures overnight. Leaves are falling continuously like magic dust as we walk along.

On the straight here up between the marshes I notice 2 Great blue herons on the right. One is farther in but this one is standing in the “puddle” of small water next to a swimming turtle. There was also a Kingfisher in the trees but I couldn’t take a photo. Even though we had some rain yesterday after not having even a drop for over a month it disappeared into the dry soil. The marshland farther from the river is totally dry. Turtles moved over to the other side to get some tiny water. As we approach the river I notice Blue Jays having a heated conversation, almost commotion up high in the poplar trees. We both look for the water snake at the bridge but I guess it’s too cool for him already. On the way back from our mile loop we stop at the river as per Mag’s request. These are the last few days that he can still enjoy a swim.

South Branch Patapsco river

9/22/19 Sykesville – River rd. – side of street parking – 6 miles

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“Sometimes you need to get lost to find your way.”

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I was on the way to look at some properties around Damascus and looked for a suitable park to do our daily walk. After 2 detours we got to this location. We had to park on the side of the road since River road was closed from both directions. I ended up just ignoring the road closure sign from Sykesville rd. and drove in anyway. Parked at one of the off branches of the trail.

I am glad I wasn’t discouraged by the closure! Wonderful trail!

0.4 trail on this pic is not our actual trail!

We’re heading to East following the trail next to the river.

South Branch Patapsco river is about 20-30 feet away from the road making it easy for us to access the wonderfully cool liquid. Mag off course had to take a dip right away.

As we climb back on the narrow trail, zig-zagging through the woods we encounter our first human of the day on a bike. Stepping aside on the foot wide path we let him pass. Keep following the big right bend we start climbing upwards, looking down on the river in the distance now. The ground-cover is some sort of grass, reminding me of short bamboo. However, these have millions of tiny seeds, covering Mag’s face after dashing through it. They are making sure they’ll be carried far and away to be spread.

This is such a wonderful change to our regular trails. It is definitely more of a hike. Ups and downs. Loving it!

Obviously after heading up we also have to descend. At the bottom there are several smaller creeks feeding into Patapsco river. Since it’s pretty warm we turn left and visit the water so Mag can cool off again.

I would love to cross to see the pebbles on the other side but the water is too deep and I don’t feel like taking off my boots. Maybe next time.

Interesting objects always captivate me. Like this cracked rock within the vegetation.

Getting back to our planned trail, we walk away from the river for a few minutes until we meet again.

I have barely missed tangling up this beautiful orb weaver’s masterpiece in the middle of the trail. Took me about ten minutes to take this photo thanks to the light breeze.

The trail continues next to the river but we have to turn right on another path to make our loop back to the car. Following the forest trail we must cross this off branch creek, feeding into the main water.

Small mushroom colonies are easy to spot within the forest’s ground cover. They love mossy, wet, dead tree trunks.

I feel like a have won the lottery when I come across this horse shoe! Carefully attach it to Mag’s treat bag since it still has all the nails. Will be cleaned and I will hang it in the kitchen for good luck.

Being in the woods is greatly appreciated when we hit the clearing I thought will be just another perpendicular trail. It is actually an about 50 feet cut through the trees for fiber optic lines. And man! it’s hot out on the sun! I feel like we are climbing a mountain even though it’s probably barely a 3% elevation. Dragging my feet, looking for our trail to appear on our right. When it finally does appear, Mag runs into the welcoming shade like there is no tomorrow. Few minutes later he is laying in an inch deep tiny creek, trying to cool off.

After a few minute break we continue on our quest and I feel like getting rewarded because the trail turns into a well kept, mowed, 8 feet, shaded highway. On one side the forest, the other side lots of milkweed. Seeding off course….

Mowed highway on right

Who ever lives out here….Thank you for maintaining this part of the trail so beautifully! For about a half a mile it’s such an easy walk. We needed this short break from hiking through the woods and then climbing Everest.

When we spot the start of a fence up ahead it’s time to jump back into the woods towards the right. Walking just a for a few minutes we come across another feed creek and then we are back to our original trail close to the pebbled beach.

Privet Hawk-moth caterpillar

We keep to the left following back on the trail, going through yet again the seedy grasses. I am glad the river awaits us at the end so Mag can wash himself off. As we ascend, I grab my hoodie I left on a tree when all the sudden it got hot at the beginning of our walk. Thankfully it’s still here. Along with some critter that stings me in the middle of my back! Ouch!

We come across 3 – YES! three more – people before getting back to Patapsco river, where Mag joyfully takes yet another dip.

As you can see the difference between the two Apps is almost 0.8 miles! In my humble opinion that’s a lot. So I am drawing a line in the middle, estimating this hike 6 miles long. Wonderful six miles!

We have truly enjoyed this hike! Hope you’ll try it too.

Have a wonderful week folks!

Prettyboy Reservoir Park – South

9/14/19 Masemore rd. Parkville 21120

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“What if that change you’re avoiding is the one that gives you wings?” – Laurie Wallin

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There is a special “treat” for us today. My husband is joining us! Which means I can mostly concentrate on taking pictures. Awesome!

We’ll head towards North from Masemore rd., jumping on the trail on the left side of the green metal bridge. We are following Gunpowder Falls until it abruptly changes directions to the North-West, then we’ll head back up the hill towards the parking area. The trail itself can be challenging at times (I have slipped off of it and ended up on my booty) being narrow, overgrown and on several sections we have to climb basalt boulders to follow the river. Excess to Gunpowder is pretty much continuous.

This portion of this particular trail is so magical that I cannot say enough about it so I’ll let the pictures talk. You must visit to fully appreciate this beautiful park yourself.

Our view in the first hundred feet.

So many opportunities to capture the beauty around us.

Mossy tree trunk, Aster, ‘shrooms

Falling leaves scatter the lightly cascading water.

Access to water is plenty to the right from the main trail.

Misty fog was covering the water’s surface all morning.

Bit overgrown

I had to climb out on this interesting rock formation stretching into the river.

Another green bridge is visible at Falls rd.

Pretty finds in the woods.

Wild berries, Red clover, more wild berries, Common self-heal

At the Falls rd. bridge

Happy puppy smiling.

Mossy rocky overhang.

Great example of the rockier part of the trail.

We are back down next to the river, taking advantage of the cooling waters.

Amazing nature finds.

Closed bottle gentian, Imperial moth caterpillar (huge), ?, Common self-heal

Rock hill.

Another mesmerizing misty-foggy river shot.

Small cascades.

So Happy! Daddy is throwing small rocks and he runs around with joy to catch them.

There are so many tiny jewels around here. I love small details like these next focal points.

Cannot identify, red berries, tree fungus, Lycoperdon pyriforme (I think)

Crossing under the power lines are not my favorite thing to do.

We have returned safely to our origin. I got swept away with excitement and forgot to make a screen shot of the map and distance.

Sunflower variety at the foot of the bridge

Our loop was about 3 miles long. From that we have followed the river for about 2 miles and then cutting through the forest on the way back for a mile.

Just an absolute gorgeous and relaxing hike! Love, love, love it!

See you again soon!

Thank you for reading!

Oregon Ridge park – Miners trail – 1 mile

9/11

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NEVER FORGET!

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I thought this morning that we’re gonna start on Miners trail – since we have never done it – and since it’s only about a mile, we’ll just catch up to the main loop at the end. Wrong! This trail is super short but it’s action packed and so lovely that we spent our whole time here taking pics and sniffing everything!

We pretty much always park at the main parking lot at the visitor center.

This time as we pull up to the parking spots, on the top of the hill I just pull straight into the closest spot since the trail starts closer to the entrance of the park anyway. Walking backwards toward Beaver Dam rd., just before the bridge, on the left, we can see the sign for Miners trail.

There are quite a few ruins here. Mostly old tenant’s houses for the Iron Smelting Furnace from the 1800s. Other original buildings are still standing closer to the visitor center.

Mag being nosey

Keeping to the left we come across a wooden platform explaining and highlighting this small community from the past.

I must say it’s very educational.

Following the path we pass by another ruin and behind it an awesome treehouse. It is not accessible but cool to look at and a great topic for this shot.

Looping back to the trail we have two paths to follow. We choose the bridge across Oregon Branch. Little unorthodox, but its a very sturdy, handmade bridge. Mag has chosen to cross in the water.

After about 30 feet we are out of the woods and into a beautiful meadow full of wildflowers and high grass.

We are turning left, following a hunch. Later on it turns out it was a good decision.

There are so many gorgeous late blooming wildflowers around us but it’s a bit breezy and so it’s challenging to photograph them.

Jack in the pulpit seeds, dried seeds, tears of angels 🙂, Nuttall’s lobelia

Mag definitely enjoys the tall grass. Every few feet he rolls around in it or goes to discover new smells far into the field (8 meters far).

Cutest face ever!

This pretty big meadow/field is home to countless man made birdhouses scattered along the path. All but about 3 has eggs in them. One each.

The trail follows the tree line until getting close to Falls rd. on the east and than loops next to Shawan rd.

We have come across some interesting critters as well.

Lima’s Maximus x2, Milkweed bug, Brown Marmorated stink bugs, tiny snail on broken eggshell

Mag pretty much would get lost in the sea of tall grass and wildflowers without the leash.

There are literally thousands of drying Black-eyed Susans, sunflowers and coneflowers when the path winds next to Shawan rd. I cannot take enough images, I feel like I am missing so many beautiful shots.

It’s about time that Mag investigates the bird houses. He has been so busy with other aspects of this amazing field that he has just noticed them.

Walking on the lawnmower made path we pass the west side of the field where the community garden is located. Spotting a Red Shouldered hawk while doing so, flying high above us. When we reach back to the tree line we keep right, getting back to the little bridge across the stream.

Crossing Oregon Branch again we still keep towards the right, meeting some birdwatchers on our way towards the visitor center. No wonder there are people here enjoying watching birds, the air is filled with their beautiful songs.

Walking pass some fruit trees – ok, crabapple trees – we catch a glimpse of the vegetable gardens of the center, along with the bird run. They have some wild turkeys, chickens and a gander. In the distance the educational kid’s playground is visible.

The building hiding on the left is a kid’s pavilion.

We turn to the left, taking the little people educational path. These boards changing periodically, sometimes telling a story but now it’s about our solar system. Super cute and very smart addition to our walk.

From here we can look back at the treehouse in the distance.

Just before we would reach the car I come across these berries and just in time realize they are the fruit of poison ivy! Yikes! They kind of look like currents.

I was so desperate to get Mag cleaned and leave that I forgot to take a picture of our loop. Thankfully when I register our walk at ResQwalk it saves it.

We have done 1.03 miles in sloth motion. Had a great time and took a million pictures.

This is definitely a lovely short path and would recommend it especially if you have kids. Very educational but super fun out in nature. Easy too. Well maintained as well.

Have a great week!

D.R.O.O.L – September 2019

Daily Reminiscence Of Our Lives

🎉

“Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul…” – Peggy Toney Horton

🎉

9/30

Today was a little bit mixed up. First we went to work, then walk then within an hour back home. The weather was so amazing that we have decided to work on the cat houses. Finished 6 of them. Few more to go.

Onyx

Puffy Rice

Yaffa

9/29

Cylburn Arboretum. “Falling has started.”

9/28

Oregon Ridge park 4 mile big loop. Hot, hot, hot….

Giant cardinal

9/27

Silver creek park short walk again, since we have to be at the shop today. Tommy is at VIR, having fun.

We have just parked the car and headed to Gwynns Falls when a Bald 🦅 glided right next to us above the water. I couldn’t take a pic since I was not excepting this and had my iPhone in my pocket. Next time though…..I’ll be ready.

Black and white portrait of Mag

Orb-weaver

Porcelainberries in morning dew

9/26

Silver creek park

Burnweed

Dewy milkweed bug

9/25

Leakin park

Morning shadows

Felt mushrooms on the art trail

Seed-pockets of dying flowers

9/24

Cylburn Arboretum

Sleeping beauty

I am onto the deer, mom.

Fallen chestnut

Chess peekaboo

9/23

Leaking park

Lavender and bumble bee

Osage orange

Chestnut

9/22

Patapsco Valley State park

Unidentified wildflower/herb

9/21

NCR PA line

Confused Redbud tree

Pearl crescent butterfly on Rough Boneset

9/20

Silver creek park

Chicory

9/19

Late summer shots at Leaking park.

Hibiscus syriacus

Yellow swallowtail close up

Black-eyed Susan corpse

Honeysuckle

9/18

Lake Roland park

Fishing spider?

9/17

Sleeping beauty

Some sort of fruit tree

9/16

Best location to shoot porcelainberries is Meadowood park. For some reason here they are so much more colorful than at any other place.

Aromatic aster

My other faves: milkweed bugs

9/15

We have discovered a tiny parking area – 5 cars max. – to reach Prettyboy Reservoir park from right next to 83 on Mt. Carmel rd. so we are up to a quick walk.

Entrance to the park

Mingo Branch

Enjoying the forest

Laurel Sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae)

As you can see our quick morning walk became a 3.17 mile, hour and a half hike thanks to AllTrails false trail listings. I wanted to make a loop but ended up turning back since there was no trail entrance from Bunker Hill rd. and I was uncomfortable walking on a paved road with traffic. See attached map. 😤

9/14

Saturday – Prettyboy Reservoir Park- North

9/13

Random pics taken today….

Jaffa drinking from the gutter hose

The hummingbirds are still here. This female was hovering a few inches from my face to check my intentions. SLO-mo so wait it out.

Cicada chilling on a tree

9/12

Walking our short 1 mile loop within Cylburn Arboretum. It’s fun and shady….they predicting another hot day today.

Mystery tiny flower

Lacebark elm tree

Horse balm

Small spydie

So kissable

Love their Marty Feldman eyes

Pepper on the stretcher

9/11

Visiting Oregon Ridge park this morning and more specifically the Miner’s trail. Fabulous! I have taken so many pictures of this one mile walk I have decided to post as it’s own trail. Most of the pics didn’t make it in there though.

Abandoned miner building

Unorthodox bridge

Meadow

Egg in one of the bird houses

9/10

Quick one mile walk is the highlight of our morning in Leakin park.

9/9

Sudbrook park – Gwynns falls stream – morning bath.

Simone

9/8

We start our day at a new location, discovering Prettyboy Reservoir park, north of Baltimore. We are in love with this place!

Gunpowder falls

Jungle path

Mossy fallen tree trunk

Crossing Gunpowder falls by (wet) foot

Artichokes and garlic mayo for dinner

9/7

Beautiful morning walk at Soldiers delight.

Spiderweb?

Awkward future

View from unicorn meadow

9/6

Porcelainberries

The hummers are still here!

9/5

Leakin park

9/4

Walking another section of NCR today.

Gnome land above Graystone rd.

9/3

Going to Roland park for a morning quickie – walk, that is.

Happy puppy

Funnel weaver grass spider, Spotted Orb-weaver

9/2

The day after our trip. Mag loves to come back to his crate!

9/1

I only took a few pics today since we are leaving and it’s still hot. Had to pack up the circus….

The Lodge

One of my fave subject on VIR

Prettyboy Reservoir Park (9/8/19)

Gunpowder south (blue) trail – 5.41 miles

🚘 Masemore rd. Parkville 21120 🚘

🌿

“Happiness is a long walk with a friend (- Mag in my case).”

🌿

I thought I’ll be smart coming here this morning because it’s a wonderful secret location, no one knows about. Wrong! Yes, parking is limited (less than 10 cars) but I thought we were special….

Anyway, I made it work, parking crooked and not in a real spot. Sorry.

How to get here? I83 North – Mt. Carmel exit west – turn right on Masemore road, drive about a mile until the road narrows at the stone house, parking is before the metal bridge on the right. There are some additional roadside spots after crossing the bridge as well.

I have stopped here before, years ago but never actually took on the trails. Now I feel like it was a huge mistake and precious time wasted to enjoy this beautiful location. Most men come here to fly-fish on the lazy river but we are here to hike the amazing web of trails.

There are a few small beaches on the river directly from the parking area, convenient to take some pics or to dip your doggie on a hot summer day.

We are hiking the blue trail, towards the south. We have to cross Bush Cabin run, just follow the sign for Gunpowder South trail on the right side (if you parked head in) of the small parking area.

The trail follows the river for a while, never getting too far from it. Everything is lush green with high weeds and fern. Very jungle like (to me at least but I have never been to actual jungle).

The trails’s surface is pretty rough with lots of rock fragments, roots and fallen trees. We both have to pay attention to where we step to not to fall. At several spots the river is right next to us with a 6 foot drop from the path.

While taking a picture of this huge fallen tree I haven’t noticed a beautiful 4 feet tall blue heron standing on it (look closely in the middle of the pic, right where the lighter trunk starts out from the roots) on the other side. After I was done taking the picture I have put my iPhone away to concentrate on where to step and watch Mag as well. That’s when I notice the gorgeous bird standing there about 20 feet away from us, looking puzzled. I have missed the opportunity to take a shot at it while standing there but was able to capture his flight.

The trail is pretty rough, rocks, roots, etc. and now that it’s fall with all the fallen leaves it’s getting more slippery too. We have to be careful.

When we got to this split I have checked AllTrail to see which route to take. Decided on the right side, up into the forest, to make our walk the longest possible.

I am glad I’ve chosen this hilly and beautifully dense forest path.

Mag goes crazy here for a few minutes, smelling deer stench in the air. They have to be really close, hiding in tall grass or under some bushes. The smell is unmistakable. Distracting Mag by turning left at the fork, getting to this little creek, Mingo Branch. Good opportunity for him to take a sip and cool down. The tiny rapids are beautiful to look at, cascading down in this massive rock bed.

There are a lot of crossroads on these trails, so it’s definitely a good idea to use GPS. Several times it helped me find the path I wanted to take, instead of wondering aimlessly following just my gut. Thanks to some of the marker posts every once in a while it’s a bit easier to get around. We keep following Mingo Fork trails here to the left.

Few minutes into climbing up on this moderate hill with lots of rocks and roots we notice these deer feeding post looking things. Then I remember seeing a sign out on Bunker Hill rd. (we’ll cross it in about a half a mile) for an archery range. So that’s what these are, practice posts.

When we reach the top, to our surprise, there is an outhouse. Pretty neat. There is also a small pavilion with picnic benches for the archers, I suppose.

We are keeping all the way to the top, sort of right form the other paths to make the longest loop possible passing by the pavilion. The trail here runs right next to I83 under a beautiful allée or avenue of tall trees. Unfortunately the traffic noise is pretty loud here. The scenery is still very much enjoyable and Mag takes his time to roll in the high grass as much as possible.

Another 10 minutes and we’ll get to Bunker Hill rd. It’s a very quiet road since it’s a dead end. At this point York rd. is just a stone throw away on our right with the I83 cross bridge visible. Lots of hikers, walkers, horseback riders just park here on either side of road and start their short journey from here.

We carefully cross over and disappear into the woods on the other side. The trail here heads surprisingly downhill until we get to the riverbed on the bottom.

We pretty much make a 20 minute loop into the forest from where we have crossed over Bunker Hill rd. because here we go again meeting the same road at the end of it. It finishes into a pretty nice sized paved parking lot (50 cars?).

Walking through it, heading towards the metal railing, we once again vanish into the woods. Taking advantage of the paved trail – with small speed bumps – keep heading downhill yet again. It’s wide enough for a good sized pickup truck.

The air is saturated with the smell of fallen pine needles, making me think of Christmas right away.

At the end of the winding path there is another restroom but this one looks like a gingerbread house (I know I will whistle Christmas jingles from here on).

I made the mistake to believe AllTrails that we can cross the river here and followed the smaller but still paved path to the right passing by the restrooms. Don’t be fooled! You will see a huge “bombed” bridge and this little wooden path over a creek.

After crossing the little one we had to turn back ’cause I’ve realized we are heading to east and there is no way to cross Gunpowder Falls. Later on a friend was telling me the bridge has been gone for like 20 years. The weird thing about this is, that the blue trail still goes around like we could actually get there. Well, we will but not really the safest way possible….

Finding a spot on the river where the water seems shallow enough is tricky. First I am thinking taking by boots off but looking at the mossy rocks under the water’s surface makes me change my mind. Slipping on those while I hold my boots in one hand and holding the leash in the other would be disastrous. The possibility to ruin my boots makes my face cringe but my desire to cross is deeper.

Woah. Half way over and it feels like a really stupid idea….the water comes up to my knees, Mag is pulling me in all directions and the current is surprisingly strong. We make it through though!

After dashing through tall grass and scooting under all sorts of bushes we catch the elusive blue trail again.

Following the bend of the river we come across these massive and beautiful rock walls, overlooking the lazily stretching water with pretty pebble beaches down below.

I take a few minutes on a horizontal laying dead tree to take off my boots to try to get rid of the frogs inside. No avail. They are staying for now.

Few minutes later the trail becomes more like a deer path and I can just hope that we are still on the blue trail. We cannot see the river anymore the vegetation is sky high and dense.

Thankfully it only lasts for about 10 minutes before it clears out again to at least first hear the water then even see it as well. Mag has an other opportunity to go swimming.

Even though the trail follows and unfollows the river from here on, it’s never far away and in about 20 minutes we have visual of the bridge where we’ve parked at.

After crossing it to the left – carefully watching for 4 wheeled traffic – we take refuge in “Piroska”. Throughout toweling off Mag and then getting rid off my croaking boots I make sure I have pictures of both maps. They never agree on the distance.

We are blissfully tired but I am sure we both can agree that this one of our fave trails so far.

We’ll be back soon!

Here are some extras 😉

NCR – Weisburg rd. to Frederick rd. – North

9/4/19 – 4.56 miles

🎂

“Country roads take me gnome.”

🎂

It is my birthtoday so I am treating myself with NCR. It’s always a good idea! Mostly empty – especially in the mornings and on the weekdays – and such an easy walk. No elevation changes and the trail is a crushed stone and dirt so it barely gets muddy. Except when there is torrential downpour and Gunpowder Falls floods the surrounding areas.

Continuing our quest to map the total length of NCR we are picking up where we left off about 10 days ago. We park “Piroska” at the White Hall parking – little – lot and start walking north.

I like to take pics of the historic looking road signs along the trail. Gives me a better feel for direction or whereabouts when I am writing the post.

There are still a lot of critters and flowers to discover in the fall so I always keep my eyes extra open!

Stink bug nymph, Spotted cucumber beetle, bumble bee, ladybug

Leaving the parking lot and walking about 500 feet we have to cross Wiseburg road….be very careful! I have noticed that cars go much faster than the speed limit and lot of times do not slow down at the crosswalk.

Pretty quickly we’ve reach the first mile marker from our starting point. Mile 11.

Here are some of the critters we laid eyes on. Identifying them is hard and I ended up giving up on it.

20 minutes later we are at Graystone rd. which is much easier to cross being more like a side road. The time we have spent walking up here is only realistic if you have a dog with you.

There is also a bridge at this crossing and Mag longingly looks at the water. I tell him a little bit farther up we’ll go in.

Few minutes later we cross yet another bridge where the old railroad tracks are nicely preserved and visible.

After passing the hairpin curve of Graystone road there is a cute surprise waiting for us. Gnomeland!

There are lots of funny remarks and signs here, take your time to read them all.

Most of today’s walk is thankfully lonely.

Its easier to deal with Mag since he especially loves other dogs but likes to say hi to people too. Even though I always have chicken with me to distract him, it doesn’t always work. It all depends on his attraction to the other object.

Like mine to wildflowers 🙂.

Jack in the pulpit, Sunflower bud, ?, White turtlehead

Along the path at one point there is some thick, motor oil looking mud and I make a mistake to photograph flowers instead of watching what is Mag doing….he ends up with mud boots. Looking deeply in remorse….but don’t let him fool you!

Accept the free mud boots the walk is pretty uneventful and we reach mile 12 in an hour.

Even though there are plenty of opportunities to be an arm length from the water there are not a lot of trails down to it. At this covered picnic table we can finally descend, very close to a natural small cascade.

“Little falls” – official name of river before it flows into Gunpowder Falls – is pretty deep and stony so I don’t let Mag off the leash here.

About 70 feet away from here there is an overlook to the “waterfall” along with this cautionary sign. 😵

Now we are being more careful where we go and I am keep looking everywhere for copperheads….jeeeez!

At least the trail is arrow straight for like a mile.

We find some less dangerous animals hanging out on pretty plants and one of the mile markers.

It took us about an hour forty minutes but we made it to Frederick road, the location of the next parking lot.

Since I cannot find an actual street sign I just took a pic of my mile counter.

We walk over the bridge, all the way to the parked cars then turn around and head back.

On the way back to White Hall we stop again at another section of the river to cool off and make Mag happy. This portion is more dog friendly and I let him off the leash to run free.

We spot this awesome house after passing the gnomes and I cannot control myself to not to take a pic.

Mag as always, makes friends with a little toad. I think it’s a Fowler’s toad.

Back at White Hall I want to point out the antique store and the conveniently located Post Office.

So yet again my ResQwalk shows 4.56 miles vs. AllTrails 5.2 miles. The only thing both agrees on is the time….two and a half hours.

This was a very fun walk with a few lovely extra curriculum activities. Loved it as usual! Hope you get out here too to enjoy what NCR has to offer!

See you next time!

Soldiers delight

9/7/19- Choate mine trail through Dolfield trail – 2.99 miles

🍁

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

🍁

We have decided that this morning we’ll head back to Soldiers Delight since the weather is finally in our favor. Lovely temperatures and fluffy clouds frame the morning sky. I even double T-shirted to make sure I don’t get cold. My upper layer is long sleeved because this trail has a lot of spikey vines and it’s also a good idea for keeping bugs away. Not even talking about the creepy feeling of catching spiderwebs every 2 minutes.

We have parked “Piroska” on the side of Deer Park rd. instead of the parking area since there is more shade here. Still like our shade, even though it’s cooler.

We start out at the southern entrance where the metal barrier is.

Air traffic sounds super busy this morning, feels like there is a Southwest airplane overhead every few minutes, possibly approaching BWI. Every time I look up I see the red/orange/blue belly.

Being here reminds me to breath – often times I forget – so I am pumping my lungs full of this precious, cool September gas.

The trail is all ours, no one is around.

Here is the split where we take a turn to the right, following Dolfield trail.

This portion is exposed to the sun for the next 3/4 of a mile but in exchange there are a lot of wildflowers to admire.

Purple false foxglove, Hairy aster, Shaggy blazing star, Yellow wild indigo

After the split, the trail gets pretty stony and be prepared to climb over or limbo – dance – under fallen trees. You can also count on crossing tiny creeks – west branch of Red run – along the path.

I recommend to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts especially because these thorny vines! Pretty hateful and painful when they latch onto you.

Smilax genus aka greenbriers

After we splash over another bend of the tiny snaking west branch of Red run the terrain hikes upwards onto an open field. Must be a killer to walk here in the summertime, getting blasted by the rays.

However this time of year it’s full of buzzing dragonflies, small butterflies and flying grasshoppers. They are constantly moving so taking a picture is impossible. Standing here for a few minutes with a smile on my face, looking at their playful chase in the sun.

Getting back to our walk, takes us across the stream once again to one of Mags favorites….dashing through water.

Continuing on the trail we reach the most southern corner which is parallel to Dolfield road and bends back in a huge angle towards North. We can here passing traffic. Hiking slightly upwards I have the opportunity to take a nice pano on the top.

Heading even further along the way, the path finally takes us back into the forest, making temperatures drop about 10 degrees. Niiiiice.

Interestingly enough we have to cross a private driveway along the way which I found a bit bizarre. On the other side, the trail is well maintained but full of milkweed.

One of my fave subject and not just when its in full bloom. Autumn still keeps it interesting with the funky looking seedpods and the milkweed bugs and their juveniles.

Keep on walking, the path winds back in the woods and we follow it until the next intersection when the orange and the yellow trail collides. We hike downwards but straight next to the houses on the orange. We don’t turn left!

We come across some funky mushrooms and a beautiful fern forest taking over the carpet of fallen leaves.

Down, down we go, towards the unicorn meadow.

Red run is featuring spectacular autumn colored fallen leaves while water skeeter bugs dance on the sunlit surface.

This place is magical! No picture I can ever take can do justice for it.

While heading out from the meadow, Mag spots – yet again – a big toad. Very handsome fellow indeed.

Since he is right next to the trail I relocate him….

Back out on the plateau we catch some other beauties.

Partridge pea, Whorled dropseed, butterfly, pine cone

Mag gets lost in the high grass….

and we finally make it back to our car.

I would love to see once how long would it actually take me to hike 3 miles without a sniffing dog 😂. 2 hours seems like an overkill.

It was a nice change to our regular walks with a bit of terrain change and the slight elevation change.

Be good y’all!

VIR

Virginia International Raceway – Alton, VA.

🏎

“If there’s a Heaven on Earth, it’s VIR” – Paul Newman

🏎

My husband’s obsession with driving – fast – started when he was in his early teens but truly only materialized about 10 years ago. Him being a knowledgeable and well respected auto mechanic and having his own garage, helps and always helped to navigate in the world of racing. He has been coming down here a few times a year to feed his speed demon and once in a while we tag along.

Reason #1: VIR is situated on 1300 acres! I wish they would steal my excellent idea of making a walking path around the track and vicinity, which could give us at least a 5 mile long loop (I think it would be closer to 8). Most wives would use it, I have no doubt about that.

Inside VIR, looking at the guard house

There are several different configurations of walking paths we could take so I will actually combine 3 of them into one post, especially regarding the pictures.

The racetrack itself also has six possible configurations. This weekend with the Porsche club they are driving on the Full Course (3.27 mile long).

The horse statue before the North paddock in the morning sun

We climb up the little hill from the North paddock towards the west – this is the location of the covered false grid – and take an early morning shot at the hazy track with the emerging sun casting an orange glow on the horizon.

Hazy morning above the front straight of the track

Heading south following the fence towards the corner worker’s station to wait for the first cars on the track before the “Hog pan” (it’s turn #17). This section is called the “Roller coaster”. Sitting on the spectator’s wooden bleachers we wait for the cars to drive down. They seem slow but probably doing 70-100 mph in these turns. Total elevation change is 130 ft through the course and the “Roller Coaster” is downhill all the way.

Here is a pic of the course to help with visualization.

After taking a few pics and a video, we are heading east, following the tree line and the fence. There is no way cutting over the track at this point so we are going back towards the entry road after crossing the bridge overhead the track. Passing by one of the burgundy track buildings (The gallery) on the right and the Patriot course on the left.

The gallery

The grass is so dewy, our feet are soaking wet. I am glad I keep my boots in the car at all times.

Keeping on the right side of the paved road (North paddock lane), even though that’s against my common sense. The grassy side is much larger here and traffic is scarce being inside the track. Watching where I step since this area is home to lots of different mushrooms/fungi – mostly bed guys, concerning colors – giving me great photo opportunities.

These plant and flower pics below are from all over the area.

Acorn, ?, Virginia buttonweed, Stella de oro daylily, Blue mistflower, rose

After passing the entrance on our left with the guard house peeking at us on the top of the hill we continue on a slight uphill next to South paddock lane. Following the right turn we pass by the gates to the main event exit on the left. There is a huge wooden arch here which used to have a sign: “The taming of the shrew” but it was taking off for some unknown reason to me.

The ground is covered with pink petals and I found that the other side of the chainlink fence is overgrown with kudzu.

Kudzu flower

Few more steps and we have reached the famous Oak tree turn (#12). Unfortunately the iconic tree has fallen in 2013 caused by lightning. It was planted in 1957 and was integrated into the track’s design. Here is a short video from the corner worker’s entrance. The back straight shows well here.

We have a seat on one of the bleachers for a few minutes just before we would reach the South paddock.

Great view of #11 and #12 corners

There is no way out from here following the track through the paddock so we are turning back and walk until we get back to just before Plantation road (I would say 1/2 mile). We turn right following the tree line and walk up towards the tavern, within the “abandoned allee”.

The Oak Tree Tavern

We always like to follow the furthest point out, to cover more ground so we – again – keeping right and circle around the pool towards the back of the Tavern. Before making a full loop we keep right again into the woods but still on the offroad trail. This path will take us down towards The Lodge, snaking through the forest. Several abandoned buildings give me great opportunity to use my camera.

Walking past an old the hay barn, we turn towards the right once more, dodging some picnic tables before reaching the small meadow just below The Lodge.

Crossing Euro rally road we spot the sign towards the kart track.

We have a seat at the fence on a picnic table and wait for daddy to take the track in the Black Mamba. These turns coincidently called the snake. We don’t have to wait long. He is last in the row of cars in this video, putting through the turns in his ’95 M3 BMW.

Climbing back onto the road, we walk faster over the bridge to stay out of trouble. Since it’s already pretty warm we speed through- pun intended – the spectator viewing and parking area towards the Skid pad. Crossing the road to leave space to the tractor that is cutting grass, we head towards the lake under the well deserved shade of trees.

Do you see the giant turtle on the right?

We have made it back! Close to melting but happily back in the shade of our little group’s tents. Some water and a seat in our favorite ‘zero gravity’ chair and we’ll glue ourselves back together in no time.

Here are some extra pics.

Horse wind vane on top of the administration building.

On the way home….

Happy trailing!

❤️

D.R.O.O.L. – August 2019

Daily Reminiscence Of Our Lives

🌸

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” – Sam Keen

🌸

8/31

Took another route around VIR this morning, walking 3.33 miles. Got lost at one point when the path vanished into the woods. Wondered on someone else’s property then jumped a fence to get back.

The Shooting Sports building’s weather vanes

Original structure at the bridge

Morning shadows

8/30

Going for a long walk around VIR (Virginia International Raceway). Accomplished 4.35 miles and hopefully lost a few pounds….it’s hot!

Morning dew on a Canadian Goose feather

Carolina desert hickory

Spider webs or dollar spot mycelium?

8/29

We planned to leave before 10 this morning to drive down to VIR but at around 6:15 we heard barking coming from the back yard. This less than a year old slanky dog was chasing the cats. After doing our best to find his owners in a short notice, made a decision to surrender him to BARCS.

8/28

Walking around Leaking park to save time this morning.

Pom Pom spread out

8/27

Rainbow of cats

8/26

Cicada skin

The hummers are still here. I spend a lot of time watching them. This one is a male Ruby-throated hummingbird.

8/25

We don’t have time today to do a long walk so we have to stick around our neighborhood.

Sweet autumn clematis

Mag found another object to play with….

8/24

We haven’t been up at the PA line on NCR for a while so we start our morning here today.

Leafhoppers

Waiting to be toweled off

Extra fun in Beetree run. Had to wash all the mud off. I didn’t pay attention and Mag charged through a mud pit.

There was a fundraiser today on the trail, originated from PA with a lot of dogs walking with their owners. Mag did super good not going bananas since the horses were soooo much more interesting. Ollie (miniature horse) didn’t come to us and I blame all the people. I think it was just to much happening at once.

8/23

Cylburn Arboretum small loop. Thanks to Mag, I’ve avoided to step on a box turtle. Cute little thing with beautiful yellow coloring.

Natural arch

Porcelainberries

Rose of Sharon

8/24

Around the house

Cicada closeup

Skipper

Puffy Rice (front) and Baghira hanging out

8/21

Still around the house….

Morning glory after the morning

Knock out rose

Blue mist flower

8/20

Toto sunbathing

Mag doing his scheduled roll on NCR

8/19

Tiny mushroom

8/18

It’s suppose to be in the 90s today so getting up early even though it would be a treat to sleep in – being Sunday. We’re heading over to Leakin Park before the sun melts us.

The Chapel

I love paying attention to my surroundings to be able to catch tiny glimpses of life all around.

Praying Mantises, blue birdhouse in the woods, Costmary w/tiny green insect, Spotted Orb-weaver

Bindweed, Giant reed, Magic porthole to fairyland, Bottlebrush buckeye nuts

Rose of Sharon bud, Lavender, Morning glory, Mint?

Rooftop

❤️

8/17

We are heading to Oregon Ridge Park for a quick morning walk and will pretty much stick to the red trail today. After arriving, first we walk towards the alternate parking lot to still fit in a healthy loop. I am glad we haven’t tried to park here, lot is closed for “Hot August Music”. We can still walk through it and head up on either of the clearings. The noise/music is eardrum blasting loud.

The humidity and these little freakedelic bugs are killing me. Mag just rolls in the grass happily, no care in the world.

We have found some interesting creatures today….

Large Millipede+Mags nose, Valley and ridge salamander, snail home, Millipede again

….along with some cool looking mushrooms and fungi….

….and pretty forest floor finds.

Partridge Pea, seed pods, mummified Indian pipe, Goatsbeard

Since he took a bath yesterday it was common sense for him to roll in grass, ferns, leaves and jump into mud holes and running water as many chances he got.

We have accomplished 2.74 miles. Not too shabby.

When we got home Zebulon ran into the house and put himself in jail, hoping for a long stay. 10 minutes later he asked to be let outside….🤔

❤️

8/16

Morning walk in Sudbrook park

Porcelainberries

Monarch, 2 Salt Marsh Moths, 2 Bumble bees and a Ailanthus Webworm Moth on milkweed, deer

maybe squash flower, tall ‘ shrooms, ridged ‘shrooms, Swamp Agrimony

❤️

8/15

Hibiscus Syriacus – Rose of Sharon

Milkweed bug larvae

Sunflower shots

❤️

8/14

Sudbrook quicky

Bumble bee on milkweed, Monarch, Thistle w/Mecidea, Cattail, another bumble, Orange Jewelweed

Polyphemus-Moth at the shop

The Mag

False dandelion

❤️

8/13

When we only have time to squeeze in a short walk (always try to do at least a mile), I never no where we gonna end up. Since it’s already 8am we’ll head to Cylburn Arboretum.

Sulphur Cosmos, mystery plant, Chicory, Vinca

I took a lot of pictures in their beautiful flower gardens as well but a man came over and said that I cannot be there with Mag. Gave me a stupid explanation about dogs not allowed at all around the flowers only on a less than 6 feet leash (paradox). At that time Mag was laying next to me on about a 2 feet piece. We just walked away. Cannot reason with stupid….

In the tiny bamboo ‘forest’

Southern toad

Pompadour is always happy to see us

❤️

8/12

Extremely hard day today. Ziggi is leaving to pass over the rainbow bridge. He is part of my original 3 musketeers – Rusty, Ziggi and Clorox – brothers. He has been declining, even though he still gets around. I feel like it’s time. I will always love you!

❤️

8/11

Meadowood Park 1 miler this morning

❤️

8/5

Wert

❤️

8/4

Oregon Ridge big loop

Reflection

Amanita muscaria, mystery ?, mystery ?, Chicken of the woods

Toadzilla

Peaceful waters

Box turtle friend

Forest of hope

❤️

8/3

Roland Park

Neighborhood walk in the evening

Onyx and Muffin

❤️

8/2

Are you ready Mom?

Echinacea – purple coneflowers, Wingstem, Giant ironweed

Spingraph

❤️

8/1

Starting August with NCR, walking about 1 mile total up to the first bridge and back. It’s early enough for being alone for most of it.

Bridge overlook

Swallowtail

Magnolias seeds

Evening critterfest on my butterfly bush and crepe myrtles.

❤️

NCR – from Monkton rd. to Weisburg rd.

🔥

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau

🔥

If you are coming from Baltimore, like I do – condolences – take this short cut from York rd. Turn right onto E. Piney Hill rd and follow it to the right before it becomes Hereford rd. At the end turn right again onto Monkton rd. Parking is just before The Monkton Hotel Cafe on the right. Space is limited so come early or you’ll end up on the street with your vehicle. 🙁

In the summer months – especially on weekends – this place is jam packed, thanks to tubing. 🍩

Since both mile trackers decided to quit on me – AllTrails totally cut off and ResQwalk partially did – I didn’t really know how far up the next mile marker will be so just turned back at one of the benches we’ve reached. It seemed far enough to me in this heatwave we’ve been having. (Turned out to be at 1.5 mile from starting point.)

So long story long….we have cheated a bit this time. Next day we drove up to Weisburg rd. and walked back to that same bench we have reached a day before as our turnaround point. I – however – will make this one continuous post. It is 3.6 miles between the two parking lots so if you’re not up for walking 7.2 miles at once going back to Monkton, follow suit making it a two day “hike”.

At Monkton rd.

Since it’s Monday and before 8 am the small parking lot is pretty much empty. We got to have the trail for ourselves a lot too. Even though it’s going to be another hot day, here in the woods only the humidity is a factor.

Teasing us with following the path is Little Gunpowder River but unfortunately access points are scarce. While we are looking for signs of a passage to take us down to the cooling waters we have come across some interesting insects.

Carpenter ants, small fly, skipper, Virginia Ctenucha

And also a ruin of a small footprint building which was possibly part of the rail system, built in 1832. Wow. I would love to see new construction last 200 years.

These rocks remind me of slate, just bigger chunks.

We have finally come across a steep entrance to the river….hallelujah.

The water is nice and chilly and shallow enough that we could cross to the other side.

Spending about 10 minutes cooling down, we climb back up on the trail and continue marching north.

We discover some other critters….

Slugs

Sp(e)-iders

….before reaching mile marker 8.

It looks like Mag fell asleep

It always amazes me how the terrain can change within just a few hundred feet. Nature sure gives us plenty to look at.

Like these simple but beautiful wildflowers.

Coneflowers, Yellow jewelweed, bindweed, Dillenius’ ticktrefoil

Just before reaching 1.5 mile there is this wooden fence on the left, where we can descend again – walking through hundreds of Orange Coneflowers with an army of buzzing insects – to take a dip.

The water is crystal clear and still just about 10 inches deep.

Mag is in heaven….

On the way out from the river he takes a roll in the high grass. It wouldn’t be a walk without rolling around all the chances he gets.

Bumble bee on coneflower with red aphids

So this is the picnic table we have turned around at the day before but now I will pretend we didn’t and carry on with the post.

I have just noticed that there is another path at this particular spot to the river. It’s a bit challenging with Mag but I managed to get down and then come back up while lifting/hoisting/pushing/shoving him over the roots and the slimy trench. DO NOT recommend!

Even though he enjoyed cooling down, the water was much deeper here and intimidated him just a bit. He kept jumping into the water from the driftwood but then freaked out and was trying to jump back on it. He got a great exercise out of it.

I have been soooo good….give me some chicken.

Wildlife pics ⬇️

Spotted cucumber beetle, view of the river, browneyed Susan?

As soon as we get back up on the trail, we come across a lady walking with her two smaller dogs and they both seem to be wet. Making small conversation, I ask her where did they go and if it was a good spot? She points towards up north just a few hundred feet from us on the left, telling us to take the path where there is a blue sign on one of the trees and orange warning posts of fiber optic cables. She says it’s an amazing beachy spot on the river.

Thanks to her, we have ended up on this awesome, pretty long, river beach.

Soon after, now reenergized and cool as cucumbers, we reach mile marker 9.

The first street we cross from Monkton is Bluemount road….

….then shortly after, Wilson rd.

One of the bridges provides us with a bit more interest than others with its structure as well as its surroundings. Mag likes to discover everything so he goes and investigates the “Stream gaging station”‘s tiny house.

I was lucky enough to spot these beauties on the way as well.

Hackberry Emperor, Underwing moth, Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Anisota Senatoria, Acronicta americana

We have quickly reached mile marker 10. We are cooking with gas.

So many times these two days we felt like we had the whole trail for ourselves.

Spotted this silo close to Weisburg rd. on the right tucked into the woods beyond a field. Sort of reminds me of the space shuttle.

Getting really close to our destination. Passing Hunter Mill rd.

Yay! We have made it! For my biggest surprise there is a post office here so I could mail a letter I had with me for weeks. Sorry Krisztina if you get your bday card late. I’ll call you!

There is also an antique shop barn at this stop. We’ll maybe check it out next time.

Unfortunately as I said, both trackers quit on me but distance should be around 3.6 miles from Monkton to up here (White Hall). I was able to register the distance the day before though, when we turned back from a picknick table at mile 1.5.

Total length is around 7.6 miles including walking down to the water so many times.

Totally loved this walk from Monkton, we might do it again in one of these days. Ta-ta!

❤️🌸

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.

❤️

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.

❤️

7/29

Short morning walk on the trail at Lake Roland.

❤️

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?

❤️

7/27

Morning walk at Oregon Ridge Park

‘Shroom fest

❤️

7/26

Blackeyed susan

Louie

❤️

7/25

Morning at Leakin Park

Vinca

❤️

7/24

❤️

7/23

Dewy crepe myrtle

Halo

❤️

7/22

Back home with his caterpillar

❤️

7/21

Picking up Mag today….

❤️

7/20

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

Last picture of the bay

❤️

7/19

Monaco from the water

The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Fontvieille’s cliff

Full moon from Villefranche-sur-Mer

❤️

7/18

Rovinj, Croatia

❤️

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

❤️

7/14

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

❤️

7/13

Lighthouse, Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat

❤️

7/12

Nice (french city) view from Mont Boron overlook

Fort de Mont Alban, Mont Boron

❤️

7/11

The Casino de Monte-Carlo and the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo

View from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat of Villefranche-sur-Mer

❤️

7/10

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

❤️

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