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Must Be the Camera

June 1st, 2013

Well, two photos in one week chosen by Olympus as their photo of the day.

Must be the camera. If you like this image, please visit my gallery at www.sanctuaryphotos.artistwebsites.com

"Rob out" after a very good week.

Like a Bat Out of Hell

April 29th, 2013

Like a Bat Out of Hell

Another state park has been beckoning for awhile – Maybury State Park, just around the corner from our current Novi, MI location.

We “found” this place when driving by it on our way to Northridge Church in Plymouth during those cold, snowy, windy winter months. And there is even a sign on I-275 that shows an exit for Maybury State Park.

Finally warm enough for a visit, we trekked on over there for an afternoon hike. We didn’t know it was the former grounds of a major TB solarium – big enough that they had a farm there that provided fresh milk and vegetables to the residents.

The roughly 1,000 acres are laced with trails, and once again a lot of ravine-type hiking. Love it! Ponds with those ribbiting freezing frogs, too.

We picked a good day, plenty of sun. Picked a good trail for the hike. Laced up our Merrell’s good, and onto the trail.

Meandered through an older forest, past an open meadow, then on to ponds large enough to be called small lakes. Solid and well-maintained boardwalks jut out in two places for some good views.

We were hoping for some good bird life, maybe some wildlife. But it was calm and quiet. Spotted a nesting swan way off in the reeds. Partner swan swam slowly out into the lake, and towards an island.

Our eyes moved across to the other side of the lake. A swan is swimming towards two Canadian geese, and there is lots of honking. Loud, steady honking.

Suddenly, the swan takes off and swoops into the two geese, wings flapping like mad and the geese scatter (can two geese scatter? Subject for another post.) Swan chases one up on the shore, the other guy lights out across the lake.

By the time I get the camera up – and it’s set for landscape shots, not action – I ‘m only able to fire a couple of weak shots. Rats!

But the show is just beginning

There are three geese on the island directly across from our boardwalk. We leave and walk along a lakeside path to get a better view. Honk, honk, honk. It’s getting louder and angrier as we angle for position.

Now they are in the water, and a full-fledged fight breaks out. Three geese trying to kill each other. Close enough now to get some decent photos. Don’t know why they are fighting, but this is a war.

Finally one flees like a bat out of hell. The other two waddle up on shore, and here comes the swan again. More honking, but this time the geese keep their distance and no altercations.

The geese re-engage on land and have another fight. Too many trees in the way for photos, but it is a short-lived skirmish.

The dust slowly settles and we make the circle around the lake, enjoying the end of a fun afternoon. The redwing blackbirds are out, at least the first brave few. Always nice to see these happy songbirds about.

We see the first signs of spring coming up as we hike back to the Rogue. Not quite here yet. But soon, maybe this next week.

When we were RVing to 50 national parks, we found ourselves in spots that gave us some spectacular images. And great experiences trekking and hiking about. Wildlife that made our hearts pound. Most times we found ourselves alone for those experiences.

Just like today. We were the only ones around to witness this profound display of nature playing out.

It’s simply a matter of being out there. Right time, right place happens when you do that. And that’s how we witnessed the very entertaining squabbles of geese and swan.

We’ll be going back to Maybury State Park again soon. And hoping for another “right time, right place” experience.

Hard to Believe

April 26th, 2013

Hard to Believe

It was a mere three years ago when we awoke to a snow-covered Rocky Mountain National Park, our first official stop on our tour of 50 national parks in the coming seven months.

With the snow, the challenge was deciding where to hike - we were geared up with summer and fall clothing and footwear, but unprepared for winter. Just shows how naive we were.

Sun quickly disposed of a lot of the white stuff, and after consulting with a ranger chose Lumpy Ridge as our hiking choice for the day. Turned out to be a good one, part of the park we didn't even know existed. This is hiking through big boulders and rock formations (hence the name Lumpy Ridge) with scattered clumps of pine for relief. The shadows kept a lot of snow on the ground here - our first (and last) hike in such whiteness.

It's a good workout to access our Gem Lake destination, and well worth it. On the small side, it's bordered on one side by some steep cliffs with flat rocks at the shoreline for sitting, enjoying and meditating. Across the way is a flat beach-like area, with a nice natural bench to do the same but looking in the opposite direction.

We pat ourselves on the back; our first successful hike of some 100+ hikes yet to come. And with that, the Sprinter Interstate 2010 Tour begins.