My Florida Photo Favorites

It’s been several weeks since our return from Florida. For the last few years we’ve been blessed to travel to various state parks exploring nature and the area’s natural beauty. I’ve chosen to post a few of my favorite photos from this years trip. A following post will include some of my wife’s favorite photos. Photos are favorites, when they capture the unique beauty of a creature, are of something not seen before, or contribute in some way to the story. Favorites need not always be great photographs.

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The parks visited over a period of eight weeks were: Myakka River State Park, Kissimmee Prairie State Park, Lake Kissimmee State Park, Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park,  Ochlocknee River State Park, and Three Rivers State Park. The idea was to start south and work our way north as the weather warmed going into early spring.

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This year we used bikes for the first time to initially explore trails which we could then hike if they looked promising. This coupled with the use of a canoe allowed us to spend time in a number of different Florida environments. On long hikes or bike rides our “go to” camera was the Panasonic FZ200. In the canoe or on shorter hikes we used DSLRs with telephoto zooms.

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Along the trail, typical of many of the parks visited.

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Myakka River State Park has been a favorite for the past two years primarily because of the potential for nature/bird photography. Paddling can be enjoyable if you and your partner(s) don’t mind being in close proximity to some rather large gators. The distance one can paddle within the park may be limited depending on water conditions and your determination. Hiking is good with some trails traversing more diverse habitat than others.

This Glossy Ibis gives ample reason for the name, Myakka River SP.

A Little Blue Heron strikes a rather exotic pose, Myakka River SP.

These Roseate Spoonbills were taking full advantage of the concentrated but temporary food source caused by a recent hurricane that flooded a substantial portion of the park trapping fish and other edibles in depression pools left as the water receded, Myakka River SP.

Wood Storks and Whistling Ducks seem to get along just fine, Myakka River SP.

A Wood Stork shows off it’s catch, Myakka River SP.

Momentarily startled, birds take a break from the depression pool feeding frenzy, Myakka River SP.

The Whistling Ducks in a better light, Myakka River SP.

Red Shouldered Hawks (FL morph) are very common, Myakka River SP.

This Snowy Egret provides ample proof as to why these birds were almost driven the extinction in the late 1800s and early 1900s all for the sake of fashion, Myakka River SP.

White Pelicans over Myakka River SP. Something that must be witnessed in person as a photograph does not capture their graceful flight.

Florida Tassel Flower, Myakka River SP.

Peaceful coexistence in Myakka River SP. At least until the gator grows up!

If you love gators take the hike (permit required) to the Deep Hole in Myakka River SP. A hiking partners count indicated that there were 151 along the shore and 18 in the water the day we were there.

An Anhinga dries out and in the process makes a beautiful picture, Myakka River SP.

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Kissimmee Prairie State Park was a new park for us this year. The main draw was the chance to see Crested Caracara as well as Burrowing Owls. The trails, while extensive, were often under water. A trail capable bicycle is almost essential if you really want to explore the park. While no Burrowing Owls were seen, a Black-crowned Night Heron rockery as well as other bird species made the stay worthwhile.

Numerous creatures call the park home.

While looking for the Crested Caracara we were delighted to see this Loggerhead Shrike, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

Take 2.

Eastern Meadowlarks were quite common in the park. Getting close enough for a really great photo was always a challenge.

A beautiful White-eyed Vireo.

Trail in Kissimmee Prairie SP.

A side by side comparison of a Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

Black Swallowtails almost never seem to land but then one afternoon, as I looked at some distant birds, there it was right at my feet..

A Black-crowned Night Heron rookery of perhaps 30 or 40 birds was discovered along one of the trails. They scattered as soon as we got close.

Exploring the trail near the rookery, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

While reconnoitering a new trail we found this Florida banded water snake, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

Probably the most interesting bird seen during our stay was the Crested Caracara. Common in SW Texas it’s range is very limited in Florida, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

Take 2.

 

Can you find the insect? Kissimmee Prairie SP.

An immature Little Blue Heron casts a lovely reflection, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

Sometimes we only saw evidence of wildlife, a Bobcat, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

One wonders how many birds fall prey to alligators, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

A lone sentinel, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

While many miles of hiking trails were advertised not all were suitable for that purpose.

Numerous White Peacock butterflies graced the trail edge as we hiked, Kissimmee Prairie SP.

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Lake Kissimmee State Park is a favorite offering fairly extensive paddling and hiking opportunities. Nature viewing, while not as concentrated an experience as Myakka River, is very good. Campsites are some of the best in Florida. The only downside is airboat noise on the weekend and make no mistake they are load.

There are many lovely trails in the park.

A Tricolored Heron poses as we paddle Tiger Creek, Lake Kissimmee SP

Not many Green Herons are seen in Florida, perhaps due to their excellent camouflage, but his one was spotted along Tiger Creek.

Take 2.

Tiger Creek, Lake Kissimmee SP.

A Snowy Egret along Tiger Creek.

While bicycling on one of the park trails this Eastern Towhee posed for a picture.

Along the lake shore this Red-shouldered Hawk almost eluded the camera’s lens.

One of the most beautiful birds in Florida, the Purple Gallinule seen along the shore of Lake Kissimmee. Supposedly not all that uncommon but we haven’t seen many over the three years we’ve been going to Florida.

A Pine Warbler seems to be checking something out.

Sure enough!

Some distance away, a solitary Bald Eagle watches as we paddle by.

In a quest to get a dramatic picture of this rather large gator we paddled a little too close. It wasn’t happy and neither was my wife!

A Northern Parula Warbler proves difficult to photograph.

Along the trail in Lake Kissimmee SP a rather large Yellow Rat Snake makes itself comfortable in the morning sun.

A closer look.

A Gopher Tortoise ambles along a park road. They can live for almost 60 years and their borrows provide habitat for numerous cretures including Burrowing Owls. Days will go by and we won’t see one and then .   .   .

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Payne’s Prairie Preserve State park was a new park for us this year. With it’s extensive area we hoped to see a variety of wildlife. Of interest is the fact that the park maintains herds of Spanish Horses as well as Bison. Many waterfowl had already departed on their journey north when we were there.

I had been trying for several days to get a good picture of a Northern Parula Warbler as they seemed to be everywhere. Then one morning sitting outside while visiting a local bakery for breakfast one just about landed on my nose, thankfully I had my FZ200.

Blue Winged Teal, Sweetwater Wetlands Park near Payne’s Prairie Preserve SP.

Green Winged Teal???  Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

A mother’s love! Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

Osprey, Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

Palmetto reflections, Payne’s Prairie Preserve SP.

The Spanish horse is considerably smaller than a typical quarter horse. All have the same coat.

A Song Sparrow catches a spider, Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

A very small anole, Payne’s Prairie Preserve SP.

Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

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For a number of years Ochlocknee River SP has been one of our favorite parks due to it’s potential for paddling as will as the close proximity of other areas of interest for the birder and nature lover; Bald Point SP and St Marks NWR. Hiking in the park itself, while not extensive, does provide the opportunity to see the threatened Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

The white morph of the Gray Squirrel comprises a charming part of the park’s welcoming committee.

A small active bird, the Brown Headed Nuthatch is a challenge to photograph.

Oystercatcher, Bald Point SP near Ochlocknee River SP.

Royal Terns, Bald Point SP.

A juvenile Bald Eagle flexes it’s wings, St. Marks NWR.

Brown Pelicans, Bald Point SP.

Least Terns, Bald Point SP.

Taking a break during an eight mile paddle exploring a side creek to the Ochlocknee River, Ochlocknee River SP.

A group of Sanderlings take a great interest in something, Bald Point SP.

A Ruddy Turnstone checks out what’s left of a Horseshoe Crab, Bald Point SP.

This Brown Thrasher was a regular visitor at our campsite.

The Ruddy Turnstone is thinking; “Let someone else do the work and just as they retrieve the morsel, steal it!”

Rain Lilies along the road, Ochlocknee River SP.

Snowy Plover, St Marks NWR.

Marbled Godwit, St Marks NWR. A life bird for us!

Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Ochlocknee River SP.

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Three Rivers SP was a new park for us this year and was selected primarily for it’s paddling potential. The lake was fairly open and much of the shoreline was shallow and weed choked making it less than ideal for paddling. Due to the lakes huge area wildlife was well dispersed making viewing a bit of a challenge. It was an excellent area for butterflies with some good, if not extensive, hiking trails.

Red Buckeye was in bloom at Three Rivers SP.

Taking a break during a long paddle on Lake Seminole, Three Rivers SP.

Immature Common Loon, Three Rivers SP.

A closer look.

Rain Lilies, Three Rivers SP.

Black Swallowtails on Bull Thistle.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

Zebra Swallowtail, Three Rivers SP.

Black Swallowtail.

An almost constantly in motion Pipevine Swallowtail

Osprey on nest, Apalachee Wildlife Management Area.

Crimson clover, Apalachee Wildlife Management Area.

Lily pads, Apalachee Wildlife Management Area.

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That’s it for this post. Many other pictures could have been posted but if you made it this far I’m impressed with your forbearance. Looking back on our experience, we’re reminded what an unbelievably beautiful but fragile resource Florida’s natural areas are. As one drives the highways of the state signs of new or proposed development are not uncommon so pressure on limited resources continues.

Sunset, Myakka river SP.

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When I started out taking pictures years ago I was fascinated with light and composition as subjects of interest were photographed. It was rewarding to make the effort to capture what was being experienced when looking at a scene. A big fringe benefit, and true blessing, has been a heightened curiosity about the world around me. What is that bird or bug that was just photographed, what is significant about it, and why does it matter. The world is much bigger now.

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Thanks for stopped by

A Thankful Reflection

The last day of 2017, what better time to stop for a moment and reflect back to the wonders of nature seen in central Ohio in the past year.

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Griggs Reservoir.

Bald Eagle along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Golden Crown Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Along the Scioto River

Tufted Titmouse, (Donna).

November reflection, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Covered Bridge, Mohican State Park.

The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Buckeye, (Donna).

Monarch, (Donna).

Griggs Reservoir

Solitary leaf

Chicory

Design, (Donna).

Red-spotted Purple, (Donna).

Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna).

Autumn color.

Black-crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

Giant Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar.

Mink, Au Sable River MI, (Donna).

Au Sable River Smallmouth, MI, (Donna).

Devoe Lake, MI.

Cardinal Flowers, Rifle River Rec, Area, MI.

Turtlehead, Rifle River Rec. Area. MI.

Common Loons, Devoe Lake, MI, (Donna).

Meal time, Devoe lake, MI

Caspian Tern, Loud Pond, Au Sable River, MI.

Catbirds, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Griggs Reservoir waterfall.

Yellow-throated Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Common Checkered Skipper, (Donna).

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Red Admiral, (Donna).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Cliff Swallows, (Donna).

Gray Squirrel.

Baltimore Oriole.

Mohican River, Mohican State Park.

Prothonotary Warbler

Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir

Yellow-collared Scape Moth, (Donna).

Northern Water Snake.

Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Great Blue Heron, Scioto River, (Donna).

Hayden Run Falls

Mating Northern Water Snakes, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Reservoir Park.

White-crowned Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Palm Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black-throated Blue Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Turkey, Blendon Woods Metro Park, (Donna).

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Looking at the landscape as we walked along the Scioto River yesterday it’s hard to believe it’s the same place. Very cold weather has made the river below the dam one of the few stretches of open water that waterfowl can now call home.

Hooded Mergansers.

More robins than we could count took turns getting a cool drink at waters edge.

Ring-necked Ducks.

The Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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As always, thanks for stopping by and have a Happy New Year!

 

A Few Days Along The Rifle River

Last week we spent a few days in Michigan in the Rifle River Recreation Area not far from the town of West Branch on the northeast side of the lower peninsula. With a number of excellent hiking trails, and lakes that don’t allow motors, it’s an excellent place for nature viewing. The lack of boat generated wakes on Devoe Lake means that Loons nest there. To the best of our knowledge it’s the closest location from central Ohio where nesting Loons can be seen. There are also Bald Eagles, Osprey as well as other birds to enjoy. When out exploring one is also treated to dragonflies and butterflies, as well as a number wildflowers not seen in central Ohio. Not far from the park is the AuSable River and the adjacent National Forest create even more opportunities for paddling and outdoor adventure.

Overlooking Grousehaven Lake, early morning.

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We could spend hours watching loons. A quiet paddle on Devoe Lake allows one to observe them as they go about their day.

Adult Common Loon, Devoe Lake

In the middle of preening this adult seems to be sneaking a peek.

Testing it’s wings, (Donna).

The young are almost always begging for food.

The adult comes through. How does a bird as big as a loon chase down such a small fish under water?

One more picture.

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A view from the canoe.

Devoe Lake

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Bald Eagles are sometimes seen flying overhead as we observe the loons with their young. If they get too close the adult loons create quite a commotion!

A Bald Eagle looks over Devoe Lake.

Bald Eagle, Load Pond, AuSable river.

Take 3, (Donna).

Other birds of prey also frequent the area.

An Osprey takes a break along the shoreline of Devoe Lake, (Donna).

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Early morning solitude near our campsite.

Looking across the Jewett Lake.

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Most birds were seen from the canoe as we made our way along the shoreline of Devoe and Grebe Lakes, as well as Loud Pond on the Au Sable River.

Baltimore Oriole, Devoe Lake.

A Kingbird, the dragonflies worst enemy, waits for it’s next meal along the shore of Devoe Lake.

Three Caspian Terns circled overhead, occasionally landing, as we made our way back to our launch site on wind swept Loud Pond. A few reasonable sharp images were obtained.

Trumpeter Swans, Grebe Lake.

A Kingfisher actually stays put long enough for a “usable” picture, Devoe Lake.

A Green Heron is caught preening, Devoe Lake, (Donna).

Spotted Sandpiper, Loud Pond.

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While hiking, especially this time of year, birds usually give way to the wildflowers and interesting types of fungus.

Coral fungus near our campsite.

Turtlehead.

Bridge across the Rifle River.

Grass of Parnassus

Ontario Lobelia

An exotic looking mushroom near our campsite.

Knapweed, (ID c/o “NH Garden Solutions”)

Indian Pipe

Donna enjoying the ferns.

Doll’s Eyes

Asters

Broad-leaved Arrowhead

Great Blue Lobelia.

Fringed Loosestrife, (Donna).

Just after this picture was taken this tree got a big hug!

Hawkweed.

Cardinal Flower was quiet common in the wet areas of the park.

Mushroom family near our campsite, (Donna).

Picture Plant and flower. Tough to get a good picture of.

An attractive group of mushrooms along the trail.

An attractive flower that has eluded identification. Some type of lobelia?

St. John’s Wort, (Donna).

Another example of some of the interesting fungi seen, (Donna).

Virgin’s Bower. (ID c/o “NH Garden Solutions”)

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Dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies were seen as we enjoyed the wildflowers included one butterfly not typically seen in central Ohio.

Ruby Meadowhawk, (Donna).

The very small American Copper, not a butterfly we’ve seen in central Ohio, (Donna).

Monarchs mating.

Pelecinid Wasp

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna).

Mating Robber Flies. Robber flies are one of the insect worlds more ferocious looking subjects. An appearance that is not unwarranted!

Mating Spreadwings, (Donna).

Bad-Wing Moths mating.

Spotted Spreadwing, (Donna).

Katydid.

Red-spotted Purple, (Donna).

Vesper Bluet, (Donna).

Dragon Hunter, (Donna).

A Crab Spider ambushes a bee, (Donna).

Canada Darner

Common Wood-Nymph on Spiked Blazing-star.

Appalachian Brown, (Donna).

Great Spangled Fritillary, (Donna).

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A sense of place.

The Rifle River as it flows through the park.

Exploring a quiet backwater.

The quiet shoreline of Loud Pond, the AuSable River.

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Shall we go for a hike or paddle? The decision is often made based on the weather conditions. Wind and choppy water make canoe photography with long lenses almost impossible. However, should conditions permit we’re usually not disappointed be the flowers seen as we paddle!

Scaup Lake, Rifle River Rec Area.

Pickerel Weed and Lilly Pads, Grebe Lake.

Pickerel Weed, Grebe Lake.

American White Water Lily, Grebe Lake.

A closer look.

Meadow Sweet, (ID c/o “NH Garden Solutions”),  (Donna).

Swamp Smartweed

Water Shield, (ID c/o “NH Garden Solutions”), (Donna).

Yellow Pond Lily, (Donna).

Burr Reed, (ID c/o “NH Garden Solutions”), (Donna).

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Sometimes when hiking you don’t have to look real close to be overwhelmed by the beauty.

Gamble Creek, Class 1 trout stream, Rifle River Rec Area.

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No post would be complete without touching on some of the reptiles and amphibians seen. Seeing the skink was a surprise.

Bullfrog.

Wood Frog.

Painted Turtle

Five-lined Skink.

Garter Snake.

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While fishing along the Au Sable River upstream of Loud Pond, a Mink is sighted!

A Mink scurries along the bank, (Donna).

Au Sable River, catch and release, Small Mouth Bass. The river is one of the best Small Mouth Bass fisheries in the Midwest.

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We spend a lot of time looking and exploring but sometimes there’s a lot to be said for just being there.

The end of the day, Devoe Lake.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed this very incomplete sample of things that can be seen and experienced in the Rifle River Recreation Area.

The beauty is, the more time spent in nature the more you will see, the more you see the more you will want to understand and soon you’ll be carried away by the wonder and magic of it all.

As always thanks for stopping by!

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Should you wish, prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

While I Was Fishing

My wife had to carry most of the load in central Ohio over the past week or so while I was on my annual Michigan fishing trip. Based on the following pictures, many of which are hers, she had no trouble discovering things of interest.

Nature walk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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First there were the birds, a few of which when captured in unusual or even comical poses. Some just a little different than the usual “mug” shot.

Immature Robin, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Just fledged Catbird, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Mealtime.

Great Blue Heron, Griggs Reservoir Park.

 

Goldfinch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Immature Red-bellied Woodpecker, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Immature Blue Jay, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Preening Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Flicker, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A juvenile Cedar Waxwing stretches it’s neck, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird visits Donna as she looks for caterpillars, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Cardinal is caught spying on a young Northern Flicker, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Green Heron showing it’s crest, Griggs Reservoir

Juvenile Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

Take 2.

To cute to pass up, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Sometimes a bird picture was obtained as my wife happened to look up as she studyed an interesting “bug” and there were apparently no shortage of those.

Eupatorium Borer Moth , Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Milkweed Tussock Moth Catapillar, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Wasp, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Monarch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Another view.

Orchard orbweaver, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Donna spotted this Robber Fly in Griggs Reservoir Park. Robber flies prey on other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, ants, dragon and damselflies, ichneumon wasps, grasshoppers, some spiders and even other robber flies. They do so apparently irrespective of any offensive chemicals the prey may have at its disposal. Many robber flies when attacked in turn do not hesitate to defend themselves with their proboscides and may deliver intensely painful bites if handled carelessly, (Ref: WIKI), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sand Wasp, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sycamore Tussock Moth caterpillar , Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Robber fly, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Hover fly, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Green Bee, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Orange Sulphur, Griggs Reservoir Park.

My wife spotted these 2-marked Treehoppers in Griggs Reservoir Park, “Treehoppers tap into the stems of woody and herbaceous plants with their beaks and feed on the sap. Treehopper species are often closely associated with a single food source.  Some species gather in groups as adults or nymphs.  They slit the bark of their host plant to deposit eggs within, covering the eggs with a secretion called “egg froth” that provides protection from desiccation in winter, may shield the eggs from predators, and that contains an attractant pheromone that brings other ovipositing females to the spot (where, like cows, they may line up, all facing the same direction).  The eggs hatch in spring when they are re-hydrated by the rising sap of the host plant as its buds open and its shoots start to grow”.  Ref: Bug Lady, Riveredge Nature Center.

Mating Clouded Sulfurs, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Summer flowers grace areas along the reservoir.

On a cloudy morning Evening Primrose overlooks Griggs Reservoir

Coneflowers keep Cardinal Flowers company in one of the park rain gardens.

Tall Blue Lettuce, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Swamp Rose Mallow.

Wingstem, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Sunflowers rule this time of year.

Common Sneezeweed.

Boneset, Griggs Reservoir.

Square Stem Monkey Flower, Griggs Reservoir.

Sunflowers draw one’s gaze to the reservoir beyond.

Queen Ann’s Lace frames Griggs Reservoir.

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Finally a few pics from my fishing trip to the Rifle River Recreation Area. It always feels like a homecoming when I head north bringing back many fond childhood summer vacation memories. I always think I’ll take more pictures on this trip but it’s hard to wear two hats so I mostly just allow myself to be there and fish.

Common Loons are a real treat on Devoe Lake in the Rifle River Rec Area. Seemingly unconcerned they swim close to my canoe.

Taking a break.

One of a number of nice bass caught and released.

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Each trip into nature marks the passing of time. Summer moves along, things seen are ever changing, birds fledge and mature under parent’s attentive care, caterpillars and butterflies continue their amazing dance of life, wildflowers and bees are ever present companions, by late July the days have grown noticeably shorter.

 

Griggs reservoir Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

An Acadia Meditation

Every once in awhile we head off with friends to do some hiking. This year it was Acadia National Park in Maine. While there, our base of operation was Moseley Cottage Inn & Town Motel in Bar Harbor located easy walking distance to shops, restaurants and the harbor. We used the excellent free (donation requested) shuttle bus service to get around the island and access the trails.

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September is a great time to visit the coast of Maine with clearer cooler days and little fog. This is particularly important when hiking the rocky hills of Acadia which offer many unobstructed views of Frenchman’s Bay and the surrounding area.

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ROCK

The first thing that impresses one is the rock. It’s some of the very oldest on the planet. It’s weathered surface, in various forms, having stood exposed to the elements since the last ice age, is everywhere. In fact the last ice age is why the area with it’s barren hills, deep clear lakes, islands, and rugged coastline looks the way it does.

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Looking towards Frenchman’s Bay, Acadia National Park.

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Rocky coast,  Wonderland Trail.

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On the Cadillac Mt South Ridge Trail, Acadia Natl. Park.

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Looking down at The Bowl from the Champlain Mt trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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The Bowl, Acadia Natl Park.

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Glacial erratic’s, Acadia Natl Park.

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In the distance Sand Beach and Great Head, Acadia Natl Park.

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A Glacial erratic seemingly dwarfs a large cruise ship as it leaves Bar Harbor.

Hiking on the Maine Coast rock blurs one’s concept of time. In “rock years” the span of my life was of no more consequence than my next step. The rock doesn’t care. For a time while on the trail, I tried to fathom it all, walking mindfully, no longer “falling” from one foot to the other, but slower, placing each step, feeling muscles work, attention to each breath, balance, and control, giving thanks for this moment in time and place.

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Sculpture in rock, high above Frenchman’s Bay, Acadia Natl Park.

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Cruise ship, Bar Harbor, Acadia Natl Park.

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WILDFLOWERS

But there is a lot more than rocks and one of the first things noticed walking one of the park’s many excellent trails, are the wildflowers. However, before a hike is undertaken, care should be used in the selection because the level of difficulty ranges from very easy to extremely difficult.

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White Rattlesnake Root, thanks much to Allen of “New Hampshire Garden Solutions” for the ID, (Donna)

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Hairy White Oldfield Aster? (Donna)

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New England Asters, (Donna)

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Partridge Berry, (Donna)

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New England Asters, another view, (Donna)

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Calico Asters, (Donna)

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High above Frenchman’s Bay a pool formed by a depression in the granite creates a home for Bog Cotton, Acadia Natl Park, (Donna)

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Bunch Berry, (Donna)

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Goldenrod and granite, Acadia Natl Park.

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Rose Hip flower, Acadia Natl Park.

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Early fall color along the trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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LICHEN AND FUNGI

Looking a little closer, when not negotiating one of the steeper more challenging stretches, lichen and fungi were also seen.

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Graceful Bolete? (Donna)

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Hammered Shield Lichen? (Donna)

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Burnt Orange Bolete? (Donna)

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Separating Trich? (Donna)

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Hammered Shield Lichen?

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Lichen rock art.

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TIDE POOLS

Some trails such as Wonderland and Ship Harbor took us right along the rocky coast with tide pools to explore.

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Tide pool 1, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Tide pool 2, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Seaweed on Sand Beach, Acadia Natl Park, (Donna)

 

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Tide pool 3, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Exploring a tide pool, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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A Hermit Crab makes a tide pool home, Acadia Natl Park, (Donna)

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BIRDS

Hiking with friends was the primary objective but near the ocean we were fortunate to see a few birds.

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Wilson’s Plover, (Donna)

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Wilson’s Plover with Semipalmated Sandpiper, (Donna)

 

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Common Eiders, (Donna)

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Immature Black Guillemot, (Donna)

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Gull eating a crustacean.

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Fish Crows wait to help out.

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Immature Common Loon, (Donna)

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Shadow Darner, a first for Donna, Cadillac Mt South Ridge Trail, Acadia Natl. Park.

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JORDAN POND

A hike around Jordan Pond was also on the week’s menu or was it the popovers at Jordan Pond House and then the hike? I’ll never tell.

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Jordan Pond through the trees, Acadia Natl park.

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Jordan pond trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Crystal clear water, Jordan Pond, Acadia Natl Park.

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Pausing for a moment at waters edge we listened and looked. The sun did it’s best to warm the late summer day as a cool lake breeze rustled the overhead leaves. The sound of gentle waves playing against the shore as patterns of light danced on the rocks below.

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Waves and patterns of light, Jordan Pond, Acadia Natl Park.

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The Bubbles, Jordan Pond, Acadia Natl Park.

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LOCAL AMBIANCE

While in Maine it is hard to avoid the temptation to capture the local ambiance. This trip was no acceptation.

 

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Mirror, Northeast Harbor.

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Margaret Todd, Bar Harbor.

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Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Heading out, off Bass Harbor Head.

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Lobster boat, Bar Harbor.

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Evening, Bar Harbor

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Distant hills, Bar Harbor.

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It’s probably best to consider this post as just the barest of appetizers. However, if you’ve never been to Maine or Acadia National Park, hopefully it has provided some encouragement to make the trip.

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The gang!

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

Devoe Lake’s Summer Gift

Every summer for the last number of years in the company of friends I’ve made a fishing pilgrimage to the Rifle River Recreation Area in Michigan. On this year’s trip, like most recently, many  fish were caught and released. Only six hours north of our home in central Ohio, it’s a special place where nesting Loons can be seen. While paddling it’s not uncommon to have one surface nearby or to see other wildlife not far away. The Loons are unique in their nesting requirements and are certainly there because no motors are allowed on any of the lakes in the park. If you want to fish, or just explore, it must be under your own power.

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Loons, Devoe Lake

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Areas of the country that are privileged to have four seasons, unfold like a flower in spring and summer only to experience a fiery death during the shorter, colder, red, and yellow days of fall. Devoe Lake is such a place, where the beauty of spring and summer is not ours for long, where for a brief time under blue skys and puffy white clouds one witnesses the sights and sounds of birds, insects, and wildflowers as life is celebrated. A place where a quiet observer may see a Loon attentively feeding her young as dragonflies, or even a Bald Eagle, fly overhead and where a Kingbird and Green Heron may be seen perched in a tree at waters edge while somewhere further down the lake the raucous call of a Kingfisher is heard.

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The strikingly beautiful flower of the Grass-of-Parnassus common along the shore of Devoe Lake

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Early morning, Devoe Lake.

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A typical catch on Devoe Lake. Many fish show evidence of having been previously caught.

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Prized for their good taste and seeming abundance a successful Devoe Lake fisherman shows of his catch of 35 Bluegill. In recent years with the rise in popularity of kayak fishing and more sophisticated boats, often equipped with fish finders and GPS, such catches are a lot easier and undoubtedly more common on Devoe. On a lake that’s less than a mile long and one half mile wide one can’t help wondering if such good times will last.

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A Red Spotted Purple visits our campsite, Devoe Lake rustic campground.

 

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Reflecting the rays of the low sun against a gray sky, a Kingbird waits for an insect to fly by, Devoe Lake.

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Just be taking a break? A juvenile Green Heron perches high in a tree at waters edge, Devoe Lake.

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Paddling under gray skies and clouds that threaten rain, Devoe Lake.

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Bald Eagles along the shoreline of Devoe Lake

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Return just a few months later and this unique beauty will be gone. No wildflowers will grace the shoreline of the lake. Rain, whether falling quietly or pounding to accompaniment of lightning and the sound of thunder, will have given way to the silence of the seasons first snow. At night the call of the Eastern Whip-poor-will will not be heard. The lake’s blue surface will not dance to the beat of an ever changing breeze and Painted Turtles will not cruise the clear depths below your canoe. It will be quiet except for the wind as it moves through now bare branches. The sky will more often be gray and the water now solid, unmoving, and partially covered in white, will reflect it’s color.

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Morning sun and mist, Devoe Lake.

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No matter the season Devoe Lake gives of it’s beauty sparingly and then takes it away leaving one to wait restlessly for another year.  The fleeting days of summer are no exception.

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Thanks for stopping by.

“Up North” in Michigan

Every year for the past ten or so we’ve travelled from central Ohio to the northeast part of Michigan’s lower peninsula for a few days of “catch and release” fishing.

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Devoe Lake, (Keith)

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Although certainly providing it’s own challenges and excitement, it not so much about the fishing as just being there. We’re “Up North” after all, a special place for many of us who grew up further south.

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Ready to launch, showing rod setup and remotely actuated “fish cam”, Devoe Lake

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Jimmy fishing, Devoe Lake

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Looks like a promising area, Devoe Lake, (Keith)

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Jeff with a nice LM Bass caught using a Wacky Rig, (Keith)

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AuSable River SM Bass using a gold Rapala, “fish cam”.

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“Up North” magic; perhaps it’s a quiet misty morning with a distant Loon’s call or the long trail of  splashes as it slowly accelerates running, flying, then finally, after what seems like way to long, breaking the water’s hold. At night it may be the call of a Barred Owl or the laugh of a coyote. Unlike past years, this year the Whippoorwills were quiet as the sky darkened just after sunset, replaced later by the silent flashes of light from the Perseid meteor shower.

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Various wildflowers grace the shore of Devoe Lake

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A Green Heron watches as a fisherman’s cast breaks the water’s surface.

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A Loon swims close to the canoe, Devoe Lake

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Then a pair follow suit, Devoe Lake.

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Deer watch curiously along the shore, Devoe Lake.

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A small island provide a welcome place for a break, Devoe Lake.

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As if from an upstream lake or adjacent woods, magic finds it’s way to the river, it’s clear water flowing silently over sand and smooth rocks, interrupted occasionally by green.

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Launching on the Rifle River

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Dead Ash trees along the river caused by the Emerald Ash Borer.

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Late afternoon on the Rifle River

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Jim and Keith on the Rifle River.

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Rifle River tunnel.

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Occasionally an insect or a flower becomes the magic, seemingly more vivid and clear than it would be nearer to home.

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Along the Rifle River, a female White-faced Meadowhawk perches, seemingly unperturbed, as we launch our canoes.

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A closer look.

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Hard to miss, a bright slime mold on forest leaf litter, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Lobelia kalmia, Brook lobelia, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Joe-Pye Weed, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Turtlehead, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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In the middle of the lake a Vesper Bluet damselfly finds the canoe.

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A closer look.

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Late in the day, the wind gone, the lake’s surface creates a canvas of light, shadow, and sky.

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Reflections, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Near sunset, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Racing the storm, Devoe Lake, (Keith}

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Illusion, Devoe Lake

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Again we are left with memories that sustain imagination and dreams until next year’s trip north.

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Camp, Devoe Lake Rustic Campground

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Thanks for stopping by.

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