Passing Through

In central Ohio it’s not quite autumn but with daylight too quickly losing the battle to the setting sun it would be hard, even on a warm day, to mistake it for summer. Plants, animals, insects, weather, and daylight are all in all in a state of flux. It’s as though we’re passing through on our way to somewhere else, to a place that’s easier to put a label on. It’s hard to bring oneself to the realization that present forms of life are dying but such an awareness is inescapable as one walks through the woods. It is a season of paradox as late summer and fall wildflowers arrive doing their best to announce the autumnal fireworks to follow.

Leaf on stream bed.

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Caterpillars active just a few weeks ago have disappeared in preparation to reintroduce themselves next year in a new perhaps more beautiful form. Highlighted by the early morning dew, spider webs are everywhere often to the detriment of passing grasshoppers which seem more plentiful now. Other insects continue to make their daily rounds without the urgency of the squirrels which all seem to have a nut in their mouth. An occasional migrating warbler is seen making its way south while blue jays and crows are noticed more often just passing through while others have undoubtedly taken up residence for the winter.

Nodding Bur-Marigold.

Tree Swallows, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

A very fresh Monarch, (Donna).

Goldenrod, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Killdeer, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

A slightly tattered Viceroy, (Donna).

A fresher Viceroy.

Morning Glory, (Donna).

Question Mark, (Donna).

A Banded Garden Spider gift wraps it’s prey, (Donna).

New England Aster.

Bay-breasted Warbler, (Donna).

Sunflower

A male Widow Skimmer, an easy to photograph and fairly common dragonfly.

A hint of autumn along Big Darby Creek.

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Unlike summer, with days that change little from one to the next, it’s a time of year that assigns value to what we have and blesses us with a feeling of gratitude for what soon will be lost.

Rain and reflections.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

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.

 

Expections

I need to start by being honest. While fall is my second most favorite time of the year, behind spring, it is also a time of reduced expectations. Bird and insect activity seem to be in decline, the colors of spring and summer wildflowers give way to Goldenrod, Asters, autumn leaves, and then slowly   .   .   .  , better start thinking about next year adventures while catching up on reading and working on some favorite photographs.

But wait, this morning while walking along Griggs Reservoir the air was autumn day pure and cool, a Bald Eagle swooped down to the water’s surface before rising and circling against a Royal Blue sky, Gold Finches, looking for a meal, lighted on Cone Flowers, now devoid of their petals, as they made their way south, warblers flitted In the tree tops, a Black and White here a Magnolia there, and what about that vireo in the bush at the water’s edge.

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Goldenrod and a Cloud Studded Blue Sky

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Asters

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Monarch and Goldenrod

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Fly-fishing below Griggs Dam

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Stump with Asters

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Sharing a Rock

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Thanks for stopping by.

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