January 05, 2015

A Misty, Mysterious Hike

trail

About a month ago, on a mild day, the fishman and I took a hike not far from our house.

Most of the snow from November had melted--leaving the trails slightly muddy and soft with autumn leaves ... although firm enough for an easy walk.

train

The park where we hiked is a familiar place, which I've featured on the blog many times. On this day, however, it seemed eerily different. A thick layer of fog shrouded everything in a mysterious haze, which was pleasing in its own way.

foggy trees

The fishman started out ahead of me, and called my attention to two raptors, high up in the trees ahead of us.

eagles

eagles2

eagles3

As we approached, the fog lifted a touch. The fishman thought perhaps the birds were juvenile bald eagles.

eagle fly

They flew away before I could zoom in. Drat. Still, it was fun to see them--even from a distance through the mist.

critter home

As we started along the trail, we found this hole at the base of a gnarled old tree. It had me wondering who lived there.

dogwood

Dogwoods (Cornus sericea) were plentiful, lending accents of deep red to the bleak landscape.

dew

And dropping fresh dew on this magical, misty day.

sedge

false rue anemone

Several evergreen plants poked through the soil--including sedges, mosses, and False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum)--reminders of new life waiting patiently for the next season.

lake3

But the most dramatic scenes were those overlooking the lake, where the ice, land, and sky blended cooperatively to confuse the eye.

lake2

lake1

(This post is linked to Michelle's "Nature Notes" at her blog, Rambling Woods.)

74 comments:

  1. Oh, my, what a fascinating story well told, well photographed. Most people don't take pictures of fog. This was great. And how the snow on the ground, the ice on the lake and fog in the sky all blended together ... superb!

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    1. Thank you, Jane. The fog made the long shots of the eagles nearly impossible without a zoom lens, which I neglected to bring with me, of course. But some of the mid-range and landscape shots worked out OK. It's rare for us to have mild weather in December. And after a cold November, the frozen lake and other conditions created a unique fusion of ice, mist, and weather warm enough to appreciate it.

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  2. I am so glad you showed your eagles. Some talk endlessly about them and never show they saw them. January is Bald Eagle Watch Month, so it is fitting to see them in your area, even though a month ago. I love walking in the mist and fog and you are lucky to have someone to go with you. It makes the walk more pleasant.

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    1. Ah, good to know about Bald Eagle Watch Month. The eagle photos aren't great, but I've gone back several times to get better ones and the eagles are gone. The conditions (some open water, the fog hiding them from their prey, etc.) must have been right for them that day. We do see eagles here sometimes, but they're more common at other local locations and around the state. Yes, I'm fortunate that the fishman enjoys hiking, too. It's a great activity that will help keep us in shape as long as we can walk. ;-)

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  3. Great hike with very nice photos...

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. I linked in to Nature Notes. Thanks for hosting!

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  4. Dear Beth, these are very mystical photos indeed! Almost a little bit scary like out of a movie, where murder is just about to happen. Or is that just my fantasy going bonkers?! I really like the ones with the lake and with the raptors, if those have been really young eagles, how cool is that? How great that you live in a place where there is so much nature still available. Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Tee hee. It did feel kind of like a mystery movie, Christina. We had plentiful fog during December, and the temperatures were much milder than usual--milder than November had been. So it was great for getting outside and taking in the scenery. Yes, this is a great place to live. We don't often see eagles close like this, but they are in the area, and common in places not too far from here. Thanks for your kind comment. :)

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  5. Thanks for taking us along on your hike. Great photos - it looks very atmospheric.

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    1. Certainly, Tim. Thanks, yes the day was moody and atmospheric. I'm so glad we took the time to hike that day. We often get too busy, especially around the holidays. But it can really make a difference to our health and our mood--even on a gray day.

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  6. What a magical landscape. Gorgeous photos and how exciting to see eagles.

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    1. Thanks, Chloris. Yes, it was exciting to see the eagles. I hope we'll see them again there during a future hike. I wonder how often the people who live around the lake see them. I'll have to ask some friends. :)

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  7. I too love hiking in misty mornings with Snarf, it is the best thing to start the day. Great pictures and so interesting you saw an eagle. On these pictures they look a bit like the buzzards I see sometimes in the morning,

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    1. Ah, Snarf and you are lucky to have each other for walking companions! Believe it or not, this hike was during the afternoon. Actually, as the sun started to set, the fog lifted a little. But we had nearly non-stop fog for a few weeks in December. I was glad not to have snow and cold, but the fog made driving on the highway a little tricky. I have to admit, I have trouble discerning eagles, turkey vultures, and hawks from a distance. But these birds had thicker necks, big heads, and beaks consistent with eagles. I wish I'd had my zoom lens along. Lesson learned. ;-)

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  8. Lovely post and how great to see the Eagles, love the photos you have taken . We have a lot of Dogwoods around here and the red stems have looked stunning even on a dull day.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. Yes, the Red-Twig Dogwoods are such a wonderful shrub--in all seasons! They're especially appreciated during the winter, whether the day is gray or white. They're so plentiful here, in nature and in people's gardens. And I love them!

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  9. It is amazing how fog can change the entire look and feel of a place. I enjoyed your walk and photos.

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    1. Very true, Karin. When you can't see much up ahead of you, it changes the perspective and can be disorienting--even in familiar places. Thanks.

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  10. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing your walk. The eagle was stunning, but the photo of the False Rue struck me most--the promise of renewal.

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    1. Thanks! I wish I'd had a zoom lens for the eagles, but it was still fun to see them. I, too, am always excited to see the starts of next spring's plants. It makes my heart sing. :)

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  11. Very exciting to see eagles so close to home. Nice that you caught the woods before the deep freeze hit.

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    1. Yes, no outdoor photography for me during the deep freeze. I don't like it, and my fingers have been frostbitten too many times over the years. So, we were thrilled with the mild weather in December! The eagles were fun to watch.

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  12. Yes, as others have written, your hike seemed mystical. The woods near a lake is a very special place and you have really shown it to us--thank you.

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for coming along! I agree--woods near a lake near a prairie. Great habitat for wildlife! :)

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  13. I love to walk through a foggy forest. Really great shots!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Me, too! The conditions were unique for early December. :)

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  14. Beautiful pictures - they give a good impression of what it must have felt like in the fog. It is always interesting to see raptors and a bit of green - to remind us that spring will eventually come.

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    1. Thanks, Alain! Yes, there is hope--which we need dearly on subzero days like today! Stay warm!

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  15. I treasure every moment that I am outside in the winter. We always try to go to the Longwood Christmas display when it is foggy. Like you we like the look.

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    1. That's a great way to look at it, Carolyn--treasuring the moments of opportunity. I'm looking forward to the weekend and next week, when we'll have some more "normal" winter weather. Less dangerous than what we're having now.

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  16. Wow. You could almost get me liking winter with those shots!

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    1. Winter is OK for a while. I even like our normal winter days. The subzero stuff (below 0F/below -17C) is not fun, however. Too dangerous to go outside.

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  17. I like these foggy scenes, cool sighting of the eagles.. A great walk and photos! Have a happy week!

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    1. Thanks, Eileen. Yes, it was a healthy/fun hike. Enjoy your week, too!

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  18. ooh cold! But the virtual walk was a delight.

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    1. That particular day wasn't cold (at least, not "normal" cold for us). It looks cold with the ice and snow on the lake, but the temps were around 49F/9C, if I'm remembering correctly. ;-)

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  19. I LOVE that first shot, and the little hole in the tree.

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    1. Thanks! I kind of wish I'd taken more photos of the misty trail and the mist behind the plants. It was very pretty. I'm certainly curious who lives in that tree!

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    1. Thank you, Endah! It was a fun walk. :)

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  21. wonderful misty photos, Beth. Did you use a tripod?

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    1. Thanks, Sue. No, I did not. In fact, I had my point-and-shoot camera with me. It zooms a bit, but the telephoto quality doesn't compare with my optical zoom camera or my telephoto lens. Oh well, next time!

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  22. We've had some foggy days lately and I love the sense of mystery it casts over the landscape. I was not nearly as successful as you in capturing it through my lens.

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    1. Thanks, Ricki. I wish I'd had a better camera with me for the eagles, but I guess this conveys a sense of the day. I enjoy a deep fog, too, as long as I don't have to drive through it.

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  23. Wooded areas always feel so separate when it's misty and dark. It would be wonderful to see who lives in that tree. :o)

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    1. Yes, I would be curious about the inhabitants! Probably not a wise idea to get too close, but curious, nonetheless. The weirdest part about the fog is when objects, that were obscured, suddenly become visible. Like the train, the eagles, and the opposite lakeshore.

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  24. Fog is so interesting and gives such a different tone and ambiance to everything. What a fun hike! It is too bad you couldn't get close enough to identify the raptors. It is always so much fun to see big birds like that.

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    1. We don't often hike on foggy days, and I'm thinking we should do it more often--especially in "safe" places. I would never do it alone, but with a companion in a familiar place I felt comfortable about it. My husband was teasing me after reading this post. He said they were definitely eagles, and I should have been more affirmative about it. He was closer and said he was certain of it. They could have been Bald Eagles or Golden Eagles. I wasn't comfortable enough with my photos to say they were Bald Eagles for sure. In any case, I will return to that location in the future and try to get better photos.

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  25. I love fog, any day, any time. I love the look of it. I love the feel of it! The photos are beautiful.

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    1. Thank you! I'm not a huge fan of gray days, in general. But a mild day with very heavy fog feels magical to me. There are objects on the other side of the "curtain" that suddenly appear as one gets closer. Thanks for stopping by!

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  26. Loved the story. Loved the photos. I love how mists slightly alter reality and make me feel just slightly out of time and place. I could almost feel it on my face. I share the same wonder whenever I see a tree hollow: who lives here ... what is its story?

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    1. Yes, the "altered reality" really hits me, too. I was so curious about that tree habitat, but I didn't want to disturb whoever lives there--could be snakes, or foxes, or ... who knows?! It was quite a large hole.

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  27. It's so interesting to see how a familiar place turns mysterious with the fog. Those eagle photos are wonderful, I could almost feel your disappointment with the limit of the zoom! (Yep, I've been there too.) The ice and sky on the lake contrast so well with the not so snowy woods.



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    1. Thanks, Shirley. Sometimes I second-guess on sharing photos (re: the eagles). I prefer not to post sub-par photos , yet you are seeing here what actually happened. I missed the shot. Fortunately, some of the other images were obtainable--even with my point-and-shoot camera. ;-)

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  28. First Beth I love the new look of the blog...and what a fabulous walk in the fog. I love fog and walking in ti makes the surroundings so much more intriguing...gorgeous shots of all the beauty around you especially the lake shots where all blended to one.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. In my continous quest for simplicity, the blog is evolving. I appreciate your kind comments, dear friend. :) The lake is a huge element in our community ecosystem here, so I will try to feature it more in the months ahead. Even though we don't live on it, we benefit from the microclimate and the wildlife that it brings to our town.

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  29. Lovely series of photos. There is something both eerie and beautiful about a fog-shrouded lake.

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    1. Thanks, Heather. We're so fortunate here to have so many beautiful lakes in a small geographical area, aren't we? Honestly, I feel so blessed to call the Madison area my home ... except on the really cold days! ;-)

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  30. I remember complaining about the continual gray, gloomy days of this past December. But your photos show a completely different side--mysterious and beautiful! A great reminder that it's all about perspective.

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    1. Thanks, Rose. The gray days dragged on, didn't they? But when it was warm enough to get outside, I didn't mind so much. Winter, in all its forms, is a challenging bugger, isn't it?!

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  31. Fantastic! I enjoy walks in the mist. Your images are mysterious and romantic, if a bit ghostly.

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    1. Thanks, Deb. It was that kind of day. I had an eerie feeling during that hike, and I was glad to have the fishman as a companion. I'm glad the photos captured at least the essence of the day.

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  32. Hello "neighbor" out in WI!

    What a lovely and misty tour of November. Thank you so much for coming by to visit, and my blog will still be active - I am not deleting it, and I will still be visiting. I just need TIME to pursue what I really feel is calling at me at the moment. MUCH LOVE AND HAVE FUN! Anita

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    1. Hi Anita in MN! I totally understand your need to put the blog on hold. But I can't say I'm happy about it. ;-) I do hope, at some point, you will resurrect it or share your talents with us in another way. Your blog isn't really the same genre as mine, but it has been a highlight of my "virtual time" during the past year or so. Cheers, and my very best wishes to you always!

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  33. This looks so much like the landscape in my neck of the woods. We've had fog for days on end. I get kind of tired of it. But at least it's not dramatic. And eventually it will clear and the sun will come out and the daffodils will sing to the birds. :)

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    1. Hi Grace: Yes, I guess that matches my impression of the Pacific Northwest. It happens seasonally sometimes here, too--but usually for a few days in November or March. Thanks for painting that word picture of the Daffodils singing to the birds!

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  34. This is what I like! A mystery of fog! Love the pictures!

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    1. Thanks, Tatyana! (Just catching up with comments on some previous posts.) I wasn't sure how the fog would show on the photos, but they turned out OK. :)

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  35. Beautiful. I was loving the misty tree shots, but can anything beat such an atmospheric combination of water and sky? Thank you, I really enjoyed your walk, and got to stay warm too!

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    1. Thanks, Janet. Yes, I find the sky fading to water fading to land scenes incredibly haunting--when I see them in nature, and when the photos are able to convey them adequately. We've been fortunate. This winter has been much milder than last winter, and comfortable for outdoor activities with the proper gear and clothing. :)

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  36. I love misty days, we have not had any for many weeks in Madrid and is getting really difficult with pollution. I am looking forward to real winter weather, meanwhile I enjoy your images. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Lula: It's so interesting that you look forward to "real winter weather." I find myself wanting to escape it. I enjoy it for several weeks, and then I want to escape to a place like Madrid. ;-) Pollution not so much, though. Thanks for your kind comments, Lula.

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  37. Those are some very cool photos Beth!! We don't get fog/mist very often here ~ too arid I guess so that makes your photos all the more appealing.

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    1. Hi Kathleen: Just catching up on some comments. ;-) Yes, I suppose Colorado is too arid for fog. We've had more fog this winter than we usually do, but it's not uncommon for us to have some extremely foggy days here and there. It creates some fascinating scenes.

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