November 23, 2020

Secret Places and Simple Pleasures

trail 1

Recently the dog and I hiked at one of our favorite places. Several things about this location are special, starting with the fact that I wouldn't have known this beautiful place existed if I didn't have a dog. It's a designated dog trail at a Wisconsin state park near my house. When the park's other trails are closed during the cross-country skiing season, this trail remains open to dogs and hikers. While I've hiked at the state park many, many times over the years, I didn't discover this particular path until last winter!

Every time I've visited this trail since January, it has revealed new gems of beauty.

trees

During our recent mid-November hike here, I found myself awed by the mature trees that line the trail.

ferns

Ferns, mosses, lichens, and sedges are still evergreen among the carpet of Oak leaves.

trail 2

A particularly magical patch of the trail is hard to describe in photos and words, but I'll try: It's a little opening, about 3/4 of the way through the path, where the woodland opens into a meadow. My impression is that this section illustrates the movement of the glacier that formed the nearby lake.

woodland hill

On one side of the trail, there's a hill that appears to be a glacial drumlin.

meadow and lake

On the other side of the trail, at the woodland opening, there's a beautiful meadow with a view of the lake. One senses how the retreating glacier formed this area.

seedheads and trees

The light is magical in this meadow--in all seasons, but particularly in spring and autumn and late afternoon, as the oblique light hits the grasses, sedges, wildflowers, and seedheads.

meadow

On this recent day at the park, the sky was beautiful, too. Seedheads of asters, goldenrods, and other autumn-blooming plants were sparkling--backlit by the low-hanging sun.

seedheads 2

seedheads 1

sun

meadow view

I love this place. I'm thankful I discovered it, and I'm thankful that Nicky and I can walk here just about any day we wish. Simple pleasures are so important during a global pandemic. I hope you all are finding simple pleasures, and I wish for those who celebrate it, a very Happy Thanksgiving!

26 comments:

  1. Much to enjoy from the wide geology to the backlit seeds - helps to get things into perspective.

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    1. Putting things in perspective is helping me these days, Diana. I hope you and yours are continuing to be healthy and safe!

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  2. Ha! I've often wondered if a dog would help expand my knowledge of the local trails here too, Beth. I walked a lot of those in my immediate area when we first moved here, although I pulled back when my knee began giving me trouble. Walking alone is also less fun than walking with an enthusiastic pal like your adorable Nicky. Your woods and meadow are delightful.

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    1. Oh, yes, walking with Nicky is fun. :) I enjoy walks alone, too, though, when I can take some time with my camera to capture the details better. Nicky's pretty patient, though. ;-)

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  3. P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

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  4. Don’t you love “happening”on a place like that!
    Thanks to your Nicky . . .

    I felt somewhat similar the other day
    when we took off to find a new sculpture
    placed by our local art council.
    It is an area I have never walked before.
    And right on the edge of White Lake . . . Glorious.
    Plus, I find this perfect weather for discovery and a hike.
    We are enjoying a mix of sunny days, cool crisp air, and no wind.

    My final leaf clean up happened today,
    rakes and mower are now tucked away until next spring.

    Happy Thanksgiving Beth.
    Be safe, well, happy . . .

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    1. Yes, perfect weather for these outings. That's such a good feeling to have the raking done, isn't it? Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you and yours, Lynne.

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  5. You are indeed lucky to have a place like this on your doorstep. Recently I have been thinking how awful it must be tolive in a big city when you are only allowed limited walks and all your parks are packed with people. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving Beth.

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    1. I do feel blessed to have so many wonderful places nearby for hiking and walking. I guess many cities have great public parks, too. It would be sad, though to live far away from good parks or nature. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  6. I thoroughly enjoyed your walk on this trail. These trails is one thing I really like about WI. It seems to me there are so many trails to enjoy. Seeing the fuzzy wuzzy seed heads of the asters etc give one the assurance that life will carry on despite all that is going on in the world. I learned something too...Glacier drumlin. If I ever heard about them I certainly didn't remember what they were. Mighty interesting to me.
    I hope you and yours have a safe happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Lisa. Yes, we have some great parks and trails here. I know: The seedheads give me hope, too. The glacial formations around here are fascinating. But I also find the Driftless Region of Wisconsin (the glaciers didn't reach it) fascinating, too. Geology, in general, is awesome. :)

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  7. Lovely and peaceful, Beth, as I hope your Thanksgiving will be. xo

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    1. Thank you, Helen. Miss you. Have a wonderful rest of the autumn and a great holiday season!

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  8. Wonderful.

    Your photos let me feel the peace of that place, the sense of space, the dome of sky, the sleeping trees. Thank you!

    And now I know what a Glacier drumlin is, too.

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    1. You are welcome. Thanks for visiting. "Sleeping trees": I like that description. :) Glacial drumlins are so prevalent around here. It's fascinating to view a map of glacial formations in the area, and then to see them in person.

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  9. Hello,
    I love the photos you shared. I always enjoy watching seed heads dance in the autumn sun. One of my favorite on my walk are milkweed dancing in the sun.
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Love, Carla

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    1. Oh, I agree, Carla. The milkweeds have their own special character. November is an OK month. I'm not a fan of our long winters, but November is OK. ;-)

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  10. Beautiful scenes!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  11. It must be a special feeling to be so connected to the land and to understand it so well. Love this post Beth. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Susie: Yes, it is! I was back there again today, and even on a cold, gray, windy day, it's a great place to hike with the dog. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  12. Oh, I loved this hike! It is pouring freezing rain here this morning and it seems the sun will never shine. Thank you for sharing your walk. It is something Scooter would have loved also.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. Oh dear, freezing rain is the worst! I hope you'll have some better weather very soon! We are cold and windy here today, but the forecast is not bad for late November/early December. Personally, the closer we get to days lengthening is a good thing. ;-)

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  13. I think your picture captured the magic of the opening in the trail beautifully.

    It was always so much fun to take our Jack Russell on walks because she enjoyed them so much.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, the dog is definitely keeping me in shape and taking me to new and interesting places. :)

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