Scott Lake

Scott Lake was a detour of a detour I took while driving through Willamette National Forest. I took so many detours its surprising I made any forward progress at all.

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Scott Lake
A remote lake in Willamette National Forest

I figured as long as I had gas and some trail mix I was probably not going to have problems. The only real dilemma was deciding when to turn back. If I didn’t need sleep, I’d have driven all night, and that would have been just fine.

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I could see setting up camp here and exploring for a few days. As its the pacific northwest, I’d half expect to see a bigfoot. This area is so big and untamed that it would not surprise me in the least. At least this is where I would be if I were a bigfoot.

Forest Path

A few days ago, I walked through a forest in Oregon’s Ecola State Park. It was a nice break from the regular everyday routine.

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Forest Path
The trail to Crescent Beach

It was my first time visiting Oregon, so I toured both the mountains and coast to get a sense of things. There was no real plan other than drive, observe, and take photos. I’d see something intriguing, and follow it until I had to turn around.

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In this case, I was near Cannon Beach, which is a famous resort town. This particular trail leads to the isolated Crescent Beach, which bears no resemblance to the beaches in Florida. It was a good change of pace.

Brain Games

Here is one of the trails at Emerson Point that I recently explored. If it weren’t for that they are well-marked, I’d still be in there somewhere.

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Brain Games
A boardwalk at Emerson Point Preserve

When you look at this photo, something might seem a little off. The path appears level yet distorted. Can you guess what it is? Spoiler, …the boardwalk ascends a hill, it’s not level. Once you know this, the sense of distortion disappears.

more photos from Emerson Point

Our brain is the most complicated thing known to science. But neuroscientist can do all sorts of little test like this to point out the contours of aspects we are only beginning to understand. Check out this short demonstration of the blind spot which we have that the brain fills in. Most of us never even know we have one. I certainly didn’t until a few days ago.

River Reflections

The reflections along the Hillsborough River are entirely peaceful. That is until you realize alligators lurk just below the surface.

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River Reflections
Along the Hillsborough River in Florida

But if I was an alligator, this seems like the perfect place to live. I’m living in a state park, I don’t get harassed, there are plenty of turtles to munch, and I don’t have to get stuck in someone’s pool and have my jaws taped shut.

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In reality, alligators have it hard. Only a small percentage make it to maturity. The most energetic, most intelligent among them live out their full lives. And the luckiest of those are living here in these beautiful parks.

Natural Highlights

When I was driving the loop road in Big Cypress National Preserve, I’d stop every half mile or so. Sometimes I’d see these Bromeliad Tillandsia blooming on the side of cypress trees.

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Natural Highlights
A scene from Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

I didn’t have the right equipment for taking flower photos, so I used a telephoto and zoomed in from the side of the road. This photo was taken with the zoom fully extended at 240mm.

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The main thing that catches my eye is the contrast of the flower against the green and earth tones of the preserve. I suppose I could have waded into the swamp to get a better look, but I could hear the croaking of alligators close by and I needed to get home to re-organize my sock drawer. Not that I was afraid or anything.

Bench View

I took this about four years ago when I was in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. It’s a part of the Wild Pacific Trail that traces the coastline. It’s a well-maintained trail with benches like this every half mile or so.

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Bench View
A bench with a view along the Wild Pacific Trail

I was here in late August (or “Fogust” as the locals say) when a thick fog would roll in most afternoons. You could see it sitting just offshore, and then at the right time it would approach and before you could say Foghorn Leghorn, you were in it. In this image, you can see it about a mile offshore.

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Benches or empty chairs in an image allow us to imagine sitting there in the scene. Our eyes follow the direction it points, similar to a leading line, only with a different device. When a photo makes us look in a particular direction, it has captured our imagination as we weave our own story in the scene. However, if it has thick fog, that would be something different entirely.

Pining to Go Back

Here is another image from Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. I cannot fathom living eight-hundred years. Imagine the stories these trees could tell. After that length of time, I suppose the stories would go on and on.

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Pining to go Back
If these trees could talk…

After looking at these images, I am pining to go back. Knock on wood I’ll have a chance soon. Short of that, I’ll just have to lumber along here in Florida. Forgive me dear blog reader, you do not deserve to be pun-ished this way.

other images with trees

One good thing about living eight-hundred years is that the statute of limitations is on your side. Whatever you did in the last century is forgotten, unless, of course, you’re a tree. In that case, your neighbors know your business. Do trees forget?

If you’ve found this blog post informative, then I’m clearly not doing my job today.

Rare and Endangered

This is from Cathedral Grove in British Columbia. It’s a relatively small area filled with Douglas Fir and Red Cedar. Some of the trees are 800 years old and 250 feet high. The forest is considered rare and endangered, the trees are prized by the logging industry. You can find out more about that here.

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Rare and Endangered
The Red Cedar is endangered due to logging

Having walked through it on a couple of occasions I can say there is a special feeling you get. There aren’t many places like this remaining on the planet, so I hope we can preserve it and the forests around it.

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We passed by here on our way to Ucluelet from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We were so moved by the size and grace of the trees that a week later we stopped again on the way back. On each occasion, we walked in quiet reverie induced by our surroundings. I took a lot of pictures and am just now getting back to some of these images that remind me of this special place.

Wild Pacific Trail

Here is a bend in along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet BC. While staying here a few years ago I took hikes along this trail and spent hours taking photos of the views. However, in this case, it was the trail itself that caught my imagination.

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Wild Pacific Trail
A section of the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, British Columbia

The trail itself is well maintained and has spectacular vistas of the rugged coast below. We stayed at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort which is on the trail itself. All I had to do was walk outside the room and I was on the trail.

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Some stretches of the trail would wind through the woods, and then open up at an overlook of the Pacific Ocean. It was a fun walk because at almost every there was a surprise waiting. The problem for me was knowing when to turn back. I would walk for miles and lose track of time and then have to pick up the pace on my way back.

Roaring Brook Nature Center 2

I took this about three years ago at a little park called Roaring Brook Nature Center on Canton Connecticut. The pond empties down the mountain at a dike and indeed the brook does roar at that spot. Here is another image from nearly the same spot.

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Roaring Brook Nature Center 2
I took this on a nature walk a few years back.

I was here in spring which of course is when all the streams and rivers are full of melting snow. Spring is also the season for pollen and they get it heavily in Connecticut. My rental car was covered with a yellow layer so thick it resembled volcanic ash.

I’ve also been here (not this spot exactly) in Autumn and of course, the scene is quite different. All of New England is ablaze in colors and it’s a great time for a road trip.

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This particular visit was a difficult one. We had just lost one of our beloved dogs from an unexpected illness and I was feeling sad. That’s when I looked up this little park figuring it would do me some good to go for a nature walk. When I saw scenes like this it helped take my mind off the pain. Times like that are never easy.