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A Hike Along The Ernie Maxwell Trail, Idyllwild, CA

A Hike Along The Ernie Maxwell Trail, Idyllwild, CA
Small Waterfall

Small Waterfall

We are three weeks into 2015. I hope you have had a great start to this year. 2014 ended in difficulty for me, and 2015 shows no relief. I think to myself I’ve got 11 more months to make this a great year.

One of the things I find comforting is to take a walk in the woods. When I hear bird calls, water flowing, and the wind tickling the tops of the pines, every care melts away.

The Ernie Maxwell Trail

The Ernie Maxwell Trail

Yesterday, February 20, 2015 dawned as fabulous spring day in the middle of winter. The temperature was in the mid 60’s with light streaky clouds. I decided to wipe the cares off my shoulders and take a hike. The minute I stepped onto the Ernie Maxwell Trail in Idyllwild, CA, my senses became more refined and I started listening to my animal friends. The first thing I heard was the screech of a hawk high overhead. Then the chime of finches talking to each other took over. A chipmunk scurried across the path to get out of my way. I stopped to listen to the rhythm of the wind dance in the tree tops.

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

Looking closely, I revel in the colors of the forest. The rocks hold beautiful shades of pink, orange, yellow, tans and browns.

Boulder along the Ernie Maxwell Trail

Boulder along the Ernie Maxwell Trail

I feel as if I become part of nature while I am on these hikes rather than a human separate from it. I appreciate the land, water, and sky and say a silent thank you to mother nature for providing all of the elements people need to survive.

The forest that surrounds the Ernie Maxwell Trail

The forest that surrounds the Ernie Maxwell Trail

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A Walk Along The Cape Fear River Trail

Lone duck on a pond along the Cape Fear River Trail

Lone duck on a pond along the Cape Fear River Trail

Christmas Eve 2012. Time is our friend, but the weather is not. My husband and I decide to chance it and take a 4 mile walk along the Cape Fear River Trail in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The last time we attempted this, we got rained out. We are hoping mother nature will be calm for a couple of hours.

We begin at the Jordan Soccer Complex parking lot and walk past homes and forest. Not long into the walk is a beautiful pond. There are still ducks scattered along the shoreline.

A pond along the Cape Fear River Trail

A pond along the Cape Fear River Trail

The sky is gray and heavy, but no sign of rain yet. We continue on the trail and are treated to a gorgeous view of the river. In spring, summer, and fall, it is hidden by the trees and bushes. All of the leaves have fallen to the forest floor, so we can see through the branches to the softly rolling water.

A view of the Cape Fear River

A view of the Cape Fear river

Passing railroad tracks, an outhouse, and several hikers and runners, we approach a small waterfall and old bridge.

An old bridge along the Cape Fear River Trail

An old bridge along the Cape Fear River Trail

An hour into our walk, the sky deepens to a blue/purple/gray, and we smell rain in the future. We turn back at the 2 mile mark. I want to take some photos closer to the river bank, so we step off the path a few feet. There, laying on top of some leaves is an animal skull. It is too large for a squirrel. It has a long snout, so perhaps it is a skunk or opossum. It has been there for quite some time, but even so, there are a few strands of hair still attached.

An animal skull found in the woods along the bank.

An animal skull found in the woods along the bank.

We walk back to the car, and get in just in time. The sky coughs, then opens up and rain pelts down around us. We are dry, very well exercised, and ready for the Christmas Eve feast waiting at home.

To see a short video of the walk with more photos and video of the waterfall, click here to go to my You Tube channel.

A Visit To Cape Fear Botanical Gardens

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The forest path along the River Walk at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens

Fayetteville, North Carolina has a hidden treasure called the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens. The 77 acre garden of pine and hardwood forest is located along the Cape Fear river. There are more than 2,000 varieties of cultivated ornamental plants and flowers. The river walk trail makes you feel as if you entered a time warp of 100 years ago. If you are a nature photographer, put this place on your “must see” list.

Deep into the forest on the River Walk path at Cape Fear Botanical Gardens.

Most people would focus on the multitudes of beautiful blooming flowers along the manicured paths. I, however preferred the wild areas along the River Walk. Take a few steps off the well trodden areas onto the rocky path, and you are instantly alone with the birds, lizards, and beauty of what North Carolina was like in your grandparents day.

Self portrait on a bridge in the forest of the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens.

Wind your way around the River Walk and emerge back to the manicured gardens and perhaps you will come across a family of geese.

Family of geese walk to their favorite lily pond.

Keep following the paths back to the main building and find the hydrangea that are just beginning to bloom.

Blooming hydrangea

By now, you may need to rest your feet on one of the benches scattered among the flowers.

Garden bench waits for you to rest your feet

Once you have explored the gardens, get out of the heat and visit the gift shop inside the air-conditioned building.

Entrance to the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens

This is a place you can visit many times and always find something new to photograph. The Cape Fear Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville, North Carolina are a treat for the eyes and soul. Every photographer’s delight.

24 Hours In Idyllwild – A Day In The World Project

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The Idyllbeast at play in Idyllwild‘s forest playground

Hello Friends,

Last week, I let you know about an opportunity to take part in the world’s largest photo documentary project, called A Day In The World. I hope some of you participated. The goal was to have people from every corner of the world take photos of their daily lives for 24 hours on May 15, 2012, then create a public archive of the images on the web.

Getting ready for the day. Eating breakfast, applying make up and checking phone calls.

I photographed my life in Idyllwild beginning at 6:30 am to 6:30 p.m. It happened to be a busy day. I rose early to photograph Lake Fulmor before it got too bright. By 10 a.m., I was teaching private photo lessons. At 2 p.m. I had a photoshoot with Idyllwild’s mascot, the Idyllbeast in progress. The photos will be used for postcards and other promotional materials.  5 p.m. put me in front of an adorable 7 month old boy, photographing his every smile and expression for a personal photo project. I ended the day in front of Strawberry Creek, relaxing to the sound of water spilling off a small waterfall. In between these appointments, I took shots of daily chores such as going to the post office and gas station. My images are public, and you can see them by clicking here.

Early evening at Strawberry Creek Waterfall.

Relax – Watch A Calming Creek Video

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A creek runs through a tunnel.

Yesterday, I had the enchanting experience of sitting by a creek in the rain. The water meandered through a tunnel and emerged happily on the other side. A lonely male mallard bobbed by, unconcerned with my presence. The sound of the running water carried my worries downstream with it. Please enjoy this short video and slip away from your responsibilities.

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