On Today’s Walk: Portent for the Days Ahead

Spotted on my walk home from work. Umm…that’s my street. I should be okay on foot, though. Right?

Digital Road Work Sign

I checked our city’s website after seeing this and determined it is, in fact, my very block that is slated to be under construction. Maybe someone could have told us in a more direct way? At least we know now. And it will be nice when the potholes are gone!

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On Today’s Walk: Wildflower Challenge Complete

The goal is to find and identify ten varieties of flowers…

Seek badge for iNaturalist wildflower challenge.
I’m a winner!

My son accompanied me on today’s walk. We’d just received a good amount of rain, so we didn’t seek out any trails, but simply stuck to ambling about the neighborhood. I was able to hear how his work is going and also find enough flowers in bloom to complete the iNaturalist Wildflower Challenge on the Seek app.

The goal is to find and identify ten varieties of flowers, and I had already done seven before setting out. On our stroll, I found three more.

Challenge complete.

Completed: wildflower challenge. Seek, April 2022
Completion.

Woohoo!

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On Today’s Walks, Plural

The last time I posted, I’d been looking at some fake skeletons. This morning, I found a real one. Some work colleagues and I participated in a city-wide cleanup effort. We were picking up trash along a busy roadway that had a line of brush a few yards back. In the midst of blown plastic grocery bags and other debris caught in the scrub, I stumbled upon some bones.

Animal bones, possibly possum, in brown leaves.
Fake skeletons last week, a real one this week.

I sent the photo to my oldest son, who knows quite a bit about wildlife. He believes this was an opossum once upon a time. I’ll go with that, as on first glance, I thought it was someone’s little family dog that had probably been missing for a long time. I left the bones in place. It seemed like the natural order of things.

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My second walk took place this evening right before sunset and was dedicated to enjoyment rather than civic improvement. How about these magnolia blossoms creating a perfect frame for the moon?

Half moon framed by magnolia flowers
Magnolia moon: photographic alliteration

My little phone camera always shows the moon a little blurry, but I like the shot anyway.

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On Today’s Walk: Kindred Baseball Spirits

I often walk over a few blocks to see what these skeletons are up to, as their activities and costumes change frequently:

Fake skeletons in Royals baseball garb
A skeleton crew of kindred spirits

They’re as ready for baseball as I am, and we root for the same team.

A Royals baseball emblem -- "KC" -- on blue hoodie
Spirit Day!


The weather was windy and slightly cool, exactly right for wearing a Kansas City Royals hoodie.

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On Today’s Walk: Photos and Verse

I haven’t been taking many walks due to days of cold, drizzly rain and a hurt back. All has improved now, though. The son and I went out for a two-mile stroll on this fine spring day, and I was so revivified I wrote a little poem about it.

First the photos:


Late Spring Walk

Forsythia and daffodil
Hellebores, Siberian squill,
Yellow, yellow, pink, and azure
After winter, winter, and winter
White and gray and gray
Spring returns one day
As we have faith it always will.
    

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On Today’s Walk: I Have Questions

Door in asphalt. What?
This wasn’t here a few days ago.

I was on this stretch of road a few days ago and all looked pretty normal. But sometime since then a door has been installed in the street. Question mark. Where does it lead? An alternate dimension? The fairy realm? Does a troll live under it? Why is it there? Why is there a metal ring handle in the middle?

I guess the handle would be for easy lifting when it needs to be removed, except…

Door in street? What?
My boot for size comparison.

…you’d have to be a giant.

So many questions.

On Today’s Walk: Visitor to the Neighborhood

I nearly didn’t take a walk today. It’s cold and I had to work yesterday, meaning I’m behind on weekend household stuff. But see what I would have missed. This is the reward for my effort.

Great blue heron
First time seeing a great blue heron in this park

I went to the park near my house, the one I’ve walked through hundreds of times. As I approached the footbridge over the creek, something with an enormous wingspan flew down to the water. I’ve seen a variety of birds around here over the years, but never before a great blue heron.

I watched it for a long time as it waded down the length of the creek, bobbing its head into the water occasionally, once coming up with food it swallowed. The Audubon Society website says this is its normal mode of feeding. After a while, I moved off the bridge and, using all my stealth, made my way down the path wending by the water. I stalked that heron like I was David Attenborough.

Eventually, a couple of other walkers came by, one with a dog and the other playing an audio book out loud. The heron decided to take its leave. Ah well. It was time for me to go home and do something about dinner, anyway.

I’d like to thank the world for the fun surprise today.

On Today’s Walk: Rowing Out of My Rut

Park path
For anyone wondering what filter I used, it’s called Smudge on Lens

Well, I’ve gone and done another 2022 goal. I explored a path I don’t usually traverse on my walks. It’s not brand new to me. In fact, it’s in my old neighborhood, where I used to live twenty years ago. But I haven’t walked over there in a minute or two.

For some bonus exercise I got a bit of rowing in.

I’m not sure if I followed all advisories. ???

Instructions
Not suitable for people with general health conditions.

I only have specific health conditions, so I’m probably okay.

I survived to continue my journey, and encountered a majestic tree.

Leafless tree

Oh, I can never resist a wooden pedestrian bridge! I wonder what’s around the curve on the other side.

pedestrian bridge

Uh oh!

Into every life path, a little ice must appear.

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On Today’s Walk: Start of a New Challenge

Snow goose
Though this photo of a snow goose be grainy, it represents the first step of a fun challenge I’m undertaking.

My older kid introduced me and my second born to the Seek app, affiliated with iNaturalist. Now we’ve all embarked on the app’s challenges. Son number two lives with me currently and is often game to accompany me on my walks. Today, we took advantage of the 60 degree weather to get in a good walk at an area lake before a predicted winter storm rolls in tonight.

We both had the app open and got our first recorded observations for an official challenge. I had already used Seek a few times to identify plants and wildlife, but then I learned I could do so much more. I even registered at iNaturalist so they can use my photos for science and track where different species are observed.

Here’s a little of what I learned about snow geese today:

There are many challenges within the app, but I’m going to take them one at a time. I’ve started with the Conservation Challenge, which has just a few achievable observation and learning goals, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. This appeals to me on many levels. It’s a prompt to pay attention to the world around me. I want to believe I’m helping science. I will learn some things!

One of my goals for 2022 is to explore more trails in my area. There are so many of them. This will add to the fun, and maybe spice up my “On Today’s Walk” posts a little.

Happy New Year and happy trails to you!

On Today’s Walk: Rock Bridge

I’m using up some holiday and vacation leave this week while my oldest kid visits. Thanks to climate change probably, the weather is warm enough for many long walks.

Today we went to Missouri’s Rock Bridge State Park. There were a few other walkers there, but very few. We had most of the wonders to ourselves. Of course, the first thing we had to see was *the* rock bridge for which the park is named.

Rock Bridge
That’s my cohort there in the distance.

Here’s another view of the rock bridge, this one from above:


We made our way down the Devil’s Icebox Cave, but the water was up too high for us to explore it much. We also neglected to bring flashlights.


Next, it was off on the trail that leads to a disused stone grain silo built 100+ years ago. As evidenced by the artwork, plenty of people have been here before us.


I found a friend inside.

Toad
Howdy, friend!

Silo interior
View from inside the silo

A little research told me this festively colored fungus is called fulvifomes robiniae.

Fungus

It is nice to get out of my own neighborhood occasionally. Missouri is a state with a lot of natural beauty, so I don’t have to travel far to find a pleasant hike.

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