Life has been moving at a rapid pace for me lately. The short version, as to not bore you all, is after the trip to Arkansas, I went to London & Paris with my husband, entertained my family for a week and then flew to NYC for a long weekend, which then turned into a week thanks to being stuck in Chelsea during Hurricane Sandy. I arrived home just in time to make a portrait photo shoot I had to do for my neighbor and her family before turning around again and flying to Arizona for a week of visiting with my friends, family and of course, doing a little birding in Sedona. I've been home for a little over a week and I can't believe how far behind I am on everything. Plus, I had two outings with Lita (one to Key Biscayne, another to Loxahatchee) that yielded even more birds and nature pics! The year is ending and a new one is beginning. This means old goals to try to catch up on, new ones to set for the year.
Birding has been taking up free time. I do so enjoy it. I have plans to begin art projects inspired by all my new feathered friends. I am looking to make 2013 another year of living the best life I can and fitting creativity into my everyday life. I've got some amazing trips scheduled for 2013...both Phoebe and Luke will be coming down to enjoy Florida and Phoebe and I will be hitting Costa Rica together in the early part of summer on a yoga retreat. And finally, my big trek of the Pennine Way is happening in April. I still have in the works, a trip to both NYC and Sedona again next fall for the Fall Migration. We shall see if it pans out, but it's all going on the Dream Board. Also going on there: Peru, Ecuador, New Zealand, Africa and Japan. If you are going to dream, why not dream BIG? Have you all started your Dream/Vision boards for 2013 yet? Get crackin'! Time is running out! I'll share mine when it's done. ;-)
Until then, It's time to start processing and posting hundreds of photos from all these adventures! Here are just a few from each trip:
For our last day in Arkansas, we rode horses in the morning and then headed into Hot Springs for lunch and a little shopping. We had fun using our Hipstamatic around the historic district. It was super hot outside and it made us appreciate living somewhere with an ocean breeze!
The restaurant we ate at for lunch was so interesting and had a colorful past!
Lita convinced me to give a "come hither" brothel look which then proceeded to crack her up,lol.
Lita, checking in on Facebook!
After lunch, we walked around and snapped pics of store windows and other interesting things we saw:
This skinny bottomed girl had a red velvet cupcake. And it wasn't that good. ;-(
Back in the Day
Little Red & Wolf
A bit of London in Hot Springs!
Zoltar! My hubby does a hilarious impression of Zoltar. :-)
After a few hours in Hot Springs, we headed back to the ranch and did our country photo shoot which I shared in an earlier post. Here are some bonus images to wrap up this Arkansas Adventure:
The Simple Life
Our last day ended with a beautiful sunset:
And when we arrived back home to Florida and headed to our car in the parking lot, we were welcomed home by a full rainbow:
And so our adventure ends. Two friends with memories to last a lifetime. xo
Lake Catherine State Park was our favorite out of the three locations we hiked. It was beautiful, with lots of waterfalls. There were three trails to choose from and we ended up doing the Falls trail twice and the Dam Mountain trail once for a total of 8 miles. We had plenty of tree canopy to keep us from overheating and plenty of water this time around. I was pretty lazy with the big camera so mostly used the iPhone 4s:
We chose the Falls Branch Trail first because we wanted to make sure we got to see the waterfall. The following images are from our first round on this trail:
Footbridge Photo Op
The first wildlife we spotted was a male Summer Tanager:
The Trail continued along the river, over footbridges and to the falls:
Our final day together
Take Me to the River
Falls Photo Op
After enjoying the falls for a bit, we headed up on the Dam Mountain Trail which as we were climbing the switchbacks, we spotted a few birds twittering about including lots of Pine and Prairie Warblers:
Sweet Pine Warbler
Posing Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler. It's difficult to tell the two apart. The Prairie Warbler has yellow extending all the way down his underside and a black eye line through the eye and below. Both are quick little flyers!
We saw a few other interesting things on our way up and the view at the top was quite lovely:
Stone Giant. Or perhaps one of Bilbo's trolls?
View from the Top
After coming down off the Dam Mountain Trail, we still had a couple of hours left of our afternoon so we returned to the Falls trail once more and took a few more photos as well as soaked our feet. We had the whole falls to ourselves and it was a lovely way to end the day.
Flares over Falls
And finally, on our way back to the car we logged some Canadian Geese and Mallards:
On our second day in Arkansas, we headed out to Ouachita National Forest to hike the 4 mile Caddo Bend Trail around a portion of the lake. It was 104° and the last two miles was brutal due to a tornado the previous year removing most of the tree canopy. We definitely did not take enough water and I ended up with a touch of heat stroke at the end. Still, we managed to have a great time and the scenery was beautiful! It also gave us the most photographic opportunities which we snapped up with rabid delight!
Here are a LOT of images from that day, some taken with the iPhone 4s and some taken with the Nikon:
At the Start of the Caddo Bend Trail.
Lita, at home in nature.
This forest was filled with Red-headed Woodpeckers. We saw them several times throughout the day and were able to snag some not-so-bad shots of them:
We saw other creatures as well:
Bee on Yellow
Giant Red-headed Centipede
The whole trail wrapped around a section of Lake Ouachita so the views were stunning. We found a beach-like area that we climbed down to. I was sitting on a rock, just taking in the view, when something caught my eye. It was an uncut quartz crystal. Arkansas is famous for their crystal mining and I have mined there before with my niece Danielle. But this was better! It was like a gift from the universe. Best souvenir ever!
Pine Cones Over Lake Ouachita
After the short lakeside break, we headed back up to the highest point for some spectacular views and gorgeous flora and fauna:
Heading back up through the forest...
Branches over Bokeh
Forest Grapes in Sunlight
Eastern Wood Pewee
Lake Ouachita Through the Trees
Islands of Lake Ouachita
Lita on one of the many fallen trees we had to navigate over due to a tornado a year earlier.
Thistle with Polka-dotted Beetle
I used to pluck these off the trees in summer when I was a kid back in Kansas.
At the highest point on the Caddo Bend Trail
View from the Top
After taking in the view for a bit, we headed back down. At one point, we walked under a tree and heard a loud, startling noise. A huge bird took to flight...we scared him, he scared us! I was too in awe of the majestic size of him to grab my camera but Lita was able to snag some pics of him in flight and we were able later to identify him as a 2nd year Bald Eagle. Such an exciting moment to witness! I did manage to spot two other birds on the way down and it was a good way to end the day!
Next up, our last day of hiking in Lake Catherine State Park! Stay tuned!