Blog Archives

Spring in Virginia

Spring is the busiest time of year for me. Both of my kids have sports virtually every night of the week plus games and that means I’m getting home from work, finding anything for dinner, and then driving off to a practice or game (often both).  I try to find time to do my Spartan Race training but the weather has been uncooperative with my asthma. So needless to say, spring hasn’t given me much time for hiking or photos. It has been raining for 4 days now and all I want is to get to a waterfall. I also want to go see baby owls. I want to work on my macro photography.  I haven’t had time for hikes but do find time to get out into nature a bit.  That’s what counts.

What are you photographing this spring? Where are you hiking?

Here is a bit of what I’ve captured over the past month.

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Zebra striped Swallow Tail

 

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Macro of a white flower

 

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Spring would not be complete without a prom photo

 

 

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A Trip to Difficult Run

One of my favorite places to visit is Difficult Run near Great Falls National Park. I know this place gets a lot of visitors but I still think it is one of the hidden gems of our area. Difficult Run cuts through large rock formations and down into a gorge. I have been in the fall, spring, and now winter and it never disappoints.

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Difficult Run in the Fall

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Difficult Run in the Spring

My son and I headed out yesterday to hike through the mud. It was all worth it because even with no leaves on the trees the sights were still incredible. As you walk down the path you’ll come to cascade after cascade. And I guess one section isn’t technically a “waterfall” but it is the size of many.  There are also a lot of places where you can crawl out onto the rocks and get very near the running rapids and it is pretty exciting.

Full waterfall with cascades

Looking Up the Gorge

There is a place on the trail where it cuts off to Ridge Trail to the left. This trail will take you to Great Falls National Park. We didn’t go that way yesterday as my son had fallen and cut his leg open on a rock. He had kept going after I bandaged it (always carry a first aid kit!) but I knew he was hurting. However, the views are spectacular and worth a hike.

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Close to the Rapids

Instead of going left, we took a right and headed down to get close to the rapids. Even with high water there are great locations to set up a camera and grab long exposures. Or just look at how the water creates the gorge. You won’t be disappointed.

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Heading Towards Great Falls in Autumn

It was a short trip but enjoyable. I never get tired of photographing this area and am already excited for spring.

Yearning for a Hike

It has been two weeks since spring break and I’m aching for a hike. The downside is that I sprained my ankle last week and alas, no hiking for me.  Last week I did get up Sunday morning and go to Great Falls National Park. I knew I could hobble to the overlooks and get some great photos.  I also went to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to see the flowers and I’ve wandered my yard a bit. I also drove to the little pond in my neighborhood. I just needed to be outside.

I am especially bummed because I would like nothing more than to go see a waterfall somewhere. We had a ton of rain this past week and I bet they are flowing so strong. I considered going back to Scott’s Nature Preserve but I really wouldn’t enjoy the walk down or back up the small incline to get there. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to climb any rocks for better photos.

So I just wait.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken since I can’t get out and hike. If you like what you see, please feel free to share the post.

Happy 100th Birthday National Parks!

My first memory of a National Park is climbing around Rocky Mountain National Park with my father and brother. I was maybe 10-11 or so. However, before that time, I had visited a few. In addition to Rocky Mountain National Park we had also gone to Yosemite National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Badlands National Park, Glacier National Park, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Yellow Stone National Park and Shenandoah National Park. Camping and visiting these parks was our summer vacations and I’ll always be thankful to my parents for introducing me to nature and the beauty that the USA has to offer.

Today is the National Parks 100th birthday! Hooray! The National Parks are a diverse and amazing view into this place we call Earth. From wetlands to canyons to mountains to trees to rivers to lakes to caves – you can see it all!  I am blessed to have two very close to me:  Shenandoah National Park and Great Falls National Park. I have been to Great Falls numerous times and it is always a wonderful visit. There are great trails on both sides of the Potomac but I prefer the Virginia side.

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Time lapse of Great Falls National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a magical place. It is about 1.5 hours from my house and is very doable for a day hike. I have visited three times just this summer and can’t get enough. Just a couple of weeks ago I drove out there just to watch the sunset and it was amazing. I hadn’t seen a sunset from a mountain before and I can’t wait to do it again. I am planning to go next weekend and watch the sunrise.

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Sunset at Shenandoah National Park

The National Parks do not get enough funding. I’m sure that is common knowledge. There is a backlog of fixes and repairs needed throughout the parks and we all know rangers do not get paid enough. It is unfortunate but that seems to be the state of our country these days. I am all for them raising the prices to get into the parks. Shenandoah is $20 for a 1-day entry. I am glad to pay it each time I go. I’m sure it would behoove me to get an annual pass – something I’ll probably do in 2017 – but I honestly don’t mind paying. Some parks cost less of course. I think the day pass for Great Falls is $10. If they raised it to $15 I would certainly still go.

I am itching to get back to places like Yosemite and Glacier National Park with my kids. I would love nothing more than to take 2 weeks and drive out there and camp and have them experience the parks like I did so many years ago. I don’t know if we’ll ever get that chance but I am going to try.

Happy Birthday National Parks! Here is to 100 more years of beauty, excitement and experiencing nature to its fullest!

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Dream Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park