A little background: I was born a nature-lover. I still treasure so many incredible pictures in my mind from when I was growing up in New Hampshire; of the elegant blue heron standing knee deep in the water, past the dappled birch trees in the dewy morning fog, of the small snapping turtles sunning themselves on rocks at the far end of the pond as I passed quietly under the arched tree tunnel in my canoe, of sunshine sparkling on the water as it flowed between the smooth river stones.... of bright red salamanders hiding under mossy rocks and of peaceful lady slippers blooming in the woods behind my house...
Since moving we have spent a good deal of time enjoying what our new area has to offer. Some times that has been as simple as a boat ride out into the lake or even trudging onto the snow-covered ice in our heavy winter boots. Other times we've walked down to the water's edge and watched the waterfowl prey on fish and insects, or skipped a few stones, but we have also explored some local hiking trails and taken advantage of a couple of organized hikes not far from home. I treasure all of these.
Our latest adventure was rough on Brian with his allergies, and it ended with Gabe's first deer tick incident (not fun), but otherwise we had a really nice time, and since it was a guided hike it serviced as a good refresher on some wild plant and tree identification.
Among our finds were white trillium (everywhere), jack-in-the-pulpit, red columbine, wild ginger, blue cohosh, hepatica, early meadow-rue, bellwort, goldenrod galls, and countless trees including shagbark hickory (a previously unfamiliar tree to me), plus a turkey vulture, turkey feather, centipede, toad, and one tiny little worm. We had fun climbing over fallen trees and up and down a few steep, moderately rocky areas. These things make me happy.
I could do this every day.