Sunrise 108: Alms Park (Fog & Century Oaks)
I didn’t have a chance to get this post up yesterday morning so it’s coming at you a day late. After several days of overcast, the conditions came together perfectly to create an intensely foggy morning. The skies were clear and the ground was wet, and it was really really cold. It was easily in the upper 30s, perhaps even lower. I was hoping for a clear sunrise, but I got a beautiful thick fog. I decided to head up to Alms Park since the last foggy morning was spent in Ault Park.
The fog in Alms Park is always exceptionally pretty. The trees in the park are old and tall and the fog adds an eerie dimension to the quiet park.
I didn’t end up seeing a sunrise, but I did have the morning coffee in the fog and ventured down into the forest in an attempt to find an old secret “party area” that I found last year. I didn’t succeed, but I did find the entrance to the trail. It’s hard to follow, though, with all the leaves that are still on the trees. I’ll try again this winter perhaps :).
It’s interesting how the fog closes in the scope of attention. This huge and beautiful oak tree stands at the entrance to St. Ursula’s Villa, and I’ve never really noticed it specifically before. It has plenty of room to breathe and is certainly quite healthy.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue. About 50 pictures total for this morning’s post.
I decided to camp out between these two oaks. The oak on the right is the grandest of them all. It is seriously huge and healthy. It has to be over 100 years old, dating back to the original founding (or before) of the park in 1916.
If you look way up at the top of this picture, you can see that the blue skies are out. It was strange being able to look up and see blue skies. It really felt like being at the top of a mountain, which was true.
Now this was a strange bird. I did see a HUGE red headed woodpecker but I don’t think that’s what this bird is. That woodpecker had at least a 2.5′ wingspan, I’ve never seen anything that large. I walked up on him in the forest and he swooped away. But this bird in the picture flew in a strange way. It was definitely a bird I’m not used to seeing, although I can’t really put my finger on why it was so bizarre.
This is that stone slide at the park. I don’t know how old it is or any history about it. It was wet and slick. I thought about trying to go down it, but I realized it would result in me flying off the bottom end of it. It looks like the park crew recently fixed up the structural support of the slide.
These three mourning doves were startled by me. In the fog it’s really easy to sneak up on things (I snuck up on a deer, a wood pecker, lots of birds and squirrels, as well as a few wild photographers)
The trees were planted as a wind breaking or fence tree. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the location of the hedge apple trees deep in the forest around Alms Park may be significant? The trees seem to only be down along the hill of the forest, not up on top, and it would be conceivable that the trees may have been used to mark property in the 1800s.
This is one of the first markers for the trail to the “secret party room”. I first discovered this trial last year and I haven’t visited it yet. There are (at least last year there were) about 6 or 7 cans and bottles hung from branches that mark the secret trail. With the leaves on the trees I could only find 2 of them. The trail winds deep into the forest and eventually ends at a clearing under a large tree that could easily accommodate half a dozen people. There were old pull-tab beer cans, really thick glass bottles, small vials, and other things that make me think that it’s been a “party room” for several decades, at least. The further down the trail you go, the older the cans and bottle markers get. Someone obviously keeps the trail maintained, right? Anyway, I’ll give it another go when all the leaves are gone. Because the bottle markers can be like 20 or 30 yards apart, it’s next to impossible to deep scan the horizon and find the next marker with all the leaves.