Sunrise 157: Alms Park (Misty Hills, Tall Oaks, Spring Blooms)
A unique lighting situation @ Sunrise 157
A hard climb to Alms Park but the view makes it worth it!
Are these magnolias? (Nope. Dogwood!) They’re so small and the other magnolias have lost their blooms so I’m not sure…
Rain-battered yellow blooms race to fill up as much forest floor as possible before their taller brethren block out all the light.
I woke up Sunday morning with a penchant for a sunrise. After last week’s surprisingly beautiful spring sunrise (and subsequently & understandingly the most popular post yet so far of the project), I spent the rest of the week working early and ignoring the rainy & stormy mornings. After all, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to push such a beautiful set of pictures further down the front page unnecessarily! :).
This morning’s sunrise was certainly a unique one. I experienced a strong dose of nostalgia because I haven’t visited Alms Park for over three months! The last post featuring Alms Park was Sunrise 127, featuring the *incredibly lucky* cubic frost crystals. It is probably the most viewed picture I’ve taken for this project due to it’s popularity on the social news site reddit.com where it hit front page and was likely viewed by a couple hundred thousand people, if not more. I’m not sure of the numbers because wordpress doesn’t track individual pictures. Here’s the picture from that fateful day when the day break light was perfect and my camera just so happened to focus on the exact right spot:
(Cubic Ice Crystals on Clover; Sunrise 127)
So it came as no surprise that as I snaked my way down through Mt. Lookout and into the thickly forested residential neighborhood between Delta & Linwood Ave, it felt as if I was meeting an old friend. The route to Alms Park from Mt. Lookout is quiet and full of life (both of the human kind and the natural type). The old residential through-ways were originally designed for high volume so they are wide and smooth. When the Grandin Viaduct was torn down sometime in the past half-century, traffic volume dropped off and now the neighborhood roads are serenely peaceful in the morning before sunrise. The area features one of the oldest planned suburban neighborhoods (dating back to the 1920s or so) and the designers were tactfully mindful of the local forest. At times, the ride to the par almost feels as if you’re traveling through a small tucked away neighborhood in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
The route to Alms Park is also one that displays the challenge of Cincinnati’s terrain quite nicely. The entire route is a slow climb up to the the peak of the mountain from the basin of the valley that Mt. Lookout sits in. Just before the entrance to the park, at which point you’ve already climbed to the peak elevation, the road takes a steep dive down through a patch of old forest where the air is always noticeably humid and cold. At the base of this drop is the entrance to Alms Park, where one must climb another 200ft up a steep hill to the overlook.
I always feel an incredible rush of clarity when I finally reach that peak. It’s a route that’s short but also hard to rush. By the time you reach the top you’re surrounded by the ethos of Alms Park: The Forest. I’ve mentioned it in posts past, but Alms Park and Ault Park have such good balance when viewed side by side. Ault Park is organized, designed, open, symmetric, accessible, full of lawn & gardens, and the epitome of a well planned city park. Alms Park is tucked away, organic & asymmetric, cut out of the forest, filled with huge oak & pine trees with only a small garden by the pavilion. Ault Park has a sunrise shelter, Alms Park has a sunset shelter. The forest is around you in Alms Park, unlike Ault Park where the forest is held back to the boundaries of the park so that the beautiful gardens can take center stage. In Alms Park the forest is around you & above you. In short, Alms Park is the yin to Ault Park’s yang.
When I started off for Alms Park, there were clear skies above me. It seemed, however, that change was in the air.
Looking west up Erie Ave, heading to Alms Park in Mt. Lookout
I made a detour in the neighborhood behind Alms Park. One of the “No Outlets” has a nice cliff view of the eastern sky. At this point the sky is still relatively clear but that will soon change as the sunrise heats up the valley. The mist rises up into Alms Park, flooding the hillside with fresh moisture. I’m still convinced that the fog provides a micro climate on this hillside that isn’t well understood. It’s just… so lush.
Looking down Grandin Ave. Half a century ago there was a bridge at the end of this street. It was torn down at some point, turning this wide residential thruway into a quiet neighborhood street. There’s not a lot of historical documentation on the so-called “Grandin Viaduct”.
I always forget about this beautiful oak tree in the front lawn of St. Ursula Villa school. I wish I had spent a bit more time here over the winter, but I’m glad that I got this picture of the tree as it just begins to plup out in its spring coat.
Here’s one from the late autumn when the yard was frozen over and the dew had turned to crystals:
From Sunrise 122 (A great post, check it out)
Another pic from Sunrise 122:
Frost & Oak
Apparently I’m really drawn to this tree in the fog… here’s another one:
The same oak but from a different angle… from Sunrise 108 (another foggy alms park ride from the autumn)
A twilight gradient behind the century oak.
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Sunrise 37: Ault Park (Post-Storm Sunrise, Grassy Meadow & Young Berries)
I woke up this morning at 5:55am and hit the snooze button. I should have taken notice when my alarm first went off and I couldn’t hear it; perhaps snoozing wasn’t the best idea. We had a floor fan turned on that was generating lots of white noise, perfect for sleeping but not perfect for hearing a phone alarm on the lowest volume setting. I woke up in a fury at 6:21am, 3 minutes past sunrise. Was I too late?
Last night we had a behemoth of storms come through at around 8:00pm. Tornadoes were spotted in the sky up north and roofs were blown off of restaurants. I was actually out biking last night, likely feeling the itch after staying inside during the electrical armageddon of yesterday morning, and got up in the storm. Nothing gets the old legs pumping faster up the hills than running from a mega-storm. I was actually down by Lunken Airport last night when I noticed the dark thunder head rolling in from the west. My sister-in-law took a great picture of the storm moving about 50 miles up north in Dayton, OH:
I actually almost got blown off the bike a few times as I was cranking up the 250ft accent from the river basin to Mt. Lookout.
Back to the morning wakeup. I leaped out of bed and threw on my clothes. I looked outside – a light gray sky indicating a possible overcast scenario. Good! I thought. At least I won’t miss anything! I was out the door by 6:24am.
As I pushed up to the park, I noticed how sweet the air smelled. It wasn’t raining by now, and in fact the atmosphere and ambient lighting was getting brighter by the minute. The air had that after-rain smell to it, (I recently learned this is called petrichor) and the trees were still dripping. As I climbed the hill, I noticed that the sky had started to burst open in a light orange color. I pedaled as quickly as I could, mentally kicking myself for not being more prepared for a perfect “after-storm” sunrise. I’ve been noticing a lot of incoming google hits for phrases relating to “the sky after a storm” and “kinds of clouds after a storm” so I realized that this could be a great sunrise that I didn’t want to miss.
The bright orange sunrise. Little did I know that it wouldn’t last long. If you’re on the front page, click to continue –> (more…)