About 4 minutes from my house is the well kept secret of the Whitney State Forest. It is about 147 forested acres with walking and horse trails. On the way there I spotted smoke coming from one of my neighbors homes. This made me smile as it brought back memories of 10 years ago when I first moved to Virginia. Just like today, I spotted smoke from the same home and immediately ran to call the fire department. Five minutes later all heck broke loose with firetrucks, paramedics and lot's of equipment. Add to all that, loud sirens and you can get a mental picture of the scene. Turns out my neighbor was just burning brush.....hey I'm a city gal..how was I supposed to know! I was 'persona non grata' for quite a while.
As we walk past this fire, try not to pay attention to the man yelling"Hey lady, it's just a brush fire!!!"
To the left of me is a little fence lined country drive with a beautiful old tree. I am told this giant has been struck by lightening multiple times and just refuses to give up...good for him! He looks so elegant hanging over the road.
To my right you can make out the observation tower on the North Wales Estate. This is part of Warrenton Hunt country.
Well here we are, lets take a look around
The walking paths are wide and well cleared with the exception of a few inches of golden leaves. I seem to be the only one exploring today..so quiet.
All of a sudden a little flurry of aerial acrobatics is taking place over my head. It seems a group of Eastern Bluebirds are telling me to move on. Look close..the 3 center trees..in front of the right one, midway up..do you see him? A lovely bluebird.
The texture of this tree really got my attention..makes you wonder what going on under that bark. It was like this all the way up..very odd. Reminded me of that Science fiction movie where the guy had an alien being crawling under his skin....creepy!
Looks like a very cozy home for some little bird or animal. I can almost picture a tiny kitchen and living room with a big easy chair...something out of an Beatrice Potter book. Hey you..stop snickering..it could happen!
These little cut-out streams are a favorite of mine. In the spring I would love to sit and picnic here with my man. He is shaking his head no as I type ;-)
At first I thought this was a thick piece of rope,but as I got closer I found it to be a huge vine. Nature is so artistic.
Ummmm...do we go up the hill or left towards the pines??
Don't you just love the symmetry of these old skeletal white pines and that soft tuft of green on their heads. I decide to follow them down the trail.
In the past I have cut across the field to the right, however now it is thick with raspberry bushes that seem to be determined to prick me for a blood sample....Ouch! Let's find another trail.
Meandering up the path and as it opens up to a clearing, this fabulous old stone house sits on what I am sure was a lovely homestead at one time. Although very neglected now, one can still see it's great bone structure. I'm sure this home was filled with some wonderful memories of times gone by. Or maybe a regimen of Civil War Soldiers rested here on the way to the Battle of Bull Run or even Gettysburg. OK...again, this is my walk and I get to imagine whatever I want, so stop snickering.
This rotted branch reminded me of an ancient periscope..very interesting. Just when you think mother nature's color pallette only consists of browns, she throws you a curve ball..lovely red berries.
And all of a sudden......there she is! Isn't she magnificent? Yes Gretel, we have manor houses here in Virginia also. Not as old as yours...but she is pretty. This is the beautiful North Wales estate and this home belonged to the car magnate Walter Chrysler. Thanks to some hard working folks, it is now all protected land.
This my friends is the 'little' horse barn. Love their modesty.
Gretel..this shot is for you...I thought it looked very similar to your favorite line of Cotwolds trees. As soon as I saw these, I thought of you. Enjoy this photo Gretel because I had to jump a fence to get this shot. Note to self...55 year old women should not jump fences ;-(
I spent about an hour walking over corn fields that all seemed to be sporting new crew cut hairdos. For about 30 minutes I had a little fawn following me while keeping well hid. I would stop to try to capture her on film, but no luck. I did find a huge oak tree that was shedding the most wonderful and large acorn caps. Perfect for my felted acorns..why didn't I think to wear something with pockets????
It has been around two hours since I entered the forest and I can now reveal my little secret I had mentioned in the beginning of my post. Before I do, I need Gretel (the expert walker) to cover her eyes with her hands. The next few sentences are for everyone else but you Gretel...so close your eyes.
Ok..is she gone.....I can now admit to the rest of you that during most of this walk I was soooo freakin lost! Did not have a clue where I was or how to get back to the main entrance. I should have stayed on the designated paths, but noooo not me, I had to be adventurous. You should have seen me..as a small plane flew over me, I was waving to bring to his attention the fact that I was lost. He must of thought I was waving hello and he did some loop-d-loops to amuse me. This would NEVER happen to Gretel..I felt so ashamed. I got an F in nature walking! How could that be???? I could have sworn I heard the birds laughing at me. Go ahead..laugh little bird, but don't forget, I'm the one with the bag of bird seed.
Ok Gretel, you can look now. If any of you guys tattle, you are off my blog list!
After walking about 15 minutes I stumbled..errr..I mean I expertly found this gate. To my delight...err..I mean my precise calcutaions, it was unlocked. Good thing it was not freezing because if it had been, this photo would be of me with my lips stuck to the metal, as I kissed it in gratitude. I followed the path back to the entrance and headed home.
I have one last photo for you Gretel. These are my lovely Pear trees and whether dressed in their finest green leaves or white flowers or just bare, I think you would agree that they are a work of art.
Well that's it. Did I put anyone to sleep, I hope not. Thanks for staying with me to the end and if you have the time, do yourself a favor and visit Gretel in the Cotswolds. I have to warn you that she might become a lovely addiction. Until next time, be kind and stay creative.
PS..to get a closer look, click on my photos!