We stopped for a visit at the Air Force Academy on our way back to Denver from Colorado Springs. I think this was the coldest morning we had in Colorado. We had freezing drizzle that was blowing sideways. Our main visit was the famous chapel. I had seen pictures of it from my cousin who graduated from the Academy many years ago. Through all of the fog and rain, you could see the spires on the top of the chapel. I would have liked to have blue sky behind it but that was not happening on this trip.
The architecture was amazing. Lots of clean lines. Due to the weather, there wasn’t a lot of people there so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Lots to look at through the fog.
Also lot of color. The trees were beautiful. The colored rocks were around the parking lot of the visitor’s center. The inside of the chapel was beautiful as well. More on that later….
From the parking lot at Circle B Bar Reserve. The reserve had only been open a few days since Hurricane Irma had hit when I made the trip over to walk the trails. It was closed for almost 6 weeks after the hurricane due to so much damage on the trails. The most popular trail is still closed since part of the trail was washed out (they don’t want people wading in the swamp with the alligators, go figure!). The one thing I noticed immediately was the lack of leaves on most of the trees around the parking lot. The wind stripped them all away. The above trees were full of green leaves before Irma. It made parts of the park look like the dead of winter even though the weather had still been in the 80’s.
There was still a lot of moss in some of the trees as the sun was coming up over Heron Hideout Trail.
The big dead trees along Marsh Rabbit Run trail were still standing.
Looking across the marsh, I knew it was going to be a perfect morning out.
The trails had downed trees all long the way. It must have taken them a while to move all of those fallen trees off the trail. The moss still covered the ones that were still standing.
People who come here often complain about the amount of people who now come to the park, especially after the video of the alligator crossing the trial. It is a free public park after all. If you can get here early in the morning, it’s still a magical place. I like to walk the trails when it’s very quiet. As the big families are heading in right before lunch, I’m heading home for lunch so it works out.
Lots of the usual birds at Lettuce Lake Park in late July. The first shot is a very young parula and the 2nd is a shot of the young parula being fed by the parent. The last shot is of a very young red bellied woodpecker waiting for the parent to give him a bug.
The usual titmouse and I caught a glimpse of a brown thrasher high up in a tree.
Things along the boardwalk.
There’s water somewhere in that lake. These were taken before the rainy season and the plants had taken over the lake.
The rain never seemed to stop in late June and continued in early July. We finally had a Saturday morning that was clear and sunny so I headed out to Chesnut Park. The swamp that the boardwalks run through was full of water. It was hot and steamy by 8am. Someone left a painted rock on a stump. All of the above was taken with my phone.
Hiding in the grass.
Most of the deer were in the back of the baseball field where the trees start. I found a few others near the boardwalk.
I climbed up the 3 story observation tower to check out the lake. I could hear thunder off in the distance. I guess this squirrel was doing the same thing.
The rain was moving in fast so I headed home after a 2 hour walk.
On foggy mornings you can really see the spider webs. You don’t notice them when the sun is out. Everything is covered in them.
The light was bad but it was fun to walk around in the fog. At least it looked like winter even though it didn’t feel like it.
The cypress trees are starting to turn colors (it finally looks like fall here) but the little one was completely covered in webs. I’m not sure if that will kill the tree.
I was driving over to Lakeland in early January to walk at Circle B Bar Reserve. The sun was just coming up in Tampa and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The closer I got to the park, the foggier it got. I was bummed thinking the light was going to be bad for taking pictures. It was challenging to get any bright shots but it was cool to see the reserve all covered in fog. It felt like I was in a different place. The fog eventually burned off some time after 10 and the sun came out.
Random things on the trail at Fort Desoto park.
I saw the shadow of a hummingbird and waited a while before he moved over to the firebush and started feeding.
The usual ships passing by the beach.