Knowing that today was supposed to be an outstanding one for being outside, we planned a hike with a friend. The price of gas has spiked again helping us to think a little more close to home. We decided to explore the Elinor Klapp-Phipps city park on the north side of town. We have been there before, but not recently. It is an area of some 600 acres of hiking/biking/horseback riding trails, along with ball fields and courts. The day turned out to be perfect. It was interesting to see workers setting up for the upcoming Red Hills Horse Trials, a pre-Olympic qualifying event. Huge, circus-sized tents were going up as temporary stables.
We were able to find the bat box that was the project of one of our Eagle Scouts. After nine years, it is still standing strong. Other Eagle projects were evident in the forms of benches, bluebird boxes and trail guides.
We enjoyed the wildlife viewing platform where other than butterflies, the only wildlife we saw was this ladybug on the handrail.
We picnicked by little Lake Victoria where we were entertained by crows, cormorants, anhingas, ospreys (in a nest,) turtles, kingfishers, great egrets, great blue herons, and a small gator.
Along the trail, we passed this big, amazing live oak with all these large branches. This is ONE tree.
We also came upon this wild violet that was nestled in the space where two trees had grown together.
This stump appears to have all kinds of faces on it. My first thought was a bull with flaring nostrils. But I also see a precious racoon face where the bull's nose is. And maybe a schnauzer with a really big frog in his mouth!---And, no, we were not trying the mushrooms!
Including our lunch, we were there for three hours. There were no other hikers. One car. One grad student working on her research project. One bicyclist. Two horseback riders. A few workers at the stables.
The solitude was good for the soul.
While the soccer fields were full of people doing (hopefully) what they wanted to do today, we were right where we wanted to be: enjoying a warm, spring day with a walk in the park.