Wednesday, September 29, 2021


The best friends 
you can 
are Honest

The internet can be a funny place. A few years ago I was able to reconnect with a childhood pal via the dreaded FB. We hadn't really been in touch since Middle School and a bit of High School, but suddenly there we were, meeting up and enjoying each other's company.

I met another person through a horse group many years ago. I met up with her when I traveled to Virginia. We have remained distant friends and have kept in touch.

There are more stories like that in my life. One recent friendship though comes to the forefront.
I met this spring with another photographer/blogger. Neither one of us were an axe murder posing as something else, thank goodness. And we had a common ground.
The love of the forest and everything in it.

We decided to hook up for a fall hike. We waited until the temperatures had cooled a bit and the bugs were not so bad.

Let me say that getting around where I live is probably one of the most difficult things to do. GPS is not accurate, it doesn't show where I live. The GPS will show my vehicle going off into Never Never Land. Road signs can be non-existent. I know our road sign took nearly 20 yrs to be put up. They forgot to add: Dead End.
Phone reception in our hills and valleys are even worse. Depending  which valley I am in, my phone tells me that there is NO availability for voice. In fact if it is in my bedroom, in our creek bottom, in the back valley, or in places at KVR it goes DING and let's me know there is nothing...Nothing Out there

In the end, we did find each other and begin our Fall trek together. 
As we climbed the first part of the steep trail, The Grand Old Oak welcomed us with morning light filtering through its branches.

I mean. I want to hug this tree. It seems to hug me every single time I walk by it.

I don't know how to explain it... I like the forest and I think it likes me back.

Aurora and I found our way with Charlie leading us. We arrived at the top of the bluff. 
Charlie trotted out to the edge and surveyed the forest below. Just like the Lion King would have done.

We sat down on one of the ledges and proceeded to just talk. After all meeting face to face is so much more than just writing to each other or talking on the phone.

And this happened:

Aurora found a bunch of milkweed seeds and held them up to blow them into the slight breeze. They floated over the edge and continued on their journey. Charlie was hilarious he turned towards the camera I'd set up. 
I suppose he could hear the almost inaudible clicks.

I have to admit, I love the deep forest trails so much.
We walked and chatted. I chatted in circular fashion. I started something and got sidetracked and then picked up sort of where I left off later on.

No sane mind can follow me so I will leave it at that.

The colors were beautiful and when the trail threw me for a loop I was happily surprised.
This photo edited to bring out the glorious colors of the meadow/prairie grasses we walked through while looking back at the forest we came out of.

The planted grass around us was beyond pretty. Aurora showed me that. Normally I wouldn't have given the grasses much of a glance.
But that is the fun of having another photographer along. One that can see what I'd normally overlook.

I liked the asters....I did like the grass but just took grassy looking shots. Nothing spectacular. I just soaked it all in.

We ran into other folks walking the trail which is unusual in the middle of the week. However, I suppose the incredible weather and colors brought out all sorts of folks.
Sumac on the trail that I wanted to 'shoot' backlit using spot metering.

I like it.

We probably spent as much time chilling out with Charlie where we had parked our vehicles.

Aurora told me about a photographer who did a project called Wonderland. We talked about it at length.

I'd had an idea of something along these lines but not fantasy quite like this artist had done.

A story?
A tribute?
Something of a project?

Oh the mind whirls!

Friends are awesome. They continuously give me fantastic ideas.
In 2008, a Flickr friend Nikki told me to do a 'book' about the Forest. It was her wish. I took one year to do it. Nikki passed away and I did that book in her honor.

I followed that up with another called The Sleeping Forest.

I like projects and have been mulling over a project of Bear and I.

Or something else.

Time will tell.

As well as encouragement from friends.

Never waste a good friend.
They are an extremely precious resource.


  1. I love your recap and take-away from our cherished time in the woods yesterday!! It's spot on, and your photos capture it so very well. Your Sumac shot turned out really nice! I am so very fortunate to share the beauty of the KVR and your friendship in person! Now if I could just do a better job of finding my way there lol!! One of these days I will surprise you! Just don't hold your breath ;)

    I read your tribute book, it is so special! No doubt your friend Nikki would love it. Our lower woods are named "The Enchanted Forest" it evolved from last Springs (Easter) treasure hunt with my grandkids, and stuck. The largest pines on our property are in that area, and when the sun filters through ~ it is enchanting...

    1. Nikki's sister got a copy of the book. We are still friends and Nikki's sister met Rich when he traveled to WY to pick up Nikki's mule she wanted us to keep for her.

      On finding your way around this area? No roads are straight and signs are not abundant. GPS is a tricked ... and satellites cannot always find a location!

  2. So happy for you both! It is good to have friends!! Looks like an awesome place to take photos too!:)

  3. Pretty great fall colors. Iowa is only fold at this time of year.

  4. That oak tree is wonderful! In fact the whole area is quite beautiful; nice to have a friend like Aurora to share it with.

  5. I’ve met a blogging friend, and bought one of her babies! It was the same thing—what you see on her blog, is who she is when you meet her. (Shirley) ☝️

    Aurora has always seemed like a special person, and you two are lucky to have each other as hiking and photography friends.

  6. Oh my goodness, you guys are too kind!! Thank you for all the kind words, and especially Val for sharing the wonder of the KVR with me. It has always been my favorite local-ish place to trail ride, and now it is also my favorite place to hike! I never would have explored it on foot, if it wasn't for you Val.


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