Monday, December 28, 2015

A Little Look At The Park

I think it may be good to give you a little peek at my new favorite nature park. I don't know why I let the hills here drive me away before. When I first hiked this park a few years ago I was immediately in love with it. I remember thinking how much it was like my old Michigan parks. Then I began looking for something different for some odd reason.

I found several other parks that I like just fine, but all of them are very different from my old favorites. I've been a little lost without the animal sightings I once had. I just haven't really been sure what to do these past few years without all that so I kind of withdrew a little bit from it all.

Now I feel as if my excitement for nature has returned. I'm actually wanting to go out hiking in the middle of winter again. You don't do that unless you really enjoy it. This park is part of the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, which is part of Stone State Park in Sioux City.

I decided to focus my first pictures on this one trail because it has this wonderful bridge on it. I've told you time and time again how much I love bridges, especially this kind. This isn't the only trail going into the park, but it does show you that there are lots of trees here.

You can also see the hills in the background of the pictures. You won't be able to see them when the leaves are back on the trees. I've been to the top of some of these hills, but it will take some time and effort for me to get back there.

The last time I was in this park I had my dog with me. She really loved this and all the other parks. But now unfortunately my poor dog has developed a bad case of arthritis. I've noticed her having a little trouble for awhile, but I thought maybe it was just because she had become a bit overweight.

She's not very old, but the vet told me it can be common for her age. I'm giving her medicine to try to help her recover a little bit. I'm hoping she can recover enough to come to the flatter parks with me once in a while. She seems like she's getting a little better already.

It may be kind of difficult to see in the picture above, but it gets kind of steep going up these stairs. Stairs like these cover half the trails here. I'll tell you what, if you want exercise then this is the hiking trail for you. I should be able to get back into good shape in no time if I keep going to this park.

There are flatter trails here too so I won't have too much trouble. I'll probably be sticking to those most of the time at first. Maybe I'll find some good new areas here while I'm exploring. I really haven't been through here enough to know about everything yet. That's a good thing. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Visit With Some Deer Friends

Look what I found on my first trip to my new favorite nature park. Well, it's not exactly my first trip, but it is my first trip there in three years. These three deer were right out front. They were actually the first thing I saw when I stepped onto the nature trail.

I didn't exactly see them like this right away. The second picture was what I saw first. This top picture came later after some examination by me and by the deer.

This is the first encounter with deer in a nature park for me the entire time I've been here in Iowa. I used to see them several times a week when I was in Michigan. I've only seen them here on busy highways running in front of my truck. That happens very often.

So this second picture is how I saw the deer first. I wasn't expecting to see any deer at all, but I was hopeful. I included this deer butt picture because these white tails are what they're known for, which is why they're called White-Tailed Deer.

These deer flash these white tails at each other as a sign of danger. This time I was the danger. They saw me first and ran away, which is why I even saw them. I had to fumble with my camera to get the couple of shots I did. I thought they would be gone before I got anything more. But then came the interesting part.

The deer stopped just beyond that bench that you can see in every picture. They stopped and turned around to watch me. But that's not all they did.

They came back toward me a few steps to see what I was doing there. I can't exactly tell you just how happy this behavior made me feel. Maybe I can. I'll explain why I like this so much.

This curious behavior is the same as the way the city deer from back in Michigan behaved. Those deer would get so curious as to my existence there that I could sometimes coax them to come right up to me. I got so good after awhile that I could make them do practically anything I wanted.

I manipulated the wildlife in the nature parks there that I began to think I could do just about anything. I visited the wild animals every day so they were very used to my presence. Some would even seem happy to see me when I arrived at the parks. I was welcome among them. I miss those days very much. The behavior of these deer makes me think I can have some of that back.

I originally stopped going to this park because it's so very full of hills; steep hills. I'll try to show that to you in a future post. Even when I was in good shape the hills just about killed me every time. But this park has trees. It has wildlife. It has all those things I always loved, even a nice bridge. I'm going to conquer the hills. I have to.

This is going to be a great challenge for me because I've let myself get so out of shape now, but I know I can do it. I'll take it all a little bit at a time. And when I get tired I'll go inside the wonderful nature center at the front of the park. I haven't been inside that building in maybe ten years. It was great back then, and I hope it is now still. I can't wait for future visits to this park. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Snowy Pictures From My Phone Camera

I decided to try a little experiment. In my last post I was complaining a little bit about having to adjust the pictures of snow from my good camera. I then decided to try taking some similar pictures with my phone. That's what you see here.

I didn't have to adjust or edit these pictures even a little bit. These pictures even without adjustment represent what it really looked like out there in all that snow. My big camera really is a good one, but my phone also has an excellent camera.

These pictures show that for a lot of your pictures all you need is a smartphone with a good camera. I'd use the phone exclusively for my pictures if I didn't need the zoom feature in my big camera. The basic scenery pictures actually come out better on the phone if I just shoot with automatic mode on both.

I do have another reason for showing you these pictures that are so similar to my last post. These are from a whole different snowstorm. All the snow had melted from the previous one and then it snowed almost as much this second time.

The main reason I'm sharing these pictures is because the snow stuck really beautifully to the trees and bushes this time. I didn't capture the falling snow this time though because I couldn't remember how to trun on the flash with the phone. And I was too lazy to check. I didn't really need it anyway.

Now all of this snow is melted too. We've had several warm days so all the snow has disappeared. Even the snowman that my dog kept barking at is long gone. She really hated that snowman. It wouldn't stop staring at her.

Since there's not much else to say about the snow I'm going to change the subject. As many of you know I've been complaining about the lack of trees at my local nature parks. It's frustrated me for the past few years. As I was thinking about it one night I finally realized the solution that I should have known all along.

There is one park here with lots of trees. I haven't visited it since my first year here because it's almost all hills.As I sat there thinking I realized that I want trees more than I don't want hills, so I'm going back to that park. It's just down the road from me and it has lots of animals just like my old parks back in Michigan.

So my next post will be from that hilly tree-filled nature park. I hope to have that one up soon. Maybe these next few posts will be like my old posts from my Michigan days. I really miss those. I just know I've finally found my solution. I can't wait. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What a Huge Weather Change

I took these pictures the week before Thanksgiving. Since then all this snow melted and we had another big snowstorm that made things look just like this again. I'm back home and ready to get back to blogging again, but now everything outside is covered about a foot deep in snow. I'm going to have to be kind of creative with my posts.

I've been home again for a couple of weeks but it's been really hard getting back into the internet and blogging. When I'm away for awhile it gets hard to start writing again. Once I get started though I begin to feel like my old self again.

When I stepped outside the day I took these pictures it took me a little bit to remember how to get my camera to capture the snowfall properly. In case you're wondering, you need to turn on your camera's flash to capture falling snow with it. I have to change a few settings to get my camera to use the flash.

Another thing I've always had to do with any of my better cameras is adjust the pictures later on my computer. The camera always tries to adjust for the outside light, but always gets it wrong with snow. I end up having to go back in and brighten up the pictures. I hate that.

I'm not sure even these pictures show how much snow there really was. We ended up with about a foot of snow. It was coming down so much that it was hard to see very far. I hope the rest of the winter is a little easier as far as snowfall is concerned.

My next post, which is coming soon, will also be more snowy pictures. I'm not quite sure what to do after that. I'll try to get out to some nature parks if I can. The snow may prevent some of that. Maybe I'll get out the bird feeder again this year. I don't want to torture you too much with that though.

I wonder if I'll see any animals this winter other than running out in the road in front of me. It seems like that's the only time I see any around here. That happens at least once a day. I also really need to find a nature park here with some trees. I miss the trees. I'll talk to you later.