A WHITE SPRING

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Snow in March shouldn’t be a surprise although it’s more typically in the first half.  Witness the almost annual Flower Show storms.  But a biggy coming the day after spring officially begins is pushing things.  So…live with it and enjoy whatever part of it you can.  I did.

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It had been hard at it all day, now rain, now sleet but finally, stormy snow.  At 11:00 at night it was still at it.  It demanded my camera’s attention which, unfortunately, meant I had to go out there as well.  A lot of my shots didn’t measure up to what my eye saw but this one certainly made a statement.

Stupid old man; out here in just a sweater.  Nog! Genug! Basta! Ya está bien!  Ca suffit.  And that was it for the experiments.

But the next morning?  Ahhh, a different story.  I have quoted the distinguished Bob Krist before in this blog, “If you want to take more interesting pictures go to more interesting places.”  (He does, for e.g. National Geographic Traveler.)  Well, it occurred to me that your own world is a greatly different place after a snow storm so get out and shoot.

I looked out at it and knew I should be out there but the drifts looked a little intimidating.  What the hell, my “Help, I’m in a snowdrift.” button works all over the campus so, boots on, out I went.

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The first steps were easy before I headed for the woods.  It was a good thing that Sigrid had put up my spring wreath.  Otherwise, the snow might have come right inside.

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But, into the woods!  I had wondered how it would be on the Red Trail under a bower of snow-laden branches.  It was mesmerizing, and there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Other things seen along the trail.

Buds ready to swell.

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Need a rest break?

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More Ice in the Pines.

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Looks as though the sun will break through.

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Wait.  It seems as though the trail is leading back home.  And to breakfast.

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Thus endeth the snow walk.  Back home again and with a golden hint of spring insisting on moving in.  Hurry!

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THE TORRENTS OF MAY

No, this isn’t a romance novel.  It’s just spring in Greene County, New York.  That’s the Catskills but after several posts about the area over the years I felt the need for a new kind of title.

I recently revisited the area along with several photographers from the South Jersey Camera Club and the Cranbury Digital Camera Club.  We enjoyed plenty of violently rushing water and falls; hence the title but we also enjoyed lots of fresh spring greenery.

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The streams were running heavy, producing foamy cascades on their way to the Hudson River Valley, overwhelming former mountain trolls such as this one.

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A special target for us on every trip is Kaaterskill Falls which drops 260′ in two sections making it one of the largest falls in New York State.  The first drop of 167′ leads to a swimmable pool  in a large rock amphitheater which I’ve not yet visited as it’s tough to get there.  This spring, however, saw me finally at the top of the falls, accessible after a short hike to the trail head down Laurel Creek Road off of Lake Road above Tannersville.  I walked down there a few years ago but there was no trail head then.

We arrived at Spruce Creek, the top image below, which drains the eastern escarpment and feeds the falls.  A pivot to the right reveals the lip of the first fall (167′) in the image on the left.  This has been a spot for injuries and deaths of people slipping and going over.  It was scary to one whose knees quickly become jelly in such situations.  On the right below is 71′ high Bastion Falls just below Kaaterskill, and another step-down of Spruce Creek.  Spruce Creek continues on a wild ride along Route 23A and joins another creek to become Kaaterskill Creek.  We see it at bottom,  photographed in the rain as it heads for a bridge crossing on Route 32 south of Palenville, almost 4 miles from Bastion Falls.

Composite

 

There had been so much rain added to the normal runoff of spring that small falls … mini-falls … burst from the rock faces along the roads.  Here was such a scene just up the road from Bastion Falls.  The scene was about 5′ in height.

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We also usually visit an old, deteriorating inn, the Cold Spring Resort, located on Spruce Street south of Tannersville.  Members of our group have researched its history and turned up an ad for the property for 1902.  It is said that it has been closed for about fifty years.  Brave colleagues entered a ground floor pantry and found dishes piled up, ready for service, and a couple jugs of muscatel.  Laundry machines had been sitting on the front porch for a couple of years but they disappeared during the weekend.  The end is in sight.  Each year we find some other part of it that has collapsed and we wonder when it will totally disappear.  This inside corner has given up since my last visit here a couple of years ago.

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Amongst and between all of the falls and old inns there is the dramatic vista here and there, the kind of thing that drew artists and vacationers to the Catskills Resorts in their heyday.

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We were a little early for spring flowers but the lilacs bloomed in profusion and filled the air with their fragrance.

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There is a gallery of these and more related images.  Click here.

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SPRING SPRINGS

From gray-brown, bare limbs to this ….. seemingly in only a very few days.

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What a pleasure to see it all again.  I’m annually in wonder over this massive miracle, these great beautiful bandages over the sores of winter.  Welcome back!!

Where have these blooms and leaves been?  Wrapped tightly under their coats against the icy cold.  It’s what we do as well: we wrap our warmth and color within our warm spaces, holding on while the days drag on to

SPRING!!!

Sunny, mild, balmy days, perhaps a soft breeze, the birds singing.  Oh, the birds!

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I wonder at all of the beauty and I’m in awe of its construction…from the simplest wild flower asserting itself from the forest floor…..

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…..to the complex, lush, delicate beauty of these Camellias.

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From my computer days I wonder if the plants and the trees all have some kind of plant firmware that enables them to do what they do.  If so, it’s highly complex code, and so well written to produce such beauty.

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These crabapple blossoms just enjoyed a sprinkle and, smiling,  seem to be looking around to see if it’s Ok to come out.  I smile back in return, thankful for their short but wonderful visit.

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A Queen of the season, the daffodils in many varieties are seen all over the campus, like bright lemon lollipops.

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The return of spring helps me.  I can become full of doubt about life in the face of much that happens that is sad or evil.

I accepted years ago that it isn’t a Norman Rockwell world;  recently it has come home to me that it isn’t a Thomas Kinkade world either.

Yet, here comes spring again, the annual rebirth to continue the species.  A lot of life keeps on working right.

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SPRING’S BLOUSE SLIPS ALLURINGLY OFF OF HER SHOULDER

Of course I’m writing about spring flowers gradually appearing.   Whatever were you thinking?  

As I raised the blinds yesterday morning this  tree called to me in the slight fog.  Where did all of those white blossoms come from so suddenly?

Then, on the adjacent trail I came across this night’s work showing the effects of the fog.  It looks as though all that work yielded only a few bits of wet chaff.

Elsewhere on the campus there are lots of splashes of naturalized Narcissi which please the eye and anchor other pleasant woodland scenes.

 

Not much farther afield was this lovely tree, its blossoms so pretty and so short-lived.  I’ve always known these as Tulip trees but our arboretum sign calls them Magnolias.  Indeed, they’re closer to Magnolias than to the Lily (tulips) family. 

A few days earlier I interrupted these two taking in a morning on the south branch of the Rancocas.

Yes, clearly spring is movin’ in and isn’t that a nice thing to know each morning?

THE CATSKILLS IN THE SPRING – 05/20/10

Bridal Veil Falls

 Above is a scene from my recent (fourth) Catskills trip.  It’s called Bridal Veil Falls and it’s located behind the Glen Falls House (Round Top, NY) where we stay during the weekend trips.  I’ve photographed these at the top but never worked up the enthusiasm to climb down the steep, tripping-root-filled path and cross the rock filled stream bed (my tripod and I are in the stream for this shot)  particularly when the path has been icy.  But, it was time to do it. 

Our weekend  was organized and led by fellow blogger  Denise Bush, who keeps finding new vistas as well as taking us back to favorite spots to be seen again in different light.    

Willow Lake

 Here’s a tranquil shot of a lake bounded by willows and birches and by the Catskill range in the background (not seen in this image).  I was looking on this trip for something other than the streams and waterfalls, and I liked this place. 

After you’ve photographed a particular scene it always pays to look behind you to see what else might be there.  That’s how I captured the scene below, which is the creek continuing on from Artists’ Falls, with the old mill bathed in leaf-green soft light.  For more images from the weekend click here.

The stream and mill below Artists' Falls.