Around our (Maryland) Yard in December 2012

Maryland in December is the time for the trees to take on their winter starkness. All the leaves are gone from the trees in the forest and the sycamore in our garden.

The dried hydrangea flowers have lost their pink color.

More of the onion seeds have been rattled out of their pods.



The shelf fungus on the oak stump looks a little battered

And the forsythia at the edge of the forest is a bit confused - blooming in the fall rather than its usual spring cycle.

Road Trip in May 2012 - Shenandoah National Park Day 1

Our first hike at Shenandoah was at Gravel Springs Gap (mile 17.6). It was a short hike with some steep places. The water from the springs trickled through rock lined channels that we crossed many times as we made the look. The area was lush and we enjoyed our first glimpses of the wild flowers that were already blooming - maybe a bit early this year. I've picked my favorite pictures from the Gravel Springs Hike for the collage below.

Next we decided to hike down to Dark Hollow Falls (mile 51). Like many hikes in Shenandoah from Skyline Drive, the first part is downhill and the return is up.  I took one picture of the falls and then focused on the wildflowers, shelf fungus, and the way rocks hung over the water. This was the first location I photographed trillium and noticed that the maples are significant later than at home where the samara have already flown off the trees.

By the time we made it to the hotel, my Fitbit had recorded that I had climbed the equivalent of over 80 flights of stairs! It was quite a day.