25 February 2012

A Lovely Day Outdoors

Wow ~ I haven't gone so long between posts in a long time.  It's a good indication of how busy life has been these past couple of weeks!  I have, however, been posting daily photos (along with some watercolors) on my Annual Project blog, so feel free to check it out!

Catkins on trees
Today was such a nice day that I just had to get outside and enjoy it.  It was still somewhat cool in Flagstaff, so I drove south towards Sedona and spent some time in Oak Creek Canyon.  It was lovely to see hints of early spring, such as the catkins on the tree tops and fresh green grass coming up through the ochre thatch of last year's grass.

Oak Creek
I took a short hike down along the creek.  Here I stopped and spent the longest time watching the birds.  The trees were filled with Hairy Woodpeckers and White Breasted Nuthatches.  I don't think I've ever seen so many woodpeckers in one place before!

Duckweed
Oak Creek is peaty brown and all along the banks, there were more signs of spring.  The wild watercress and duckweed were brilliant spots of green!  All sorts of fun critters to watch, including a fuzzy winged bug I've never seen before.  I'll have to get the guidebooks out and figure out what it was.

2012 02 25 Artist Journal Entry
I spent some time with my watercolors and tried to capture some of the things that I saw and enjoyed!  While I was sketching away, a woman stopped and told me that I brought beautiful energy to this spot!

Smoke Trail 1
After a few hours on the northern part of Oak Creek, I drove southwest of Sedona to Red Rock State Park, where Oak Creek continues the journey south towards the Verde River.  I'd never been there before, but had seen the signs.  It was getting late in the afternoon, so I didn't have a lot of time before the park closed for the day, but it was enough to take a short hike along one of the many trails in the park.  The Smoke Trail goes along side of Oak Creek for about a 1/2 mile.  The creek is at a much lower in elevation at this point and the flora and fauna are completely different than further north in the canyon.

Smoke Trail 2
The trail was a lovely walk.  In one spot, it went over long a ledge of rock with cliffs above and the creek on the other side.

Smoke Trail & Oak Creek
Here is a view looking back the way I came.

Petroglyphs
You can look at the cliffs above and see the faint markings of petroglyphs carved into the sandstone (at the center of this photo).  Evidence that people have been enjoying this area for nearly 1,000 years!

Smoke Trail 3
Another view of the trail ~ I love the tree shadows across it!

Oak Creek
Oak creek in this area appears to be green from the thick algae growing on the rocks in the creek!

Sycamore Hole
I loved the "window" in this old sycamore.

Juniper Bark
The bark on the juniper was fascinating.  The stripes of color were amazing, as though someone came along and painted stripes around the tree.  And the bark seems to braid and weave itself in places.

Juniper Bark
In other places it is simply weathered gray, but still beautifully textured.

Heron Sculpture
Across from the visitor center, there is a nice little walk with interesting signs about the local plant life.  It culminates at this metal sculpture of a heron that I thought was quite fun and whimsical!

What a lovely day it was!  Warm and sunny and filled with the wondrous sights and sounds of God's magnificent creation!

5 comments:

Leeanne said...

I love your photo's, I felt like I was right there!

Susan Elliott said...

Well, my dear, you brought beautiful energy to my spot too. I loved going alongside you on the trails and seeing your trip. But can I tell you? I absolutely head-over-heals adore it when you draw!!! And watercolor...and illustrate...you do it so beautifully!! I wish i could...but alas, I'm just going to have to wait to buy your book....how about seam treatments inspired by your nature walks and sightings...? You can tell me to be quiet but I am SO SERIOUS!!!

Rebecca said...

Is there NO limit to your talent? Your blog refreshes my mind.

Linda said...

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for your photos. They have brought a richness to my life. Linda

Tatkis said...

Adorable photos! Thank you so much for sharing!

Hugs,
Tatyana

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