Down the trail & around the duck pond

I took a six-mile walk today, with a not-too-heavy backpack as part of my ramping up training for a longer, multi-day hike in the future. I didn’t have much with me besides water & my camera equipment (a couple of lenses, rather than just one on the camera body). But, absent-mindedly, I did not check the charge on my battery before I left. It was a good walk on a cold day and I didn’t stop for many photographs.

Before the battery lost its charge, I was able to watch a pair of ducks on the pond. I’ve seen them here several times recently. Still kicking myself over the battery, as the light was probably as good as it gets in this location and the ducks didn’t seem to be interested in flying anywhere. It won’t be long before there are hatchlings following them around in the pond.

Heads up!

Go fish!

The duck pond. Not sure where the nest is, but it must be nearby.

As I wandered past the duck pond, around the bend towards one of my favorite places on the trail, I was stunned.


I find this so disrespectful of not only nature and the park, but also to all who might use the park. This was taken with my cruddy rotary-dial cell phone so it isn’t the best look at this enormous pile that looks like it was 1/2 of a good-sized pickup truck. I imagine that someone drove off the road, down the greenway trail and dumped this in the dead of night.

It made me think, though. I didn’t have any problems with the graffiti I photographed the other day. That is on the edge of this park. Is it because it is under a bridge, out of sight? Or that it is something that I consider “art”? I wouldn’t consider it in the same category as some jerk who couldn’t have been bothered to take his old roof to the dump, or follow the rules for heavy trash pickup, but aren’t both violations of the law and of property?

As I returned home, I looked for a bamboo pole that I saw stuck in the ground along the edge of the woods the other day. I’m not sure why it was there. It sort of looked like a walking stick, but was secured so that it would stand upright in the ground. Perhaps there was something on the top of it at one time like a sign. Maybe it was a memorial, like the plastic cross and stuffed teddy bears that have been near the boat ramp for about a year.

Since I was along the water’s edge, I decided to look once more for the turtle shell that I saw a few weeks ago. I had wanted to take pictures of it, but didn’t have my camera with me that day. I left the shell where it was and covered it with a few leaves, intending to go back in a few days with my camera. I have now looked on three different hikes for the remains, walking up and down the same section of the creek several times, tripping over vines and stepping in mud. The other day there was a man nearby. I saw that he had a GPS device, so I assume that he was geocaching. I thought about what I might say if he got close enough to me. Don’t worry. I’m not looking for your cache. I didn’t mark the coordinates of my treasure and I buried it too efficiently.

I was just about to give up, having told myself that maybe some kid found it and thought it was a great find. I too had thought it was great — good enough to spend a few hours trying to find it again. Suddenly, there it was: not near a tree at all, but in the same general area that I know I have walked recently. Perhaps it wasn’t the same box turtle shell. Maybe another one had died nearby. Whether it was the same or not didn’t matter. I took out that old junky phone and snapped a few photos.

Pieces of terrapene carolinas carolinas

From the size of the shell, I would think that he was an old turtle

Looks like a small chicken bone

A different view of the carapace

I took the photos and then picked up the pieces. I want to take better shots of this, but didn’t want to risk not being able to find it again. Once I photograph it, I’ll put it back in my backpack and return it to the woods. As I approached the last 1/2 mile I saw the bamboo pole. I picked it up and took it. I’ve thought of doing something with it, following with what Stephen MacInnis is doing at Painter’s Progress for his “Wednesday Idea”.

Now I have to think about where I want to leave a piece of artwork. While I can clearly state that my intentions of leaving this along the trail is for art, for adding beauty and pleasure and perhaps making someone smile, what if what I did ended up being viewed as nothing more than a pile of junk, like the roofing material? While I’m sure that wasn’t left as an “art project”, is it the intent of the creator or the perception of the person who finds it whether it is just added litter in a park?


17 responses to “Down the trail & around the duck pond

  1. On your “Go Fish” photo, which I really like, did you notice to the “alligator” eye sticking above the water, checking out the fishers? Nice body, too. 🙂

    • Yes! As soon as I downloaded it, I thought “alligator!” Wondered if I wasn’t just missing a bit the Florida Everglades.

      • I think I’ll stay away from the Everglades, thank you. I don’t want to be anywhere near anything that can chomp my head off. 🙂

        • LOL! I am not so intrepid as to go anywhere in the Everglades, but I do like going to a few places where it is relatively safe. The Audubon sanctuary in Corkscrew Swamp for instance, where the boardwalk is above the water — and the alligators!

          • Well, I hope it’s r-e-a-l-l-y above the alligators. They can jump pretty high, I understand, especially when they’re hungry. 🙂

            • Never heard of one on the boardwalk, but the bears are a different story….

              • Oh, now you’re really scaring me! LOL

                • Never seen them, but have heard them growl! That was scary, especially when the ranger said that best thing is to lie down on the boardwalk and let them walk by. “Don’t worry, though”, he said, “most will ignore you completely.” 🙂

                  • That’s comforting. “Most” will ignore you completely. What about those who aren’t part of the “most”? What do they do? Scoop you up where you lie? Mmmmm. Free dinner 🙂

  2. Wayside Artist

    I hate the junk piles I find. It’s hard to find something artistic about them. On the other hand, the turtle shell is a natural treasure, fascinating to compare its anatomical parts to another animal or human.

    • True about the turtle. When I first spotted it, I thought it was a half buried Frisbee, then I saw the leg bone which looks so much like a chicken bone to me. I’m fascinated by how the pieces fit together & wonder where the rest of the turtle is. I looked all over for the bottom plate & could not find it. Because this was on the bank, although high above the creek, it could have been easily washed away. The creek is really low right now — much lower than I’ve ever seen in the Spring — but I have no idea how to judge how long this skeleton has been there.

  3. I think I’d like to take a hike with you sometime…

  4. Great post.
    Thank you for this post. I have the “littering of our parks” on my mind for some time and am working on a proposal for our local parks system of an art exhibit that focuses on the environment – specifically the littering of our environment and it’s impact. Your photo of the pile of trash is something we see so often – and I suspect that it’s a problem everywhere not just here. And the larger the park the easier it is to get away with such dumping behavior.

    I love the shell remnants.

    The camera battery – okay who hasn’t done that once? – everyone raise your hands – don’t be shy now. Hahaha. I hate to admit that I’ve done that twice. I get so excited about going to shoot somewhere that I forget to charge the battery and forget to take my backup battery. Have a great day.

    • The most frustrating time that it has happened to me, was a few years ago when my husband and I were on vacation. I wanted to shoot at sunset at a specific beach. There was a TON of traffic as we drove down the main drag of Estero Island. Just as we were approaching our destination, I realized that I had LEFT the battery in the charger back at the hotel. We sat at a beach bar & watched a perfect sunset, but no pictures, not even with my phone. I went back to the same locale this year and got some great pics (see but no two sunsets are ever the same. Lesson learned. I’ve shot without realizing that I didn’t have a card in the camera too. Much better about the checklist these days!

  5. I love your creativity and discoveries along nature’s way – it’s inspiring, beautiful, lovely and cheering. Thank you!