Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Visit Missouri-Explore St Louis- Forest Park and the Jewel Box

One of my favorite places for photography in St. Louis is Forest Park.  On this page I will be reviewing some of my favorite sites to take photos.

A Bit of Forest Park History and Facts

Forest Park is a public park that covers 1,371 acres in the heart of St. Louis.  It was first opened in 1876.  The park hosted both the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics.  An annual balloon race starts in Forest Park and in the summer you can attend wonderful summer theatre at the Muny.
Here are just a few of the wonderful attractions that you can see at Forest Park.

  •  St. Louis Zoo
  •  Science Center
  •  Art Museum
  •  Boathouse
  •  Missouri History Museum
  •  Jewel Box 
  •  World's Fair Pavilion
In addition you can walk or ride the many trails and paths and in the winter you can enjoy the ice skating rink.  
  I have many fond memories of Forest Park as a child, as a young Mother bringing my children there and now as a place to bring my grandchildren.  It is also one of my favorite place to take photographs and I will share them with you on the rest of this post.

Jewel Box

The Jewel Box is located on 17 acres in the park and was first used as a greenhouse.  It has lovely plants, water features and fountains throughout the area and is a great place to take photos.  It is popular with visitors and the building can be reserved for weddings.  Around Christmas the inside of the building is full of poinsettias, which are quite beautiful.
I visited there with my photo club on a recent spring evening and took the photo above and the beautiful daisies that lines the sides of the pond.

Muny

The Muny is a wonderful outdoor amphitheater that holds 11,000 people.  1500 of the seats are free seats making the theatre accessible to people from all walks of life.  Each summer for the past 100 years the Muny has  held a variety of different live productions.  Some of my favorites over the years include: South Pacific, Oklahoma, The Jersey Boys, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Beach Boys, and The Wizard of Oz.  I have also enjoyed  taking my two oldest granddaughters to the Muny when they have visited during the summer months.
The first photo on this page and the ones below were taken at the entrance area to the Muny.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse in Forest Park is a favorite gathering place of visitors to the park.  It is located just across the way from the Muny and is especially a favorite place for theatre goers to have a meal before or after the show.  The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating.
By the dock is an area where you can rent paddleboats and kayaks to ride around in the great basin. This is a favorite of my granddaughters.
After our photo club outing we met at the outdoor area of the Boathouse to sit by the dock and discuss the photos we took.  Here are a couple of the photos that I took from the docks.

Postcards from Forest Park

Here are some postcards I have made from my photos.




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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge Review

Wetlands at Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Just recently, I have come to experience the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge in an entirely new way.  Instead of sampling the sanctuary like a temporary visitor, I have found my own rhythm of belonging.  In becoming a part of this vital place, I have been able to take in a much deeper level of sustenance.  Perhaps this is the real beauty of refuges.  More than just protecting and conserving natural resources for the benefit of wildlife, they can greatly nourish anyone who truly enters into them.  This is not so much a review of a tourist attraction, or place, as it is a review of learning how to let a place enter into you in a way that feeds your spirit.

As I turn off of busy Highway 160 in South Central Colorado this morning, I slow my vehicle's speed way down.  The two-mile approach to Alamosa NWR's Visitor Center is where I begin to align my pace with that of the natural world.  Opening all of my windows, I breathe deeply and feel the gentle breeze and soft rays of the early morning sunlight on my face.  Reaching into my camera backpack, a palpable sense of anticipation rises up to meet me.

I start counting telephone poles.  There he is, as always, on pole number seven.  My greeter.  Here's where I admit that I don't know what kind of hawk he is.  At some point, I will pull out a book and ID him, but I'm not obsessed with that right now—which is unusual for me.  In the past, I would have immediately wanted to know his name.  The new me has a different agenda for coming to know him.

Sign Marking Entrance to the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Off to my left, I pass ANWR's entrance sign.  My morning's soundtrack changes dramatically.  Gravel pops and pings as it ricochets off the bottom of my red Sport Trac.  In my left ear, a meadowlark's lilting aria floats in thin air.  Simultaneously, my right ear picks up the raucous rap of a Marsh wren.  Ahh... the concert has begun, and like a children's preschool program, the singers won't necessarily be bringing their voices in on time or in perfect harmony.  These voices, like their creatures, will do their own thing, and it will be chaotic at times, but gloriously so.

Star Actress in Today's Theater Production of "Fake Broken Wing" - Mama Killdear
Slowly, slowly I creep along the entrance road hoping for an iconic doing-the-splits photo of one of those boisterous wrens.  Suddenly, without warning, a theater production of Fake Broken Wing opens up in front of my vehicle.  The chorus erupts into: kill dear, kill dear, kill dear.  Whoa!

Good thing I am driving about half a mile an hour (my typical wildlife-photographer-on-the-hunt speed).  A pair of killdear parents have young chicks attempting to cross the road without first looking both ways.  I've never seen baby killdears until this very moment and they are perfect in every way.  Oh, the wonder!

Baby Killdear - Cuteness Overload
The teacher in me wants to play crossing guard and get those precious babies across the road.  Children... it's not safe.  Hurry!  My heart pounds when I think of how easily these young ones could be run over by a car.  Relief floods me when I silently count the chicks now on the opposite shoulder of the road.  Five.  Phew!  They all made it.

Now, as I'm attempting to photograph the family from my vehicle, they launch themselves, in true killdear form, into what the former athlete in me recognizes as Fartlek (I do not make this stuff up) training.  Imagine seven photographic subjects, all going in different directions, speed walking for several steps, and then briefly pausing before sprinting away in the opposite direction.  I try to anticipate when and where those slower intervals will take place and press the shutter button in an act of faith.  This is living in the moment.  Talk about exhilaration!

It's time to roll on down the road.  I never want to stress the wildlife by overstaying my welcome.  You learn to take the gift they give you, and with good grace, give them the breathing room they need.  If I drove out of the refuge right now, my day would be complete.

Young Mule Deer Buck With Antlers in the Velvet
What I am learning about this refuge is that there are layers you must peel back to get at the true essence.  You can't be in a hurry, and to get the most out of a sanctuary experience, you want to use all of your senses.  Long before you see something spectacular, you are most likely going to hear it, or feel its presence—that is, if you nurture your inherent sense of awe and wonder.  Anticipation and stillness.  That is the intersection where the marvelous can, and will, happen in this place.

The other thing is this: Don't just look for the big magnificence.  Often, the most delightful splendor comes in the tiniest of packages.  While there will be crowds at area refuges during the seasonal Sandhill crane migrations, or when elk herds are moving through, it is in the smaller, and yet equally mesmerizing annual voyages of say, butterflies, that one may become immersed in transcendent moments.

Walking is the More Intimate Way to Experience the Refuge
Right now, with the wildflowers in full bloom, so much teeming life is taking place in the ditches and meadows of the sanctuary.  This is the time to walk the two-mile nature trail (although I found it temporarily closed today due to the Rio Grande's flooding and the presence of the endangered Willow flycatcher).  There is so much beauty right underfoot.

Yellow-Headed Blackbird
Any time I enter the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, I know that an initial assessment of what's going on will vastly underestimate the real activity that is taking place.  I watch first-time visitors quickly drive the three-mile auto tour loop and leave.  I imagine them saying, "Nothing but blackbirds."  Sadly, they have missed out on everything.  I was once that visitor.

In my ongoing evolution from refuge visitor to a sort of artist-in-residence, I can easily spend all day immersed in nature's artistry.  There is an art to being both a witness to, and a player among, the many moving parts of a wildlife refuge.  I believe the natural world reveals most of its brilliance to those who honor the gift-giver.  And I think the honor is in how we pause and pay deep attention, with reverent awe, and a true sense of gratitude.  There is honor in not taking for granted any creature, no matter if there are thousands of them, and no matter if they are present year-round.

A Glow-in-the-Dark Male Yellow Warbler With a Mouth Full of Insects
Dr. Seuss Chicks - American Coot Babies - Wow, Just Wow!
Today, some of the generous gift-givers have been, in addition to the wondrous greeters I have already mentioned, the lovely Yellow-headed blackbird, the brightest colored warbler I have ever seen, three curious Mule deer, various larks, an amazing porcupine, the Dr. Seuss chicks of an American Coot, a sweet-voiced flycatcher, two American bitterns (listed as uncommon for the refuge), a garter snake (true confession: earlier in my life I would not have put snakes on the gift list), teal ducks, Mallard ducks, a Pied-billed grebe, numerous swallows, and way too many others to note in this limited space.  They know who they are and they know that I revel in their presence.

To miss a day at the refuge, is to miss out on the unfolding of thousands of tiny miracles.  I've found there is no slow season when it comes to the miracle of life.  Any time I find myself drinking in sustenance at the oasis we call the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, is the time of my life.

Water is the Lifeblood of the San Luis Valley's National Wildlife Refuges
I encourage you to find your own little oasis where you can soak up the refreshment to be found in spaces that rehydrate the spirit and soul.  Where we find our sustenance, we find everything we need to thrive and grow into the fullness of our own being.  When that happens, we become the refuge that attracts others into our nourishing space.  Being the place, or space, others want to inhabit—isn't that the high calling?







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Friday, June 7, 2019

Fall Hollow Waterfall on the Natchez Trace Parkway Photos & Review

Fall Hollow Waterfall on the Natchez Trace Parkway Photos & Review
There are lots of spectacular places to stop along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Fall Hollow Waterfall, located near Hohenwald, Tennessee, is only one of the fabulous spots of heavenly beauty here on earth.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic two-lane highway that follows the historical old Natchez Trace trails and roads used by American Indians, explorers, and travelers for centuries.  

The parkway stretches through 3 states (Tennessee, Alabama & Mississippi) and preserves important areas in American history, as well as preservation of the natural beauty.  The highway is a 440 mile stretch between Nashville, TN and Natchez, MS.   Not only is it a beautiful drive, but it has stopping areas that are perfect for picnics, hiking, taking photos, or simply breathing deep and enjoying nature.  

Hohenwald, TN is also a great place to stop for gas, food, or even for the night, as you tour the Natchez Trace Parkway and discover the natural beauty of the South.


Fall Hollow Waterfall on the Natchez Trace Parkway Photos & Review


The Fall Hollow Waterfall
Located on the Natchez Trace Parkway


Fall Hollow Waterfall Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Photo of Fall Hollow Waterfall by Sylvestermouse
from Observation Deck
Tennessee is home of the stunning Fall Hollow waterfall and surrounding trails.  You can easily see the waterfall after a short walk on the trail that starts at the parking area on the side of the Natchez Trace Parkway.  It is a beautiful sight!

We opted to climb down the steep path to the bottom of the waterfall to experience the full adventure.  It is a well worn trail created by natural stone "steps".  However, I used the word "climb" because I don't want to mislead readers by referring to it as a walk, which evokes the image of straight, level ground.  I did have to use my hands several times as I moved from one step down to the next step.  Many times in our descent, I worried about slipping on the wet stone and preferred to find my footing on the surrounding grass and mud instead.  The trail is narrow and drops off down the hillside.  It would be easy to get injured if you are not careful.  By the way, we also took Merlin, our Labrador Retriever, with us.  He hopped those stone steps with the agility of a deer.  I was extremely proud of him.  Of course, he frequently had to stop to wait on me, as I was literally climbing down using my hands for support. 


Fall Hollow Waterfall Path photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
I snapped this photo of the path before
we started our hike back up.  This was the
easiest part of the path to the waterfall
I don't wish to dissuade anyone from taking the path down to the bottom of the waterfall.  But, this trail could be very dangerous because it is steep, slippery and uneven.  By all means, wear proper climbing clothes and hiking/climbing boots.  This is not a casual walk through the woods.  While I was dressed properly with my selection of jeans, I was wearing Keds canvas snickers.  Not the best choice for shoes on this waterfall trail.  I was careful and I know my own limitations.  I didn't hesitate to balance myself with my hands or knees, but next time, I will wear my hiking boots.

It was necessary for me to stop a few times to catch my breath on the climbing hike down and also on my way back up.  Be prepared to pace yourself.  Don't try to hurry.  Besides, stopping for a rest gives you time to look around at the surrounding vegetation, flowers, and streams.  

Well, that does work well, as long as you don't look down the side of the drop-off!

Fall Hollow Waterfall Photo Collage of Surrounding Area


I did not take water down the hill with me and I was fine.  However, we were there in the spring.  On a hotter day, I would have required water.  Therefore, I recommend a lightweight shoulder strap water bottle for this trail.


Warning About Hiking to the Bottom of the Fall Hollow Waterfall

Fall Hollow Waterfall Stone photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
The photo on the right is a picture of the type of stone steps on the trail down to the bottom of the waterfall.  As you can see, they have a slick surface, which is why I often opted for the grass or mud at the side.  It would have been very easy to twist my ankle though.

For those who have health or mobility issues, heed the posted warning sign and do not go on beyond the observation deck area that provides seating where you can easily see the waterfall.    

If you have any concerns, fear of heights, are already fatigued, or unsure about climbing the hillside for any reason, allow wisdom to dictate and stick to the deck.  You won't be disappointed by the view.

I do not recommend the path down to the waterfall for children or most pets.





For More Information on the Natchez Trace Parkway, visit Natchez Trace Parkway (U.S. National Park Service)



Recommended Equipment for the Waterfall Hike




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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review

A Brief History Of Lawrence "Larry" Moore Park

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review
A Trail in Larry Moore Park, March, March, 2018, © B. Radisavljevic

I first saw Larry Moore Park, as it's commonly known here in Paso Robles, after I moved to this area in 1993. Larry Moore Park was actually established in the 1980's when the Riverbank Track across the street from it was built. My mother bought a home in this tract in 1995 within walking distance of the park. I visited her regularly and often took a walk in the park after the visit. I was delighted to live close to a river for the first time in my life. I have featured some of my photographs of the river itself here. 

At first the Riverbank tract homeowners were assessed by the landscape and lighting district that maintained the park. But by the end of 2015 it became evident that this would not be enough. The city made plans to take jurisdiction over the park and its maintenance and the city now owns the park. It has built a new playground and has plans to later build a new ball field and a parking area within the park. In 2014 after my mother's death we moved into her house and became Riverbank residents ourselves. 

Not all of us are thrilled that our "wild" space will become so much more developed than it is now. We don't exactly welcome the parking lot and the added traffic and the glaring stadium lights that are coming. I'm not sure the river walk will be the same after that. We were hoping that at least park maintenance would improve, but so far about all the city has done is build the new playground. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review: New Playground
Part of New Playground, November, 2018, © B. Radisavljevic

The River Walk Trail Entrance

The main trail for the Salinas River Walk begins at the south end of Larry Moore Park right across the from the west entrance to the Charolais Corridor Trail

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - West Entrance Charolais Corridor Trail

At the south entrance of the Salinas River Walk in the park you will find a park bench, trash cans, and some very large rocks marking the beginning of the trail. Here's how it appears if you stand in the park and look toward the Charolais Corridor Trail entrance you see above. The road itself turns into a cul-de-cac just past these trail entrances and one can park along the curb.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review: Salinas River Trail Beginning at South End of Park
South Entrance to Salinas River Walk at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
 In front of the bench is a very large oak tree and an access path heading west to the Salinas River. The flora you see in the photo below is typical of that which dominates the park in spring and summer. The yellow flowers by the rocks are mustard. The white flowers near the right middle are poison hemlock. In front of the blooming poison hemlock is a mallow plant, but its purple flowers are too small to see here. I show the blooms later under Flora.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review
Bench at South Entrance to Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic, June 3, 2019



"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review

To take the trail get up from the bench and turn to your right. You will see the trail heading northeast in this photo. It curves slightly parallel to the river until the trail seems to end just past some benches and a river access pass through. You will notice that one of the benches is broken. Maintenance in the park is almost nonexistent except for the playground, playing fields, and restrooms.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review


Here is the river access just before the trail turns. Notice the broken fence between the bench and the river access pass through. I took this photo and the one below looking west from the east.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - River Access


Above you see that the trail is turning. It will soon lead to the footbridge. The trail from the south turns onto the bridge by the elderberry tree. I was coming from the other direction when I took this photo.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Footbridge over Creek


 Not long after crossing the footbridge you will come to a fence that borders a riparian mitigation area. Most of what's behind the fence looks like what's below. Lots of poison hemlock is in bloom there in June.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Poison Hemlock in Bloom
Riparian Mitigation Area that Borders Trail, Poison Hemlock in Bloom, © B. Radisavljevic

The trail then parallels the fence until it crosses the park to the east and reaches a dead end. At this point you can turn south toward the southern exit to the Riverbank Tract or you can turn north toward the Veterans' Memorial Bridge underpass that takes you on a trail that continues north and east to 13th Street. Here's a view of the intersection on January 9, 2017.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Trail Intersection

I took the photo below on June 3, 2019. You can see farther down the trail to the north here. It goes past the Kohl's store. A block wall separates the commercial area from the trail. Near the trail intersection you can see the shopping carts the homeless leave there as they go back and forth to where they like to camp in the riverbed. You will find these abandoned carts scattered through the park.

There is a vacant lot beside that sign that leads to the J.C. Penny parking lot where some homeless folks park before walking to where they plan to camp in the park. Some hikers also park in the J.C. Penny lot because it's close to the park trails going both north and south.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Intersecting Trails
Trail Intersection at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic

Although you can't see it above because the trees hide it, the fence for the riparian mitigation area borders the north side of the east-west trail from the river. If you were standing where the north pointing arrow is above, looking back toward the river, you'd see this.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Homeless Campsite
Looking West Toward River and a Homeless Encampment (illegal at the time), © B. Radisavljevic

In October 2017, I left my house during some construction in search of some quiet and spent some time photographing the park entrance from the bench by the trail entrance. You can see all those photos and the video I made that day at What I  Observed from my Bench at Larry Moore Park.

Here is a photo of the large rocks along the trail entrance taken in October, 2017. I was tempted to crop out the piles of mulch so the rocks would be more prominent, but I simply didn't have the heart to crop out most of that magnificent sky just to get rid of the mulch. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - South Entrance
Rocks at Park South Entrance, October 2017

Here's a better photo of the rocks in January, 2012, without mulch piles. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - South Entrance
Rocks at Park South Entrance, January 2012 

Larry Moore Park is a Great Place to Photograph the Sky


I really appreciate the clear view of the sky I have from the Salinas River and the River Walk. It's a great place to photograph the sunset, or, as you can see above, cloud formations. 

I often walk as the sun is setting. I took the photo below through those trees you can see from the park bench near the entrance. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review -  Sunset Behind the Trees
Sunset behind Trees, © B. Radisavljevic


I shot the photo below near the river at Larry Moore Park. It's one of my favorite sky views so I used it to make this inspirational poster at Zazzle. 


I also made a poster of this pastel sky from the park. I made it part of my blog post on Medium: What a Glorious Gift is the Sky! The blog contains other views of the sky, mostly taken from the Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Paso Robles. If a photo seems not to have loaded, just click it to make it appear.


This next sky view comes from the other end of the trail closer to the northern Riverbank Lane entrance.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Bare Cottonwood Tree in the Sunset


Here's one more. It's hard to stop.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Sunset

Below is another interesting sky effect framed by one of the park trees. Some people call this a buttermilk sky.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - "Buttermilk" Clouds


I like the pink contrails in this one.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Pink Contrails
Pink Contrails over Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic

I could share many more sky photos taken at Larry Moore Park, but there simply isn't room. There's much more to see here than sky. The sky will probably appear in many other photos I will share below.

Accessing the Salinas River from Larry Moore Park

Larry Moore Park offers the easiest access to the Salinas River in Paso Robles. Even when the riverbed is dry there is plenty to see. My favorite access path is near the south entrance I showed you at the top by the large oak tree. It is featured in this Zazzle poster. When taking this trail you need to be careful of the poison oak that lives on the right side of the trail. It's especially dangerous in winter when it has no leaves to warn you of what it is. The path can also be slippery in the wet season.



In the poster photo above you can't see the steep part of the path. Here is what it looks like looking up from the riverbank or riverbed, depending on the season. Perhaps by now you will recognize the bench at the top near where this path begins.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Access Path to Salinas River
Access Path to Salinas River, © B. Radisavljevic
Although many people use this path to reach the river, it's only one of many unofficial paths they use to get there.

The more official designated entrances meant for accessing the river look like this and are found along the main trail fence. I think these pass through "gates" are designed to let people in and keep horses and vehicles of all kinds out.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - River Access Pass Through

After entering at one of these access "gates" you will find your own way down. If you are fortunate, you will find a path through the brush somewhat like this one.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - River Access Path


Take a Short Walk On the North End of the Trail with Me

I made this video to test the camera on my new Galaxy Note 9 phone last November (2018). So it's an autumn walk. It will show you some plants in the park I haven't featured below and autumn views of some I have, like the jimson weed.



Fauna at Larry Moore Park

I confess I've paid more attention to the flora than the fauna, since the fauna are better at keeping out of sight. I've seen birds, ants, bees, gophers, squirrels, hares, tadpoles,lizards, and cottontail rabbits. I've not yet seen a snake or any deer in the park. But that doesn't mean there aren't any.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Squirrel
Not exactly in the park when I took the photo, but I took it from the riverbed just south of the park. Squirrels tend to roam, so I'm sure this one got to the park when I wasn't looking.
I'm not good at identifying birds, but these are very common in the park. It's also common to see birds of prey, probably hawks or turkey vultures, flying high above.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Birds
Birds I See Often at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic
Tadpoles

It occurred to me when I saw a very shallow pool unattached to the rest of the river that it was tadpole season and I might find a few. So I went to explore. I expect we will later see frogs or toads in the park if they can survive after the river dries up.



People also walk their dogs in the park, and they don't always follow the rule to keep them on a leash. Many people let them loose in the riverbed or after they are into the park. They are not supposed to do this. Here are a couple of posts from my Paso Robles in Photos blog related to dogs in the park.


As I walked in the park today I saw a rabbit rush into the brush before I could even aim my camera. I stepped over many anthills of red ants. A lizard skittered across the path in front of me a couple of times. And I also saw this.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Lost Cat?
Had to Shoot with a Zoom - A Black Cat in the Park, Hunting, June 3, 2019, © B. Radisavljevic
Last month I saw another cat by the river. I'm not sure if these are abandoned or feral cats or whether they come to the park from the tract for some wild time.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Cat in Tree
Tuxedo Cat in Tree by Salinas River,  © B. Radisavljevic


Flora in the Park

I love to photograph the plants in the park during every season -- in and out of the riverbed. Some of the most common plants there are jimson weed, telegraph plant, poison oak, poison hemlock, and milk thistle. Milk thistle and poison hemlock usually grow next to each other in the park. Click the link to learn more about them.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Blooming Milk Thistle and Poison Hemlock
Milk Thistle and Poison Hemlock in Bloom at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic

Poison oak also grows abundantly at Larry Moore Park. So be careful, especially in winter when the stems are bare and there are no leaves to warn you of danger. One of the places you really need to watch out for is under this spreading cottonwood (or is it a willow?) tree near the center of the park between the street and the trail. There is open space all around it. See that shady place under the tree? Poison oak loves to grow there.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Large Tree in Middle of Park
Poison Oak Loves to Grow in that Shady Space Under Tree, © B. Radisavljevic
Here's a closer look. See all that poison oak? It loses its leaves in winter and you'd never know what it was, but it's just as dangerous as when it has leaves. See more details and photos of this tree in other seasons and information about other places poison oak lurks in the park in Watch Out for Poison Oak at Larry Moore Park.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Green Poison Oak in June
Poison Oak Growing Under Tree in June, © B. Radisavljevic




Today I found a jimson weed flower in bloom and a several potential forests of the plant. Learn more about jimson weed here. The mustard adds some happy color to this photo.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Blooming Mustard and Jimson Weed


Below is an enlargement of the blooming mallow plant we saw in front of the bench when we entered the park.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Mallow in Bloom
Mallow in Bloom at Larry Moore Park in June, © B. Radisavljevic

I don't often see poppies in the park, but I did on June 3, 2019. This bit of color was snuggling up to a baby oak tree.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - California Poppies Snuggling with Baby Oak

I photographed this cottonwood tree near the river on May 22, 2019. If you have allergies, I suggest you come at a different time of year. The seeds were still flying through the air like snow on June 3.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Cottonwood Tree in Bloom
Cottonwood in Bloom May 22, 2019, © B. Radisavljevic
Here's how the ground looks under this cottonwood tree.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Cottonwood "Cotton" Under Tree
Cottonwood "Snow" on Ground, May 22, 2019, Larry Moore Park, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic
Here is one of the many elderberry trees in bloom in the park during June.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Elderberry tree in Bloom
Elderberry Tree in Bloom in June, © B. Radisavljevic


These are just a few examples of the flora that grow in Larry Moore Park. It has both willow and cottonwood trees. Elderberry trees seem to be everywhere. And, of course, there are oaks. It would take another post to show you all the flora. 

Park Facilities

The park has restrooms that stay open during the hours the park is open, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. I looked at them today, June 3, 2019, and they were clean.  They lock them at 11 p.m. when the park closes. The drinking fountains next to the restrooms were also functioning.

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Restrooms
Restrooms at Larry Moore Park, © B. Radisavljevic


Besides the trails, the park has non-regulation soccer and baseballs fields and a basketball court for shooting baskets. None of these fields were built for competitive play. They were built for neighborhood residents to play for fun. 

"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Basketball Court and Playground

There are very few picnic tables. The city website for the park says there are barbecue areas. They are probably located near the playground beside the one picnic table I saw. There may be more in that clump of trees behind the playground. That's the one area I did not inspect today. 

Vandals have thrown many tables in the creek and in other places where they don't belong and torn them apart. There has been a huge problem with vandalism in the park in the past. Many hope that since the city now owns the park it will patrol more often. 

It is better to visit the park during daylight hours. As I've mentioned above, many homeless camp in the park, especially in and around the riverbed. Some neighbors who use the trail have complained that they have been threatened by men carrying sticks when walking north of the bridge underpass or near it. I have never had a problem myself, but I've not recently walked farther north than the trail I've detailed here. I now stay in the park south of the commercial development and the path intersection I showed you that leads north. 

The park is a wonderful recreation area, especially during the season when there is water in the river. The trails and the riverbed are great for hiking, biking, and walking dogs (on leashes, please). There are many plants and animals to study or just enjoy. There are gorgeous sunsets to observe. But it's probably best to walk with a dog or a friend at dusk. 

And if you happen to be in the park at the right time, you will probably see and hear the Amtrak trains coming and going. I usually see one go  past between 4:30 and 5 p.m. I rather enjoy that. Both the tracks and the 101 freeway are just on the other side of the river from the park. 


"Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles: A Photographic Review - Amtrak Train Seen from Park
Amtrak Heading South.  I used a zoom lens so the train is really not in the park but across the river. © B. Radisavljevic



I hope you've enjoyed your photographic guide to the park. I know it's just scratched the surface, but that's all there is room for today.





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