Monday, May 13 – Catoctin Creek Park

by Cam Miller. 0 Comments

(Click any photo to enlarge.) Nature Center It's time for me to talk about spring/summer safety when taking photo walks.  I felt a little unsafe on my walk today, not because of the location, necessarily, but for a variety of factors. First of all, I drove to the Catoctin Creek Nature Center, and I pulled into the parking lot.  There were a few cars there, but I saw absolutely no one.  The nature center itself was closed on Mondays, so I felt totally alone.   Perhaps some people use the parking area as a "park and ride."  The nature center building is beautiful, with a patio and bird feeders and picnic areas.  I need to return to it sometime to see the exhibits inside. Nicely tended walking paths The grounds of the park were beautiful.   There were rolling hills, paved walking paths, old stone ruins of early farm buildings, and nicely mowed open areas with benches and nesting boxes.  As I passed the playground and started on one of the paths, I flushed a rabbit from the grass, and it ran into the brush nearby. One of the ruins As I came to the next hill, there was a knee-high dark animal that loped into the wooded area to the right.  It was just beyond the crest of the hill, so I could not see its entire body, and I told myself that it was too big to be a rabbit, and it certainly did not walk or run like a dog.  It may have been a fawn, but its loping/bobbing style of movement told me otherwise.  I turned around  and decided to walk instead down the long driveway that leads to the park, then continued on Sumantown Road to the bridge over Catoctin Creek.  I was totally alone on the road, where I somehow felt safer.  I looked down at the swift running creek, and then continued along the road to a private picnic area with what might have been wild iris.  Along the way, I considered the possibilities of what animal I saw.  The only conclusion I could draw was that it was a bear cub.  When I was in the Smokies, I picked up a pamphlet on bear safety, so perhaps it is time that I read it.  Of course, someone will probably comment to me that it was more likely a wild turkey, but I have seen plenty of those recently, so I think not. The bridge over the creek Wild Iris?? After I turned around to return to the park, I saw that a large pickup truck was now parked at the bridge.  It was not there before when I came by.  As I crossed the bridge, I saw there were two young men at the base of the bridge, rinsing their shoes and their hands in the water.  My overactive imagination went to work about why they would need to be doing that, so I hurried as fast as I could back up the drive to the park.  After all, here I was, an "old woman" with white hair, alone with my camera, walking on a wooded country road.  I may not have been in danger at all, but I thought it best not to take any chances.  Private Picnic Area On my way home, I got to thinking about all the new "dangers" that I face with spring and summer walking:  sunburn, insect bites, ticks (I have found two recently on my clothes), snakes (the timber rattlesnake and copperheads are common here), and perhaps bears.  Humans have always been a concern, and because of that, I much prefer when I am in isolated places to have a walking partner.  There is safety in numbers. I think I will find some old neighborhoods and small towns for my next few walks, until I can find someone to accompany me on the country walks.  Are there any takers? Click on any photo to enlarge it. ************************************************* Visit my web site: Follow me on Twitter: @camscamerashots Email: Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk: walk every day the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day post a photo every day use whatever camera is easy and convenient for walking comfortably; always have a backup camera at the ready in case of mishaps (I use the Nikon Coolpix P7700) no weather excuses walk only where it is safe to do so

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