This little Woodland Box Turtle and I briefly shared a hiking trail in Powhatan State Park earlier this month. Encountering wildlife, even a small, humble turtle, always makes me feel more connected and brings me a sense of joy and awe.
I prompted ChatGPT to write a short story about a turtle and a photographer meeting on a hike and here’s what it came up with.
Sometimes it’s the little things in nature that really catch my eye. This lichen was growing on the side of a very large pine tree. I approached the tree to get a closer look at something else when I noticed the tiny, bright red blooms on the lichen. Who knew that lichen actually bloomed?
When I arrived at the edge of the lake, this stump was absorbing the sun. As the dark wood warmed snow was converted into a small cloud of steam. As a result, this photo shows all three forms of water: frozen (snow), liquid (water), and vapor (steam).
I can’t identify the plant which produced this seed pod but I can confidently say it wasn’t a dandelion. It was low, leggy bush with dried up leaves when I took this photo in November. Regardless of my ignorance, I thought the plant’s seed pod was worthy of a close up photo.
This cascade along Jones Run in Shenandoah National Park provided an interesting photographic experience. My friend was smart enough to stay at the top. Despite my better judgement I decided to hike down a little farther from the trail. Just as I was thinking I needed to be careful on the leaves and wet rocks, I stepped on a patch of wet moss covering a large, flat downward sloping stone. As the moss gave way I began sliding down the rock face, watching my camera bounce off the stones beneath me and hoping I would be able to stop myself. Fortunately my slide came to an end before I got to the actual waterfall, about 6 feet beyond the point from which I took this picture.
Snow fell on Richmond Thursday night. A few inches accumulated but it was nearly all gone within 24 hours. I took the day off Friday and hiked through Pocahontas State Park. This photo was taken as the sun rose over the forest. The park was beautifully covered in snow and I had the place to myself. I hiked for 5 hours and never saw another person the entire time.