Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

These are just a few of my favorite happy places…

I couldn’t pick only one!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Happy Place.”

Heaven’s Gulch

I tried to get to Devil’s Gulch last year, but along the way I was distracted by Ritterbush Pond and never made it any further.

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This year, I was determined to hike there and to see this unique natural feature on the Long Trail near Belvedere Mountain.

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It was a beautiful day when we set out. Ritterbush Pond appeared, and we did linger there for awhile. How could we not? The calm reflective waters invite lingering.

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But it was Devil’s Gulch that was our destination. The trail there is deceiving. It travels down instead of up. Down, down, down. Deep into a narrow valley.

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A ladder leaning up against a rock face is the first clue that there is more to this place than meets the eye.

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At the top of the ladder you look down into the gulch. Devil’s Gulch. I expected something dark and sinister. But what I saw seemed more like an entrance to a magical and enchanted place. An opening into another time and dimension. It captured my heart immediately and completely.

Huge rocks and boulders lay scattered about before me. Some resting precariously and others seemed as if they had been there forever.

Thickly coated in emerald green moss and lichen. Tree roots embracing and holding them in place.

An altar appeared. Made of rocks and moss. It felt almost church like. And I wondered why. Why was this beautiful place named Devil’s Gulch?

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As the sunlight filtered through the overhead trees and we explored this captivating place, I realized it didn’t matter why. To me, it felt more like Heaven’s Gulch.

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A place of serenity, peace…and a little bit like heaven.

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101.5 Miles

It has been a beautiful summer. I spent many hours enjoying the people and places I love.

This summer I also hiked. I hiked a lot. Sometime in July, I calculated I had hiked over 70 miles since school ended June 20. I decided I wanted to try to hike 100 miles before school began again.

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The mountains in Vermont are glorious. The views and vistas magnificent. No two mountains are alike. The trails vary in length and difficulty. The views partial or a full 360 degrees.

To me, it doesn’t matter. The journey up the mountain is just as special and wondrous as the summit.

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School began August 20. On August 19, I hiked up Sunset Ledge and watched the sun set. As I sat and gazed out I realized I had reached and surpassed my goal of 100 miles.

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This summer I hiked 101.5 miles.

As I climbed down in the dark, I smiled. Maybe next summer I’ll try for 200 miles.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Today was a Good Day

I have many good days. So it was hard to select a series of images to represent just one day or one adventure! After all, that’s what my blog is. A photo journal of my life and my passion for the natural world. Here is a gallery of images that illustrates what a really good day (or few days!) might look like for me because it would include so much of what inspires me…

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”

Forest Roads

Deep in the heart of Vermont lies the Green Mountain National Forest.

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Throughout this forest are dozens of roads. Forest roads. They have no names… Only numbers.

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There is something magical whenever I find myself on one. I never know what I will find or where I will end up. But it is always something that captures my heart and and my soul. There is wonder around every corner.

Lakes, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, fields, trees, and even wild blueberries.

It is a place to get lost…Completely lost.

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But what you find is miraculous.

You feel a deep sense of awe and reverence for this enchanted place.

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And you notice a connection. Life is like a series of forest roads. You never know quite where they may lead. But along the way you will enjoy the glorious scenery, surprises, adventures, and wonders…

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Around every bend in the road.

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I am on the forest roads of my life. And it is a beautiful journey.

Lavender Fields Forever

There’s a place. Just over the Canadian border.

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A place that captivates your senses, your spirit and your heart.

It is a place filled with beauty, magic and heavenly aromas.

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Bleu Lavande…with its endless fields of lavender

Where time stands still and you are transported into a world like no other.

Enchanting, fragrant and seductive. A feast to behold and devour. Prolific and bountiful. Soothing and serene. Nature’s amazing abundance.

The lavender fields…a place where you could linger

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Forever.