The Splendor of the Woods

I’m so excited to participate in Brian’s Thankful Thursday prompt today. While there’s a lot of $#!* going on in my life right now, I am thankful for more than a few things. First, I’m thankful Entrepreneur has some back pain relief from the epidural steroid injection he got yesterday. Big gratitude for that. Second, two family portrait photography opportunities landed in my lap. I’m a little rusty since I’ve not done any portraits since Baby B’s newborn photos last March.

One family wants their photos taken in their back yard but the other wanted photos in a more “wild” setting. So, yesterday I spent the afternoon canvasing four of the parks in town in search of a wild, yet accessible setting for a family with two toddlers.

It was a perfect autumn day; partly cloudy and warm. It even sprinkled a bit of rain on me while walking in the woods in one park. I’m very thankful for God’s creation when I have the opportunity to be immersed in its glory….especially with the autumn color. Below are glimpses of just a few of the parks in our area. I’m thankful for these areas and that all of them are located within a 10-15 minute drive from my house so I can go anytime. Hope you enjoy my tour.

We start with Nifong Park, which is the least wild of the four contenders. It’s more manicured than the others and has some spectacular settings over its 58 acres. A restored 1800s village is part of the Boone County History and Cultural Center located on the grounds. The park has multiple picnic areas. It’s home to the city’s Heritage Festival and has an outdoor stage for local performing arts organizations.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

Next is Grindstone Nature Area with almost 200 acres of streams and unmanicured areas. Rock cliffs rise up from the stream beds. There are hiking trails, mountain biking trails and is a pet-friendly area.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

Close to the same feel is a hidden gem named Capen Park. It’s a 31.9-acre park with hiking trails, a creek and bluffs that rock climbers enjoy. Two creeks/streams run through the park.

“Come to the forest, for here is rest.” – John Muir

I saved the best for last with Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, located five miles south of town. This is a geological preserve that covers 2,273 acres, established in 1967. The solitude of this area is intoxicating. I eliminated it as a location to take photos of two very rambunctious toddlers, but the time I spent there was beyond ethereal.

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” – John Muir

One of the main features in a natural rock bridge that spans a stream where the entrance to the Devil’s Icebox cave is located. The Devil’s Icebox is actually a double sinkhole that offers a view of an underground stream that provides cool, refreshing air. It’s also is a refuge for federally-endangered gray bats. The deepest part of the cave is closed most of the year while the bats raise their young and to house several species who hibernate in the cave in winter. 

With eight hiking trails, there is something for everyone. Most trails range from moderate to rugged in difficulty. Most of the trails are very “wild” and are made up of dirt/mud/gravel, shifting rock and slippery surfaces. There are rocks and downed trees along with steep inclines of more than 10%. Many of the trails are along bluffs that have steep drops and cross water without any bridges.

As spectacular as is was to look up at the trees, I never forget to look down…partly so I don’t trip and fall….but also to take in the intricate beauty of the forest floor.

Yesterday was a gift for my mental health…along with about 8,000 steps! I hope you enjoyed our walk in the woods.


8 thoughts on “The Splendor of the Woods

  1. Lisa, as you already know, this time of year is my very, very, very favorite season….AUTUMN!!! LOVE your photographs! What a stunning area!

    Isn’t nature GRAND? It always makes me feel better to submerge myself in its beauty.

    And I am soooooooooo happy to hear that Entrepreneur got some back pain relief. And CONGRATS on landing the two portrait photography opportunities. That’s AWESOME!

    Have a glorious week, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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