What would YOU Do?

So, I want a little camera to take with me on hikes.

Then I went hiking with my friend Barb who has an iPhone with the Map My Hike app, and I thought that was kinda cool.

But I’m pretty cheap and those phone plans are more than I want to spend.  I have a tracfone for calls and texting and I spend about $40 every 3 months or so and that’s fine for me.  I have a landline at home which also provides access to the internet.  I don’t want to pay for more services than I plan to use.

So I started wondering… do you have to have a phone plan?  Or can you use a smartphone for everything BUT phone?  Would the GPS work without a phone plan?  Could I upload my pictures when I have wifi access and be satisfied with that?  Would Map My Hike work without a phone plan?

I’ve been looking around on the internet to see if anyone is doing this.  Sounds like it’s doable, though not necessarily a super easy seamless thing to do.  I found this article, for example:


And of course, when you find the perfect phone for this solution, the price is high!  They sell you the phones cheap when you are also getting a phone/data plan.  But “phone” only is pricey!

So I started looking at gps-enabled point and shoots… turns out they are similarly priced to the “unlocked” smart phone.

What to do?

Do any of my readers have suggestions?

Stress Relieving Walk

I’ve been putting all my brain power into a big fundraiser for the Nature Center where I work. On Thursday afternoon, just an hour before we had to drive down to set everything up, I took a much needed nature break. Here’s some of what I saw.

Staghorn Sumac:
IMG_6973 Sumac
I love Staghorn Sumac. Much of it is more brilliantly colored than this one at this time of year, but I didn’t find any fiery ones on my walk. This deciduous shrub produces fuzzy red berries on the female plants which persist all winter and provide food for birds, and can be used to make tea. It spreads like crazy from the root system, so you often see big patches of the stuff that are tall in the middle and shorter as you move out from the center. Click here for lots more info from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Red Maple against a background of Red Pine:
IMG_6989 Maple and Pine
After checking the forest service website (which you can visit by clicking here), I’ve decided Red Maple is the Superlative Tree. Consider these quotes:

  • one of the most abundant and widespread trees in eastern North America
  • the greatest continuous range along the Atlantic Coast of any tree

I’m fond of Red Maple in all seasons. The spring “flowers” are very interesting.

The Red Pines in the background are not native to our area. They were planted when the Jamestown Audubon Society first got the property – a vast goldenrod field – in order to provide wildlife shelter. If you pay close attention to our Red Pines, you will notice they are always growing in straight lines! If that’s not a clue that they were planted by humans, I don’t know what is. Read more about Red Pines by clicking here.

White-tailed Doe:
IMG_7010 Doe
This little lady was nibbling away in one of our bird banding net lanes. I took several shots through the brush and while she noticed me, she did not seem concerned with my presence. So, in order to get a better shot, I sneaked down the “steps” and into the net lane with her. She let me snap the above shot, then turned up her tail:

IMG_7009 White Tail
White-tailed deer are very common in our region. And this is the season of the rut. The males’ antlers are quite impressive at this time of year. After mating they will shed them and I will search for the shed antlers and probably not find any, if past experience is any indicator… (sad face) Read more about White-tailed deer by clicking here.

Swamp Rose:
IMG_7011 Swamp Rose
I wish we could eliminate some of the non-native Multiflora Rose that grows like crazy at the Nature Center and replace it with native Swamp Rose. It’s a much prettier, if less prolific plant. Its blooms in spring are showy and pink, and in fall the hips are big and the leaves so colorful. You can learn more at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website by clicking here.

Some Leaves on the Surface of the Pond:
IMG_7015 Pond Surface
Those little round ones are Frogbit, an non-native that we discovered in our waterways at the Nature Center back in 2006. It has since spread to all the ponds. It makes really pretty little flowers, which is why it was brought here from Europe – to decorate backyard ponds. But it sure makes thick mats, which isn’t good for native wildlife… It doesn’t look bad in this photo, but boy can it grow fast! Read more about it by clicking here.

Even more Swamp Rose because it’s so pretty at this time of year:
IMG_7019 Swamp Rose

And the Big Sugar Maple; I just can’t resist a photo every time I pass it:
IMG_7028 Sugar Maple
This great, old sugar maple was on the property when Jamestown Audubon Society acquired it. It is a massive tree and I have a hard time walking past it without snapping a few photos. I worry about our sugar maples in this era of global climate change. You can read about sugar maples in general by clicking here. And you can read about the effects of climate change on sugar maples by clicking here.

The auction was a great success. Many thanks to all the volunteers, donors, guests, and to the venue staff for making it so much fun.

And many thanks to Mother Nature for the stress relieving break she gave me while in preparation for it all!


Stay-cation – Days 3-4-5-6

When Stan came in from the barn, he reported mist over the hills.  So we did what any self-respecting photographer would do:  We went outside in our pajamas to shoot the mist!

IMG_6728 Morning Mist over the Pasture BW

I stole this photo from my friend’s Facebook page. It’s a picture of me taking a picture of her:


After breakfast it was off to Panama Rocks.

IMG_6732 Rocky Path

IMG_6763Autumn Leaves

IMG_6778 Rocks and Beech

IMG_6788 Beech Leaves

IMG_6799 Pile of Rocks BW

I think I like the color one better:

IMG_6799 Pile of Rocks Color

IMG_6805 Rocks and Beech

A college professor of mine happened along the trail as I was getting ready to take this next shot. He saw me removing twigs and leaves so that the fern could stand alone with out distractions. He asked, “What are you doing??” I said, “Tidying up.” He said, “But nature is untidy.” I said, “Perhaps. But sometimes I don’t want untidy pictures.”

Do you tidy up before taking pictures?

IMG_6836 Curved Fern

IMG_6839False Solomon's Seal

IMG_6844Light Through the Trees_1

I wrote a haiku for the next one:

Resting in branches
before drifting to the ground
to become the soil.

IMG_6852 Maple Caught by Beech

IMG_6861 Ice Crevice from Above

IMG_6864 Watch Your Step

IMG_6865 Rock Jumble

IMG_6868 Patches of Light

IMG_6871 Panama Rocks Scene

IMG_6873 View from the Top

After hiking the Rocks, we enjoyed a picnic before heading to the Nature Center. My friend does some naturalist work where she lives and wanted to see the place where I work. We led a walk for some teens from an after school STEM program, then went to mom’s to grill some hamburgers for dinner.

I didn’t end up taking any more pictures…

Day 4: We made art in the morning, then headed to town for lunch at The Pub. We visited the 3rd on 3rd and Dykemann Young galleries. Then we headed to Deb’s house for a journal-making class and quiche for dinner.

Day 5: I slept in at mom’s while Kat and Mavis toured the woods behind the farm. Then it was a driving tour of Clymer/Sherman and a visit with Kat’s mom. After that, I took Mavis to Wegmans where we bought ingredients for dinner: Pork tenderloin rubbed with rosemary, lavendar, and garlic, roasted vegetables, and salad. Several rounds of Bananagrams ensued before bed.

Day 6: I learned where the Erie train station is when I took Mavis to continue her Northeast adventure. Home in time for CBS Sunday Morning and laundry and football and snoozing through 60 Minutes.

So so fun… and exhausting. Not sure I’ve caught up on sleep yet.

Stay-cation – Day 2

After coffee and some delicious home-baked apple muffins, we hit the road for a couple of not-too-far-away nature-y places.  First, the Alder Bottom Wildlife Management Area – where I took a very random assortment of pictures.

IMG_6492Alder Bottom

IMG_6424Northern Crescent
Northern Crescent

IMG_6432 White Pine at Alder Bottom
Big Old White Pine

IMG_6440Blister Beetle
Blister Beetle

IMG_6469Bear Scat
Bear Scat

This picture was just down the road from the parking area:
IMG_6495 Alder Bottom

Next stop was Chautauqua Gorge.

IMG_6521 Maple branches reflected in Creek
I take way too many pictures of reflections in the water… or shadows in the water…

IMG_6542 Crystal Clear Waters

…or leaves in the water.

IMG_6531Leaves on the Creek

IMG_6534 Reflections on the Creek

IMG_6540 Autumn in the Creek

IMG_6599 Gorge Abstract - Reflections in Creek

IMG_6626 Leaves and Waterfall

IMG_6632 Leaves in the Rushing Water


And then there are the rocks…

IMG_6566 Rock Detail

IMG_6621 Fossil

IMG_6649 Fossil

The forest provides lots of interesting images, too.

IMG_6535Red Maple Leaf in Ironwood Tree

IMG_6567 Banks

IMG_6592 Running Strawberry Bush
Running Strawberry Bush

IMG_6554 mushrooms on mossy log

IMG_6622 Precisely Punctured

IMG_6617 Christmas Fern
Christmas Fern

IMG_6556Leaves in the Grass

IMG_6559 on the banks at the gorge


IMG_6500 Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel

IMG_6502 Witch Hazel Shadow
Also Witch Hazel

IMG_6518 Lichen

We also drove up to Luensman Overview Park – just for a look, not for a hike.

IMG_6659Luensmann Overview Park

On the way back to Kat’s for dinner, followed by “art crimes” we stopped by a beaver pond on Stebbins Road. I took a lot of pictures, but got stuck in the processing on this one:

IMG_6677 Stebbins Road Beaver Pond Color
It’s upside down.

Then I turned it Black and White, just for fun:
IMG_6677 Stebbins Road Beaver Pond BW

There are many more pictures from that place… but that’s all I’ve processed so far…

Roast Beef dinner followed by collage-making rounded out the evening. (Maybe I should scan/photograph my masterpiece…)


I love where I live. It is so beautiful, especially in Autumn. (And winter, of course.) I recently had several days off in a row to enjoy it with friends – some who live here, and one who came all the way from Memphis, TN.

Day 1:
We picked her up at the Buffalo Airport on a Tuesday and took Route 219 south so we could stop at the Griffis Sculpture Park in Ashford Hollow, East Otto, NY.  It was an overcast, sirimiri day.  (I just learned that wonderful word.)

IMG_6244 Leaves on Sculpture

IMG_6267 Sculpture

IMG_6298 Leaves on Pond

IMG_6225 Sculptures on Rohr Hill

IMG_6293 Griffis Pond w Sedge

IMG_6332 Woman and Geese

IMG_6340 May I have this dance

IMG_6368 Rotten Apples

IMG_6407 Two Maple Leaves on Bridge Railing

IMG_6409 Sculpture Detail

IMG_6411 Sculpture Detail

After exploring until exhaustion, we set off for home and dinner out at Andriaccio’s – one of the area restaurants participating in the Dine out for Life fundraiser.

I don’t know about the others.  But I know I fell into bed and slept like a baby after that!