Weekly Photo Challenge – Fresh
” Who will tell whether the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”
This week’s photo challenge “Fresh” is an easy one for me. As most of the country bakes under an incredible heat wave, my visit last week to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was a wonderful reminder of the cooling power of a forest of fresh air.
“Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Located very close to Akron and Cleveland, the park, and its Ledges Trail especially, is an oasis of peace and quiet. Our hike with friends took quite a bit longer than most, thanks to my stopping every few steps for another photograph.
” In the end, fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own.”
Yellow birch trees and eastern hemlocks mingle with huge stone cliffs, fern covered ledges, and cool dripping springs. The rocks and trees seemed almost magical – in fact I was reminded of the beauty of the Ta Prohm ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The depth of the forest, covered in shadows and ripe with moss and ferns, was amazing.
“Only with a leaf can I talk of the forest.”
The trail is filled with rock formations created by fast-moving streams that flowed into the sea that covered Ohio some 300 million years ago. Waters carved amazing crevasses throughout the park, resulting in caves, walkways and see-throughs that invite exploration and provide a cool refuge from the heat of summer. According to a sign in one of the caves, entrance is now forbidden because the cave bats have been affected by human germs. No worries, if there are bats I’m not about to enter!
“I believe in sunshine, fresh air, friendship, calm sleep, beautiful thoughts.”
Beyond the magic of the quiet coolness of the forest, the brilliance of the colored rocks was a photographer’s dream. Shimmering shades of green, gold, red and yellow were everywhere.
“Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks.”
As you can see, I was a bit carried away by the beauty all around me. Just ask my hiking companions, who I fear grew a bit weary of my exploits–fresh air or not! If you’re ever in the area, don’t miss the natural beauty of the Ledges Trail of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And if you’re not nearby, have a look for which of the many state and national parks might just be around YOUR corner of the world!