Hello, and Who Are You?

I’ve neglected this aspect of my life for a while, the one in which I write about the everyday things that are really the important details that should be noted. I don’t know why. I admit to feeling a sense of tiredness that won’t go away – the past few years have had its effect on me the same as everyone else. It’s sometimes hard to adjust to the altered state of the larger world and my own smaller world.

On the other hand, those little details just keep on coming. I need to pay attention.


A week or two ago, I was walking along the Green Ribbon Trail. It’s walnut season. They are dropping from the trees and landing in the path (where I take a lot of pleasure in kicking them along).

I was just going along, minding my own business, when I looked down and saw this little guy looking at me:

Yes, a walnut head, with a bit of a questioning look on his face. Hello! I said, took his photo, and left him there to greet others.

Happy Fall!

Art Drop Off 9-9-20, and some other sights

On September 9 my husband and I walked along the Green Ribbon Trail, starting out from the Flourtown Day Use Area. We saw this heart affixed to a tree:

And I knew this was a good spot for an art drop-off. You can see the tiles join a painted rock. This location is building up some good feelings, I think, for passersby to look at or to add to or to take along with them.

And here is something else interesting. Just up the trail, we saw this tree with an ancient vine hanging from it. You see this kind of thing all over the park – these vines can be thick and heavy. They grow up into the tree from the ground over many years. This one has been cut so that it no longer endangers the tree, but is so large that it is left hanging.

So who cares? Why is it special? Let’s get closer…

…and closer.

Someone has carved the vine into a snake, complete with eyes and a tongue! I especially liked how the maker had blended the carved section gradually into the rough wood of the vine. It also looks as if it has been waxed to finish it with a protective coat and to make it shiny.

Well, this is the Green Ribbon Trail, not the Garden of Eden, so this snake is not looking to cause any trouble, just give passersby some enjoyment. I appreciate what the anonymous artist did here!

Montco Trail Challenge Green Ribbon Trail #2 8-10-20

Good news! The Montgomery County PA Trail Challenge is on for 2020. We will be walking trails in our county to meet the goal of visiting 10 local trails.

For my post with a full explanation of the challenge, look here.

And here is the challenge website.

Here we go on trail #2 for the challenge, and my husband and I have selected the Green Ribbon Trail starting in Flourtown, PA.

This trail is very familiar to us – we have been coming here for 10 years or so. We stick to the paved/gravel portions near the Fort Washington State Park, but this trail winds 12 miles through the flood plain of the Wissahickon Creek, and in most of that is a narrow dirt trail with some stream crossings and other obstacles. We have done the majority of the trail over various times, but to us, the 5 mile or so Y-shaped route we took today is what we think of as the Green Ribbon Trail.

Here are our trail verification photos:

We are standing in front of the long bridge over the Wissahickon Creek – it’s a former railroad bridge. A short section of this trail runs on the railbed of one of the numerous short rail lines that used to exist in the Philadelphia area, so that is why this wonderful wide-open bridge is here now for us to walk over.

You may also have noticed in these photos as well as the ones from the Zacharias Creek that we have buffs for pull-up face-coverings (well, here I haven’t yet put mine on but my husband is all set with his around his neck). Pretty much everyone has a mask or other face covering on all the trails we visit; the way it works is, as you approach someone you pull it up, and once you are on your own again, you can bring it off your face. That’s the new trail etiquette. I appreciate what everyone is doing to keep us all healthy and able to be out here.

OK, let’s go. As I said, this trail is familiar to us – most of it is in the flood plain of the creek with a short portion elevated above it. We picked this location for today because we wanted to see what the tropical storm last week had done to the area.

The water had covered a vast area. Trees and tangled brush were non-stop along the trail with several uprooted ones sawn into pieces to clear the trail.

I was fasscinated by the wisps of dried grass caught in the trees. It seems to hang on to the smallest protrusion. In the first photo below, these stray grass stems are at my eye-level.

In the second photo, look at how the grass has twisted itself around a luckless vine.


See the dirt on these leaves? They are at my eye level. I am 5 feet 6″ tall. And there were more leaves like this a foot above my head.

Green Ribbon Trail 8-10-20 (14)

Here is where I took the photo of the dirty leaves. Today the trail looks so…peaceful. But the evidence shows that if we had been here on the day of the storm, the water would have been at least 6-7 feet deep. And moving fast and furious.

Green Ribbon Trail 8-10-20 (13)

More from the flood: this sign speaks the truth, don’t you think? And how. I might be low on my high-water level estimate.

Green Ribbon Trail 8-10-20 (8)

And one last flood shot from under the railroad bridge:

Green Ribbon Trail 8-10-20 (7)

I want to give a shout-out to the park employees, because I know from past experience this whole trail was covered with mud and debris after the storm. Today it is clean and very passable. That means they did a lot of hard work to get it back into shape. Thank you.

OK. After we passed the rail bridge, the trail ascends. I left some tiles on a bench at this overlook, which was high enough the flood waters did not get here.

Who would think such a nice peaceful creek could be so angry? Believe it.

Green Ribbon Trail 8-10-20 (4)

We continued on the walk and completed the route – about 5 miles for today. All right! We have done two trails for the challenge and I enjoyed re-visiting this old favorite today.















Art Drop Off 5-11-20

Hi everybody, on May 11 my husband and I took a walk on the Green Ribbon Trail in Flourtown, PA. This is another long-time friend of a trail for us – we have been coming here for 10+ years. It extends about 12 miles through the floodplain of the Wissahickon Creek. The section we travel most often is gravel or paved, though most of the trail is a dirt track over rough ground. We will save that for another time when the ground is not so wet and my sprained ankle (healing but not ready for rough terrain) is better.

We took this tile with us:

Clay Bird Tile 2 3-20 4x4002

and we set off on our walk. Along the way we saw these flowers:

There is such a variety of plant life in this watershed area. I am convinced you could take a yard-square area and spend a good amount of time examining and identifying the inhabitants. The array of leaf patterns, flowers, bark, seed pods – just a feast for your eyes at any time of the year.

We decided to leave the tile here, at this small bridge on the trail.

This location is a tangible bit of history that’s easy to overlook. Several years ago, my husband and I did some research and we learned that this section of the trail is built on the roadbed of a small rail line that served the area 100 or so years ago. In our area, there were many small lines like this, usually built to serve businesses needing reliable transportation of goods.

Today, the trail’s history is not apparent, unless you know to look for the clues. I wrote two posts about our explorations and you can find all the details here:

I Had No Idea

More Secrets Revealed

Today I remembered that time as I set the tile in place. I looked over the bridge to remind myself of its purpose: at one time it served as a pedestrian underpass for the rail line, giving people access to the other side without having to climb the embankment and cross the tracks.

It’s easy to mistake it for a bridge over a creek, but it’s not. We didn’t do it again today, but on that previous exploratory mission we climbed down and took a look. It’s a beautifully solid-built underpass, able to take the weight of a train passing overhead, and comfortably sized.

Well, that’s it for the trip on May 11. A nice trip on the trail and down memory lane, all at once.

Egg and Extra

Lots happening along the Green Ribbon trail in Flourtown/Fort Washington, PA, today.

I left home early today and parked the car at the day use area along Mill Road. Headed down the trail and for a change, at the fork I went left instead of right, toward Stenton Avenue. I’m not sure why but I almost always go to the right fork first. Why I mention this fact will become clear, I assure you.

It had rained hard all day yesterday and things were still very wet today. I was skipping from puddle to puddle when I hit this dry stretch.

What is that in the middle of it? I got closer. Look! A robin’s egg, and guess what – no robin in it now, which means a new little bird somewhere in a nest nearby.

I felt sure it had been there since at least yesterday, since it had a little puddle inside it. And look, I match.

Well, I continued along my way, coming up to the last little bit before the trail ends at the gate at Stenton Avenue – the trail parallels the road here.

At this spot I heard a discreet beep of a car horn – not enough to startle me but enough to make me look. Guess who – my husband, driving by on his way to work. He pulled into the little area to say hello. He told me he had seen my car at the lot on the other side of the park – I’d left before him this morning –  and he knew I was in here somewhere, never thinking I’d up and appear. And I thought, what a good thing I went to the left rather than the right at the fork this time. What a nice surprise for us both.

So he turned around and went off on his way.

I did the same.

Later on, I came on this area where water is trapped when the creek overruns the banks. I was very taken by the reflections in the still water. Then I had the idea of throwing a stick in the water to stir things up. The trees became wiggly strands waving away at me. Now this amused me and I can’t say why.

I took a picture of this tree on April 19 and here it is on April 26. There is a lighter green hue to the groundcover now and it is taller.

Green Ribbon Tree 8 4-19-17 small

April 19

April 24

Here’s a warning – this nice-looking light green ground-covering plant is not nice. It has a Velcro-like stickiness to it and where it touches your skin, it will itch and burn, leaving no mark, just that maddening pain.

It grows all over this flood plain. My husband calls it “seven-minute itch weed” but I am here to tell you it can be with you more like seven hours, if you are dumb enough to run along a trail, bare-legged, brushing your legs past it at every step. Don’t do this. Wear long pants.

Finally, I ran up the hill to the bird stand and then back down the access road. Here are two birds that have got baby birds under their care – I heard the chirping. These two let me get quite near. I thought they were chickadees but I am not sure – they had a blue cast to their feathers? I am hoping my bird-expert friend Diane can tell me.

Well, I went on my way from here – the remainder of this very nice walk was uneventful but refreshing, in a light misty rain, and with lots to think about.

An Old Friend in Altered Circumstances

I run or walk along the Green Ribbon Trail in Fort Washington State Park quite often, but in the winter not as often, because there is no winter trail maintenance. I was there today, though, on a beautiful day, very spring-like.

Let me take you back to almost a year ago, when I visited the trail on Day 87 of the Sunshine Project. I photographed this tree. At the time, I said I thought it looked like a giraffe.

This tree looks giraffe-like to me.

I passed it all summer and I got used to seeing it as I came down the path. I took this photo of it in October.

Tree with holes #1a Green Ribbon 10-15 small

I visited the site today. Things have changed.

Winter is hard. Things finally gave way. I walked over to the tree to see if I could take one more look at its “face”, with the mouth that seemed to call out to me as I came down the path, but – the tree did a face-plant, I guess you could say. We were not able to say good-bye – I just had to pat it on its back, and go on my way.

Try to Keep Up

Sometimes things go a little – strange – in the process of art drop-offs. This little tale will illustrate that point nicely, I think. Pay attention, it’s complicated. I’m even a little confused myself, maybe.

It all started about ten days ago. I left a stick lady on a bench along the Green Ribbon Trail, and she was gone in thirty minutes. (You can read about it here.)

The lady.

The lady.

Yesterday, I was on the trail again and I left another lady on a post in the middle of the path.

Today, I went back to the Green Ribbon and I meant to set out two clay figurines. I started off with the two in my little green beltpack, along with the camera and car keys and so on. I left the first one along the trail on this stump.

Next, I passed the location where I left yesterday’s stick lady. To my surprise, she was there, and joined by another object. I stopped and looked it over. The lady from ten days ago was there with this note wrapped around her:

Note 9-4-15 small

My goodness. This has never happened before! I decided to take her with me, and jammed her in the pack. I’d find a new spot for her. But next, I left the second clay figurine on this bench:

I then went up to Bird Hill, where the bird stand is – a popular place to view the hawks. Someone is always there with binoculars, scanning the skies. I left the retrieved stick lady in the pamphlet box at the bird stand. No bird watchers noticed a thing – they were all looking up.

Then I started back toward the car. As I passed the stick lady from yesterday, I decided she looked a little vulnerable perched on the post, so I grabbed her up and then set her on this concrete wall. It’s the upper portion of a disused rail underpass – this section of the trail used to be a rail line (if you’re interested in it, take a look here  and here – my husband and I explored it back in the winter when the landscape was more open).

I finished out my exercise and went back to the car. All done!

Whisked Away

This is a short little story.

This morning I was on the Green Ribbon Trail near the railroad overpass and I set a stick lady on a bench. Then – I went on my way.

When I came back by the spot, thirty minutes later – she was gone.

empty bench small 8-26-15

My goodness, that was quick!

No Parking and I Mean It

I was running along the Green Ribbon Trail a few days ago and happened to notice this – admonishment – from within the greenery.

No parking sign in place 8-13-15 small

In case it is hard to see, well, here’s a close up…

No parking sign #2 8-13-15 small

Keep in mind that this sign is in the trees along the creek, beside a trail that does not allow motor vehicles.

Green Ribbon trail 8-13-15 small

I was confounded until the solution hit me – the sign had been brought to this place with the floodwaters that often sweep over this area from the nearby creek. The trail is located in the floodplain! This poor sign has probably been on the move for a while (look at its condition) and is currently tangled up here. Wonder how long it will stay?

I found the whole thing pretty funny and I just had to pass it on – before it’s not there anymore!

Recent Departures

The pictures say it all…

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