trail of cedars


Singular… Hard to find a bloom more distinctive than the Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) that grows in the woodlands of Iowa… the ancient ones crushed seeds to create a love potion…

this one was growing along the old trolley trail that connected Cedar Falls to Waterloo and is now part of our nature trail system… I used a 105mm nikkor macro lens, with a nikkor close-up screw on lens, and a nikon macro light kit all on a Nikon D810, the best camera I ever owned…

In the Avalanche Lake area of Glacier National Park, abundant rainfall, prehistoric glaciers and rushing streams have combined to create a landscape of striking beauty and rich diversity. So much water allows nature to display vibrant colors –  from sparkling blue lakes to rich green forests. A hike on the Trail of Cedars is a great way to experience this gorgeous Montana landscape. Photo courtesy of Steven Bumgardner.


Nature Walk during a break at the ADF Upper Midwest Retreat. The rough trail along Cedar Lake in Wright County, Minnesota had a plethora of biodiversity thriving along the dusty path. Delicate reddish-orange wild columbines stood out among much of the shorter vegetation. I was surprised to see so many jack-in-the-pulpits growing, and they’re really fun to look at. There was an overabundance of Virginia creeper as well as poison ivy, growing right along the trail’s edge in many places.

Trees of note included cottonwood (a variety of poplar), quaking aspen (also a poplar), boxelder, silver maple, white birch, elm, weeping willow, red oak, eastern pin oak, burr oak, ash, juniper, Norway pine, blue spruce, firs, and other coniferous trees that I don’t yet have the skill to distinguish.

I was fortuitous to have a bald eagle fly overhead in line with the trail I was walking down. As a druid who uses augury (also known as ornithomancy) as a form of divination, this was a particularly good omen.

Shortly after taking this photo, just off to the left was when I found myself wondering where a piece of a bee/wasp nest had come from. Only to discover that where it came from wasn’t as important as where it was in relationship to my current position. Which was directly underneath me. At this same time I discovered the nest I also discovered they weren’t too happy with me. Thus began my short career in the sport of forest obstacle course running.