Little treasures from my morning walks in Thurmont

A few years ago I decided to go on a morning walk each day to get my blood moving and legs loosened up. There are no sidewalks in my neighborhood, so I decided to walk down Catoctin Furnace Road to the Thurmont Community Park, make a loop, and return. There is usually a fair amount of traffic, cars and trucks going to Highs and McDonalds and 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts. It’s not a very attractive route to walk, but I didn’t want to drive to another location each morning.

At first I learned to dodge the traffic and how to best cross the intersections. Although I enjoyed the breakfast smells from the restaurants, the walk was not very inspiring. Then I started noticing little visual treasures both along the street and in the park; back-lit plants from the low morning sun, water drops from overnight rain, intricate parts of plants, and snow, ice crystals, and fog effects. I walked in all weather in all the seasons, so the light varied every day.

I use a DSLR for much of my photography, but I decided to just carry a compact Nikon Coolpix AW 120 each day on my walk since it would fit in my pocket and was waterproof. It doesn’t allow me the control or have the picture quality of the DSLR, so that often makes it a fun challenge to capture some of the treasures I was finding along my route.

All of these pictures were taken with the compact Nikon and processed using Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Picasa. My collection is heavier on plants and things that don’t run away since the light is often low during my walk. I use the macro setting often.

Here are a few of my images from the last year and a half.

PLEASE NOTE: Click on any of the images below to open a larger version.

 Thurmont Community Park on a foggy morning after a light snow  (January 22, 2015).

Thurmont Community Park on a foggy morning after a light snow.
(January 22, 2015)

I saw this snowy scene at the end of my drive way as I was just setting out on this February morning
(February 22, 2015).

I saw this snowy scene at the end of my drive way as I was just setting out on this February morning.
(February 22, 2015)

The early sun back-lit these Dutchman's breeches beside the walking path in the community park. (April 18, 2015)

The early sun back-lit these Dutchman’s breeches beside the walking path in the community park.
(April 18, 2015)

Even poison ivy can be beautiful.  These tiny new leaves were on a vine in the community park. (April 26, 2015)

Even poison ivy can be beautiful. These tiny new leaves were on a vine in the community park.
(April 26, 2015)

Bejeweled honeysuckle blossom along the road on a wet June morning. (June 2, 2015)

Bejeweled honeysuckle blossom along the road on a wet June morning.
(June 2, 2015)

After a stormy night, the community park road was littered with colorful leaves. (November 1, 2015)

After a stormy night, the community park road was littered with colorful leaves.
(November 1, 2015)

Frosty fallen leaves beside the sidewalk leading to the park. (November 9, 2015)

Frosty fallen leaves beside the sidewalk leading to the park.
(November 9, 2015)

Miniature ice sculptures catch the sun's early rays on a snow pile near Weis Market. (January 31, 2016)

Miniature ice sculptures catch the sun’s early rays on a snow pile near Weis Market.
(January 31, 2016)

Looking straight down, these leaves were caught in thin layers of ice in a shallow gutter beside the park road. (February 26, 2016)

Looking straight down, these leaves were caught in thin layers of ice in a shallow gutter beside the park road.
(February 26, 2016)

I went back to the community park later in the day to catch this trout lily that had escaped being trampled. (April 6, 2016)

I went back to the community park later in the day to catch this trout lily that had escaped being trampled.
(April 6, 2016)

Also later in the day, this cut-leaved toothwort was in bloom in the woods near the creek. (April 11, 2016)

Also later in the day, this cut-leaved toothwort was in bloom in the woods near the creek.
(April 11, 2016)

This tiny, lonely poppy was growing out of a crack in the sidewalk.  It is likely a descendant of the ones that grew in the former Cozy Restaurant garden, now the site of a car dealership. (April 20, 2016)

This tiny, lonely poppy was growing out of a crack in the sidewalk. It is likely a descendant of the ones that grew in the former Cozy Restaurant garden, now the site of a car dealership.
(April 20, 2016)

A dandelion seed head catches the early light in the community park. (April 25, 2016)

A dandelion seed head catches the early light in the community park.
(April 25, 2016)

This Star of Bethlehem somehow avoided the mowers along the walking path in the park. (May 2, 2016)

This Star of Bethlehem somehow avoided the mowers along the walking path in the park.
(May 2, 2016)

This moth mullein was growing along the road side.  Two days later it had been mowed. (June 16, 2016)

This moth mullein was growing along the road side. Two days later it had been mowed.
(June 16, 2016)

 Queen Anne's Lace from below. (July 12, 2016)


Queen Anne’s Lace from below.
(July 12, 2016)