Tag Archives: travel photography

More of Minot, The Scandinavian Heritage Park

I refuse to even acknowledge how quickly time passes. Okay, so I guess that was somewhat of an acknowledgement. Let’s just say that we do not need to mention it further. This post is to continue my journey in Minot. While there, I was fortunate enough to have a decent day or two to explore the Scandinavian Heritage Park located near the middle of Minot.

I had driven by it several times before the weather permitted me to make a stop there the first time. It was in the early morning hours and I was on my way back to the hotel from work. The lights draped in the trees beckoned me to stop if only for a few minutes. I complied and as I gazed around at the snow-covered park, I vowed to make it a point to take a day to explore it further.

That day presented itself a short time later. The temps rose from the subzero mark to the high 20s and low 30s. I parked the Jeep and gathered my gear. With a long swig of the steaming Starbuck’s concoction, I opened the door to brave the frigid air, piled snow, and slippery ice.

My first stop was at the visitor’s centre, where I enjoyed the heat for a bit longer than I should have. I did pick out some unique gifts for the twins and little Steven.

I proceeded down the pathway and was greeted by none other than Hans Christian Andersen. As one of my friends pointed out, he was up to his bum in the snow for our meeting and I wondered what stories he would write about if he knew just how deep in the stuff he was. Regardless, he and the ugly duckling made me smile as I attempted not to slip and slide too much on the pathway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The windmill replica was beautiful against the blue sky even though it seemed frozen at the moment. The blades stood motionless in the cold air.

Continuing on the pathway, I noted the water was covered in snow and therefore was unable to see the babbling brook that meandered through the park. Temps just were not feasible and the babbling was non-existent on this particular sunny morn’.

In one of the pathway bends I came across Leif Eriksson, or Leif the Lucky as he was also known, with his unwavering gaze peering across the snow-clad park. If you do not know who this Viking is, read about him. His life just may interest you.

The waterfall wall, too, was frozen in time and no water fell down its face during my visit there. I could envision it, though…the water falling to fill the brook. Maybe I’ll visit it another time when it actually is flowing.

Past the waterfall, two gentlemen made my thoughts drift off to taking to the slopes and speeding down on skis. I quickly reminded myself that my skiing consisted of water and not snow…boats and not slopes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon, I was upon the beautiful church, with its intricate carvings. This church was simply stunning and although I wasn’t able to go inside, I knew what it looked like from my previous exploration of a church like it in South Dakota. You can view the video here.

No Scandinavian park is complete without the Dala Horse. The one here was colorful, even if a little cold, with icicles hanging from the belly. I simply loved how they designed the park with the pathway going underneath this creation.

After the horse encounter, I came upon a simply adorable cottage and imagined I could certainly live inside with no difficulty. Again, the intricate carvings and details left me in awe.

And then there was the Sigdal House, simple yet perfect. This too could make a special home without a problem.

The park was a perfect way to spend some time and to learn more about this culture. I definitely would go back to visit again when I’m in the area.

 

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The Farm I Didn’t Buy

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Farm in South Dakota

When on the back roads to Mirror Lakes, I passed this beautiful farmland. It reminded me of the phrase, “bought the farm”, which has a meaning far different than actually purchasing a farm. However, I did chuckle as I thought  – there’s the farm I didn’t buy; but with its rolling hills, old farm buildings, rolls and rolls of hay, horses, and mountain range for a backdrop, it is certainly one I would love to have.

The setting is beautiful and being out of town, away from the chaos, is a welcoming reprieve. The long gravel road beside this little piece of heaven seems to remind you of a quieter, more peaceful time; surely less traveled than the paved roads throughout town.

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Gravel road leading to the farmland.

The buildings! I absolutely loved the buildings. I wonder how old they are. I was tempted to drive up to the house and knock, but the gate was locked and I didn’t want to jump the fence and get locked up for trespassing, or worse…shot. The thought did cross my mind as I contemplated exploring those old buildings.

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Old farm buildings
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I wonder how old these are?
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Love the rustic look.
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A perfect setting.

The hay bales reminded me of home and my mom. She always wanted some pictures of her and bales. We need to find some when I get back home and get those pictures done for her. I will have to take away her excuses. If she had been with me on this trip, we would have taken advantage of one of these rolls! Probably the one that was on the edge of the fence, standing all alone.

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Look at all the hay! This place is huge.
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Hay bales….more and more hay bales.
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For my mom.
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The lone greeter.

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The horses were keeping a close eye on me, particularly the big one in the middle. I’m sure they were curious as to why a Floridian was way up here in the hills taken shots of their home.

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Farm guardians

I’m glad I detoured off that main road and found this farm. It was absolutely perfect and I hope the owners know how blessed they are to have such a haven.

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Mirror Lakes – Spearfish, South Dakota

I stumbled upon Mirror Lakes near Spearfish, South Dakota quite by accident when exploring the area for those perfect scenic backdrops. Having just finished working the night shift, I rushed to the hotel to pick-up Thade. When I arrived at the hotel, he was waiting impatiently and we jumped into the car and started riding.

img_0042I had turned off the main highway onto the gravel/rock roads that seem normal around here if you’re going up the mountains. I turned a few times from one road to another and then noticed a side road. The side road was the same gravelly type road, though much narrower than the one I previously was on.

Coming upon a concrete barricade, I pulled off the road and parked. Getting out, I noticed the sign prohibiting vehicles but open to foot traffic. I leashed Thade and we went through the barricade to find ourselves on a wooden bridge, a stream running underneath at a rapid pace.

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From there, I cannot begin to describe all we saw. There were hawks, turkeys, deer, a number of other types of birds, and miles of one-lane gravel road that is slowly being taken over by nature and small pathways.

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The dewdrops glistened on the plants and grass in the morning sun, prettier than even the most expensive diamonds.

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We followed the pathway for a bit before rounding the corner to look upon one of the lakes.

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Making our way to the water’s edge, we admired the crystal clearness of the water that allowed us to see the plants and fish; as well as the reflection.

img_0023-cr2 img_0022After a bit of relaxing, we once again went along the path only to hit a dead-end where the hill jutted toward the blue sky. I looked across to the other side and thought instead of going back, surely we could make it to the other side if we went ON the hill.

So, off we went, trudging along till we were walking the rim of the red hill wall. Finally, we chose a gully, washed out by rain and snow to go down and safely land on the other walkway. Thade looked at me as if I was a mad woman for making him hike up a hill and then down again. img_0210But he soon got over it when we came upon the other lake and enjoyed the view and the breeze of the morning air for a while.

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After two hours of walking and hiking, Thade and I decided it was time to return to the hotel for a meal and a nap. Since finding the lakes, I have been twice more. While there, I have not seen another human. It is very serene and a great place to meditate while watching the rising sun.

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More From the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens

I never grow tired of visiting the Botanical Gardens in Dothan because I’m always able to see something differently there or experience some new feeling. This trip didn’t disappoint me and I have decided to share something that I wrote while taking my photographs. Hope you enjoy!

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With no where to go, I sit in the garden contemplating, thinking, planning until my mind exhausts itself and is able to relinquish the maddening thoughts to finally be still.IMG_4683

A peace flows over me as a breeze lifts stray strands of hair and the sun glides from behind the clouds; its warmth soothing me and its rays relaxing my soul.

Even on what is a cold, cloudy day, color is to be found; colors to brighten  even the most distressed spirits. With each plant, a vibrant color takes away some of the gray.IMG_4649IMG_4663IMG_4652IMG_4653IMG_4662IMG_4660

The birds’ songs join with the trickling of the flowing water, creating an almost magical sound… a lullaby;  draining the remaining chaotic thoughts from the mind.IMG_4693

Stone faces keep watch over the gardens, the playground of fairies, gnomes, and other wee beings. Silently they stand guard as the world revolves around them, their thoughts never to be known.IMG_4665IMG_4667

Pathways, some easily discerned and others not so much, lead the wanderer to wherever they choose to be. Some going downhill, some uphill, yet others curving to destinations ahead.

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These paths remind me of the ones I have taken on my life journey; some clear and easily navigated, others littered with debris and obstacles that must be overcome.IMG_4669IMG_4673

Walking along them, with the wind’s voice whispering among the trees, I realize that my journey is far from over. There’s still so much to see….so much to do…so much to share…and so much love to give.IMG_4658IMG_4651IMG_4679

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Dothan Area Botanical Gardens

This morning, I needed a little break from my normal routine and I owed myself an Artist’s Date. Upon rising and seeing how beautiful it was outside, I decided to make the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens my date spot. It was perfect and I was the only one there in the earlier morning hours. I spent a bit of time in the Asian Garden section listening to the running water and watching the fish. Later, after admiring the rest of the gardens and the roses, I found myself sitting in an out of the way bench and writing. It was perfect!

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Walking Trail

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Stones

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Bridge and Pool

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Trees and Sky

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Little Free Library

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Roses

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