|Patapsco Valley Heights, watercolor, 14" x 10."|
This particular spot, with a clump of ferns perched on a huge boulder seemed perfect for a painting so I looked no further. I wedged my camping stool on another rock ledge and worked from this precarious vantage point. After the painting was almost complete I ate my lunch, enjoying the play of light and shadow cast by the puffy clouds. I put the finishing touches on the painting and waited for the paper to dry before repacking my gear. A breeze from the west cooled the unseasonably warm afternoon.
The trail continued along the top of the ridge for another half-mile and then descended a bit. A pair of woodpeckers were calling each other through the forest, and I caught a glimpse of one red head and a flash of speckled wings--probably a red-bellied woodpecker. I saw an old abandoned house I had passed by the week before, but the trail didn't lead there--instead, it continued diverging away from the river.
Further down, a side trail ascended again to another scenic overlook. I went up to orient myself and glimpsed the railroad tracks on the north shore--this must be about where I'd been the previous week when I painted along the river. I went down the hill and back onto the main trail which began to wind along a creek lined with skunk cabbage plants. This trail eventually met up with the riverside trail, and I hiked back on that.
|Close-up of Wild Columbine|
The Dutchman's Breeches seemed to have finished blooming--I couldn't find a single flower--but the fern fronds were starting to unfurl, and I found Maidenhair ferns, Miterwort, and Star Chickweed on the shady hillsides.
|Miterwort (Mitella diphylla) and Maidenhair fern|
As I was nearing the parking lot, a bluejay screeched at me, and there were two bluejay fledgelings flitting near by, recognizable by their tiny crests.
For more photos of the Daniels Area of Patapsco Valley State Park see my Flickr album here.