LC was in search of a restroom for me, and as we pulled into the driveway of this place we both made the same assumption - that we were driving into a Visitors Center.
As soon as we pulled in we both knew that we had found something unexpected and wonderful.
What WAS this place??
We had no idea, but as we both climbed out of the truck and as I gathered up Jamie from the back seat and she jumped down to the paved surface, I looked around me trying quickly to get the lay of the land.
I saw an endless expanse of green lawn and manicured landscaping, a wooden building, statues in the gardens, a trail, what looked from this distance to be twig teepees, more statues, what looked like wetland areas.
What WAS this place??
Looking quickly at the sign below, I snapped a picture of it and immediately began to head towards the trees, my eyes focused on the snow capped mountains that surrounded us.
I had no idea where we were, or what we had inadvertently found, but it was a beautiful day and (rather than simply standing against a fence by the road side) it was a very good day to be walking outside.
We had a little time to kill before LC had to be back.
Spending some of that time right where we were seemed like an outstanding idea.
As I began to wander, my pup and my guy followed me....................
After spending so much time in the truck, and after seeing nature from a distance while parked alongside the road, physically moving and enjoying the feeling of activity was exhilarating.
This WAS my time of year.
Still cool, both LC and I were wearing long sleeves, but the weather was warming up nicely.
We couldn't have picked a better day to visit this beautiful area if we had tried...................
I had seen this statue almost immediately after our arrival and headed towards it, curious about it and wanting to see it in more detail.
It was a work of art.
A soaring metal sculpture of a bald eagle. I found it mesmerizing.
LC and I slowly circled around it, enjoying it from all directions.
Standing beside the eagle we looked out over the mountains and wide open space of this lovely place and saw a trail below us.
Reluctantly leaving the eagle, we crossed the grass and made our way down to a small bridge that led directly to the trail..................
A couple enjoying the trail and throwing a Frisbee for their dog to fetch.............
There was a trail in Juneau that I used to walk often because it was on the way home from work.
Located in a residential and commercial part of greater Juneau called Mendenhall Valley (or just "the Valley" to the locals) it was a very beautiful place that contained a similar layout of wide open fields and trees, a trail that paralleled the river, and (often snow covered) mountains.
There was no river here, but the place felt very similar.
I asked LC if he remembered that park in Juneau and he told me the same thing. He had thought about that same park in Alaska as we began our walk in this place..............
Two twig teepees located in the center of a vast green space...............
One last look back at the soaring metal eagle before we moved on.............
Looking towards the town of Salmon a couple of miles away and surrounded by high hills...............
As we continued to follow the wide open and flat gravel trail, we eventually came across one more sculpture.
This time of two leaping salmon.............
I couldn't tell when we first arrived at this place, but as we continued to walk and wander and enjoy, it became very obvious that we were wandering a wetland area.
A deep and clear irrigation canal snaked its way through the entire park and there were low lying areas that contained gardens of reeds and cat-tails.
Another wonderful sculpture.
I had no idea where we were at the time, but I was very glad that we had accidentally found this place............
As the small plane flew overhead I watched it for a few moments and then (completely blinded by the sun) I raised my camera and snapped this picture.
I had no idea whether or not I had gotten the plane in the picture until we got home to Atomic City last night and I downloaded (or is the uploaded?) the pictures I had taken throughout the day into my computer.
If you click on the picture you'll see the little speck in the sky.............
After standing for a few moments looking over the teepees, LC and I realized that the gravel trail veered off to the right and turned into single track.
I hadn't been on a serious wooded single track trail since the last day that I trail ran in Tennessee.
A long time ago. Almost seventeen months ago.
Doubtfully I looked down as Jamie, wondering how my sweet old pup was holding up.
We had only walked about half a mile. Another half mile back. Nowadays a mile seems to be her max, but as I watched Jamie she was doing fine.
Tail was wagging and nose was sniffing and she was doing her happy Point Dog marking thing, and we had no water with us but it was cool out and we were all doing fine,
We headed away from the open fields and onto tree-lined single track.
All of us in an adventurous mood on a beautiful day.
This is the place we had inadvertently found: