Quietness by Dave Hileman

Fills the forest in the morning with just a few birds stirring and the wind barely moving. It is especially quiet in these groves among the marshy ground and abundant ferns.

Delightful by Dave Hileman

This is yet another of the photos from the Great Smoky Mountain Photo Summit I attended in the fall of 2016. It was a great learning experience. I shot this photo at one of the myriad of streams found in the Smokies. Not sure of the name of this stream but it was a super place to shoot very slow exposures in the early morning light. The leaves tracing patterns in the water are a bonus. 

Monument by Dave Hileman

This is overlooking the St. John's River near Jacksonville, FL. The site is part of the Fort Caroline National Monument. It honors the French explorer, Jean Ribald, who erected a monument near here in 1562. Memorials are an important part of history telling us what was critical in other eras or even what is critical that transcends time and place.

"So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4: 5-7 NLT

Here is another Florida stone this one to honor a Spanish explorer, De Soto. 

Here is another Florida stone this one to honor a Spanish explorer, De Soto. 

View of First Arch by Dave Hileman

A week or two ago I shared the view from this arch, now this is a view of the arch. It lies about 2 miles off the parking area and the parking area is 4 or 6 miles on a dirt road and on a dry river bed. It was a fun drive. The temperature was high nineties when we started out on the hike but it went well until about 2/3 in and we had to ascend a pretty steep hill in ankle deep sand. We were both very tired at the top and no shade to rest under. We enjoyed the breeze and shade of the arch when we finally arrived. 

Defense by Dave Hileman

The harbor and the town of St. Augustine in Florida has been protected by the coquina walls of Castillo de San Marcos since 1672 and almost unchanged since 1756. Built by the Spanish about 110 years after St Augustine was founded it was designed to anchor the Spanish in the new world.  The land side is surrounded by a moat. 

Unusual by Dave Hileman

I found the walls of Fort Caroline different than any other fort I have visited or even drawings of forts in various books. The two large poles are pined together. The inside of the fort wall has no brace but the outside has two braces from the long pole to the fort fence. Makes for an interesting photo but I don't think it was a very effective fort. It was attacked twice and fell quickly both times.

Not easy to see but this is the outside of the wall. The braced poles and the cross piece appear to make it easier for an enemy soldier to scale the wall. At least to me who never scaled a wall! This photo was with the camera high overhead, not a great image but the only one I have that shows the outside wall. 

Not easy to see but this is the outside of the wall. The braced poles and the cross piece appear to make it easier for an enemy soldier to scale the wall. At least to me who never scaled a wall! This photo was with the camera high overhead, not a great image but the only one I have that shows the outside wall. 

Mesa Verde by Dave Hileman

One of the complex, cliff-side dwellings that are in several places around the mesa at Mesa Verde. The number of people who lived in each complex was fewer than I expected. The difficulty to gain access to the homes was much greater. Fascinating place.  

Lone Tree by Dave Hileman

While hiking in Capitol Reef National Park - where in places there are lots of trees and even orchards, along this trail only this clearly very old tree still hung on. A stark land. 

 

Turret Arch by Dave Hileman

A popular shot at Arches National Park is this formation in the evening. Known as Turret Arch it sits near to Windows and Double Arches so it is a easy destination to see and walk among the arches. 

Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.

Psalm 31:2b,3 NLT

View From First Arch by Dave Hileman

Not really the "first" arch but the first arch discovered in what is now Arches National Park in Utah. We were there about 5 years ago so this photo was taken with my Nikon. We hiked a long way to get to this spot in 97 degree heat but the view and the isolation was worth the hike. 

Alert by Dave Hileman

These two Prairie Dogs are part of a large colony we came across on a hike in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. This hike was in the south unit of the park. Loved watching these little fellows. 

Dark Past by Dave Hileman

This is the entrance to Fort Caroline at the Fort Caroline National Memorial along the south bank of the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, FL. The park includes trails, a reconstructed fort, memorial to the first French explores and is adjacent to Timucuan another NPS site. This fort has a short dark history - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Caroline

In the brief span of four years, 1564 to 1568 the fort was destroyed and rebuilt and was the site of two massacres one by the Spanish and one by the French. 

The park personnel are working on a dugout canoe. That is the bake over right past the canoe.

The park personnel are working on a dugout canoe. That is the bake over right past the canoe.

First Communion by Dave Hileman

This is the top spire of a monument at the De Soto National Memorial that is dedicated to the first communion celebrated by De Soto and his approximately 700 men in May of 1539. It is likely the first communion service in what is now the United States. There were 17 priests among the solders and adventurers and they played an important role during the 4 year four thousand mile march through the southeast from Florida to Virginia to Tennessee and on to Texas. You can read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hernando_de_Soto

"On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper" Acts 20:7a NLT

Sad Past by Dave Hileman

These are slave quarters at the Kingsley Plantation part of the Timucuan Preserve. There are about 80 of these tabby 2 room houses in a large semicircle at what would have been the edge of the fields. A sobering reminder of a difficult time. This plantation was unique in that the owner married one of his slaves and she was the mistress of the plantation for years until changing political climate hastened a move of his wife and children to Haiti for them to remain free. He remained on the plantation but would visit them in Haiti. 

Your neighbors through the "window" in B&W.

Your neighbors through the "window" in B&W.

Gumbo Limbo Tree by Dave Hileman

I never heard of this tree, native to south Florida. There were several growing on the grounds of the DeSoto National Memorial. This was the king. Very interesting trees. Turns out they are the preferred wood for traditional carousal horses. Who knew? This one is ill and a sign was posted that said "Tree in Crisis, do not touch." Never saw that on any sign either. Two new things and barely into the park. Visit the 416 National Park Sites and learn new stuff. What a deal.

Pre-Columbian @ Timucuan NPS # 158 by Dave Hileman

This large (about a 6 feet tall figure with a large base, not shown) carved wooden owl was found along the central Florida coast in the mire of the marshland. It was preserved because no oxygen would attack it in the thick mud. Carved by the Timucuan indians it was likely some sort of idol because the eyes have a human iris set into them and the feet are five toes instead of three talons. One of the oldest pre-Columbian artifacts yet discovered. The main thing about the owl is that it is striking. Perhaps the neatest part of our visit to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. I cropped the photo quite a lot because the background was so busy and distracting. The owl deserves a better display.