Johnson City, TN – Willow Springs Park

This was our 2nd visit to Willow Springs Park. Was there a couple of years prior. Here is my post from a couple of years ago. https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/johnson-city-tn-willow-springs-park/

Today was Easter and the twins were at the house today hunting plastic Easter eggs. Probably still a little too young to try real eggs. I stuffed some of the eggs with a couple of their different treats. Eli was all about finding the eggs, but once Sawyer realized that there were treats in some, he had to open them all before moving on. Of course I’ll have a few photos of them at the end.

But, after our little Easter get together, we headed off on a walk close to home. We decided to just take an easy walk at Willow Springs Park. This park is a 36 acre park with mostly paved walking trails. It’s a pretty easy walk on their 1.8 miles of walking trails. A couple of hills to walk up, but not bad at all. You have a nice view of Buffalo Mountain too.

It wasn’t too cool out today so there were alot of people at the park. People having picnics, people with their kids at the playground, and people with their dogs at the dog park. Read that you have to pay a membership fee to use their dog park. The thing that we did different today that we didn’t do last time because it had just rained, is we took off on their trails that are not paved. Wasn’t all that exciting. Just some walking through the woods. No real views or anything. Next time we go here, we’ll probably just stick to the paved trails.

Here are a few photos from today.

Address to park: 1201 Huffine Rd, Johnson City, TN

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The trailhead

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The trail goes around a basketball court

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Not a very colorful shot because it was cloudy. Think this one may have been a red bird.

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An old silo through the trees. Probably can’t see this in the summer.

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Coming up on the pond

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After you pass the pond, and the parking area on the other side of the park, here is where the pavement ends and the dirt trail begins

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We took off to the right, and the when we returned, we came out from the grass trail on the left

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A view of trail by what seems to be an old dead pine tree

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We’re back on the paved trails. Have trudged up-hill. View of Buffalo Mountain.

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A better view of the pond. Has a viewing platform. I’m pretty sure there’s a sign that no fishing is allowed.

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A couple of birds on one of the bird houses

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Tried to get a close-up. As soon as I snapped, the one started flying away.

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Pretty blooms near a small part of the playground

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The little family. It’s so hard to get both boys to look at the camera at the same time.

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Eli is after an egg

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Sawyer isn’t going anywhere until daddy checks to see if there is a surprise inside

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Eventually Eli was more interested in big sticks

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You know if the boys are at the house, Orka is nearby somewhere

Surgoinsville, TN – Phipps Bend Trail

This was our 2nd visit to this trail. We had visited this trail a little over 2 years ago. Here is the post from a couple of years ago which was in the winter. https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/surgoinsville-tn-phipps-bend-trail/

During our 2 visits, we didn’t go to the very end of the trail. I saw on the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club site that the trail is 3 miles long. I think the furthest that we’ve made it in is about 2 1/2 miles.

You have to go to the Phipps Bend Industrial Park to get to the trailhead. This is an easy hike along a flat gravel road. You’ve got wetlands with waterfowl in areas on your right. You have Holston River on your left. You are probably about a mile and a half into the walk before you get close to Holston River. A highlight of this walk is seeing the ruins of what was to be the Phipps Bend nuclear power plant site. You will see it on your right off in the distance. Looks like they were burning weeds in the area today, so the last part of the trail was a little smoky. Also, we were the only ones on the trail until we were almost back to the trailhead and came upon a couple of people riding their horses.

Here are a few photos from today. The twins were also at the house after we got home, so there are a few of them.

Getting to trailhead: Use the address of 377 Phipps Bend Rd, Surgoinsville, TN. This is the address of Cooper Standard. When you pass this business, there will be a road on the left that doesn’t have a street sign. Drive a very short distance on this road to the parking area / trailhead.

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The trailhead

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Right past the trailhead, you come across this creek

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At the first curve, you come across this little wetlands lake

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The upper section of the little lake

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As you continue on the straight stretch of the trail, you’ll notice the wetlands amongst the trees

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Arriving at the 2nd lake. This lake is alot larger.

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Waterfowl on the lake

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Another view from this side of the lake

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Holston River in the distance on the left

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When you walk around the curve, you then have this view of the 2nd lake

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A very old bridge

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The ruins of what was going to be the nuclear power plant, off in the distance. If you look closely, you can see smoke rising in different spots in the photo where they were doing the burn.

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Coming upon the transmission towers

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You walk under / through the transmission towers

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Walking under the transmission tower. The view upwards.

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We’re finally close to Holston River

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Captured this on the way back to the car

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The horseback riders, which were the only other people that we saw on the trail today.

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Now we’re home. Sawyer is playing music.

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And Eli is clapping away

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Eli playing ball

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Orka always has to get in on the action

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This is how they help Pops folder clothes

 

 

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

For some reason, we decided to do a 2nd trip to the arboretum this month.

For today’s trip, we started walking on the gravel road to the left of the exhibit center. When we came to the split, we took off to the right on Nature Garden Trail. After a little ways, there was a gap in the fence on the right, and we walked back towards the gardens. We didn’t go up into the gardens. We just kept on walking along the lower perimeter of the gardens until we came around and upon the back side of the education center. Here we took the steps up into the gardens, and then just browsed through the gardens the rest of the time. No complete hiking trails today.

Here is a link to the arboretum’s website. http://www.ncarboretum.org/

Here are a few photos from today.

North Carolina Arboretum address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

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Nice surprise today. Tulips planted at the parking area.

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This is the exhibit center. If you walk over to the left of it, the steps take you down to the gravel road where we took our short trail walk.

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The trail after leaving the exhibit center

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We’re going to take the Natural Garden Trail for a bit

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Someone at the tepee in the woods

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Looking back at the trail

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Here’s where we’ll enter a walking area down below the gardens

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Continuing on a roadway trail below the gardens

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Here’s where we’ll head up the steps into the gardens below the education center

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Blooming trees in Plants of Promise Garden

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Johnson City, TN – Tweetsie Trail (Johnson City Trailhead to Banks Road)

Took off on an easy 3.2 mile round trip walk on the Tweetsie Trail today.

We parked at the Johnson City trailhead. You take off and soon walk under the bridges for King Springs Road and Milligan Highway. You then soon arrive at your first little bridge. Something that I noticed this time about the bridges that I didn’t notice last time is that each bridge has a very nice plaque. It lists the name of the bridge (crossing), it may show who the the plaque is in memory of, and the plaques will show who donated the plaque. Continuing on, you soon cross Hwy 321 on a bridge that includes a fenced canopy. The rest of the way to Banks Road there are houses here and there that you are walking behind. There are mile markers every 2/10 of a mile on the trail. Right after you arrive at the 1.6 mile marker, you are arriving at Banks Road. This is where we turned around.

Here are alot of photos from the trail today. What I have included are the bridges and plaques. You may know someone that the bridge is in memory of, or someone that donated the plaque. I have also provided a photo of each mile marker, going out and coming back, and what the view looks like from each mile marker.

Also, the twins were up this past week, so a few photos of them at the end.

Address for Johnson City trailhead parking: There is actually not an official address. Go to Google Maps and type in “Tweetsie Trail Parking Johnson City, TN” and then you can plug in your address for directions.

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Johnson City trailhead

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Getting ready to walk under King Springs Road and Milligan Highway

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.2 mile marker – getting ready to walk under the bridge for Milligan Highway

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. 4 mile marker – getting ready to cross Fletcher Crossing bridge

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Plaque for Fletcher Crossing bridge

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Sinking Creek Crossing bridge

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Plaque for Sinking Creek Crossing bridge

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The bridge with fenced canopy crossing Hwy 321

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.6 mile marker – There’s a home on the left that you can’t see, and woods on the right

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.8 mile marker – coming up on Lauderdale Drive

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Kind of funny that the trail rules are on a sign about 9/10 of a mile into the trail. Maybe there was a sign at the trailhead that I missed.

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1 mile marker – we’ve made it a mile

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As you know, I like barns. A barn off the right hand side of the trail.

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Catbird Creek Crossing bridge

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Plaque for Catbird Creek Crossing

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Kemanaja Farms barn

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1.2 mile marker – down below barn in previous photo

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A bloom by the trail

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1.4 mile marker – There is a line of homes to the right

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A home on the left has some nice blooming trees

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1.6 mile marker – We’ll turn around up ahead at the stop sign

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1.6 mile marker – now we’re heading back and you’ll see the views at the mile markers in the other direction.

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1.4 mile marker – in other direction

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1.2 mile marker – in other direction

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Couldn’t get a very good photo of this hawk that was far away in this tree

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1 mile marker – in other direction

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.8 mile marker – in other direction

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.6 mile marker – getting ready to cross Hwy 321 again

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.4 mile marker – in other direction

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.2 mile marker – in other direction

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Arriving back at the trailhead

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Taking a little break from playing

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Sawyer is wondering why Orka is on his 4 wheeler

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Eli keeping his feet warm in Nana’s house shoes

Bristol, TN – Rooster Front to Steele Creek with the Twins

We actually had a nice evening where it wasn’t too cool, so Jason brought the boys over to Rooster Front for our first walk with them of the season, over to Steele Creek.

This is a very easy 4 mile round trip walk. We actually didn’t do the entire 4 miles. We walked until we arrived at the curve where you have all of Steele Creek Park across the lake. Today’s walk was probably around 3 miles.

As we left Rooster Front and arrived at the Wetlands, the frogs were very loud / vocal. Continuing on, the water flow over the waterfall was pretty decent. It was just a very nice walk on a comfortable evening.

Here is a link that will take you to trail maps and a map of Steele Creek Park. https://www.friendsofsteelecreek.org/?page_id=34

Here are a few photos from this evening’s walk.

Rooster Front Address: 1160 Vance Dr, Bristol, TN

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Little sweetheart Eli peeking up at Nana

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The waterfall as we were heading over to Steele Creek. Only 3/10 of a mile from parking area at Rooster Front.

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View of lake before taking the trail up through the cove

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View of lake / nature center (way in the background). We’re not far from Steele Creek Park now.

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We’re near our turn-around point. Steele Creek Golf Course across the lake.

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Daddy has just asked the boys if they would like treats

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View heading back towards Rooster Front

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The dam by the waterfall. You can also see a piece of South Holston Mountain in the background. Didn’t notice when I took the photo, but looks like a fish may have been jumping up in the water.

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Some sort of waterfowl resting on a limb of a tree that is sticking out of the water

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Near the dam. Where the sun has just about fallen behind the hills, there is still a streak running across the water.

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A shot of the waterfall from the side as we are heading back to the car. Sun is now down behind the hills.

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

For lots of other posts of the arboretum, do a search by “ranger annette asheville nc north carolina arboretum”.

This was our March visit to the arboretum.

We started out by walking around the education center to see what was blooming. After that we took off on our hike for the day. We walked down the steps onto the gravel road that takes you behind the education center. Behind the education center is the trailhead for Carolina Mountain Trail. This is a pretty easy trail. It’s 2.4 miles round trip. Bikes aren’t allowed on this trail. Only foot traffic. This is a nice walk through the forest. You eventually come to steps at Wolf Branch Road. This is not the end of Carolina Mountain Trail. Look for the steps across the road. There’s probably about 2/10 of a mile of the trail left. When you go down the steps, you spend some time by a little creek. There are some nice rapids on this creek. You then come out at Bent Creek Road.

We then turned left on Bent Creek Road, and immediately turned left onto Wolf Branch Road. It’s pretty easy slight uphill trail that brings you out at the greenhouse. We walked around the greenhouse to see what was blooming.

After walking around the greenhouse, we walked to the far end of the parking area and hit a connector trail that takes you back down to Carolina Mountain Trail. We then headed back to the gardens. Walked around the gardens to see what was blooming and then headed back to the car. All in all, we probably walked around a little over 3 miles at the arboretum today.

Here is the arboretum trail map. http://www.ncarboretum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Map_Guide_2014.pdf

Here are a few photos from today. Since I’m not real familiar with the names of flowers, those photos won’t be named.

Address for GPS: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

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If you only go to the arboretum during warm / heavy blooming months, this is something that you don’t see. The area out in front of the education center, waterless and plantless.

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An old birdhouse with a door knob

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Walking down the steps on the back end of Plants of Promise Garden. We’ll turn right on that gravel road that you see, and when behind education center, will turn left onto Carolina Mountain Trail.

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Carolina Mountain Trail trailhead behind education center

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There won’t be any signs when you get to that gravel road that you see up ahead. You’ll cross that road and just keep on going straight to keep on the Carolina Mountain Trail.

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Walking through the forest. As you kind of see in this photo, the arboretum has signs telling you what types of trees you are seeing.

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Continuing through the pine forest

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Arriving at Wolf Branch Road

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To continue on Carolina Mountain Trail, look for this sign across Wolf Branch Road

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Pretty nice rapid on last leg of Carolina Mountain Trail

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Then right past the above rapid, this other little rapid

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Coming out onto Bent Creek Road (end of Carolina Mountain Trail). On the right, the gate that takes you into Bent Creek Experimental Forest.

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Instead of heading out of the arboretum, we turned left onto Bent Creek Road, and an immediate left onto this road, which is Wolf Branch Road. We’re heading to the greenhouse. It’s only 3/10 of a mile.

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Trees blooming at the greenhouse

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A close-up of a bloom on the trees

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Some blooms by the greenhouse

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Looking up into a blooming tree by the greenhouse

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We’re on the upper side of the greenhouse parking area. Heading back towards Carolina Mountain Trail.

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The connector trail from greenhouse to Carolina Mountain Trail was well maintained and mulched

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Arriving back at Carolina Mountain Trail. Turning left to head back to gardens.

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We’re back in the gardens and are now walking through the bonsai gardens. Right after you walk into the bonsai gardens from the upper side, there’s a little pond set-up. The frogs were just hollering. Here’s one of the photos that we got of a couple of frogs (one in the water).

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Upper portion of another blooming tree

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It’s funny how we’ve seen all of the blooms / blooming trees. But, when we were getting near the exhibit center, we looked over the wall down towards the nature trail, and no blooms at all.

 

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