Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A lazy morning and a pleasant stroll

This morning was beautiful.   The air was fresh and the sun was warm, not hot.   We sat outside for quite some time, enjoying second cup, conversation and watching the activity on the lake.  One of the boat launches is in our view and it was full of fishermen when we settled down outside.

After lunch we drove into nearby Ashland to look around.   We found perfect parking spot at the entrance to Lithia Park so we decided to take a stroll through the beautifully wooded park.  

We looked at the park map, briefly, and decided to just experience what we came upon without having a plan.   As usual, I said we'd check with the visitor center after instead of before.    Sometimes that works well, we enjoy the spontaneity, sometimes we bumble.    Bumbling isn't bad, is it?

The park is simply beautiful and obviously very appreciated by tourists and locals alike.   The playground was full of young mothers and their little ones, the tennis court was being used as we passed it by and many of the secluded and private picnic tables were hosting families enjoying each other and their lunch.

The park is a 93 acre natural space with green lawns, a peaceful Japanese garden, a grove of  sycamore trees, duck ponds, a formal rose garden and lots of trees of all size and variety.   Lithia Park was designed by John McLaren (landscape architect of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park) in 1914, but began its life in 1892 as an 8 acre plot used by the Chautauqua Association as a place to bring entertainment and culture to southern Oregon.   The Park naturally follows the course of the Ashland Creek and most of it is undeveloped with bark trails leading you away into the cool woods.    Oh, and it is full of wildlife.

sweet baby

what are you lookin at!

Many of the trees have identifying plaques near them and we appreciated that.

two Giant Sequoia watch Dave check out the needles on a Scotch Pine

We appreciated learning about the different spruces, firs, cedars, and pines.   Seeing and understanding their individual pine cones, needle shapes and bark patterns, even their different fragrances.

what does Incense Cedar smell like?

 a Douglasfir cone with its distinctive three pointed bracts

Incense Cedar 

Dave is dwarfed by the Norway Weeping Spruce

twisted Scotch Pine needles

Blue Atlas Cedar

We walked through a carefully staged grove of London Planetrees, or Sycamores, that were planted in rows to give the area the feeling of a temple and were originally intended it to be a music concourse.

At one point, I lost Dave.  

Oh, there he is....

We came out of the Sycamore grove into a broad, sunlit expanse of lawn with a large fountain and a few people picnicking on the grass.

We also saw more deer.    Two does and their spotted fawns hugged the shady edges but a couple young bucks grazed brazenly in the open, quite near the picnickers.  

We stood and watched them boldly move closer and closer to two women enjoying their lunch on a blanket spread under a tree.

I was touched by how curious they were about the women's trappings and their cautious exploration - necks extended, ready to run.   I thought about how many young dogs we've raised and trained showing those same scared but interested body language.

It wasn't long before we realized what was really going on......Apples!   One young man smelled the women's desert hidden in the small blue bag and he slowly and carefully inserted his nose into that bag, deep into that bag and came out with the prize.  

Then.....he didn't even run away his prize.  He placidly ate the thing down before flipping his tail and trotting away.    What a little devil.

We had a lovely sweet day with one regret.   The Rose Garden, we didn't find the Rose Garden.    It was the only thing we really were "looking" for in our meandering and we never did.    Maybe another day.


  1. We love Ashland. Our son went to college there. Make sure you try the Lithia water at the fountain near the front of the park, it's what made Ashland famous. Are you taking in a play? Even if you don't, make sure you take the theater tour and see all of the costumes. A quick drive up to Mt. Ashland heading south on I-5 has some great hiking trails and views.

  2. Such a lovely park with lots of wonderful surprises. I'd love to find an area of identified trees like this one. Didn't know that about the Douglas Fir cones - very cool!! Glad you found Dave :-) That buck is beautiful, and smart, and bold! Great pics of his careful snag. You might still be there had you found the roses :-))))

  3. So glad you enjoyed Lithia Park—our house is just above the park, and I walked a four-mile loop from home and around the park every day before we started full-timing. It's beautiful in every season. The Japanese Garden is my favorite spot there. Eric was with the Ashland Parks department for almost 30 years, and had his office in Lithia Park. ;-)

  4. What a great day:) How wonderful to be able to catch that little buck getting himself a treat! Smart fellow! Something tells me this wasn't his first rodeo:) I love when there is a variety of trees and they are labeled. Glad you are enjoying Ashland:)

  5. What a great day:) How wonderful to be able to catch that little buck getting himself a treat! Smart fellow! Something tells me this wasn't his first rodeo:) I love when there is a variety of trees and they are labeled. Glad you are enjoying Ashland:)

  6. Aaah...relax, unwind, enjoy. Life is good.

  7. Oh I just love Lithia Park! The Japanese garden is spectacular in the fall. Looks like you had a wonderful day!

  8. I too appreciate when trees or flowers are identified it makes us very smart.
    This is a lovely park, and thank you for the tour and having a lovely day, sweet.

  9. I love that deer! What a cute little food thief.