Thursday, July 17, 2014

Skywatch Friday 66

Monday afternoon, I decided to walk home through Grady Tract at the UW Arboretum (in one entrance and out the other). When I got there, there were a lot of clouds, but the sky wsa blue and it did not look like rain. In fact, when I checked the radar before leaving work, it looked like all the showers were going north of us. You know where this is going, right?

I stopped briefly in the parking lot to layer on the bug spray (a necessity this time of year), then headed inside. The trails to the West Knoll were tranquil despite the not-so-distant noise of rush hour traffic. Once up on the Knoll, however, you can see how fast the sky started to change.


Main trail through a wooded section of the Arboretum





Rain clouds on the horizon . . .


Look in one direction, nothing but blue skies and a few wispy clouds. Look in the other . . . nothing but large rain clouds. I was a little worried when I looked straight up at one point and saw gray clouds converging, with only that little patch of blue in the middle. But I felt not a single drop of rain as I followed the narrow path across the Knoll.


Grady Knoll -- you can see sage, a few yellow primrose and sumac here.



Gray clouds converge . . .



. . . but quickly pass overhead without shedding a drop of rain.


Coming down, however, was another story. I'd no sooner reached the bottom of the hill, and was crossing the main trail for the entrance to Greene Prairie, when it began to rain. It wasn't heavy, and it was fast-moving. Being only a light shower with no thunder or lightning, I wasn't worried. I found a nice large oak beside the path and waited it out before entering Greene Prairie (after I had reapplied bug spray, of course).



Grady Knoll: Yellow primrose, purple lead-plant, sage.





The skies clear over Greene Prairie


There is a saying at the Arboretum that if you come back every two weeks, you'll see something new. Sometimes all it takes is a day or two, as I saw stuff blooming on Monday that was not in bloom over the weekend. You can see that the boardwalk is only a little wet. I had made it to the middle of the prairie where the path forks north and south when I noticed the sky was closing in again.



Notice how the prairie boardwalk only looks wet on one side



The prairie path is overshadowed by another approaching shower . . .




That decided me against taking the longer, more meandering (southerly) path out. I turned around and followed the boardwalk back out to the main trail. Looking eastward through the trees you could still see blue sky. Looking west as I skirted the east edge of Greene Prairie, however, I could see that the storm was gaining on me.






Uh-oh . . . I think I'm in trouble.




The rain started again as I cleared the southeast entrance -- not heavy, but I could tell a downpour was imminent. I literally ran from the exit to the start of the bike path, and had just made it to the pitiful excuse of a shelter there before it let loose. Standing on the lee side -- the side behind the bench, I was able to wait out the rain without getting soaked. As before, it was fast-moving, and after about 15 or 20 minutes I was on my way.



My shelter in the storm



I was rewarded for my little adventure on the walk home with a fleeting rainbow. If I had not looked up at the precise moment I did, I would have missed it. And then there were blue skies, sunshine and a few large white clouds the rest of the walk home.








LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday




14 comments:

Spare Parts and Pics said...

I like the look of this arboretum... kind of natural and wild! Beautiful photos and glad you weren't drenched!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

A wonderful place to walk, with a little fresh rain as well.

Jana said...

Love those last two photos, especially. :) Glad you managed to avoid getting soaked both times. Though there have been times when I've enjoyed getting caught in a deluge. ;-)

Felicia said...

Beautiful images. Your arboretum looks beautiful. glad you didn't get real wet.

Heather said...

Spare parts: Thank you, the Arboretum is defintely a treasure of our city. Though I know Grady tract well, there are entire portions of the Arboretum I've yet to explore.

Heather said...

Karen: Thank you, and yes -- a bit of refreshing rain as well as good exercise, LOL.

Heather said...

Jana: Yes, there are times I've enjoyed walking in a deluge. Monday would not have been one of those days, LOL. I'm glad I went right towards a bit of shelter instead of left and trying to beat the storm home. I would have lost, big time! ☺

Heather said...

Thanks, Felicia, it is a beautiful place to visit, no matter what time of year. ☺

Alice Audrey said...

That kind of on-again-off-again sky is very common out here. Much more than a solid overcast. Yet today it was solid and coppery all day. It's forest fire season here again.

Heather said...

We've had partly to mostly cloudy skies here this week, and no rain since last Monday -- though the way it clouded over at one point Saturday evening it sure looked like it might. Warming up to more normal temps this week, and humid besides. I was considering the Arboretum walk Sunday afternoon (Curtis Prairie), but decided against possible heat stroke.

PlantPostings said...

Those last two shots should be framed and on your wall--gorgeous! Glad you had a little shelter, be it ever so humble. And as you say, the rewards before and afterward were worth it. :)

Heather said...

Thanks, Beth! There are a couple shots I didn't share with this post or Thursday's as I am considering them for a photo contest. It truly was a good walk, despite the intermittent rain showers. ☺

Alice Audrey said...

Heat stroke is more of a problem out there where it's the same temperature in the shade as out.

The smoke from Washington and Oregon blew out of the valley. We now have haze, but not that coppery sky.

Heather said...

Apparently, that smoky haze from out west is starting to infiltrate our skies. There was a bit of a haze early this morning, but now the wind has shifted out of the SW -- which means no smoky haze, but the wind feels like a furnace blast.