Monday Memories: Hilltop Hiker

Here is another installment of Monday Memories where Big Sky Buckeye revisits a previously published poem.  Enjoy this edited and updated poem from January, 2019. 


Unforgiving winter weather abates with a sunny pause

Hiking on hills and trails will be today’s special cause


The hiker dresses warmly due to the windy, chilly air

Hoping that his stamina will endure without any cares


He looks prepared to attack a vigorous hour-long walk

Knowing later, his body could stumble on a way to balk


The wooded trails in their colorless winter hue

Appearing in a much different setting and view


A hasty, gray squirrel scurries among fallen logs

Searching for a yummy morsel to stash and hog


The shadows look friendly and different today

Walking these trails will seem more like play


The hiker’s pace remains steady and brisk

Feeling stronger, without bearing on a risk


More trekkers descend upon the challenging trails

Experiencing nature’s offering, not wanting to fail


The journey takes the hiker up the outer route

Seeing barren trees and fallen limbs all about


Nature provides a spiritual place for all to shine

Inspiring anyone who walks this wooded shrine


A youthful boy’s eyes search up a steep hill

Locating a solitary deer, brings a huge thrill


The pace of the hiker remains steady and true

Tackling the inner trail, he will soon be through


A previous homesite welcomes the hiker’s arrival

Imagining from years ago, a past family’s survival


The unaccompanied hiker finishes the trek again

Smiling, his robust body allows him to flash a grin








Welcome to the Gallery

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A walk down the main street of Ennis, in southwestern Montana, offers views of some of the most unique storefronts anywhere.   One can see and feel the passion of the community’s proud heritage and way of life.  

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A peaceful and tranquil garden is found late in the summer in the village of Lithopolis, which is located south of the Columbus, Ohio metro area.

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A drive through the Hysham Hills along Montana’s I-94 offers contrast between the grasslands and ponderosa pines dotting the hillsides.  The ponderosa pine is the state tree of Montana.  This photo was taken about an hour’s drive east of Billings.

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An April view of tranquil surroundings along Walnut Creek in central Ohio.

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Pausing for a moment along Montana’s Madison River (between Ennis and Hebgen Lake), offers a scene of tranquility and beauty.

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A massive American Sycamore tree is framed by surrounding trees at Walnut Woods Metro Park in central Ohio.  The tree may be over a hundred years old, and it is a well-known landmark at the park.

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The massive, concrete spillway of the Fort Peck Dam is pictured, and it is located about three miles from the dam itself.  The dam was constructed between 1933 and 1940, and it is located in northeastern Montana, near the communities of Glasgow and Nashua.  The dam is the largest hydraulically-filled dam in the United States, and the reservoir is the fifth largest man-made lake in the country.

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Growing in Chestnut Ridge Metro Park in central Ohio, many hikers stop and admire this unusually shaped fruit growing above their heads.  The pawpaw tree is a native tree to Ohio, and its fruit is a vital part of the food chain for many types of wildlife.  The fruit offers a unique taste that is somewhere between a mango and a banana.

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Just down the road from Ennis, Montana, visitors will find Virginia City as well as Nevada City.  Both communities contain rich artifacts of history from the gold rush days of the 1860s and 1870s.  This small cabin was probably moved into Nevada City, but it represents some of the housing found during the time period.

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Blooming flowers announce the arrival of spring at Ohio’s Chestnut Ridge Metro Park.


In downtown Billings,  the unique architecture of the Western Heritage Center stands as witness of the city’s rich and diverse history in the Big Sky Country.  Built in 1901, the structure originally provided a home for the Parmly Billings Memorial Library.

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Nature shows off her green splendor and sends peaceful vibes outward on an early June morning at central Ohio’s Walnut Woods Metro Park.

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The Beartooth Mountains frame the background above a Montana valley.  If one looks closely, snow is still hiding in the upper ridges of the peaks on a mid-summer afternoon.  


The green, lush vegetation welcomes all to central Ohio’s Chestnut Ridge Metro Park where anyone feels in harmony with God’s creation.


Visiting a shop in Montana’s historic Virginia City, a person just might happen to find this fine gentleman offering greetings to all who drop in.

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A foggy, misty morning outlines a beautiful framed image of a spider’s web between the posts on the Big Run bridge at central Ohio’s Walnut Woods Metro Park.

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A roadside stop allows a moment to capture the scenic view along Interstate 15 in Montana between Great Falls and Helena.  A highway bridge that was constructed in the 1930s is visible at the bottom of the narrow valley.

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Arrival of flowers marks the return of spring to Ohio’s Chestnut Ridge Metro Park.

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Montana’s Holter Lake offers many types of recreation for anyone with a boat.  A small marina is shown (from the summer of 2018), and the lake is located near the small community of Wolf Creek. 


The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is well-known for its outstanding array of wildlife from around the world as well as its animal conservation efforts.  The “Heart of Africa” exhibit displays the African savanna as one might find it . . . filled with village life, giraffes, zebras, and so much more.

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A final look back at winter as shown near Lone Mountain in the Madison Range near Big Sky, Montana.  As one looks at the far peaks in the background, think of the snowmelt that will soon fill the raging whitewater in the Gallatin River.

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Summer shadows greet any walker at central Ohio’s Chestnut Ridge Metro Park.  This photo was taken from a trail through the trees into a grassy meadow.

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This summer garden comes from Billings, Montana at the Moss Mansion, which is an historic house now maintained as a museum.

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With winter fading away in favor of the spring season, thoughts will soon be thinking of beautiful wild flowers and rich green fields.  This photo was taken last summer at Chestnut Ridge Metro Park in central Ohio.

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My youngest daughter and her husband completed a winter hike into Hyalite Canyon south of Bozeman, Montana.  The popular recreation area is located between the Gallatin Canyon and the Paradise Valley.


The Polar vortex and repeated snowstorms in central Ohio have made the winter of January-February, 2019 one to remember.

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The beauty of western Montana is captured at Holter Lake, near the small town of Wolf Creek.  The lake is a popular summer recreation destination as seen in this photo from late July of 2018.

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These Canadian geese seem immune to the polar vortex and snowfall in central Ohio.

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A February snowstorm moves over the summit of Lone Mountain in southwestern Montana.  The Big Sky Resort occupies the mountain, which is well known for its first-class skiing in the wintertime.  

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Ohio’s winter blankets the ground with a fresh coating of snow.  The Canadian geese on the pond don’t seem to mind winter’s arrival.

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Pioneer Falls in the Spanish Peaks of Montana’s Madison Range is expertly captured by my daughter and her husband on one of their wilderness hikes.

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An early autumn sunset dazzles and amazes as night arrives in central Ohio.

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Central Ohio’s Chestnut Ridge Metro Park in full summer foliage.


My youngest daughter and her husband are avid skiers.   They took this picture of Blaze Mountain in the Spanish Peaks of the Madison Range of southwestern Montana.  They have skied the backcountry ski line a few times during the summer.  The beautiful and long snowfield fills a small gully that runs down the northwestern face of the mountain.  Skiers have to hike to the snowfield, but for an avid skier, it is well worth the effort.

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A view of downtown Billings, Montana from this past summer.  Notice the smoked-filled sky in the background; the smoke came from fires far from Billings.


From Walnut Woods Metro Park, the landscape has changed from the bright colors of autumn to the gray and barrenness of the coming winter.

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Summer’s clouds create shadows that cover part of the vast countryside near the Little Bighorn Battlefield in southeastern Montana.


A nesting pair of Canadian geese prepare to make a new home this past spring.

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Autumn’s leaves have fallen, and winter is on the way at central Ohio’s Chestnut Ridge Metro Park.

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Soon the mountains of the Big Sky Country will be filled with snow just as seen in this scene from last winter near Lone Mountain at Big Sky, Montana.

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An autumn sunrise illuminates the beauty of Ohio’s Walnut Woods Metro Park.

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Ohio’s Chestnut Ridge Metro Park during mid-summer.

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A late July view of the Gallatin Valley, just outside of Bozeman, Montana. 

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The images and traditions prior to the start of an Ohio State University football game.  This photo was taken by my daughter who attended the game with her husband.  

Season to Season

From Ecclesiastes 3:1:  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

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Life’s journey moves into another season

Advancing time, with its definite reasons


Memories of seasons, they forever last

Recalling God’s creation, from seasons past


Life renews each and every spring

Arriving now, robins begin to sing


Harsh, dark winter—absent for good

Sending nourishing rains, because God could


Spring’s greenery gives way to summer

Seeing color-filled blossoms, never a bummer


Gardens filling with color and shapes

Maturing crops, waiting for harvest’s date


With summer’s waning days, autumn arrives

Changing colors, bring another fall alive


Maples, oaks, and others astound us

Feeling cooler temperatures, without any fuss


Autumn exits too soon, winter approaches

Bundling up, frigid cold boldly encroaches


Snow deepens from another Arctic blast

Asking, how long will winter last?


God guides lives through each season

Bringing hope, never question His reason


Eventually, another season arrives once again

Witnessing God’s creation, He decides when


Each season fuels life’s humble needs

Living with God, offering glorious deeds

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Photo by Errin Casano on

Mister Sycamore



Far older than every one of the neighboring trees

Standing taller than many, all take notice and see


The prized King of Walnut Woods reigns today

Calling him Mister Sycamore, his subjects say


With branches elevating up towards the sky

Measuring his girth, takes many hands to try

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Many visitors walk by and stare in amazement

Standing as the park’s landmark, a monument


The Woods change from season to season

Watching over all, is the King’s main reason


He holds on to his leaves longer in fall

Guarding the land in winter, always tall


His leaves take some time to fill out in spring

Providing ample shade in summer is his thing


His expansive canopy of branches spreads wide

Peeling off sections of bark, creates whitish sides


His heir, the Prince, waiting in the wings

Rising lean and tall by a creek, he sings


Farther away, a thick grove of younger ones wait

Dreaming who will grow to be the tallest, so great


Mister Sycamore loves many Bible stories

Lifting Jesus up in total and brilliant glory


The story of Zacchaeus climbing a Sycamore tree

Being much too short for Jesus to find, there he be

Ohio’s biggest recorded tree is an American Sycamore found in Ashland County near Jeromesville.  The tree is at least 200 years old, stands 88 feet tall, and measures 326 inches around its circumference.  To read more and see photographs, use this link:


Haiku Series #17 (Life and Nature)

Nature Calls

The Ridge beckons me

Bringing forward praise to God—

His Cathedral waits



Let’s Walk

Morning walk awaits

My favorite lady goes—

Sadie on a leash

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Photo by Ana-Maria Roseanu on


Backyard Pal

On the backyard deck

Feverishly eating more—

Tiny chipmunk sits

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Photo by James Frid on

Cautious Lookout


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Moving along the trail, sweat runs down my back

Suddenly . . . both feet hastily stop in their tracks


Mother deer and fawn walk into my view

My eyes check the scene for any clues


The pair ventures cautiously across

Deserting another doe, feeling lost


My body stands rigid, still, and tall

Not intending to panic them at all


Mother steps back, standing quietly still

Starring back, I am amazed at this thrill


Her young fawn follows with a few steps

Looking to mother for guidance, you bet


Feeling the pleasure of stopping to watch

These two deer pause . . . I feel caught


Time stands still for a few seconds longer

My eyes survey with an inquisitive hunger


Alas, my camera didn’t make this walk

Now, only this writer’s verses will talk


Prudently, the vigilant doe keeps an eye on me

Protecting her fawn from any danger she sees


The two deer meander back into the woods

Probably glad to be done with me for good


This moment in time creates delicious prose

Not often do deer pause briefly, just to pose


The mother proves to be a cautious lookout

When she and her timid fawn wander about


Dear readers, have you experienced any encounters with deer or other wild animals.  You are invited to share your experiences with a comment.  I look forward to reading and replying back.

Haiku Series #14 (Life and Nature)


Morning coffee time

What, no coffee to be found—

Epic home crisis


Photo by Pixabay on



Floodwaters recede

Noah’s son sees land—

Must be Ohio

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Photo by Simon Clayton on


My Friend

Mr. Chipmunk pauses

Enjoying his friendship now—

God’s creatures impress

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Photo by Pixabay on