We were blessed with more visitors this past weekend. Mark's friends from Rochester, Mike and Allison, came for the weekend. They were Mark's friends first, but I definitely count them on my friend list as well! Mark picked them up at the airport Friday night, and I drove into St. Louis and we met up at Mark's lab for a great view of the Balloon Glow. It was less than ideal picture taking conditions, but I was able to squeak this one in. Note the Energizer Bunny and the Bud beer bottle hot air balloon! We then headed to Schlafly's Bottleworks for a great dinner and then a long, LATE drive home. I was very happy that Allison was keeping me company in the car.
The next morning we headed to Onondaga State Park for a cave walk. Mark and I went there once, years ago and remembered it as being impressive. This time we were really impressed! My camera did a great job of capturing that cave feeling, and I was able to get away with not using a flash for many of the pictures.
That evening we headed to Wenwood Winery, which is in a very picturesque river valley. It is an old dairy farm off a long dirt road. They have turned the milking barn into a music stage and have great outdoor seating. We were able to watch a passing storm with lots of lightning effects off in the distance and music playing in the background. Good times!
The next morning we headed out early because there was a flashlight tour of Cathedral Cave, also at Onondaga. I was better able to photograph the bats (because there were more of them!), but the rest of the photography was only limited to flash, and not as impressive. Cathedral Cave was great because we were much closer to the cave formations, and having only flashlights was a really cool way to tour a cave!
And on the way back to the car I found some really pretty dogwood leaves starting to put on a fall show.
Later that afternoon we took a long hike around the property. Mike and Allison are both photography enthusiasts, so they were very patient with me as I did my endless snapping. (Mark is very good about that, as well!). We found a coral fungus...
a silly toad that seemed to think it was his portrait day....I must have taken twenty or more shots while he didn't move a bit!
some adorable little mushrooms...these were no bigger than a matchstick!
some wonderful fall asters...
a gorgeous butterfly, who again decided it was portrait day and he should be cooperative...
and lastly, some pretty little moth who was hanging onto some dead Queen Anne's Lace. He was also being very cooperative until Lucy came along and scared him off! The animals were being very agreeable with me on this day!