Big Bend is on- January 2010

I will be leaving January 9th for 4 days ( 50 miles) of hiking, alone, in the deserts of Big Bend National Park

Big Sugar Creek Trail, Cuivre River State Park- November 2009

I had not been out in the woods in a while and was feeling a bit out of sorts. So a quick solo 7 miles hike at Cuivre River State Park was in order. It was very muddy after all the rain and the horses are allowed on this trail and they have destroyed the trail, but the sky was clear and the weather nice

The Creeks were all running high and clear the bottoms had some cool rock formations (below) Even though it was muddy it was nice to be out in the woods. The day started at 34 degrees at 7 am

I have done this trail so many times I never consider the water up, you can just normally walk across Big Sugar Creek, but today it was running at least calf high so I need to find a way across.. twice. This first time was a hairy climb along and over a fallen tree. (below)

The second time, I was not the only one looking for a way across. This racoon was just ahead of me going to use the same tree (below) to get across.

The view from the top of Big Sugar Creek valley and it warmed to 54 degrees by the time I was done with 7 miles - 2hr 27 min

Fall in the backyard- November 2009

It has been a very wet fall and the Maple in my backyard has turned a firery red that is just beautiful.

Quick Trip to Mt Rushmore and the RV- October 2009

Vicky flew out to Rapid City South Dakota so we could pick up the RV from our good friends the Shaw's. Since the motorcycle left, as a personal toy, I vowed to get something the whole family could enjoy. We have discussed getting an RV several times and this seemed like the perfect oppurtunity to try it and see how we like it. First we spent the day doing some sightseeing around the Black Hills and Mt Rushmore. It was perfect blue sky day!
The Missouri Flag highlights Mt.Rushmore (above) and we take advantage of the "photo op"

Our friends the moutain goats were out everywhere in the sunshine

You can see a long way from the top of the Black Hills
Nice photo of Vicky (below)

1000 miles from Rapid City to St.Louis, and oh did I mention 6.5 miles per gallon!!
stopping for the night and trying out our first KOA RV campsite. $34. (still doesn't make up for the gas mileage)

Absolutely lovely dawn (below)

The inside of the RV is in great shape and Vicky sorts things out

Getting ready for Day 2. The outside needs some work, but we are going to work on it over the winter when weather permits

The Rolling Turd..

Forest Park Balloon Glow- September 2009

Forest Park, St.Louis- Balloon Glow
The annual balloon glow is very fun and it was a great night, so the whole family went. It was packed with people, but we made a picnic and watched the balloons inflate. The next day is the Forest Park Balloon Race, were they all chase the energizer bunny!

Once the balloons are fully inflated you can wonder around them and every 5 minutes they sound a horn and they all light up at the same time.

Forney Ridge Volunteer Work, GSMNP- September 2009

Trail Work-
How do you think the nice trails you walk on get built. Hard working professionals do it, in all weather. Christine had to go back to work on Wednesday, so I went with her to try and help, but the weather was just terrible. Strong wind and rain all day. Even with the conditions they managed some impressive work.

They do like volunteers, I just collected rock and tried to stay out of the way

I hiked to the end of the trail, Andrew's Bald, for the view... hehehe

A hard days work for everyone, and this is the result... its not pretty, but the trail is

A 360 degree view from Andrew's Bald.. some of the heaviest rain I have hiked in.

Hemphill Bald Loop, GSMNP- September 2009

I had just finished a week long work convention in Atlanta and needed some quiet time. A couple of days in the Smokies seemed just the ticket. Christine had just a couple of days she could spare from work, so it was set. 26 mile loop starting at Polls Gap. We started at dawn and I got to see my first wild boar along the roadside along with a large male and female Elk.

The Morning starting out bright and clear

Immediately it is the small things that catch your attention when you can be still and quiet
Spider web in the morning light (below)

Many small things, full of beauty, if you pay attention

The rushing water and many stream crossings made the morning exciting

Woody Homestead

About half way point for today, Catalooche divide. We had previously seen many Elk here.

Camp #41 (above) and trying out the new Tarptent

Making dinner for 2... Christine where is your spoon and bowl and oh by the way where is breakfast?

Day 2- Moving up toward Hemphil Bald. Been going up hill in the trees all day, but it was well worth the effort. Great view from the top.

More great beauty both looking up and looking down

Finished again. These are all way to short, but I had a great time.

A 180 degree view from the top of Hemphill Bald. A great vantage point.

Support Our National Parks - Preserve - Protect - Enjoy