Indian Camp Creek Park- Dec. 5th 2010

We have found lots of really nice walking spots close to our house by joining the BWSTL hiking group. The Group had planned a walk at Indian Camp Creek Park on December 5th, but Rick, the group leader, got sick and couldn't officially sponsor the event. Vicky and I decided to go out early in the morning, since we had never been there, and walk the trail. Most of these trails are for mountain bike use and they are really nicely done. This park is brand new ( only a couple years old). We were the only people in the entire park this morning. Temperature in the low 20's with some flurries.

We are dressed for the weather and had a great time

Judging from the map of the park, there is about 6 or 7 miles of trails to explore
 The trail was easy to follow and we walked the 3 miles loop.

 There is an old farmstead on the Park property. They have made the silo into a lookout tower with a spiral stairway and outlined the old farmhouse with a metal frame to show where it would have stood.
  The chimney is still left
The park is very diverse with some hard/soft wood, pine/cedar and grass land.

Animal sightings:
Redheaded woodpeckers along with lots of birds, Cardinals, BlueJays, etc
lots Deer tracks

BWSTL- Hiking Club- Long Spring Cuivre River- October 30th, 2010

It was another beautiful day for a walk with the St.Louis Backwoods Hiking Club. I am not sure who Rick knows, but he has ordered the most superb weather for the last two walks. This time they were going to the trail I know very well: Cuivre River Long Spring section. We planned to do the full 6 miles with a stop half way to let anyone who had had enough stop for the day.

34 people showed up for this hike- another great turnout for Rick and Backwoods
Rick togs up for the walk
 Most of the trees had lost their leaves already, but that makes the woods a much easier place to see all the rolling hills
Fugus amongus... ;-)
Half way into the first 3 mile section is the Lone Spring itself
 The Group stops for a rest break and chit chat at the spring....

A giant walking stick is hard to see against a tree, being the exact color, but against the yellow trail sign it really stands out... wonder what attracted it.. the color?

There was a little navigational challenges following the yellow trail signs, but nothing major and we were all soon moving in the right direction again

The only water in the creeks, were just small clear pools.
We all stopped back in the parking lot after 3 miles, 17 would leave us, but the rest had some snacks and then we were ready to move on.
 The second 3 miles loop was done in a little more than an hour
 A few leaves of color remain in the very tops of the oaks

Just another spectacular day in the woods
The group moving on the trail. Not exactly LNT but we did pick up a considerable amount of trail trash, so it all balances out in the end

BWSTL- Hiking Club-Matson Hill Park- October 16, 2010

Backwoods, my local and preferred gear shop started up their Saturday trail days this week with a planned walk at Matson Hill Park. Vicky and I have never been to Matson Hill Park, even though we are only about 10 miles from the park, so we thought we would go and walk with the group. We suspected that there would be about 6-12 people come for the walk. This turned into a fantastic turn out for Backwoods with 36 people coming to the walk. Needless to say the small parking lot was overrun with cars and people.

 The cars and people start to arrive.
 What started out to be just few people quickly swelled into an amazing group of all ages
 Gathering for the start. Should we hike together or break into smaller groups?

The Backwoods Hiking Guru and organizer, Rick, gives a pre-hike overview
Off on the 4.9 mile Matson Hill Trail. This trail was created to cater to bikes and it was very nice with a lot of switch backs and changing scenery. I am sure we will go back to do this trail often

Lots of small yet wonderful things to see in on the ground
Fungus of various shapes and colors

Wildflowers still in bloom
 And of course the attack garter snake!

The group stopped for its first official rest break, but we are missing a few people! So I went back to look for our missing comrades. Found them and we carried on as our own little group enjoying the day, at a more leisurely pace
 Vicky enjoying the sunshine and perfect day

 Rick and Vicky waited at a junction point for our missing band of hikers and we move toward the finish still keeping our relaxing pace... ;-)
 Looking up to the tree canopy, during a break, you can begin to see the changing of the color in the forest
All 36 Backwoods hikers!  congratulations on a great event

Below- see the group moving on the trail

GSMNP October 2010

I have not posted an adventure in a while. Work has been very hectic and family has taken every bit of free time. I decided to take 2 full weeks off after a work conference at the end of September. The first week, I planned to take Vicky to the Redwoods in Northern California, but  the day before we were suppose to leave I went to the doctor at 9 am to check out some stomach pains I had been having, during the conference the week before and by 3 pm that day I was having my appendix out! I spent the next 3 days in the hospital.
After spending the remainder of the week at home resting, I did manage to get away for about 4 days in the Smoky Mountains. 

When I arrived in the Smokies it was actually snowing on Clingman's Dome.

As I drove higher up the mountain the clouds got lower and lower
 Finally at the top it was a blizzard

The wind had frozen the ice and snow in the direction that the wind blows up the mountain
 The observation point at the top of Clingman's Dome was a sled ride

The snow clouds held low to the moutain and it was only really snowing at the very top.
 It made for some eerie pictures

What a difference a day makes. The very next day standing in the same parking lot at Clingman's Dome. The temperature was still in the 30's but as clear as a bell.
 Christine had to continue to work for the first few days I was in the park. She was putting the finishing touches on Forney Ridge Trail for a big review of the trail coming up the following week

I hiked out to Andrew's Bald and enjoyed the sunshine and the beautiful day. It was chilly, but I was dressed for it and even took a nap in the tall grass at the bald. The changing weather made for some strange cloud formations.
 The colors in the trees had not changed yet. It was about 2 weeks early for the peak of color this year, but the wildflowers were still out.

The next day I hiked alone up Mingus Creek, with a stop by the Mingus Mill. This is still a working mill inside the park that makes flour using the water to turn the milling stones

The water is diverted from Mingus Creek into the mill
 The flowers along the trail were again nice to look at in the cool temperatures

Relaxing at the top of Mingus Creek. It was about 3 miles straight up... I am suppose to be resting..

 The colors hadn't quite started to turn in the tops of the trees

 When Christine was free, we went on a hike across the park starting at the famous "Tunnel to Nowhere". It was a fantastic day and the hike was easy and relaxing... a few ground yellow jackets made it exciting for Christine.

The day took us along Forney Creek Trail
 Relaxing and enjoying our lunch stop along the creek.

 Later in the day, we went and saw two waterfalls that are in the Deep Creek section of the Park.
Juney Whank Falls- below

Indian Creek Falls

 The next day we made a hike that started at New Found Gap parking lot and started up the AT. The high pressure gave us continued perfect weather

 The inversion of the clouds in the valley. Low areas could be completely fogged in, but just a little higher up, completely blue skies!
 It was a great few days of relaxation
The low and high pressure mix the first day I arrived in the Park made for some very strange cloud formations at Clingman's Dome.- video below
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