Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hike @ Mountain Creek 3/19/2017

Hike: Confederate Memorial Park, Mountain Creek, AL; Sun., 3/19/2017, 15:00-17:00CDT
Distance: 4.2 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Beautiful blue, clear sky.  Light breeze.  Low 70's.  Trails damp but little standing water.
Cardinals (one of my favorite song birds) and Red Maples were the stars.  Both of these painted the forest with bright red!  Squirrels and chipmunks made a few appearances, mostly near the stream or drainage areas.  I disturbed a large owl (not a clear enough sighting for an identification) near the southern property line; getting glimpses of him flying to a new roost.  A gray titmouse watched me closely as I descended the "hickory trail" to the "Nature Trail".  

It was a beautiful day to enjoy GOD's Creation.  This is a wonderful little park.

Swayback Trail of Legends 3/17/2017

Hike: Swayback Trail of Legends; Fri., 3/17/2017, 10:10-12:30CDT
Distance: 7.0 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: Easy
Conditions: Mostly cloudy. Low 50s to upper 60s. Calm. Trails wet from recent rains.
A few squirrels & chipmunks caught my attention as they scampered around the forest floor.  An Avain Worship Team led praise today - Not quite enough singing to be a choir!  I found myself marching to woodpecker's cadence.

I was delighted to see that Woodland violets were still blooming even after several cold nights recently.  My views into the forest were the deepest they have been throughout the year.  Soon Spring will bring leaves out to once again hide the deep views.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Cherokee Ridge 3/4/2017

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail (North & South), Sat., 3/4/2017, 09:15-12:00CST
Distance: 4.3 miles  Rating: 4.5/5.0  Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Bright blue sky, few high cirrus clouds.  Light wind.  50s-60s.  Trails dry.
A beautiful, peaceful day for a hike.  There was only one other vehicle when I parked at the trailhead, but I was greeted by a lot full of vehicles upon completing the hike.  Quite a few other people realized it was a great day to get out and enjoy GOD's Creation.

Wild rhododendrons joined woodland violets in announcing the beginning of Spring.  Chipmunks and several passerines were also busy about the forest floor.  Red maples have begun showing their spring colors.  GOD is also busy about HIS work.  What is HE doing in your life?  Join HIM.

12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isa. 55:12 NKJV

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cherokee Ridge North & South Loops - 1/28/2017

Hike: Cherokee Ridge North & South Loops, Sat. 1/28/2017, 08:50-11:30CST
Distance: ~4.5 miles  Difficulty: Moderate  Rating: 4.8/5.0
Conditions: Partly cloudy sky.  Wind calm to light.  Temps starting in low 40s.  Trails damp but no mud.  Evidence of significant rain recently with leaves, needles, and twigs washed to side and down the slopes.  Water still seeping from large boulders.
 Aquamarine water reflected the azure sky.  Some sloughs were almost a neon green.  The ridge-lines and trees helped shield me from the cooling effects of wind and prompted me to remove my fleece pullover less than a mile into the hike.  A small white tailed doe stopped and stared at me near the North Loop intersection with Chimney Rock Trail.  Later on I was treated to a close encounter with two larger does near trail's end.

Crows provided a raucous salute as I left the trail head but I was surprised to find no passerine companions along the trail.  Squirrels and chipmunks were also absent today.  I was surprised by some wild rhododendrons blooming along the lake shore.  It certainly seems too soon for Spring (though it would be okay by me).

Most of the hike was unspoiled by the sound of boat or aircraft engines.  The forest is a wonderful place of peace and refreshing.  Thank YOU, LORD, for YOUR presence.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New Year's Hike @ Swayback - 1/2/2017

Hike: Gold Trail at Swayback TOLA, Monday, 1/2/2017, 11:00-12:40CST
Distance: 2.6 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Cloudy with rain.  Temps in upper 60's.  Light to moderate wind.  Rain was intermittently heavy.  Trails wet and muddy in spots.
Peaceful hike in the woods during mostly light rain event.  It was good to see water in the swampy areas again.  Passerines were busy but no larger wildlife observed.  I cut the hike short due to increasing heavy rain and an approaching thunderstorm.
Conducted some light field testing of the OKC Falcon knife I received from Diane & Robert.  The knife functions quite well.  It is sturdy yet small enough to accomplish finer tasks.  The sheath is adequate thought not the best design.

Water beginning to accumulate in the swamp again. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Pinhoti Trail (Section - Coosa WMA) - Tuesday, 10/4/2016

Hike: Pinhoti Trail (Section off Coosa County 55 at Coosa WMA), 10/4/16 09:16-11:30CDT
Distance: approx 4 miles (forgot to reset GPS at start of hike)  Difficulty: Moderate due to navigation challenges  Rating: 4.5/5.0
Conditions: Partly cloudy. Mid to upper 70s.  Moderate breeze.  Trails dry.  Trail blazes (Pinhoti Blue) on both sides of trees, but insufficient in some areas for ease of navigation.  

Observed three whitetail deer, crows, numerous butterflies, dragonflies, and lizard.  Myriad of Fall wildflowers were pleasing to the eyes and soul.  Vistas from mountaintops were impressive.  Foliage beginning to show Autumn colors (mostly yellow, gold, and brown -- with a few red and mahogany).  

This trail is NOT one for the novice hiker to try on their own.  The trail is not heavily worn and the blazes are not close together.  It would be easy to get lost without GPS or map/compass and navigation skills.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hiking: Orange Beach, AL -- 08/19/2016

Hike: Along the beach of Orange Beach, AL to Gulf State Park pier and return, Fri., 8/19/2016, 16:15-17:30CDT
Distance: 3.3 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.8/5
Conditions: Some clouds building but still mostly sunny.  Breezy.  Beautiful Gulf beach!

What a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon birthday hike?!  Sand, Surf, and Sky were all gorgeous.

Hiking: Backcountry Trail, Gulf State Park, Alabama -- 08/19/2016

Hike: Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, Gulf State Park, AL; Fri., 8/19/2016, 07:30-09:30CDT
Distance:  5.2 miles  Difficulty:  Easy  Rating: 4.8/5.0
Conditions: Partly cloudy. Hot. Humid. A light sprinkle provided some cooling relief near end of hike.
This is a paved trail-way in the "backcountry" portion of Gulf State Park.  It is shared between hikers, runners, and bikers.  Facilities are wonderful.  (Great job State of Alabama!)  Trail does get some traffic, but it is not hard to find solitude.
Lots of wildlife abounds in the area.  Passerines, alligator, turtle, tortoise, snakes, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, and the like.  The only wildlife viewed today were birds, dragonflies, and butterflies.

Excellent hike to celebrate my birthday at the beach!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thought of the Day - 8/17/2016

There’s always going to be bad stuff out there. But here’s the amazing thing - light trumps darkness every time. You stick a candle into the dark, but you can’t stick the dark into the light.

Jodi Picoult


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hiking Swayback Gold Trail - 8/13/2016

Hike: Swayback Trail of Legends, Gold Trail, Sat., 8/13/2016, 08:00-10:30CDT
Distance: 5.1 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Cloudy to Partly Cloudy; warm; muggy.  Trails wet from recent rains but not too muddy. 
Passerines in abundance.  Bird song serenade.  Several mountain bikers, hikers, and trail dogs.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Quote of the Day - 08/1/2016

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

-- Mark Twain

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hiking Swayback Bridge TOLA - 07/30/2016

Hike: Portions of Lakeside (Red/Black), Big Zipper, and  Upland Trails, Sat., 07/30/2016, 09:00-12:00CDT
Distance: 6 miles (by GPS)  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Hot/humid.  Light, steady breeze.  Trails dry and in good shape.  Three significant blow-downs from recent thunderstorms had been cut up and moved off trail (good job!).
Gray squirrel, damsel flies, cicada, and lizards were observed today.  No deer and not many passerines in attendance.  Lake was near full pool and largely placid.  
 Excellent time of worship and introspection.  Working on sermon topic for tomorrow.
Get out and enjoy GOD's Creation!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Quote of the Day - 7/29/2016


Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. 

-- Winston Churchill

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Urban Hike Overlook II - 7/26/2016

Urban Hike: Overlook II, Tue, 07/26/2016 19:00-19:40CDT
Distance: 2.2 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Warm. Cloudy, Tstorms building. Moderate breeze.  Light sprinkles by end of hike.
Ramblr App did not function properly.  It recorded 3.3 miles - actual length should have been around 2.2. 
Enjoyed the breeze and cooler temps!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Verse of the Day

Hebrews 11:3 NKJV
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Hike: The Deadening Alpine Trail - 07/15/2016

Hike: The Deadening Alpine Trail, Sat 07/15/2016 09:00-12:00CDT
Distance: 4.4 miles  Difficulty: Difficult due to scrambles  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Hot, humid.  Partly cloudy to mostly clear.  Calm.  Trails wet from recent rains but not muddy - in good shape.

This hike is always a workout and today was no exception.  Forest sounds were limited to birds and insects except on the lake, where boats and jet skis were the order of the day.  Some of the trail has been modified but the route is largely unchanged.
Portions of this trail have challenging scrambles (up and down).  Hiking poles are an asset here.  

Time of worship and introspection.  LORD, GOD, YOU are amazing!