Life Verse:

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

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!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mountain Biking - Swayback TOLA - 07/14/2016

Bike:  Swayback Trail of Legends, Thu 07/14/2016 09:30-10:30CDT
Distance: 4.5 miles  Difficulty: Moderate due to heat/humidity and technical aspects  Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Hot/humid.  Calm.  PCloudy.  Trails in good shape.

Quite a few roots and rocks on most of the single-track.  Makes for a more technical ride.  L-o-n-g hill coming up from Swayback Bridge is challenging; especially when one is just getting back onto the mountain bike!  Can tell I need more saddle time.

Enjoyable ride and good workout.  Some of the trail time is off-bike, exploring some small side trails I found.