Life Verse:

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lanark - AL Wildlife Federation

Hike: AL Wildlife Federation Nature Center, Lanark, 12/15/2007, 08:15-10:00
Distance: 4.0 miles
Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Cloudy, light to moderate sporadic rain, mild temps.
Difficulty: Easy
Thoughts/Observations: Cut hike short to attend Ladies III S/S Christmas luncheon. Not many people on trail today - clouds and rain. I really enjoy the rain while out on the trail! Thank YOU for it LORD. My Tilley (TH4) hat sheds rain great. Poncho keeps me comfortable when the rain gets heavier. Also wore nylon shirt and pants. Birds and squirrels stirring this morning.

C.O.M.E. #2 Walls of Jericho

Hike: Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expedition #2, 12/8/2007, 11:00-17:00, Walls of Jericho
Distance: 7.0 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Conditions: Fog, low clouds all day, mild temps. On/Off light showers earlier.
Thoughts/Observations: C.O.M.E. #2 total of 7 people. Wonderful time of Fellowship, Devotional time, and appreciation of GOD and HIS Creation. Loads of pics. Water level lower than it was Monday. Completed the hike just at sunset.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Reconnoiter Walls of Jericho

Hike: Walls of Jericho, Hytop, AL 12/3/2007, 12:00-15:30
Distance: 7 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Cool (40's), breezy, mostly clear
Thoughts/Observations: Reconnoiter for C.O.M.E. Hike on 12/8/2007. Gorgeous area. High walls, waterfalls. Saw 2 does on hike in. They couldn't decide whether to run from me or check me out! Thank YOU, LORD, for bringing me to this place and for YOUR messages to my spirit. Help me not be anxious about anything but wholly trust in YOU.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ft. Toulouse National Historic Site Hike

Hike: Ft. Toulouse, Wetumpka, AL 11/28/2007 09:30-12:00
Distance: ~ 4 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Sunny, mild, light breeze. Beautiful day.
Haven't hiked here in a while. Nice to get back. Trails are open now that cooler temps prevail. Many birds abound. Several grey squirrels. River level of Tallapoosa and Coosa still several feet below normal. The confluence of the rivers is visibly different due to the drought. Noticed three cypress trees coming up near the confluence.

Woodpecker in the bog garden area - red cap on back of head, white stripes across back, breast white, long beak, ~ size of robin.

Small tree (bush) ~ 20' tall, single to multiple trunk, smooth light colored bark, leaves alternate and oval, bright red berries in clusters of 2-3.

Thank YOU LORD, for this beautiful area and for the blessing of life. Thank YOU for these 'simple pleasures'.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Hike: Mountain Creek, AL 11/23/2007, 12:00-13:45 Hiking with Gracie!
Distance: 3 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy (at least for me) Looked to be easy for Gracie too.
Conditions: Very cool, clear, light breeze.
Thoughts: Gracie's first hike! She did extremely well. Used the long (25') leash. Gracie experienced a plethora of smells, sights, and sounds. I was very pleased with her demeanor around another dog and a couple. Maybe she's going to be a "Traildog"!

Fall Hiking at Mountain Creek 11/21/2007

Hike: Mountain Creek, AL 11/21/2007, 09:15-11:45
Distance: 4 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Cool, light to moderate breeze, cloudy and then clearing.
Thoughts: Flock of Robins in tall cedar tree behind church as I was going in to the trail. Thought I also saw a cedar waxwing. Most of leaves on the ground n ow. Tree behind the hickories on the back trail is a sourwood, I think. It has red leaves and the characteristic lean. Bark is rough. Some small "flowerettes"? or similar at end of some of the stems.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Alabama Nature Center - Birding Seminar Too

Hike: Alabama Nature Center, Millbrook, AL 11/17/2007, 08:00-11:30
Conditions: Cool (mid to upper 30's to 40's), sunny, almost no breeze.
Distance: 4.0 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Thoughts: Attended the beginning Birder Seminar from 9:30 to 10:30. Purchased Peterson Bird Guide. Walked part of Turkey Ridge with guided group - guided by ornithologist from AL DCNR. Some good sightings. Beautiful day. Cut it a little short to get back to help Kathy with house preps for Thanksgiving. Several pics. Thank YOU, LORD, for such a glorious day and life!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

C.O.M.E. Bike Hike to Chief Ladiga Trail

Bike Hike: Chief Ladiga Trail, 13.6 to 5.0 mile marker and return Piedmont, AL 11/10/2007 All Day Event
Distance: 17.2 miles
Rating: 5/5
Conditions: Beautiful sunny clear skies, cool to mild temps, light breeze.
Thoughts: Piedmont plateau displaying Autumn golds, yellows, reds and various shades in between! Fourteen of us from 3 years old and up participated! I believe everyone had a great time of fellowship and appreciation of GOD's wonderful creation, dressed in its finest fall colors. Kathy drove the Explorer (support wagon) and had a picnic lunch ready for all of us at mile marker 5 (our turnaround point).
Check out some of the photos here.

This is something I have been anticipating for some time. GOD has really given me a heart to use HIS creation as a springboard to reach others, to teach about who GOD is and what HE wants to do. I wish I could adequately convey how wonderful it makes me feel to have all of you, those that I love so much, participate with me in this type ministry event. I hope this is just the beginning of many more!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hike Moss Rock Preserve

Hike: Moss Rock Preserve, Hoover, AL 11/08/2007, 11:15-13:45
Distance: ~5 miles
Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Sunny, clear. Cool - high 40's. Light wind.
Thoughts: Some really outstanding rock formations. Good signposts identifying certain trees and bushes. Leaves in full Fall color. Well used, but well maintained Nature preserve. Saw squirrel and heard different birds. Only met one other hiker on trail. Enjoyable hike. Thank YOU, LORD, for preserving this area for us. No maps available at kiosk. Fair signage for trails (good in some spots but not consistent).

Mtn Biking Swayback

Bike Hike: Swayback Bridge Trail, Bronze Trail, Wetumpka, AL 11/07/2007 09:00-10:00
Distance: 4.0 (offroad, singletrack)
Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Sunny, very cool, 40s-50s. Lt. breeze.
Thoughts: Beautiful area. leaves changing color. Couldn't pay as much attention to the landscape - having to watch for roots and rocks! Real singletrack! Good physical workout. Took a few pics. Chose to walk bike down some steep grades.

Reconnoiter Chief Ladiga Rail Trail

Bike Hike: Chief Ladiga Trail, Piedmont, AL, 11/05/2007 12:45-15:00
Distance: 17.2 miles (MM 13.6 to 5.0 and return) Departed from Eubanks Welcome Center
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Sunny, cool, light breeze
Thoughts: Reconnoiter for the Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions Bike Hike here on Saturday. Beautiful landscape in the Fall. Trail passes through Pinhoti Trail and over Terrapin Creek.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Spectacular Fall Hike!

Hike: Mountain Creek AL, 11/03/2007 09:30-11:30
Distance: 4 miles (est.)
Rating: 5+/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: In a word-- Perfect! Sunny, clear, bright blue sky. Mild temps (50's and up). Low humidity. Light to moderate breeze. Smell of Fall in the air. A gentle occassional drizzle of leaves throughout the hike.
Thoughts: YOU are awesome in the place, LORD! Took over 100 pics today. The trees were in regal splendor; gold, yellow, red, orange, crimson, and even some purples. The hickories are my favorite, as they burst into full bright yellow and gold color. Contrasted against the green and reds of the other trees and the bright blue sky, the scene was inspiring. I bow in reverence to creativity, power, and beauty. Thank YOU for painting such a glorious forest for me. Please give me YOUR words to share with others. As I consider the beauty here, I am reminded that YOU should be even more glorified in my life - in the life of the Christian. Help me to tell others this truth!

North & South Loop Cherokee Ridge

Hike: Sat., 10/27/2007 10:00-13:00 Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail North/South Loops, Kowliga, AL
Distance: 4.0 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Conditions: Sunny, mild temps (50's to low 70's), light breeze.
Thoughts: Pictures of wildflowers and leaves turning red. County is beginning to pave access road. Lots of big grasshoppers about today along with a couple of small lizards.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not Something You'd Expect to see Hiking Here!

From Fox

Officials Use Raw Chicken, Camera to Check Out Reports of African Lion in West Virginia Woods

Monday, October 29, 2007

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — Using a video camera and raw chicken, state officials hope to learn whether the king of the jungle is prowling the woods of West Virginia.

Bow hunter Jim Shortridge believes he saw a full-grown, male African lion weighing between 250 and 300 pounds at the foot of Cold Knob Mountain earlier this month. The state Division of Natural Resources confirmed that at least one other person has reported seeing the lion.

Using a camera normally employed to catch people dumping trash illegally, the state Department of Environmental Protection has joined with Greenbrier County Animal Control Officer Robert McClung and exotic animal expert Jim Forga to see if they can substantiate the sightings.

Twenty pounds of raw chicken left on the site last week were devoured, but McClung said that doesn't prove the lion's existence.

"Anything could have eaten that," he said.

If officials do spot the lion on videotape, they may set a bear trap for the animal. If caught, it would be turned over to Forga, who runs Tiger Mountain Refuge in Rainelle, a shelter for exotic animals

Friday, October 26, 2007

Looking forward to Church Bike Ride

Looking forward to our planned bike ride to Chief Ladiga Trail in Piedmont, AL on Saturday, 11/10/2007!
See Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions for more info.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cherokee Ridge - Deadening Trail

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail - Deadening Trail, Tallapoosa County, 10/13/2007, 09:15-13:00
Distance: 4 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Conditions: Clear and sunny. Mild temps, low 50's to 70's. Mild to moderate breeze.
Thoughts: Life of Adventure... that's what I thought about on this trail! More challenging than most other trails in this part of state. Took an Audobon Wildflower Guide with me. Stopped lots to ID and photo wildflowers. Butterflies will not pose long enough for their portraits! ID: Yellow Star Grass, Rough Blaze Star, and Hairy Golden Aster. Several others I photo'd and will attempt to ID later. Also scarred up whitetailed doe. Observed Turkey Vulture (3x) fairly close, as well as Blue Jay.
Footing on pine straw is becoming precarious in steep places and I had a steep descent near Lichen Bluff - went down on my behind! Cut left thumb in process. First use of first aid kit on the trail.
Thank YOU, LORD, for this place. Please speak to my spirit. Guide me in YOUR path!

Cherokee Ridge - North Loop and others

Hike: Cherokee Ridge - North Loop, Chimney Rock Loop, Kowliga Bay Loop 10/12/2007, 10:00-13:00
Distance: 5 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Conditions: Dry. Clear, mild, sunny.
Thoughts: Was off this morning in preparation for midnight shift during RB1 outage. Flushed whitetailed doe during hike. Very enjoyable and peaceful hike. Several Fall wildflowers are in bloom! Lots of pics today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hiking Between Shifts...

Hike: Mountain Creek, Confederate Memorial Park, 10/06/2007, 09:30-11:30
Conditions: Warm; mostly cloudy to partly cloudy.
Distance: 4.0 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Thoughts: Explored some new fire breaks (read that new trails!). Great time. Thankful to be able to get out some and be refreshed - the fall outage at work is very draining.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beginning of Fall? - Hiking at Mtn Creek

Hike: Confederate Memorial Park, Mtn Creek, 09/22/2007, 09:15-11:15
Distance: 4 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Partly cloudy, fast moving clouds; warm; edge of tropical depression moving through but no rain.
Thoughts: Most enjoyable hike and did I really need this! It is wonderful to get out where my spirit can be calmed and refreshed. Thank YOU LORD for soothing my spirit and mind - for the gentle caress of the breeze and the rejuvenation that YOU give to me. Trees starting fall color change. Small fall flowers also starting to bloom. Lots of crows about today. One very vocal, high soaring hawk. Took lots of pics today. The breeze through the trees reminded me of my hikes behind home growing up, YOU encourage me today as YOU did then!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alabama Nature Center - 9/15/2007

Hike: Alabama Nature Center - Millbrook, AL - 09/15/2007 11:45-14:15
All three trails (Hilltop Pass, Turkey Ridge, Still Creek Run).
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Very warm, mostly sunny, moderate breeze, not quite as humid.
Thoughts: Great hike! A little later in the day than I normally do, thanks to having to go in at work for a while. (I also helped scatter dirt at church for a while after work.) Several beautiful butterflies out today; couple of small (and fast) lizards, and several different birds. A few people fishing at the pond in Still Creek Run area. LORD, YOU refreshed my spirit and body today! Please help me stay focused on YOU and disciplined during this demanding month-long outage. Help me learn what YOU have for me in all this.

Cherokee Ridge - South Loop

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail - South Loop - Lake Martin, AL, 09/03/2007, 10:00-12:00
Distance: 3 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Very warm; muggy; mostly to partly cloudy
Thoughts: Planned to hike Swayback Bridge Trail but too many mountain bikers present - so switched to South Loop Trail here instead. Good choice! Very good hike. Thank YOU, LORD. Just me and YOU on the trail today. It was great to finish this trail strong. It would usually tax my strength at the end with its continual ascent. Getting stronger?!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You Just Never Know What's Going on Underneath...

A good friend of mine forwarded this to me today... GOD sent me encouragement via e-mail (and it was just what I needed today!). Take a moment to consider the truth here:

The Fern & the Bamboo

One day I decided to quit....I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality.....I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
"God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"
His answer surprised me.... "Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"
"Yes", I replied.
"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo". He said. "In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit."
He said. "Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle."
He said to me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. Don't compare yourself to others." He said. "The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern, yet, they both make the
forest beautiful."
"Your time will come, "God said to me." You will rise high!"
"How high should I rise?" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.
"As high as it can?" I questioned.
"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."

Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you Happiness.
Bad days give you Experiences.
Both are essential to life.

Keep going...
Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failures keep you Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going!

GOD is too wise to be mistaken..
GOD is too good to be unkind...
So when you don't understand..
When you don't see HIS plan...
When you can't trace HIS hand...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Deadening Trail with My Brother!

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail - Deadening Trail, Lake Martin, AL 08/25/2007 late afternoon
Conditions: Clear, hot, muggy, T-storm came up
Distance: 2.5 miles
Rating: 4.5/5.0
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult. Some steep sections, pine straw made footing precarious in some areas.
Thoughts: Hiked with Glenn! Did trail in reverse direction. Glenn's first hike since childhood, I guess. I believe he enjoyed it - I know I enjoyed hiking with him. Hope to do more together. Cut the hike a little short due to lightening storm that came up quickly. We got wet before getting back to Jeep. Great views of lake, stone outcroppings, Eye of the Needle, and a fawn that almost ran into us on the trail! Thank YOU, LORD for all this wonder.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dreamy Draw Trails

Hike: Trail #220 (Nature Trail), Dreamy Draw Recreation Area, Phoenix AZ
Date: 08/16/2007 18:00-19:00
Conditions: Hot, stiff breeze helped cool things off a bit.
Distance: 2 miles
Rating: 4.5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: Greatly enjoyed this mostly easy hike in the Dreamy Draw area. Impressive views of the west side of Piestewa Peak and the plains on this side of the mountain. Saw huge Jack Rabbit near halfway point of the hike. Took many pics of the vistas and a few closeups of cacti. GOD, YOU got me off the trail just in time for darkness. Sunset comes quickly here!

Papago Park

Hike: Papago Park, Elliot Trail, Phoenix, AZ
Date: 08/16/2007 11:00-12:00
Conditions: Very hot ~ 110F
Distance: 2 miles
Rating: 4.5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: First 0.5 miles on paved (black asphalt). Rest of trail is natural surface. Well marked for this area and easily found. Very nice park. Red buttes offer a unique experience. They are pock-marked with small indentions - like little caves (shallow). Area is quite open - one can see for great distances. Would be impossible to get lost. Also went to the zoo ($14). Well maintained. Lots of animals were in the shade - don't blame them. Stopped by Desert Botanical Gardens on way out ($10). Well organized. Impressive collection of desert flora from around the world. Enjoyed the walk through the gardens as best I could. It was blazing hot and I was out of water. I bought a can of Fresca in the vending area and downed it in just a couple of minutes. Last time I remember drinking a Fresca was when I almost overheated at Summer band camp (that was just a few years ago).

Superstition Wilderness

Hike: Nature Walk, Lost Dutchman State Park, Superstition Wilderness, Apache Junction, AZ
Date: 8/15/2007 19:00-19:30
Conditions: Trail/Nature display area is at entrance to Park. Very well maintained, wide, level trail through desert flora. Major flora identified by pylons and plaques.
Distance: 0.5 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Very easy; difficulty was getting there in the evening rush hour traffic of Phoenix!
Thoughts: Took a lot longer to get here than I thought. Traffic was horrible. Trip was worth it! Didn't have time to hike the trail I had planned, but YOU had something better in mind, LORD. The experience of the sunset over the Superstition ridgeline and the wide open Sonoran landscape really touched my spirit. At the same time, I was calmed and excited. Doesn't make sense - but it is an accurate description. Praise YOUR name, O GOD.

South Mountain Park Phoenix, AZ

Hike: Holbert Trail, South Mountain Park, Phoenix, AZ
Date: 8/14/2007
Conditions: Hi today of 105F. 18:00-19:00
Distance: 2
Rating: 4
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: Great views, trail markers much better here than at Piestewa Peak but still lacks. Some steep and rocky sections. met 4 people on this trail into a box canyon. Wonderful vistas of Phoenix and Piewstewa Peak in the distance. O LORD, my GOD, how great THOU art. Help me to hear and learn all that YOU have for me. What truths are hidden here?

Piestewa Peak Freedom Trail

Hike: Freedom Trail, Piestewa Peak, Phoenix Mountain Preserve
Date: 8/13/2007
Conditions: Blistering hot during the day. Highs up to 112F or more. Had to hike much later than I would normally due to heat.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Rating: 4
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Thoughts: Darkness caught me on the mountain side (which I expected). Flashlights worked well. Problem was the trails are not clearly marked (especially for night hiking) and many gravel washes look like the trail at night. Near the end of the trail, I took a wrong turn on an unsigned trail. Came out on 23rd Street in a residential area instead of the Preserve parking area. (Was not expecting that and had no neighborhood or roadmap with me.) I inquired at a home about directions back to park and the owner, Herbert Weisman, insisted on driving me back. Was about a mile away from park. LORD GOD, I love and worship YOU. This country is harsh and hot, but YOU provide in the midst of difficulty! YOU have always proven YOURSELF loving, protecting, and providing for me. I praise YOUR name.

Grand Canyon

Hike: Grand Canyon: Bright Angel Trail and Rim Trail
Date: 8/12/2007
Conditions: Cool in morning. Sunny and warm until after lunch, then hot. T-storms in late afternoon on east end of canyon.
Distance: Bright Angel Trail - 4 miles // Rim Trail - 3 miles
Rating: 5/5 (What else could it be?)
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous (Bright Angel Trail) / Easy to Moderate (Rim Trail)
Thoughts: One of my Life To Do List items! This was an indescribable experience. It is very difficult to put in writing what one experiences when looking at the Grand Canyon. I am impressed with the beauty, power, and timelessness of the canyon. One is overpowered by the magnificence of it all. My thoughts go the the CREATOR of this masterpiece - to praise and glorify YOU, LORD GOD. And to thank YOU for making such as this for me! I am also thankful that YOU turned me around at the 2 mile point of Bright Angel Trail - it was difficult enough from that point! Even carrying lots of water, I think I was not drinking enough.
The views from all areas of the canyon are simply awe-inspiring. I was also impressed and pleased to see the variety and number of wildlife on the rim and inner canyon. Birds (some gorgeous song birds), squirrels, chipmunks, and small lizards wee in great abundance.
"O GOD, YOU are more awesome than YOUR holy places. The GOD of Israel is HE who gives strength and power to HIS people. Blessed be GOD!" (Psalm 68:35)

Nature Trail #304 Hike

Hike: Phoenix Mountain Preserve Nature Trail #304
Date: 8/11/2007
Conditions: Very hot - even in the shadow of the mountains. 18:00-19:00
Distance: 1.5 miles
Rating: 4
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: Trails everywhere in this park. Not as well marked as they could be. Many birds (flying as well as ground birds) and lots of small lizards present. Park offers some impressive views. A warm up hike on my arrival day in Phoenix. This peak is not far from my Hilton. Found that the dry desert heat is still hot! Hydration is extremely important.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Arizona Trip!

I am excited about my Arizona trip this coming week. My plans are to pack just as much hiking and getting outdoors in this Honeywell Training week as is possible. I am especially excited about spending the day at the Grand Canyon on Sunday, one of my "Life To Do List" items. After talking to people who have been there and looking at countless pictures and maps, I am anticipating the event even more. Intellectually, I know what to expect; but I am sure my mind is not prepared for the sights I will see. There is no substitute for personal experience.

I pray that GOD will work in my heart and spirit in a special way during this week. Some time away from the daily stresses and grind of work will be a welcomed relief. Hopefully, my mind, body, and spirit will be refreshed and energized by this coming week.

I will miss my family and my faith family very much, but I will carry everyone in my heart into the Grand Canyon, the Superstition Wilderness, and other areas I plan to visit! Wish everyone could go with me.

About through with all my packing... picked up an additional SD Card and batteries for the digital camera this morning. Plan to attend Crystal's Radiology School Graduation tonight and then recheck everything for an early Delta flight tomorrow from Dannelly International Airport!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Open My Eyes

Hike: Mountain Creek, Sat., 07/28/2007 10:00-12:00
Conditions: Hot! Mostly sunny, very muggy, calm.
Distance: 4 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Thoughts: Late start, was out until 01:00 callout from #1 Paper Machine. Changed camera settings to "Best" quality (150 pics/card). Saw so many things I had never observed before! YOU really opened up my eyes today, LORD. Velvet ant on trail creekside, several White Oaks in the riparian hardwood forest (how did I miss those before?). Message for tomorrow "Open My Eyes" (Acts 26:18)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Alabama Nature Center - July 21 Hike

Hike: Alabama Wildlife Federation Nature Center, Millbrook, AL 08:00-12:00
Conditions: Mostly sunny, hot, muggy, light breeze
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Thoughts: Time included Nature Photography Seminar from 10:00-11:00. Enjoyable hike. A little more people on trails than last time due to photography seminar. Hiked some of the trails reverse to last time. Thank YOU, LORD for this place and for YOUR communion. Sermon topic for tomorrow, "Highway in the Wilderness" (Isa. 40:3)!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Washing Machine Blues (maybe a little off topic)

There are some things in life that we just don't pay much attention to unless they're not working... Yes, you guessed it; one of those is the washing machine. I can't say I think about it very much - at least not until yesterday when I had to work on it! It's amazing how we have come to expect all of these "modern conveniences" and how much stress they can cause when we no longer have access to them. I mean think about it, how many people in the world do not have access to washing machines - they seem to survive just fine. I'm afraid that we in the West have become too accustomed to having our desires met (not just our needs). Perhaps we need to focus more on what is really important.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mountain Creek Late Afternoon Hike

Hike: Mountain Creek - Hardwood and Pine Forest Trails, Saturday, 7/14/2007 18:00-19:00CDT
Conditions: Cloudy, warm, muggy, a few sprinkles
Distance: 2 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Easy
Late afternoon hike. Mostly cloudy and a few sprinkles. Comfortable hike. Shadows growing deeper in the hardwood forest due to time and clouds. No one else in the park. When I go this late, I'm always thinking about "what time are they going to lock the gates?" Very tranquil time. Good time to reflect on how YOU have blessed so much during this past week of VBS; most students and workers we have had in 10 years!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cherokee Ridge - Deadening Trail

Hike: Deadening Trail, Cherokee Ridge, 07/07/2007, 08:30-12:00
Conditions: Cloudy, warm, muggy, on-off again sprinkling rain.
Distance: approximately 4 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Thoughts: Finally found this trail! They put out signs. Clouds and rain made it so much more enjoyable. Wonderful and exhilarating hike. Jasmine & Lichen Bluff (great overlook where I took a break), Needle's Eye (bouldered through the eye of the needle), Dark Cove, great views of Tallapoosa River cliffs, awesome rock formations and cliffs, beautiful hardwoods, vistas of Lake Martin, and birds (heard turkey on way out). Difficult but so worth it. Thank YOU, LORD, for surprising me with this new trail!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Freedom Hike - Mtn. Creek

Hike: 30-Jun-2007 07:00-09:00 CDT
Conditions: Sunny, very warm, quite muggy.
Distance: 4 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Easy
Thoughts: Had the park to myself. Saw everyone going Kayaking off this morning at church (I'm on call and can't go.). Went straight to park to hike. Best hiking time during this season of year. Many songbirds out! Crows very vocal today. Lots of tracks (dog, bobcat?, coyote, fox). Smelled skunk strongly in Pine Upland - didn't see him though (thankfully!) Park received some desperately needed rain the last few days. Some oaks showing signs of drought stress.
Thank YOU for this time with YOU in YOUR creation. This is so good for my spirit! It is so very good to get "away" from the busy-ness and demands placed on me daily. These hikes, LORD, are even better for my spirit than for my body. Thank YOU for the Freedom that YOU alone give.
Message tomorrow from Isa. 58:6-9.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Christian Stress Relief

I can’t take credit for these… a friend forwarded them to me. The originator is unknown but the ideas are solid!


1. Pray

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your schedule, or that will
compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and unclutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over
time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find
out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key
buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent
an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.

18. Eat right.

19. Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality
of life.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems
in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often
a good "Thank you Jesus."

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.

33. Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the

36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that
you've never been grateful for before.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Alabama Nature Center

Hike: Alabama Nature Center, Millbrook, AL 6/16/2007 08:15-11:15
Distance: 6 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Sunny, hot, humid. Trails very well maintained and marked, wide with chipped wood or gravel surface. Numerous boardwalks and viewing platforms. Nature center divided into three trail and habitat areas: Hardwood Upland, Transition mixed forest, and Riparian forest. Very nice pavilion anchors the center area.
Thoughts/Observations: One boardwalk into tree canopy in Hardwood upland area. Saw grey squirrel, numerous songbirds, and heard turkey. Enjoyed the great stand of white oaks in Hilltop Trail area. Dad called me on cell px during this time - GrandDad Teal made baskets (feed baskets, cotton baskets, etc.) out of White Oaks when Dad was a kid. I never knew that. Wish I had some of the baskets he had made. Good crowd of people at the pavilion for the snake demonstration at 11:00. This is a "world class" area. Privileged to have such a place as this so close. LORD, help us to be good stewards of the creation YOU have entrusted us with.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

June 9 Hikes

Hike: Mountain Creek 6/9/2007, 08:15-09:45
Distance: 3 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Conditions: Sunny; very warm; muggy; very light breeze
Thoughts: Scared up small doe in brush pile as I entered the trails area. Many song birds out today - woods filled with their songs. Looks like park got a little rain the other day. We certainly needed it. We are desperate for rain, LORD. Summer is upon us; hot and humid. Mimosa are in full bloom. As delicate as they look, they handle the drought very well.

Hike: Kymulga Historic Grist Mill Park, Childersburg, AL 6/9/2007, 15:00-17:00
Distance: 1 mile Left Nature Trail
Rating: 4 {Stately riparian Hardwood forest. Tall Beech and Yellow Poplar Trees dominate. Champion Sugarberry stand}
Difficulty: Easy. Trails all level, wide, and well maintained. Surface is dirt and grass. Not well marked.
Conditions: Sunny, hot, humid (of course, it's Alabama in June)
Thoughts: Hiked Left Nature Trail with Kathy. Saw "family" of three armadillos up close. Kathy had never seen a live armadillo before! Trail all level and well maintained. Not marked. Champion Sugarberry trees not located (at least not signed). Small park, but nice riparian area. Would be a good place for a picnic during cooler weather.

Mountain Creek 6/2/07 Hike

Date: 06/02/2007, 11:30-13:00 (late start due to being called in by Paper Machine)
Distance: 3 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Conditions: Mostly cloudy, warm, very light breeze
Thoughts: Thank YOU, LORD, for giving me this time and this place. Please speak to my heart. I keep getting all kinds of ideas for Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions. YOU are stirring my heart. What should I do? I would love to reach out and touch people with YOUR love and truth through natural expeditions and fellowships. Open doors, LORD. Help me to clearly see and hear and then act on YOUR urging. (Micah 6:8 "What's Required?")

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mountain Creek

Hike: Mon (Memorial Day) 5/28/2007 0930-1100
Conditions: Hazy; mild to warming quickly; light breeze
Distance: 2 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Thoughts: This place is so peaceful. YOU refresh my spirit here, dear LORD. Saw pair of yellow-greenish birds (about size of large sparrow). They just kept staying around me on one portion of the hike. They didn't make noise. Just moved from one branch to another around me (sometimes just a little over arm's reach). Seemed to be studying me! I named them Emily & Jonny!

Ft. Toulouse Hike

Time: 5/25/2007 9:30-11:00.
Sunny, hot, haze from wildfires in GA.
3 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Enjoyable hike. Lots of people in campgrounds but not any on trails. River levels low from drought. Found new trail cut near Tallapoosa River. Thank YOU, LORD for this place and especially for YOUR fellowship. I am thankful for the peace YOU bring into my life. It is wonderful to experience and enjoy YOUR creation.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge Hike

Date: 5/12/2007 0930-1300
Conditions: Mostly sunny, hot.
5 miles
Rating: 5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (Heat, Distance, Stream Crossing)
Good number of people using this NWR for recreation - mostly swimming and canoeing. Hiked trail next to Cahaba River. Saw the Cahaba Lilies in full bloom! Thank YOU, LORD - I have been wanting to see these lilies in person for some time. Waded out into the Cahaba for close up pics of the Lilies and to actually touch one. Saw many lizards and birds; one snake (King snake, I think) and fish. Enjoyable hike (but should have taken more than one bottle of water - it is summer in Alabama). This one rates a return trip with the kayak!

Wehle Nature Center

Carried Kathy to the Dept of Conservation/Natural Resources annual Plant Fest at the Land Conservation Center on Sat, 5/5/2007. Great site! Cabins and vendors. Had good talk with Lands Div Biologist about birds, the Land Center, other ForeverWild tracts, and hikes. Picked up some good reading material about Wildlife Refuges, etc. Plan to return to the Nature Center to hike at a later date. Miles of trails and areas for canoeing/kayaking or horseback riding to be explored. Almost a secret area!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Little River Canyon Expedition

Our "Expedition" (read that: Vacation) to the Little River Canyon area of NE Alabama was wonderful. Such beauty and peace - a very real time of refreshing. Vacation for just Kathy and myself... 'empty nest' in practice.

Hikes: (1) The Wilderness of Mentone (2) Little River Canyon National Preserve (3) DeSoto State Park
Distances: (1) 4 miles total (2) Diving/Hiking tour of the Rim (3) 11 miles total
Ratings: (1) 3.5 (2) 5+ (3) 5
Conditions: All hikes were sunny and mild. Glorious weather for the entire week. Mornings and late evenings were cool (long sleeves), but afternoons were sunny and warm. Little cloud cover most of week. Stars were visible through glass patio doors from our cabin bedroom! Waterfalls were full and beautiful. Hiked to all main falls in DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon NP. Drove to DeSoto Falls but somehow missed the trail with Icebox Cave.
Thoughts: A great time of refreshing and inspiration. Was wonderful to get away to such a beautiful area for a week. The Wilderness of Mentone is a Christian Retreat in the making. The Kadesh Cabin (our cabin) is a simple one bedroom cabin with a great view of the pond and property. LORD, YOU really spoke to my heart during this week. Thank YOU for giving me this time and working in my life!

Bibb County Glades Nature Preserve Hike

Distance: about 2 miles
Rating: 4/5
Conditions: 10:00-12:00. Sunny and very warm.
Thoughts: Advertised as the most biologically diverse place in Alabama. Numerous species of plants from trees to small wildflowers that I had never seen before! Little Cahaba River runs through the preserve (owned by Nature Conservancy). Rocky outcroppings on the hillsides and near the river. Small gnats were plentiful. Ticks were also out. Trails were not well marked nor maintained. But this IS a wild place and it was beautiful! I plan to return for a longer visit when I can gather more info on the area or perhaps during Winter (when insects and vegetation are less). Thank YOU, LORD for areas such as this. Help us to be good stewards of what YOU entrust us with.