Life Verse:

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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflection on 2010 and Thoughts on 2011

While not a distinctly Christian world view, the thoughts from Steve Casimiro of Adventure Life here are worth noting. As we each reflect over last year and the things that really motivate us and that we measure the value of life by, lets turn our hearts and minds to HIM who is LIFE. "11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" {Jer 29:11-13 (NKJV)}

I pray that 2010 has been a pivotal year for you and that 2011 will see you drawing closer to knowing (personally) what the TRUE meaning of Life is all about!

All my love to each of you. May you have a blessed and joyous year!


Hello, Future: "

Post image for Hello, Future

This is a time for reflection, reinforcement, and renewal. It’s the end of one chapter and beginning of another, and most of us leading even a semi-conscious life are thinking about the successes and failures of the past year and looking forward to a fresh start in the new one. For me, this season has been particularly introspective, and I find myself remembering an exercise I conducted 15 or so years ago, where you write down what you would do if you knew you had a year to live, then six months, then a month.

I wrote down all manner of adventures I wanted to pack in before I packed out. Sky diving. Visit Antarctica. Feel the wind sweeping across Patagonia. There were nods to time with family, especially in the “one month” version, but mostly it was a life list of self-gratifying outdoor pursuits. Ski deep powder, ride misty singletrack.

A decade and a half later, that exercise would produce far different results. I’ve ticked off many of my goals, and funny enough, the list of what I’d like to do before I die has grown longer, but what I actually would do has changed fundamentally. Yes, I’d want one more top to bottom blowerfest of sweet and deep, but all I’d really want is to be with my family and friends, doing what they love and, if possible, taking them to the places and pursuits I love with the hopes of sharing my passion and hunger for all things outdoors.

Fifteen years down the road, I realize that this isn’t just an idle intellectual gymnastics session.

2010 HAS NOT BEEN THE BEST OF YEARS FOR YOURS TRULY. My employer, National Geographic Adventure, went out of business a little over a year ago. A nagging knee injury severely diminished my ability to run and ride. A house remodel has dragged on for an eternity, a challenge when both of us work from home, we’ve slept on the floor for much of the time, and been without heat for months.

Worst of all by far, however, was that someone very close to me was diagnosed last spring with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer. If you’ve been through this, you know how draining, bewildering, and emotional it is. The roller coaster of hope and despair, the frustration of impotence, the inability to wish it, pray it, or take it away.

Throughout all of this, I have spent much of the year thinking about Aron Ralston, a man who was trapped in his own struggle over life and death, due to my work on the production of 127 Hours, the movie about Aron’s experience in Blue John Canyon, Utah, and I have asked or considered the question “If your arm was pinned by a boulder and your only hope of survival was to cut it off, could you do it?” many times. It’s an essential, existential question, but I realize, too, that thinking about it isn’t just an idle intellectual gymnastics session, either. Even if not immediately visible, we all have points in our lives where we decide to suffer or to give up, and being clear headed about it makes the path more manageable even if not particularly palatable.

Chemotherapy…it is, as you likely know, a scorched earth attack on cancer, and it leaves you sick and exhausted, your beautiful hair gone and your spirit pummeled. I watched as she cut away parts of herself with the hopes of survival, and only now, as I look back at year’s end, do I see the parallels with Aron trapped in a canyon and only one way out. I say the answer to the question almost universally is “yes” — or maybe “YES!” — yes, I would cut my arm off to live. Yes, you would cut your arm off to live. The spirit to survive, to continue on, is the most powerful force we have. There is nothing more precious than life, and threats to it bring out unimagined strengths. A person will endure almost anything. I know this because I’ve seen it.

THE QUESTION, OF COURSE, IS WHAT YOU DO WITH THE TIME YOU’RE GIVEN. That’s what the year to live exercise is all about and that’s what’s so potentially motivating about the turning of a calendar page. And so as I look forward, I also look back for perspective. 2010 was a tough, tough year, but even within the challenges and uncertainty and sadness, there was joy and laughter and adventure. My kids, who are beach rats, got to swim in mountain lakes, scramble on the flanks of Mt. Rainier, and play in summer snow. We surfed. We slept outside, made smores, and counted shooting stars.

Last month, my son and I went with friends aboard their boat and spent a few days and nights scuba diving, kayaking, and fishing. On the return, we passed through a huge pod of dolphins, hundreds of them surfing in our wake and leaping from the ocean with what looked to us like curiosity and happiness. I wanted to get in the water with them, but if we stopped the boat the dolphins disappeared, diving into the depths or passing us by out of sight. So I had an idea: I scrambled into my wetsuit, put on mask and snorkel, jumped into the Pacific, and had the boat pull me with its tow rope. Sure enough, those beautiful swimmers came back. They porpoised in the wake just a few yards away, and a half dozen swam just a few feet below me, rolling from side to side to look up and check me out. It was so cool.

It was cool, but it wasn’t what I remember best, nor was it what was most important about the experience. Rather, it was the unselfconsciously overjoyed shouts of my 13-year-old son as he watched them surround us and the warmth of his shoulder as we pressed against each other at the bow for a better look. It was seeing the light in his eyes and the awe on his face and then later hearing him gush to tell the story to his mother and sister.

It is our nature to think we’ll live forever — our “endless numbered days” as Iron & Wine puts it. That indomitable hope is one of our great strengths, and I don’t spend my time in maudlin despair that I won’t actually live forever, nor am I trying to be a buzz kill for you. But an eye to the end is a strong motivator for the present, and that’s not such a bad thing. For most of my life, my priorities have revolved around fresh air, motion, and chasing snowflakes, singletrack, waves, and finding lines up rock. It’s no exaggeration to say that adventure saved me, and I have faith that the next year will be filled with unexpected delights in the outdoors. But as I think about how I’ll be spending my time, as I think about the will to survive and the things we give up to move forward, as I think about what they’ll say after I’m gone and what’s on my list, I’m driven by the knowledge that it isn’t what you pass through in life that matters, it’s what you pass on.

Peace, best wishes, and happy new year,



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ever seen the Casio GzOne?

A friend of mine at work has one of these... had never seen one before but it looks great.  Rugged, water resistant to 1 meter, and with Casio GzOne features like Digital Compass, Pedometer, Astral Calendar, Star Map, Tide Calculator, etc... it would be "right up my alley".  Nelson said he was in the pool for over an hour last summer before he realized he still had his phone clipped to his side.  After sitting it aside to let all the water dry off the speaker and mic the phone was still fully functional. 

As Will Smith said, "I got to get me one of these!"

I may have to keep the 0619 number active and replace the old Motorola W385 with this one... ;-o

Just Had to Go Through the Mud Puddle!

I just had to share this picture from The Daily Bike... Looks like the young girl did not want to get her white shoes dirty even though she just "had to go through" the mud puddle! Reminds me of someone I know... Enjoy!

The Daily Bike, December 29, 2010: "

Post image for The Daily Bike, December 29, 2010


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Swayback Bridge Trail - 12/28/2010

Hike: Swayback Bridge (Red Trail), Wetumpka, AL, Tue., 12/28/2010, 09:45-12:45
Distance: 7 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Clear.  Perfect sunshine.  Mid 40s to low 50s.  Wind calm to light.  Trails a little wet but not muddy.  Ground "busted up" by ice in some portions but no problems with footing.  Swamp at trail head had a great deal of thin ice still on top.

 Last opportunity to hike over the Christmas holidays.  The trails were peaceful, though I had more company today.  First time in my experience that hikers out-numbered mountain bikers on this trail.  Only saw 2 bikers but there were about 7 other hikers. 

Quite a few passarines flitting about today.  They were probably looking for food.  All of them seemed plump and well-fed - a necessity for survival in cold weather.  It is amazing to think how all of the wild animals endure such frigid temperatures as we experienced last night.  GOD provides for them.  They depend on HIM

My mind was working overtime today.  Lots to consider and "mull over".  I also spent most of the time in prayer & praise - so much so that one of the mountain bikers was on me before I knew he was behind me.  Good thing he called out or I might have been "run over".  Thought a lot about the Outdoor Ministry at Church.  My GOD, YOU know how hard this is.  It feels like my heart is being slowly torn out.  One verse (of several that went through my mind) really stuck with me this morning.  "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18).  I am leaning on YOU, LORD.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cold December Morning Hike - Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail

Hike: North & South Loop, Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail, Kowliga, AL, Mon. 12/27/2010, 11:00-13:30
Distance: 4.0 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Beautiful sunshine - clear winter day.  Temps in upper 30's, wind ~ 11mph made for a chilly hike.  Trails in good condition with a few blow-downs to navigate over.  Lots of hardwood leaves still on the ground means take care with footing in downhill areas.

Wonderful hike.  It was a gorgeous, sunshine-filled day.  The cold temps (made a little colder by a moderate wind) were not too bad -- I had dressed appropriately.  The forest was a very quiet and serene place today.  Just me, GOD, and one armadillo.  (Guess GOD gave the armadillo armor rather than good eyesight and hearing.  I was within 2 feet of the little fellow before he heard me.  After I spoke to him, he grunted loudly, jumped up, and ran off!) 

A little snow still under the pines.  It was a special treat to see the white powder sprinkled over the pine straw of the upper ridge portions.  Some long icicles were hanging from the "cave". 

First opportunity I have had to hike since early in the month.  Thank YOU, LORD, for YOUR love and care; for this beautiful treasure of YOUR creation; and for the assurance of a future.  Thank YOU that YOU think about me!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nature Photo of the Week: Pinnacles Desert Rainbow

To me this is a surreal photograph... a rainbow against a dark sky contrasted with the barren wasteland of desert below. Beautiful picture that I wanted to share with you.

Nature Photo of the Week: Pinnacles Desert Rainbow: "

Apparently, you have to capture a double rainbow to get 15 minutes of fame these days. But this is still one gorgeous shot taken by Flickr user Kyle Hammons at Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia’s Nambung National Park. Thanks for sharing it through The Nature Conservancy’s Flickr Group!

Total Lunar Eclipse - Dec. 21, 2010

I try to keep you informed of important celestial events as part of our Outdoor Ministry.  Psalms 19:1 tells us that "The heavens declare the glory of GOD".  In the very early morning hours of December 21 there will be such a display. 

Starting at 12:33am CST 12/21/2010 (that is a little after midnight the night of 12/20/2010) the last total lunar eclipse visible this far north for centuries will begin.  Total eclipse should start at 1:41am CST and will end at 2:53am CST.  There will not be another total lunar eclipse this far north in the sky dome until December 21, 2485!  This eclipse also occurs almost simultaneously with the Winter Solstice. 

I know it will be difficult for many of you to view because of the time of night/early morning.  But for those that make the extra effort and brave the chilly air they will be witnesses to the "heavens declaring the glory of GOD"!  I hope you get to see it.

For additional information see:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Leaf-cutter ants switch jobs when they get worn out

The biologist in me thinks this is a fascinating article. GOD designed these ants for a specific purpose. Now we find that they "switch careers" when their razor-sharp mandibles get dull. We serve an awesome GOD!


Leaf-cutter ants switch jobs when they get worn out: "

When leaf-cutter ants wear out their cutting mandibles, they switch jobs, according to a new study published in December 2010. Researchers from the University of Oregon found that as leaf-cutter ants get older, their razor-like mandibles – those little appendages near the ant’s mouth – get dull, they cut through leaves half as fast and spend twice the energy doing it. Eventually, they transition from cutting leaves to the job of carrying leaves.

As you would expect, cutting leaves is a big part of a leaf-cutter ant’s life. Found mostly in Central and South America, leaf-cutter ants harvest fresh leaves and carry them in pieces back to their nests, where they grow an edible fungus on the leaves. The fungus is the main source of food for the colony. If you’ve ever stumbled across a leafy stream of these ants headed from a leaf back to their colony, you’ve probably marveled at the tireless determination of these creatures – especially if you know that the leaves they’re carrying can be up to several times their body weight.

How do ants walk upside down?

The scientists had suspected that very small organisms, like leaf-cutter ants, experience a lot of wear on their “tools” because they are cutting on such a small surface area. The team created an instrument that could measure the force required to slice a leaf with a mandible, and observed the time it took the ants to cut the leaves. The time varied depending on how worn down their mandibles were. In their paper, the scientists wrote that if all of the ants’ mandibles were in pristine condition, it would have taken them half as much time to cut up their leaves. They also observed for the first time that wear on mandibles affects the division of tasks – which ants carry leaves versus cutting leaves.

The researchers are not sure exactly how ants decide to switch careers, but it makes their miniature society more efficient. The title of the paper, in case you are wondering, is wonderfully self-explanatory: “Leaf-cutter ants with worn mandibles cut half as fast, spend twice the energy, and tend to carry instead of cut.”

--End Quote--

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gear Box: Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife By Gerber

Okay... guess I'm a little surprised that someone has not made a Bear Grylls or Les Stroud knife before, but seems Gerber now has one just in time for Christmas! Gerber does make a good knife. This one sounds like it would be no different. This entry comes from "The Adventure Blog"...

--Begin Quote--

Gear Box: Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife By Gerber: "
If you've been reading my blog for awhile, and especially my gear reviews, then you probably already know that I'm a fan of Gerber Tools and Knives. I've reviewed several of their multitools and found them all to be excellent pieces of kit that are worthy of being in your pack, and I've even given a couple of their great products away. So, you know that I was eager to get my hands on one of their new knives in their Survival Series, endorsed by none other than Bear Grylls himself.

The fine folks at Gerber passed along one of their Folding Sheath Knives, which falls under the Survival Series banner. The knife bares the distinctive 'BG' logo of the British television personality and adventurer and has his name scrawled across the blade, but the rest of it is all Gerber. From the moment I took it out of the package I as very impressed with not only how light it was, but also how comfortable to hold and sturdy it felt. The ergonomically designed rubber grip-handle feels perfect in the hand, and makes it easy to cut through just about anything.

This knife comes with a 3.6' high carbon stainless steel blade that is serrated on the lower half. When locked into place it feels secure and tight, but is easy to open when necessary. When the blade is closed, it slides nicely into the included sheath, and at a combined weight of just 5.3 oz, you barely know you're carrying the thing when you put it on your belt. (The knife alone weighs in at just 4.3 oz in case you're wondering.) A small, paper foldout 'Priorities of Survival' pocket guide rounds out package.

In my tests of the Folding Sheath Knife, I found that it easily cut through just about anything I threw at it, including rope, plastic, and cloth. After repeated use, the blade remained quite sharp, doing a nice job of holding an edge.

With the new Bear Grylls Survival Series, Gerber has another line of great products on their hands. I predicted that these knives are going to be very popular amongst the outdoor crowd. With Christmas just a few weeks off at this point, this knife would make a great stocking stuffer for outdoor enthusiast on your list. Big thumbs up on this product. (MSRP: $42.50)
--End Quote--

South African Kayaker Presumed Dead After Crocodile Attack

I love to explore remote, wild, and natural areas on a kayak; to commune with GOD and drink in the serenity of HIS Creation. This report from Central Africa reminds us though that we are not the "masters" of Creation. Always be ready - one never knows when our soul may be required of us. Prayers and thoughts to the family of this adventurer. - South African Kayaker Presumed Dead After Crocodile Attack

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail - Hike with Glenn

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail (North-South Loop), Sat. 12/4/2010, 09:00-12:00
Distance: 4.0 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Conditions: Mostly to partly cloudy.  Moderate breeze through the pine tops becoming a little blustery at times.  Moderate waves on the lake, but no whitecaps.  Temps in upper 50's.  Comfortable while hiking, but would be cool if you were not moving.  No one else on trails.  Trails in good condition.  Lots of leaves down and had to watch your step on descents.

Met Glenn at DQ on AL-14 and he rode with me to the trail head.  Great day for hiking.  Nice and cool (with the wind) but not cold enough to need a jacket or heavy clothing.  First time I've hiked with my brother in several months - enjoyed it a great deal.

Many passarines (as usual) were busy in the forest.  Observed crow and turkey vulture.  Did not scare up any whitetail deer this time.  Most of the deciduous leaves are on the ground but there was a little color still left in the forest.  These stood out even more so amongst the green, brown, and gray of late Fall.  A few hardy yellow wildflowers were still in bloom and posed nicely for my camera.  The typical fluffy white or gray tufts of various grasses were also in abundance along the trails. 

While hiking along the lake shore, we were treated to a sailing regatta.  Seven or eight sailboats were playing about in the middle of the lake (including the one with the American flag sail).  I stopped for a while to watch and snap pictures.  I do so want to take sailing lessons one of these days.  I still have a dream of sailing around the world -- or at least getting lost sailing to unknown tropical islands.  Sounds crazy, I know, but it has been a dream of mine since childhood.  (Anyone ever seen the original "Mysterious Island" or read "Swiss Family Robinson"?)

During the quiet stretches of our hike I recalled some of the Hike Saturday's we have held up here.  They were so amazing.  I hope I can still have times such as that with my friends up here or any where for that matter.

“I think faith can never have a greater victory than when it will trust even in the midst of darkness and doubt and temptation.” -- George McDonald

Friday, December 03, 2010

Serene & Quiet - Hiking Mtn Creek

Hike: Trails at Mountain Creek, Fri., 12/3/2010, 09:15-11:30
Distance: 4.0 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Mostly sunny with a few high, wispy clouds.  Light breeze.  Temps from high 40s to low 60s.  Trails damp but in good shape.  No other people on the trails today.

Though there is ample beauty here, this park has no "great sweeping vistas", no tremendous waterfalls, no jaw-dropping valleys, nor any such sight.  Yet it beckons me like no other place I routinely hike.  It is so peaceful and serene to hike in this park.  It has become my "Retreat"; taking the place of my childhood "fort" and the forest trails I hiked in my teen years behind home.  Very good memories flood my spirit while I travel the trails here -- I am reminded of home and GOD's faithfulness. 

This is my favorite place to "meet with GOD".  Guess that is why I came here to hike today.  I knew it would be quiet and I could have time to talk to HIM about life and reconsider decisions.  HE never fails to comfort my spirit and speak to my heart. 

The forest was very quiet today, just the sound of my footsteps, wind rustling through the tree tops, and the movement of passarines and one startled turkey.  Did see a few squirrels busy storing up food for the winter.  Observed several "treasures" in the forest -- small wildflowers still in bloom, fluffy white seed pods, and a few colored leaves scattered about.  

A very good investment of my time this morning!

Quiet & Still - Hiking at Swayback

Hike: Red Trail, Trail of Legends - Swayback Bridge, Wetumpka, AL, Thu. 12/02/2010, 10:00-13:30
Distance: 7.0 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Beautiful sunshine.  Trails damp but little standing water or mud.  Only one other person encountered during the hike.  Temps in mid 50's.  Wind calm.  County has recently resurfaced road from US231 to trail head parking lot.

Wonderful hike at Swayback.  Kept thinking about Ps. 46:10, "Be still and know that I am GOD."  All of this was balm for my soul.  Had lots of time to pray and think, just to "soak up" the love and fellowship of The FATHER (and I needed it).  We all do.  I spent most of the time thinking about my Family of Faith and the future.

Forest was very still and quiet.  Little breeze to stir the treetops.  Most of the sound was my footsteps in the leaves of the forest floor along with the occasional passerine.  Beech trees were the stars of the show - some were still in their lime-green suits. Lots of pictures taken today.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wonderful 7 mile hike @ Swayback. Full blog post to follow.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Crisp Morning Hike - Mountain Creek

Hike: Trails at Confederate Memorial Park, Mountain Creek, AL - Sat. 11/27/2010 09:00-11:00
Distance: 4 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Gorgeous!  Completely clear, bright, and sunny.  Sun felt warm in the chilly morning air.  Trails in good shape.  Frost lingering in the shady spots.  Recent rains and dampness made the forest floor soft and silent.  Temps in high 30s to low 40s.
No one else on the trails today.  Had a wonderful time to soak up the sun and commune with The SON!  Good time to talk to HIM and think.  Observed several woodpeckers, one was hard at work inside the hollow of a dead, standing pine.  His pecking was slow and methodical.  Sounded like he (or she) was taking great care to "get it just right".  Thought I heard a turkey at least once (though never did see one).  Squirrels busy about their business (as usual).  A little bit of color still left in the forest - mostly yellow and gold, with just a touch of red.  A beautiful and serene place.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hike Saturday - Alabama Wildlife Federation Nature Center, Lanark

Hike: Hilltop Pass and Turkey Ridge Trails, Lanark, Millbrook, AL; Sat. 11/20/2010 08:30-11:30
Distance: 4 miles  Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Easy 
Conditions: Partly cloudy.  Cool, but comfortable.  Little breeze.  Trails in good condition.  Few other people met on the trails.
Hike Saturday with Jon, Amber, and Kathy.  Greeted by two whitetail deer as we entered the Nature Preserve!  Hardwood trees in regal form - mostly golds and yellows in this forest.  A few reds and purples.  White Oaks were especially impressive to me on the summit of Hilltop Pass.  The "camo color" of mixed brown and green leaves is beautiful against the blue sky and their own gray shaggy bark.  Observed a Yellowhammer among the White Oaks near the "pass".  The tree-top boardwalk was enjoyable as always.  Was surprised that we did not observe more birds or squirrels in this area.  Didn't see any turkeys this time either.

We were greeted to a special bloom display along the Turkey Ridge Trail, as some old camellia-type bushes were covered in fragrant lavender blooms.  The bees were loving these bushes!

After 4 miles of trails and some stomach grumbles, we stopped at the Lanark Pavilion to eat our picnic lunch and share a short devotional from Psalms 19 and 99.  We serve an awesome GOD and HE is magnified in HIS Creation.  We just need to look!

Finalists | New7Wonders

Finalists | New7Wonders

How could you choose between these 28 outstanding examples of GOD's creative work? There are some that I would have included that did not "make the list", but it is worth taking time to see these treasures. This organization is attempting to let people decide on the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World. Quite a list. The only one of these (so far) that I have personally visited is the Grand Canyon. But oh how I would so like to see most of them.

What about you? Which one(s) would you want to add to your "Life List".

Monday, November 08, 2010

Nature Photo of the Week: Stormy Sunrise

Nature Photo of the Week: Stormy Sunrise: "

One of those "perfect" settings. How I would love to be on a kayak on this crystal clear lake to experience this sunrise in person! Just had to share it with everyone. Enjoy. +lwt+

Postcard-perfect photo taken by Flickr user Bill Swindaman at Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Fall Hike Mountain Creek

Hike: Mountain Creek Sat. 11/06/2010 08:45-10:45
Distance: 4 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Bright and clear.  Very cool ~ 39 degrees F at beginning of hike.  No one else on the trail (human that is).  Light to moderate breeze.  Light frost in the darker, shaded areas.
A very crisp and bright Autumn morning greeted me as I started my hike at Confederate Memorial Park in Mountain Creek.  Guess it was too cool for most people to be in the park and I had the trails to myself... well at least there were no other humans.  There were many passarines and squirrels in attendance and I was joined on the first half of my hike by a Samoyed.  I had seen him before in the area - believe he lives at the house adjacent to the park.  He tentatively walked up to me as I was getting ready for the trail.  He wasn't sure if I was safe or not.  (Though he weighed almost as much as me -- he was a BIG dog.)  After I spoke softly to him, he decided I would be a good trail friend and he jogged beside me or ahead of me for the first hour of my hike.  Even though he didn't chase squirrels, birds, or rabbits he seemed to enjoy the morning as much as me.

GOD is so good.  Fall mornings such as this really drive the thought home for me.  The beauty, quiet, and harmony of the forest really speak to my spirit.  GOD is magnified in HIS creation.  I feel HIS presence and HIS love tangibly in places such as this. 

I thought about life issues and friends a lot during my hike.  It's great to be able to spend time in places such as this and open my heart and soul to GOD; to know that HE loves me and has plans for me. 

A friend of mine really loves the yellow and gold of Fall.  I took quite a few pictures of yellow and gold Hickories for them today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Expedition #25 - Chief Ladiga Bike Hike

Expedition Type: Bike Hike on Chief Ladiga Rail Trail from Piedmont, AL to GA state line and return, Sat., 10/23/2010 11:00-14:00
Distance: approx. 30 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate (due to mileage)
Conditions: Could not have ordered more perfect conditions!  Beautiful, clear sky.  Moderate temps.  Light breeze.  Trail conditions were great.  Hardwoods of the Piedmont Upland were at 50% or greater in their color change.  Vivid reds, warm yellows, and a smattering of purples, browns, and greens greeted us around every turn and across wide open fields.
This was a fantastic expedition.  Total of twelve people attended.  We experienced wonderful weather, gorgeous vistas, and warm companionship.  GOD is certainly magnified in HIS creation and the Piedmont Upland area is a vivid example of HIS handiwork.  The hardwoods did not disappoint us as we soaked in the grandeur of Autumn.  Terrapin Creek and it's tributaries instilled a serene feeling as they slowly inched their way through the Dugger Mountain Wilderness.  Dugger Mountain itself stood guard to our south as we departed the Eubanks Welcome Center and headed to Georgia.  All along the route we were cocooned in the sounds, smells, and sights of GOD's Autumn works. 

Some of our group had never cycled that distance before, so this expedition was a personal challenge for them as well as a treat.  But they made it!  And I'm betting they're glad they kept cycling.

This expedition gave us all a chance to "get away" as well as an opportunity again to "be still and know GOD".  I trust that we all did.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Now This Is A Climbing Wall!

Now This Is A Climbing Wall!: "We've all seen some pretty cool climbing walls in our time. I've personally seen everything from your standard gym wall to some fairly challenging outdoor walls and even a floating climbing wall. But I've never seen anything like the climbing wall featured in this story over at OhGizmo!

Located in the town of Groningen in the Netherlands, this climbing wall is part of the Klimcentrum Bjoeks, a climbing gym that seems to have plenty to offer every level of climber. The Excalibur wall, as it is known, stands 37 meters (121 ft) in height and offers an overhang of 11 meters (36 ft). According to the story, there are routes on the wall for beginners all the way up to very experienced climbers, and is said to be the tallest climbing wall in the world. Very cool and impressive stuff. Looks like fun!"

Anyone for a "Road Trip"??? <

Monday, October 11, 2010

Google Reveals Its Testing Unmanned Cars on US Streets

Google Reveals Its Testing Unmanned Cars on US Streets

Robotic cars... I don't know if the thought of robotic cars would scare me anymore than having to deal with cars that are piloted by some humans today??? The robots might not be as dangerous... what do you think??? At least the robots would not be taking their "eyes" off the road to send a text message, search for a hair brush, put on make up, or try to read a map!

Leave it to Google to be the one that tests it out. Very interesting article. Enjoy.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Missing Hiker Edward Rosenthal Survives 6 Days Without Food, Water

Missing Hiker Edward Rosenthal Survives 6 Days Without Food, Water

A "Real Life" tale of a hiker who got lost in Joshua Tree National Park while on a day hike. Six days later he is found alive!!! The area of Joshua Tree is desert-like and could quickly claim a life. This man has a lot to be thankful for. GOD was looking after him.

A good reminder to always be prepared - know where you're going (map/compass), leave trip particulars with friends, acquire necessary skills/knowledge, and pack for emergencies!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventure Travel - Horse Pack the Gila Wilderness

Adventure Travel - National Geographic Adventure Blog

I have never tried a "horsepacking" trip but I think it would be a great adventure. Guess it would depend on the horse??? :-) - Odds of Life on Nearby Planet '100 Percent,' Astronomer Says - Odds of Life on Nearby Planet '100 Percent,' Astronomer Says

"24 degrees below zero to 10 degrees Fahrenheit" - I wouldn't call that very hospitable to life. I am surprised that a scientist made a guess and labeled it '100% certain'. GOD is Creator and Sustainer. Who knows what HE has in store in the vast, unfathomable universe.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If James Bond Rode A Bike, It Would Look Like This...

If James Bond Rode A Bike, It Would Look Like This...: Today we have a video of a bike that you would probably find in James Bond's garage, as it comes complete with an ejector seat and flame thrower, and is capable of pedaling through nearly any terrain.

In fact, the bike is actually called the BOND Bike, with BOND standing for Built of Notorious Deterrents. According to the Daily Mail, it was actually put together by an insurance company in the U.K. who surveyed their customers to find out what they least liked about cycling. Their responses, which included potholes, traffic, and thieves, helped to inspire the design, which is at least good for a laugh.

Can't you see yourself cruising down the Chief Ladiga Rail Trail in this "bike tank"?... Wonder how fast it actually would be?... Enjoy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Adventure Travel - National Geographic Adventure Blog

Adventure Travel - National Geographic Adventure Blog

An article to "whet your appetite" for some fantastic kayaking. Can you imagine paddling your kayak into one of these slot canyons; to have sandstone walls rise hundreds of feet above you to a narrow slit of sky as you listen to the almost absolute silence all around you? Another one of GOD's treasures that beckons to be explored...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eagle shot, rescued in Afghanistan to get NY home - WSFA 12 News Montgomery, AL |

Eagle shot, rescued in Afghanistan to get NY home - WSFA 12 News Montgomery, AL |

Another "injured animal" rescued story... Steppe Eagle rescued by Navy SEALS after being shot by Afghan solider... then brought to bird sanctuary in the US. :-)

Dog falls off cliff and survives - WSFA 12 News Montgomery, AL |

Dog falls off cliff and survives - WSFA 12 News Montgomery, AL

Can't imagine what was going through the minds of this couple as they saw their car (with their dog) going over the edge of the caldera into Crater Lake! It was miraculous that the dog survived such an ordeal. A feel good story indeed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dismals Canyon / Natural Bridge

Expedition #24: Hiking/Camping  Dismals Canyon and Natural Bridge Alabama
Hike (1): Afternoon (9/10/2010) hike of the Dismals Canyon
Distance: 3 miles  Rating: 5/5 (How could it be any less?)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (Negotiation of many steep stairs and crevices)
Conditions: Sunny, warm, humid.  Late afternoon hike.  Wind calm.  Almost no one else on trail.
Jon, Amber, and I on this expedition.  Took advantage of our early arrival and explored the deep gorge and canyon of Dismals Canyon.  I half-way expected to see T.Rex emerge from the mist shrouded canyon at any moment as we were surrounded by moss draped rocks and cliffs, numerous large ferns, and more Big Leaf Magnolia than I have ever seen in one place.  Except for the roar of Rainbow Falls and the more gentle cascade of Secret Falls the canyon was mostly quiet.  We explored more cracks and crevices than I can enumerate -- places such as Witch's Cauldron, Dance Palace, The Grotto, and Burr's Hideout.  All around we were cocooned in the verdant green of a primeval forest.  In certain places we would be amazed at the cool, refreshing air that swept over us out of some subterranean crack. You could not help buy wonder what some Native American hundreds or thousands of years ago would have been thinking as he walked through or lived in this resplendent canyon.  I am reminded of Psalms 68:35 " O GOD, YOU are more awesome than YOUR holy places."
Hike (2): Night Hike in Dismals Canyon
Distance: 1 mile  Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (Due to steep stairs and uneven terrain under night (flashlight) conditions.)
Conditions: Mid to upper 70's.  Humid.  Calm.  Trail conditions steep and wet.  Total of 8 people including the guide.
Guided hike from the Country Store down into Dismals Canyon into Burr's Hideout looking for Dismalites (bio luminescent larvae).  The canyon takes on an ethereal feel after dark.  Hiking amid the cracks and crevices of the lower canyon after dark is a unique experience.  Your sense of hearing and touch becomes much more acute since you have limited sight.  We were disappointed at the lower number of Dismalites.  They were reduced by the drier than normal conditions according to the guide.  Rather than hundreds or thousands of them, there were only scores.  They were intriguing none-the-less.  Standing in pitch black darkness you are inexplicably drawn to the soft blue glow of these larvae.  They are truly an astounding creation of GOD.
Hike (3): Natural Bridge, Sat. 9/11/2010  Early afternoon
Distance: 3 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (Due to varying terrain, slippery conditions, rocks)
Conditions: Sunny, very warm, humid.  Trails damp to muddy in places.  Lots of rain in area over last several weeks.  A few other people on trails.
Another spot in Alabama that I had been wanting to see -- can mark it off my list now...  I am so glad we stopped here on the way back.  You can read about Natural Bridge or even see pictures of it, but none of them do it justice.  They cannot adequately convey the sense of amazement and awe you witness as you hike around the corner and see this stone monolith surrounded by primeval forest and highlighted by shafts of early afternoon sunlight.  Long, thin, spindly trees grow up from the cavernous floor through the gaps between the rock bridges.  All around, the rocks weep large drops of water as cascading ferns and mosses soften the sheer rock faces of the ridge line.  Here too I am reminded of "The Land That Time Forgot".

What a special place this is, GOD.  How magnificent YOU are.  YOUR creativity moves me to tears, to wonder, and to inspiration!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hiking Swayback

Hike: Swayback Bridge Trail - Wetumpka, AL - Labor Day 2010 (9/6), 08:15-10:00
Distance: 4 miles  Rating: 4/5   Map Coord: 32.62439/-86.24051
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: 70 degrees.  Beautiful full sunshine.  No clouds around.  Hint of Fall in the air.  Trail conditions dry.  Quite a few mtn bikers on the trails.
A gorgeous day to be out on the trail.  Almost didn't go today... but I'm glad that I did.  I needed the peace and beauty of GOD's forest.  It was soothing to my troubled spirit.

I had to step off-trail for several mtn bikers today, but they did not seriously impact my tranquility.  Sounds and feel of the forest were still intact.  A few Fall wildflowers are beginning their blooms.  Goldenrod is just starting to show indication of flowerettes.  No significant leaf change yet - way too early for this part of the country.  But I am so ready for Fall.  The crispness of the morning air was a welcome relief from the oppressive heat and humidity of the summer.  The "feel of Fall" is welcoming and invigorating.

Scriptures for this morning were from Psalms 86, 87, 91 and John 10-11.  Worship songs on my mind during my hike were "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore THEE" and "Step By Step" (that has become one of my most treasured worship songs of late).  It was good to be hiking with the LORD today.  I'm sure I missed some of the sights/sounds of the hike because I was focused in thought and communion.  I think that's quite all right though.  Some times the greatest sight is spiritual rather than physical.