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 30, 2010

Cherokee Ridge Hike with My Dear Daughter!

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail, Sat., 01/30/2010, 09:19-11:49
Distance: 4.7 miles Rating: 5/5 (What else could it be?)
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Misty. Mist/fog shrouded most of Lake Martin. Big drops of water sporadically drop from the pines making soothing plops on the forest floor. Low 40's. Wind calm.
Diane hiked with me! Did not see the sun at all today but we had a great time - I was warmed by the company of my daughter. First time she has hiked with me in about 3 or 4 years! Got to share some special sights and some of my special places with her. Just seems yesterday she was three years old and driving a pink Barbie jeep around the yard... LORD GOD, YOU, have blessed my life with the love and wonder of my family, with my Family of Faith, and by guiding me to experience YOUR glory revealed through Creation.

Friday, January 29, 2010

C.O.M.E. Commitment in 2010

C.O.M.E. in 2010

Those of you that know me know that I am not one to make “New Year’s Resolutions” – they seem to be too easy to break. So consider this a commitment. I am committed to putting more emphasis on Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions in 2010. In my heart is a spark, I believe GOD has started, for this outreach and ministry using the venue of HIS creation. The opportunities and possibilities with this ministry are limitless for we serve a GOD who is without limits – the CREATOR and SUSTAINER of all seen and unseen things. The opportunity to “get out” and touch these marvels, to experience the handiwork of GOD, increases my heart-rate and fans a flame in my spirit that words cannot adequately describe. I hope that you share my sentiments.

My goal is to provide an opportunity for others to join me on these expeditions monthly. I am also providing shorter (half day) events called “Hike Saturday” on a monthly basis. Hopefully you will have time to join me on one of these events each month or at least when you can. Please consider telling your friends about C.O.M.E. Better yet, invite them to join you on one of our upcoming Expeditions or Hike Saturdays.

Another commitment I have made is to maintain the C.O.M.E. kiosk in front of the church to attract and inform the public. I may need to enlist help from time to time in posting pictures and information. As last year, the C.O.M.E. bulletin board in the back foyer will have information on upcoming events. Our ministry website at is always a good place to go for news and information. You can always email me at or call me at 334.318.0619 (cell).

Some ideas I am considering and praying about for the future are:

Ø BioLuminescence Tour, Merritt Island NWR Florida – targeting June or August 2010

Ø Group campout: Conecuh National Forest, Oak Mtn SP, Chewacla SP, Gulf SP, Lake Lurleen SP, Buck’s Pocket SP, or DeSoto SP (with star gazing)

Ø Overnight hike/camping on the Pinhoti Trail

Ø Overnight on Bartram Canoe Trail (with hike to Lost Indian Mound)

Ø Great Smoky Mountains NP – multi-day camping and exploration

Ø Everglades NP – multi-day camping and exploration

Ø Sipsey Wilderness Bankhead National Forest (NW Alabama) – hike to the “Big Tree”

Ø Sipsey Wilderness – Trout fishing event

Ø Deep Sea Fishing Event – Charter from Gulf Shores or similar

Ø Seminar on Outdoor Cooking and Native (Wild) Foods

Ø Wild Game Supper

Ø Canoe/Kayak any portion of the Alabama Scenic River Trail

Ø Exploring Shark Tooth Creek (west Alabama)

Let me know your thoughts. What would you really love to do? I covet your prayers for C.O.M.E.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hike Saturday #1 - Swayback Bridge Trail

Hike: Hike Saturday #1, Sat. 01/23/2010 08:45-10:45, Swayback Bridge Trail
Distance: 4 miles Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Breezy; cloudy; mid to high 40's. Trails wet from recent rains.
Hike Saturday #1. Nine people and two canines. Had a great time of fellowship and enjoyment of GOD's creation.

Ground still wet from recent rains. Little muddy for first half mile but okay afterward. Observed several beautiful Eastern Bluebirds in hardwood bottom forest, woodpeckers, turkey vultures, and red tailed hawk. Were not treated to any whitetail deer today - perhaps they were hunkered down due to the wind. No mountain bikers today, we were the first trail users. (Larry G., Nathan, Jon, Amber, Barry, Pam, Liz, Tammy, and me along with Jake and Peanut.) A very good first Hike Saturday.

Devotional thoughts from Psalm 8. GOD created all for HIS glory and our enjoyment. We are charged with management and care of HIS Creation!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back on Swayback

Hike: Swayback Bridge Trail, Sat. 01/16/2010, 08:30-10:30
Distance: 4 miles Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Cloudy to light sprinkles at hike's end. High 50's. Light but steady breeze. Trails still wet and muddy in spots (will get more muddy after this front finishes!).
Expedition #16 to Horseshoe Bend NMP was canceled. Only one other person showed up -- others sick or having to work. I did not feel right about taking the church van for just two of us, so I canceled the trip. Maybe we can reschedule again.

Since it was going to be a solo hike for me and I knew we were in for rain I decided to try out my Frogg Toggs. They work quite well. Much better than a vinyl rainsuit but still a little warm even under the easy exertion of this trail. Well worth the $25.00 paid. Still not sure about how they would withstand briers and brambles. Their combination lightweight, water-proofness, and breathability grants them a spot in my backpack.

Spooked a whitetail deer (small buck I think) as I entered the forest. Many passerines as usual. Four mountain bikers on the trail probably cleared out most fauna. Thought a lot about future expeditions and ministry efforts. My right foot bothered me a little eventhough I wore the temporary arch support Dr. Zimbleman made for me. Pain was not severe and did not seriously slow me. It was mainly confined to outside of foot near little toe.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Beautiful Day - Short Hike Mountain Creek

Hike: Mountain Creek, Fri., 01/15/2010, 10:00-12:00
Distance: 4 miles Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Bright blue sky; no wind. Temps high 40's to high 50's.
Beautiful day. Mild temps. Quite enjoyable hike. One vocal hawk, many cardinals, thrashes, and other passerines. Two small woodpeckers "arguing" in the hardwood fringe area. Tulip tree seeds rotating down to earth, searching for good soil. "Take me away, to a secret place ... hiding place" - "Pocketful of Sunshine" was playing on radio on my way to hike. Dawned on me that this is what I am looking to GOD for, to take me from the kingdom of the world and deliver me into the Kingdom of HIS SON.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dreaming of Kauai Hiking

The Kuilau Trail in Kauai looks and sounds wonderful. Just had to share the link. This is one I will have to include when we make it over there (hopefully 2011).

How about this video shot from a hike to the "wettest place on earth", Wai'ale'ale crater, on Kaui.

And then there is this 7 minute video of hiking the Na Pali Coast of Kauai... outstanding!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Expedition #16 Info

Expedition #16 – Hike Horseshoe Bend NMP

Expedition: #16 – Hiking Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, Dadeville, AL

Date/Time: Saturday, January 16, 2010 – Departing Church No Later Than 07:30am.

Description: We will hike the 3 mile nature trail from the Visitor Center, around the battlefield, through the Creek Village, by the banks of the meandering Tallapoosa and back to the picnic area by the Visitor Center. All of the trails are wide and well maintained. This route is considered mainly Easy, with some small, Moderate hills to negotiate. The trail surface is predominately packed soil with gravel in some areas. Picnic facilities are generous with a couple of covered pavilions. The route includes ample opportunities to observe local flora and fauna as well as the historical battle of Horseshoe Bend.

We will share a picnic lunch after the hike (bring your own lunch, water, and trail snacks) and a short devotional. Don’t forget your Bible, Journal, and pen/pencil. This is also a hike you will have excellent opportunities for photography.

Admission to Horseshoe Bend NMP is FREE and there is NO COST associated with this Expedition.

Degree of Difficulty: Easy. Trail surface is packed earth with some gravel sections. There are a few small hills and rolling terrain, but no difficult climbs/descents.

Emergency Info: Cell phone coverage should be sparse to good. Your trail guide will be equipped with a SPoT (Satellite Personal Tracker) in the event Emergency Services should be needed on an area of the trail where cell phone coverage is not available.

Cost: There is no direct cost associated with this expedition. Individuals should carry their own water (or sports drink) and snacks for the trail. We will end the hike with a picnic lunch (bring your own food) under the pavilion near the Visitor Center.

What to Bring:

· Trail shoes

· Suitable / comfortable clothes for hiking. Dress in layers appropriate for the weather.

· Water (or sports drink), snacks, and picnic lunch.

· Camera (optional)

· Map (will be provided by trail guide)

· Cell phone (optional)

· An eager, enthusiastic, and expectant spirit!

· An eye for the beauty GOD has wrought!

· We will have a short devotional after our picnic lunch. Please bring your Bible, Journal, and pen/pencil.

Expedition Credit: 3 miles / 1 Bible Study

TrailGuide: Pastor Larry

Additional Info: Contact Pastor Larry or 365-9621 (Church).

I Know What I Want for my Birthday!

Hey Kathy & Diane (and my other friends & family):

For a mere $139,000.00 you can put me right up there with Indiana Jones, Alan Quatermane, or The Land That Time Forgot. Just think of all the Adventures we could have flying in our own fully amphibious sport plane!

What do you think? How about a combination birthday, anniversary, Christmas, next year's birthday, anniversary, & Christmas present?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

COLD Hike - Mountain Creek 01/09/2010

Hike: Mountain Creek (Confederate Memorial Park), Sat., 01/09/2010, 10:35-13:15
Distance: ~5 miles Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Bright blue sky! 27 degrees F. Calm to light breeze stirring the trees. Trails open and unhindered. A few puddles and wet spots remain from the recent rains. Creek is a little above normal level. Swampy areas are full of water (and ice today!).
Really cold! Ground was busted up, erupted with ice in several places. Made a comforting crunch beneath my hiking boots as I hiked this quietly comforting area. Many birds about - Eastern Bluebirds, Thrashes, Turkey Vulture, large hawk, and the little green sparrow-sized bird I saw last week. Lots of birdsong playing through the air today.

Gave the hike a 4 rating because I seemed to have trouble "stilling my heart" today. My mind kept jumping around many different thoughts.

No one else in the park - too cold for them. Thank YOU, LORD, for such a glorious, beautiful, and peaceful day.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Swayback Bridge Trail

Hike: Swayback Bridge Trail, Sat., 1/2/2010, 09:30-12:45
Distance: 7.0 miles Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Sunny. Very cool. Breezy
Many passerines including the same type of small green birds observed at Mountain Creek yesterday. Several people on the trail today running and hiking. Did not meet any bikers. Lake level is high. Water is a lovely aquamarine. Took quite a few pictures (did not take binoculars into field today but should have). Missed a good opportunity to observe many different birds today.

The wind-chill was noticeably cooler than yesterday, though I still had to come out of my lightweight jacket about a mile into the hike. New Gerber knife fit well on my belt. It also easily attaches to the back of the MountainSmith lumbar pack.

Passed several blowdowns along the trail which would easily make dens for small animals. Thought about -- 20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Matt 8:20 (NKJV) Plan to use this in the Children's Time tomorrow.

New Year's Hike - Mountain Creek

Hike: Mountain Creek, Fri. 1/1/2010, 10:15-12:20
Distance: 4.0 miles Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Blustery. Very cool. Wind pushing through the tree tops at times a continuous roar. Mostly cloudy to mostly sunny by end of hike.
Thank YOU, LORD, for this joy-filled hike. Was not in to the hike more than 5 minutes when I was treated to the most beautiful pair of blue, brown, and gray birds. They displayed their colors from all directions as they watched me and ate dogwood berries. Also observed small green sparrow-sized bird near pine upland fence-line. Black & white stripes on back. Serenaded by bird-song and wind music! Wonderful way to start a new decade! Was a very peaceful and refreshing hike.

New binocular harness worked great! Makes the heavier Simmons binoculars easy to carry and readily accessible. Did not take the camera today - had to leave battery charging. In a way that probably contributed to my enjoyment of the hike - I was just "soaking it all up myself".

(Note: The blue birds were Eastern Bluebirds, just appeared larger and more vivid than I'm used to seeing!)