Life Verse:

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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The 10 Best Hikes in the World

Billed as the "10 Best Hikes in the World" this one makes my mouth water and my palms sweat! 

I have done the Zion Narrows and it is spectacular.  Am drooling over the Kalalau Trail on Kaui... GOD willing one of these days I hope to hike that one.  The Inca Trail appeals to me as well.  I'm certain all of them are outstanding.

Any one of these "whisper to your heart"?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Early Morning Hike - Mtn Creek

Hike: Mountain Creek, Saturday, 06/26/2010, 07:15-09:45
Distance: 5 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Pleasant morning temps, sun rising clear and beautiful.  Wind: calm.  High humidity.
Had the park to myself - that is, no other human beings here when I began my hike.  Birds were already active and vocal.  Birdsong filled the morning air as I entered the forest near the old church.  Dew was heavy on the ground and occasionally sprinkled by legs as I hiked through the taller grass.

Insects were in abundance as you would expect this time of year but were not overly bothersome.  Thank you "Deep Woods Off".

The morning appeals to me at a deep level.  It is serene, beautiful, and comfortable with an element of expectation pervading every nuance of the trail.  You never know what treasure GOD will reveal around the next bend or what truth you will come to understand.

Scared up a whitetail deer entering the forest.  Observed cottontail rabbit, the ever-present gray squirrel, and a particularly gorgeous (and photogenic) green damselfly.

Summer wildflowers are blooming: the yellow black-eyed susan, little white blooms on small ground hugging vines (like a miniature version of wild potato), unidentified low purple flowering plants, and the mimosa.  (The sight and smell of the mimosa always remind me of my Grandmama Teal.)  American Beauty Bush is also beginning to bloom.  Got to have those deep purple berries ready for Fall.

Thank YOU, LORD, for such a wonderful way to start the day and for meeting me here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kayak & Hike Ft. Toulouse, Tallapoosa River

Kayak: Tallapoosa River near Ft. Toulouse  Sat, 06/19/2010, 07:45-09:00
Distance: 2 miles (approx)  Rating: 4/5  Map Coord: N32.50095, W86.25276
Difficulty: Moderate due to current and depth
Conditions: Clear, calm, warm and humid.  About three other boat trailers at launch site but I saw no other boats on the river.
Beautiful morning.  Good time to get out on the river and soak in some of GOD's wonder and care.  The Tallapoosa was a little low and was flowing faster than I have ever seen it before.  (Note:  If you are contemplating a similar adventure REMEMBER that you have to paddle back upstream at some point in time!)

I particularly enjoyed the sheltered coves to the left of the boat launch.  With my kayak I could get a decent distance back inside the cove.  Several herons and other water birds did not appreciate my intrusion (even though I was quiet).  Fish jumping in several places.  This was a very peaceful place.

As I paddled downstream, in the back of my mind was the thought, "I will have to paddle back upstream to get out."  I tried to go river left, around a large island but found the depth too shallow even for my yak.  I took this as a tap on the shoulder from GOD that I should start back, and so I did.

And it is a good thing that I did at that time.  The current was aggressive, at times wanting to spin my kayak back around.  I found it best to paddle nearest the far shore, in somewhat calmer water.  Needless to say, I got a workout by the time I reached the boat launch.  I paddled a little upstream from the launch; crossed over the river; and paddled back downstream toward the launch.  Take out was simple and easy.

The dry bag worked great for my digital SLR - that's the only way I would dare take it on the river.  (Note to self: Investigate a water-proof digital, point and shoot camera.)
Hike: Bartram Arboretum and River Trail, Ft. Toulouse, Sat. 06/19/2010, 09:30-10:45
Distance: 2 miles  Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Sunny, calm, very warm, humid.  No one else on the trail.  Some people at Ft. Toulouse - in fact, they set off a canon!  That will get your attention!!!
Trees and bushes are in full summer foliage.  Wonderful shadows grace the trails and provide welcome relief from the blazing sun (even at this time in the morning).  Many gray squirrels are busy scampering about - some carrying lunch in their mouth.  As usual, I was serenaded to forest bird-song as I hiked this relatively easy riparian trail.
The numerous wild plums along the trial remind me of my childhood and teen years, hiking the trails behind home.  Mimosa perfume was ever present in the air along the Coosa side of the river trail.

At the confluence of the Tallapoosa and Coosa I was surprised to find that the Tallapoosa was flowing considerably faster than the Coosa.  It was also muddier than the Coosa - that is rare.  A small change in the channel of the Tallapoosa seems to have occurred.  There were numerous sand islands in the confluence area.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dream Hike - Milford Track New Zealand

If I had a "Dream Hike" (and I actually have several) this would certainly be near the top of the list. Can you imagine hiking for 4 days amidst this inspiring example of GOD's Creation?  Check out the link in the Title above - it will take you to

Now I just have to start saving and planning for this Expedition!...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Expedition #21 - Merritt Island Florida National Wildlife Refuge (Biolum Tour)

Expedition Type: Kayak tour (two part), Friday, June 11, 2010, Merritt Island NWR Florida (AM and PM)
Distance: 5 miles total (approx)  Rating: 5++/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: (Part I - 09:00-12:00 Thousand Islands area, clear, hot, humid)  (Part II - 21:00-24:00 Haulover Canal / Indian River / Bear Cove / Mosquito Cove, clear, stars everywhere, mild, pleasant)
(Part I) (Liz, Jon, Amber, & me).  Toured the Thousand Islands area near Cocoa Beach, FL.  Mangrove coastal area.  Viewed several manatees, Great Blue Herons, Osprey, Green Heron, Night Heron, Snake Bird, Florida Stingray, different species of mangrove trees.  Such a beautiful area.  Liz and Amber tried their hands at single kayaks.  Liz left with some Red Mangrove trees to try and grow at home!

(Part II) (Pam & Barry joined us for this portion.)  A phenomenal, joyful experience!  The bioluminescent algae, the myriad stars, the jumping mullet, porpoises, beautiful coves of the Indian River - GOD, YOU, were magnified in YOUR creation.  Thank YOU for this special time.  Felt like a kid chasing the mullet and wide eyed in amazement at the surreal glow of the dinoflagelates.  Liz & I shared a tandem kayak.  What a wonderful time.  My heart was filled to overflowing.

I was privileged to witness some of the most awe-inspiring work of GOD.  On Bear Cove we were surrounded by acres of sea grass beds.  A seemingly endless canopy of stars draped over us.  Our boat was supported on a warm bed of water, filled with countless bio luminescent algae.  We were cocooned in the warmth and beauty of the CREATORS love – exhibited in brilliant clarity through sight, sound, smell, touch, and spirit!  The algae’s bio luminescent glow cast a surreal feeling over our time – but believe me it was real! 

How can anyone witness such an event and not be “touched” by a realization of our CREATOR GOD and by a desire to know HIM

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hike Saturday - CRATA

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail, Lake Martin, Sat., 6/5/2010, 08:30-11:30
Distance: 4 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Partly cloudy, hot, humid, light to moderate breeze (very much appreciated).  Periods of darker clouds but no rain.

Hike Saturday.  Eight of us (Liz, Tammy, Barry, Pam, Jon, Amber, Larry G., and me).  Great time of fellowship and worship in GOD's outdoors.  Couple of folks almost got too hot even though we got an early start.  The humidity was quite high.  Everyone made it safely through!  The views, companionship, worship, and results made the hot work worth it!

Observed numerous lizards, butterflies, insects, and wildflowers.  Enjoyed sweeping panoramas of Lake Martin.  Splendid rock (boulder) formations (always a special feature on this and Deadening Trail).  The mixed hardwood and pine forest is always a treat.  Bugged that I did not know the ID of a particularly impressive hardwood tree with very broad, large leaves.  The tree does not grow very tall nor massive but is strikingly beautiful because of its large leaves (albeit there are few of them).  Have only seen this tree in the CRATA area.

After the hike we talked about Romans 1 and how GOD is manifested in HIS Creation to each of us personally.  It is amazing how each of us "sees" a small piece of GOD in different aspects of HIS Creation.

This will may be the last Hike Saturday that involves pure hiking until the Fall.  I don't want to kill my friends with the heat and humidity.  The summer-time Expeditions & Hike Saturday's will focus on cool water and shade.  Anyone for "Hiking in a Cave"???