Sunday, March 20, 2011
Distance: 4.0 miles Rating: 5/5
Conditions: Mostly clear, vividly blue sky. A few scattered cumulus clouds floating by. Temp about 82 degF. Winds light and variable. Trails in good condition - a little muddy in low spots but not bad. Normal flow in the creek and streams.
What a wonderful day to be out enjoying GOD's Creation! Gray squirrels, numerous passerines, crows, hawks, butterflies, and one black dragonfly shared the trails with me today. Red Maples were the stars of the show today, with Wild Jasmine, Dogwood, and Wisteria playing supporting roles. The Red Maples were in their early spring red coat throughout the hardwood lowland area. They "jumped out" of the gray and green background of the riparian area as I hiked the Nature Trail. I had seen an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly last week and was delighted to see a different species today (not sure on ID). The black Dragonfly was also a surprise, as it seemed a little early in the season to see dragonflies. Apparently not for this little fellow (or lady).
The temperature was warm enough to bring on a little sweat as I hiked the uphill portions. Short pants would have been a good choice today, but I rarely hike in them (do not want to pick up any hitch hikers ... i.e. ticks during my outings).
Thank YOU, LORD, for YOUR tranquility and peace. I was bathed in warm sunshine, gentle breezes, and the sounds of the early-spring forest throughout my hike. The passarines were particularly melodious today. Did not notice any particular fragrances - maybe not enough of the Wisteria or Jasmine blooming yet. I guess I could amend that statement to say no "pleasing" fragrances were noticed, as I did detect the local skunk-family's scent in the Pine Uplands! Thankfully not too close though.
"Hear the Call of the Kingdom" kept going through my mind as I hiked, worship, and drank in the beauty:
Hear the call of the kingdom
Lift your eyes to the King
Let His song rise within you
As a fragrant offering
Of how God rich in mercy
Came in Christ to redeem
All who trust in His unfailing grace
Hear the call of the Kingdom
To be children of light
With the mercy of heaven
The humility of Christ
Walking justly before Him
Loving all that is right
That the life of Christ may shine through us
King of Heaven we will answer the call
We will follow bringing hope to the world
Filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
Salvation in Jesus' name
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Hike: Red Trail @ Swayback Bridge TOLA, Sat. 3/12/2011, 08:45-11:45
Distance: 7 miles Rating: 5/5
Conditions: Glorious blue sky! Mid 50's to low 70's. Light breeze. Trails wet from recent rains but not in bad shape.
"YOU are awesome in this place, LORD." These words went through my mind as I drank in the wonderful scenery: Redbud trees beginning to bloom, Red Maples already in bloom, a patch of woodland Violets in vivid display, several small early spring wildflowers already blooming, an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, and several raucous Bluejays. Passarines were ubiquitous, as usual. Their spring-time melodies serenaded me throughout my hike.
Shared the early springtime with several mountain bikers and one trail-runner, but no other hikers. Surpassed 1000 (recorded) trail miles today! Looking forward to the next 10,000! Thank YOU, LORD, for YOUR presence and YOUR creation.
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Hike: Mountain Creek, Sat. 3/5/2011, 08:18-11:00
Distance: 5 miles Rating: 5/5
Conditions: Rainy - from sprinkles to moderate steady rain. Light to moderate wind through the tree tops. Fast moving clouds. Trails wet (obviously) but not too muddy. Creek flowing well but not near flood height.
Great hike even with the rain. As a matter of fact I greatly enjoy being out in a rain shower (as long as there is no lightening). My Frogg Toggs worked great. I stayed comfortably dry even in the harder showers. No one else brave enough (or crazy enough!) to be in the park today, so my fellow trail-mates were gray squirrels (lots of them scampering about). Passerines and crows were moving about as well, just not as much as the squirrels.
GOD can keep us safe and dry from the storms of life, even better than a good rain suit kept me dry from the rain shower today! "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and HE shall direct your paths." (Prov. 3:5-6)