Life Verse:

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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Birthday E=mc^2

September 27, 1905. On this date, while he was employed at a patent office, Albert Einstein published a paper titled “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy-Content?” It was the last of four papers he submitted that year to the journal Annalen der Physik. The first explained the photoelectric effect, the second offered experimental proof of the existence of atoms, and the third introduced the theory of special relativity. In the fourth paper, Einstein explained the relationship between energy and mass. That is, E=mc2

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge - Charron's Wilderness Hike

Hike: Charron's Garden Trail, Charron's Wilderness, Wichita Mountains NWR Oklahoma, Sat., 9/14/2013, 10:00-15:00CDT
Distance: 7 miles  Rating: 5.5/5
Difficulty: Difficult (Due to distance, terrain, and skilled navigation required)
Conditions: Warm temps, PCloudy to cloudy to PCloudy, moderate rain for about 30mins near 1 mile point of hike.  Moderate breeze was stiffer near the top of "The Crab Eyes".
Awesome hike with Diane and Rob.  Left Ft. Worth at 5am and got on the trail around 10am.  Weather was great (not too hot) and a little cloudy (to keep the sun off).  About the 1 mile point we did receive about 30 mins or less of steady (moderate) rain.  Thankfully the temps and wind did not make it a potential hypothermia event!

The Wichita Mtns NWR is well designed and maintained.  It is the home to Bison, Longhorn, and Elk (among many other species of animals).  Observed several bison and longhorn during our drive to the trailhead, but did not encounter any along the trails (though there was ample "evidence" of their passing that way).

I was surprised at how dense the plant life was in the first mile or so of the trail.  Wheat grass and other grasses grew almost to head height.  The trees (mostly Post Oaks) were plentiful in the valley and riverine area (though they were short by Alabama standards).  There was a plethora of grasshoppers (all sizes and colors) -- much to Diane's chagrin.  Dazzling dragonflies, in myriads of colors, greeted us along the stream sides.  A few flies were in evidence but they did not pose a nuisance on this trip.

As we gained elevation we encountered shorter grasses, small plants with yellow tomato-like fruit, prickly-pear, and small barrel cacti.  There were short, gnarly cedars (probably very old in spite of their short stature) and an occasional post oak as we climbed to near the summit of "The Crab Eyes".

Small, swift and colorful lizards greeted us at almost every turn of the trail.  Thankfully their cousins (the snakes) DID NOT make an appearance!

The final climb to "The Crab Eyes" was the most difficult portion of the trek but the view was worth the effort!  With a stiff, cooling breeze in your face you could survey the full expanse of the valley below the ridge-line.  

Of course, Rob and I had to slither into the "Boulder Room" on our way back down the trail.  It required crawling on your stomach through an opening in granite into a "room" made of boulders tumbled together countless ages ago.  One could easily imagine Comanche Indians playing around or sheltering in this cave.

This hike would rate as one of my best... not only because of the beauty and spiritual-feel but because I could share it with Diane & Rob.

Charron's Wilderness -- Wichita Mountains -- a jewel created by the hand of GODHIS handiwork was vividly seen here!

Get out there.  Be still and know HIM.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Palo Duro Canyon TX Hike - Sat, 9/7/2013 - 2nd Largest Canyon in USA

Hike: Private trails, Paseo del Rio Trail, Lighthouse Trail, Saturday, 9/7/2013
Distance: 6 miles  Rating: 5.5/5
Difficulty: Moderate due to heat
Conditions: H O T !!!   Analog thermometers located throughout trailheads in the canyon bottom read from 108 to 112 DegF... Yikes.  Hydration was a major concern throughout our explorations in this canyon.  Trails were in good shape.  This park is more heavily used than Caprock and we encountered a few other hikers/bikers during our adventures.


Our adventures started with a guided Jeep tour of the canyon rim along the Elkin's Ranch property.  Nicole, our trail guide, was very knowledgeable on ecology, geology, and history of the canyon and provided an informative and enjoyable tour.  Some of the sites were quite simply astounding.  Palo Duro is not the Grand Canyon but it is certainly "grand".

After our 1.5 hour Jeep tour we entered Palo Duro Canyon State Park and began our driving descent to the canyon floor.  (Of course we had to stop at the Trading Post for their "world famous" cheeseburger.  They were quite good.  Note to self:  a hamburger might not be the best meal to eat before a long and hot hike!)

Palo Duro is a wondrous place.  The red, brown, yellow, and grey of the canyon rims, buttes, hoodoos, and pyramids are a constant treat to the eyes.  Early Spanish explorers called the pyramids "Spanish skirts" because of their beautiful colorful stripes.

We were surprised by a flock of wild turkeys and later a small turkey chick along the Paseo del Rio Trail.  A small reconstructed Cowboy Dugout structure can be seen along a short turnoff from this same trail.  Prickly Pear cactus is more than abundant throughout most of the park and especially so on this trail.  The red "pears" are edible (they taste just a little sweet and have a green-bean flavor).  The Mesquite is taller here and some actual trees live along the river bed -- this is the Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River.  During our hike the river level was an astounding 4 inches!  (Hey, this is summer in Texas!)  Given adequate rain though and this river would be raging through the canyon bottom.

The Lighthouse Trail was well maintained and provided great vistas of the canyon cliffs and buttes.  Santana's Face was a prominent feature as we hiked in and back out along this well-used trail.  Bright blue lizards made special appearances along the trail-side.  Many would even "pose" for their photos.

Palo Duro is one of those "magical" spots in life -- being able to share it with Diane & Rob made it even more special.  I hope to be back again for more adventure. 

Thank YOU, LORD, for the beautiful work YOU have done here. 

Hiking Caprock Canyon TX SP with Diane & Rob

Hike:  Portions of Canyon Loop Trail, Haynes Ridge Overlook Trail, & Eagle Point Trail; Friday, 9/6/2013
Distance: 3 miles  Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Trails in excellent shape.  Partly cloudy.  Moderate wind.  HOT and dry.  Temp around 100 DegF, but was moderated by the brisk breeze!

Wonderful hike with Diane & Rob!  Caprock is lesser known and encompasses less acreage than Palo Duro but it is none-the-less a spectacular place.  One of the most appealing features of Caprock was the solitude.  You could be still and hear GOD's sounds only -- no noise and confusion of the big city.

Caprock Canyon drops away from the surrounding plains to reveal red and grey cliffs and gorges.  On the plains the state buffalo herd roams free.  Within the canyon you are almost certain to see lizards of all types as well as the large black ants.  Unfortunately you may also "see" some horseflies.  They were not too much of a nuisance, though we did keep a watch for them.

The Haynes Ridge Overlook Trail was STEEP -- Tx Parks & Wildlife did not exaggerate when they labeled this trail "extremely steep and rugged".  The trail climbed out of the canyon and up to the rim.  Negotiating this trail would have involved some serious scrambling (at least) so we elected to turn around at that point and go back down the Canyon Loop Trail.

The rich red and grey color of the canyon cliffs seemed to surround us on all sides.  Small mesquite and cedar bush dotted the canyon floor and cliffs with splashes of green.  The lizards were mostly sandy brown or green.

The constant brisk wind near the saddle on the Canyon Loop Trail was impressive and provided a welcomed cooling power.  One of the primitive backcountry camp sites lies within 20 yards of this point -- that is where I would choose to camp!

A natural bridge was the focus of our trek along Eagle Point Trail.  We were on the bridge before we actually recognized it as being a natural bridge.  While not a long or deep natural bridge, it was still a treat to experience.  We were able to climb down to the stream bed to get a close-up view of the bridge.  A few bats called the bridge home.  It was sad to think that as the eroding effects of wind and rain continue this little natural bridge will one day collapse and be lost to us.  Right now though, it is a joy to behold.

Caprock was a wonderful surprise to us all.  The trip out of the Metroplex was aimed at Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock was a "small" after-thought or side trip.  It was well worth the 93 miles of driving.

34 Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, And His strength is in the clouds. 35 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!
Psalms 68:34-35 (NKJV)