Life Verse:

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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Kayaking Cooter's Pond Area 6/25/2016

Kayaking: Cooter's Pond Area, Sat., 6/25/2016, 08:00-10:00CDT
Distance:  3.8 miles  Difficulty: Moderate due to heat/humidity  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Very hot/muggy.  Calm.  Mostly clear and bright.  Lake was extremely smooth.  

Many water birds visible today.  Alligator gar were jumping and rolling -- they seem to be quite active in the hot months.  Small shad breaching the surface (probably running from the gar!).  One massive alligator snapping turtle surfaced about 30ft from me between the large dock and the bridge at RTJ.  He took a look and then disappeared underneath the dark water.  
This was a beautiful, although very muggy, morning.  Being able to explore small nooks and sloughs among the cypress trees and snags was exciting and peaceful at the same time.  

I took the GoPro camera this time -- will review the video and attach here when time permits.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Kayaking Swayback/Lake Jordan - 6/24/2016

Kayaking: Swayback/Lake Jordan, Friday, 6/24/2016, 08:00-10:00CDT
Distance: 4 miles  Difficulty: Moderate due to heat, distance, and dealing with ski boats on the lake
Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Clear/calm.  Hot/humid (typical Alabama summer weather).  Lake smooth except for chop from the occasional ski boat.  
Enjoyable morning on Lake Jordan.  Water birds were busy trying to catch breakfast.  Fish jumping and turtles sunning.  Mimosas and some type of white lily were blooming along the shore throughout the route.

Kids at Camp Chandler were putting in the small sailing boats as I paddled by on the way back.  Their colorful sails and excited chatter made me smile.

Thank YOU, LORD, for this place and time -- for YOUR splendid Creation.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Urban Hike: Seasons 6/23/2016

Urban Hike: Seasons 6/23/2016 20:00-21:00CDT
Distance: 2.7 miles Difficulty: Easy. Family friendly. Dogs on leash.  Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Hot. Humid. Clear. Calm. Typical Dixie summer. Mosquitoes prowling but not too bad. Sidewalk available most of route.  Too dark for pictures. 
Praying for rain. Friends and family on my mind. Enjoyable walk. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Urban Hike Overlook I and Silver Hills

Urban Hike: Overlook I & Silver Hills, 6/21/2016, 19:30-20:30CDT

Distance: 3.3 miles. Difficulty: Easy. Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Very warm. Calm. Clear. Humid. 
First time urban hiking in Overlook I. No sidewalks in that area forces one to focus more on traffic.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Urban Hike Overlook II & Seasons - 6/19/2016

 Urban hike Overlook II and Seasons, Sun. 6/19/2016, 19:40-20:20CDT
Distance: 2.2 miles Difficulty: Easy Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Mostly clear. Warm. Calm. Full moon rising. 
Nice neighborhood walk. Peaceful. Good end to Father's Day. 

Kayaking Cooter's Pond/Alabama River 20160618

Kayaking: Cooter's Pond & Alabama River, Sat., 06/18/2016; 08:00-11:00CDT
Distance: 5 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Cloudy.  Moderate breeze.  Small chop on open water - calm in protected areas.  Warm but pleasant temperature.  Steady stream of boats launching at the landing, but not crowded.

Kayaking with the Brother first time this year.  Had a wonderful time.  Quite a few water birds (mostly blue heron) busy today.  Alligator gar were jumping in the shallow areas.  One eagle nest visible in the old dead stand area.  In fact, we were treated to the sight of one eagle flying with a fresh catch in his/her talons!  Swallows were busy underneath the bridge at RTJ.  They have constructed an entire colony of adobe nests on the concrete pylons!

Lillypads were in abundance throughout the lakes at RTJ - some will be blooming shortly.  We did not see any alligators (which is just fine).

Explored the lakes at RTJ and completely around the island at Cooter's Pond.  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Urban Hike: Overlook II with Thunderstorms Building

Urban Hike: Overlook II, Mon., 6/13/2016, 19:20-20:10CDT
Distance:  2.4 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Cloudy; Thunderstorms building in the West.  Light to moderate breeze.  Concrete sidewalks and asphalt paved streets.
Birds were not disturbed by the lightening and thunder in the distance.  They were busy singing and feeding.  Nice breeze kept mosquitoes at bay.  Mimosa fragrance was elegant.  GOD put on a great light show with vivid cloud to cloud and cloud to ground lightening.  Thunder was too distant to hear.
Greatly enjoyed the evening "urban hike"!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Urban Hike - Overlook II

Urban Hike: Overlook II area, Prattville, AL; Mon., 6/6/2016; 19:30-20:15CDT
Distance: 2.3 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4/5
Conditions:  Very warm.  Clouds building.  Mosquitoes not a problem this evening.
Great Urban Hike around the Overlook II area.  Tried a different route near DPES.  Wonderful cloud and sunlight views this evening.

Hiking Mountain Creek - 6/11/2016

Hike: Confederate Memorial Park, Mountain Creek, Sat., 6/11/2016; 07:45-10:00CDT
Distance: 4.3 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4/5  
Conditions: Trails dry.  Trails of crushed stone and earth.  Clear/calm.  Very warm and humid.  No one else on trails today.
Plenty of time for solitude, worship, and meditation today -- no one else on trails.  Enjoyed the company of squirrels, rabbits, numerous song birds, woodpeckers, one red-tailed hawk, and one turkey hen.  Plenty of bugs (as is normal for this time of year).  Mimosa is just past prime in this area but there were still plenty of the pink and white, silken blooms.  Even though it is an invasive species, I am particularly fond of this tree.  It reminds me of my Grandmother Teal.

Bird-song and woodpecker cadence provided me with constant music, along with the occasional buzzing of the flying insect (which I could have done without).

It saddens me to report that the Champion Yellow Poplar tree (2nd largest in the State) does in fact appear to be dead.  There are no leaves anywhere on the branches.  Some large limbs have fallen and a large section of bark seems to have split off.  Experts believe this poplar germinated in 1773.  It has certainly seen a lot of history.  I will miss the old champion.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

National Trails Day - Lakeside Hike @ Swayback TOLA

Hike: Lakeside Trail, Swayback TOLA, Sat., 6/4/2016, 08:00-11:00CDT
Distance: 6.8 miles  Difficulty: Easy.  Family and dog friendly.  Rating: 4/5
Conditions: Sprinkling rain.  Light breeze.  Low to upper 70s.  Trails in good shape.  Only encountered two other people during the hike.
Greatly enjoyed this  hike -- there is something special about hiking in the rain!  Wonderful time of worship and meditation.  I was continually serenaded by the staccato cadence of the raindrops on the forest canopy and floor along with the avain, frog, and insect choirs.  Passarines, crows, and woodpeckers were quite busy today.  No grackles in this forest!  (There were plenty last week in Texas.) 

Mimosa trees were in full bloom and perfume.  Brings back so many childhood memories.

Enchanted Rock TX State Natural Area - 5/21/2016

Hike: Summit, Echo Canyon, and Perimeter Trails, Sat., 5/21/2016 08:30-12:30CDT

Distance: 3.6 miles  Difficulty: Difficult (Summit) / Moderate (all others)  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Foggy to Mostly cloudy.  Low 80s.  Light winds.  Trails in good shape.  Some slippery spots due to fog/misty rain.
Hiking with Diane & Rob.  Great views from this pink granite rock!  Very crowded park.  Echo Canyon and perimeter trail were less crowded.

Urban Hike Bear Creek Trailway - Keller TX - 5/28/2016

Urban Hike: Bear Creek Greenway, Keller, TX, Sat., 5/28/2016, 19:00-20:15CDT
Distance: 2.1 miles  Difficulty: Easy, Family, Dogs, Bicycles, Wheelchairs
Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Great evening urban hike.  Paved trail.  Mixture of wooded, grassy, and riparian areas.  Some playgrounds placed along the trail.  Mosquitos were present (to be expected in this part of the country).
Beautiful urban park/trailway.  Well designed and implemented. 

Ramblr Link with photos and hiking stats.

Lost Maples TX State Natural Area - 5/22/2016

Hike:  Lost Maples Trail, Sun., 5/22/2016, 12:30-17:00CDT
Distance:  5.2 miles  Difficulty: Difficult (due to 1.5 mile ascent & descent to and from ridge-line)
Rating: 5/5
Conditions: Beautiful day!  Mid 80s.  Light winds. 
Trails were in good shape.  Few people using trails.  Great vistas from the ridgeline.  Strenuous climb and careful descent.  Maples would be very impressive in the Fall.  Unique geological formations and plant communities.  Quiet and peaceful lake setting near end of hike.

My favorite hike of this Texas Hiking Vacation!

Perdenales Falls TX State Park - 5/24/2016

Hike: Perdenales Falls and Twin Falls Trails, Tue 5/24/2016, 12:30-15:00CDT
Distance: 2.0 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 5/5
Conditions: Perdenales Falls Trail in good shape.  Twin Falls Trail in fair shape (evidence of flood or storm damage -- tress and limbs down near trail).  Twin Falls Trail closed near the waterfall but State constructed nice observation platform to look and photograph falls.  (Nicely done Texas!)
Diane's favorite hiking spot during the vacation due to the waterfalls. 


Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge - 5/26/2016

Hike: Bison Trail, Wichita Mountains NWR Lawton, OK; Thu 5/26/2016, 10:00-15:15CDT
Distance: 8 miles  Difficulty: Moderate (due to distance and heat)  Rating: 5/5
Conditions: Mostly cloudy to mostly sunny.  Mid 70s to upper 80s.  Brisk wind. 
Herd of Longhorns greeted us at the Visitor's Center!  Bison observed along trail (at a distance).  Gorgeous display of wildflowers throughout the length of the trail.  Trail in good shape. 

Lake Mineral Wells TX State Park - 5/28/2016

Hike: Lake Mineral Wells Trailway (Railtrail), Sat 5/28/2016  Morning hours.
Distance: 4.7 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5
Conditions: Cloudy to PCloudy.  Very warm.  Light breeze.  Trail surface: crushed stone. 
Hiking with Diane, Rob, and Roxie.  Roxie scared up quail and turkey hen.  (Roadrunners, turkeys, and deer observed at this park.)