Life Verse:

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Hike & Frisbee @ Mountain Creek - 7/29/2017

Hike: Mountain Creek (Confederate Memorial Park), Sat., 7/29/2017, 09:00-10:30CDT
Distance: 2.4 miles  Difficulty: Easy, though humidity was extremely high! Rating: 5.0/5.0
Conditions: Cloudy.  Temperature in upper 70s to low 80s with very high humidity.  Calm to light breeze.  Trails mostly in good shape with a few eroded area due to recent rains.  Some standing water.  No blow-downs.

Today was another combo day, with hiking and frisbee play.  I was particularly pleased with Gracie's behavior on-trail.  She was off-leash for frisbee play and for the last 1/3 to 1/2 of the hike (no one else on trails).  She was incredible, staying within eye-shot of me and coming when called.  I have always desired a dog that I could depend on to come when called and that I could trust off-leash.  Gracie seems to be developing into that dog!  One could not ask for a better hiking buddy.  She is always ready for an adventure - always has a positive attitude.  Her jubilant personality is infectious!

We started the morning with a trip to Tropical Smoothie Cafe for an Island Green smoothie and our normal All American Omelette.  We shared the omelette at one of the picnic areas in the park before beginning our hike.  After a brief warm up with the frisbee, we hit the Nature Trail.  

No wildlife was encountered during our hike though Gracie seemed to be interested in smells throughout much of the time.  She particularly enjoys the small creek area off the nature trail, eagerly going down into the creek and splashing around in the water and sand.

After hiking the Nature Trail we spent a little time on the grassy area downhill from the church.  This  is our prime frisbee play portion of the park.  Gracie can chase long-throws at full speed without interference here.  We encountered a family of three as we hiked to the grassy area.  The young teenage girl asked and petted Gracie.  She attracts attention wherever we go with those gorgeous eyes.

With the frisbee play complete we packed up and hiked the horse trails along the creek and into the pine upland area.  Gracie enjoyed laying in the rain cooled sand as we prepared to climb the small hills into the pine upland.  Since she was so well behaved today, I let Gracie off-leash for the last 1/3 to 1/2 of the hike.  I am absolutely thrilled with Gracie's demeanor, intelligence, and actions on trail.  She is a wonderful blessing - a wonderful Hiking Buddy!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Urban Hike/Frisbee Play - Overlook Park - 7/27/2017

Urban Hike: Overlook Memorial Park Thu 7/27/2017 18:30-19:10CDT
Distance: 1.2 miles Difficulty: Easy Rating: 5.0/5.0
Conditions: Just after thundershower. 
Wonderful time in park with My Buddy. She did fantastic off leash playing frisbee. I launched the frisbee to great lengths at times. Each time she chased & retrieved at full speed. She was beautiful!  Her behavior off leash could not be better. I am so pleased with her development. Gracie is such a blessing to me. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Morning Urban Hike - 7/27/2017

Urban Hike: Thames to Overlook Park & return; Thu, 7/27/17 05:27-05:57CDT
Distance: 1.2 miles. Difficulty: Easy. Rating: 4.8/5.0
Conditions: Mostly cloudy. Mild. Some light fog. 
Quiet morning hike. Serenaded to bird song. Enjoyed the milder morning temperature. 

Gracie did very well. Took her off leash near Dennis' house. She is very behaved without distractions. 

Psalm 121 was morning verse. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Urban Hike (Morning & Evening) - Tue., 7/25/2017

Urban Hike: Thames to Overlook Park & Return (via Daniel Pratt Elementary in A.M.); Tue., 7/25/2017; 05:14-06:10CDT & 19:24-20:00CDT
Distance: 2.8 (1.6 and 1.2)  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5.0 (both)
Conditions: Just getting light on morning hike.  Mild temps.  Relatively quiet.  Evening hike: mostly cloudy (just dodged a summer thundershower), light breeze, milder temps.
Had to divert through Daniel Pratt Elementary School grounds on the morning hike due to darkness.  We had the park largely to ourselves.  No cats seen today.  Nice way to start the morning.
This evening we enjoyed cloudy skies, cooler temperatures, and a gentle breeze.  Thunder could be heard in the distance.  There were a few people at the park but nothing distracted Gracie.  The cicada choir was especially vociferous near the entrance to the park.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Morning & Evening Urban Hike - Overlook Park - Monday, 7/24/2017 - w/ Gracie

Urban Hike: Thames to Overlook Park & Return (05:30-06:00CDT & 19:00-19:30CDT)
Distance: (Total) 2.4 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5.0
Conditions: Nice morning weather.  Little traffic.  // Evening: Mostly cloudy, temps in low 80s.  Thunder in the distance.  Evening traffic and noises distracted Gracie several times.

Great to be able to get a morning and evening urban hike in today.  I needed it.  Gracie seemed to warm to the idea of the leash much better this evening.  I left the halter on her all day.  There were little distractions on the morning route.  Quite a few loud noises this evening distracted Gracie.  She behaved quite well though.

Gracie was introduced to cats this morning on the wooden bridge between Overlook Park & Jenny Dr.  This evening she met two teens on skateboards.  I'm not sure which she disliked more!

Good way to start & end the day.  Thank YOU, LORD, for this time and buddy.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Urban Hike & Frisbee @ Overlook Park - Saturday, 7/22/2017

Urban Hike: Overlook Park, Sat., 7/22/2017 07:45-08:30CDT
Route: Thames to Overlook Park via Irma return via Jay St.
Distance: 1.2 miles  Duration: 45 min  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.5/5.0
Conditions: Quite warm & muggy even at 07:45 this morning.  Heavy dew.  Yard sale on upper Thames made for more than usual traffic on Thames.  (Gracie does not like traffic!)
Since we have work planned around the house today, I elected to take Gracie on an Urban Hike/Frisbee Play to Overlook Park.  We are certainly in summer -- temperatures are very warm as soon as the sun comes up.  Humidity is oppressive (what's new in Alabama during the summer?).  I did not work Gracie long or hard, letting her walk around the park and then playing frisbee off-leash for a little while.  She drank some water but seemed to want to play IN the bowl and get the water ON herself.  (Can't say that I blame her for that.)
Overlook Park is convenient and well maintained.  (Thank you City of Prattville.)  Gracie enjoys going here and running.  It is well-used however and not always suitable for Gracie to be off-leash.

Thank YOU, LORD, for this beautiful day and this Hiking Buddy!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Urban Hike Overlook Park - 7/19/2018

Urban Hike to Overlook Park with Gracie Girl! Since she got me up at 4am to play I thought it was time for some additional exercise at 5! 

She enjoyed the hike as usual. I was amused watching her meet a cicada for the first time. I should have videoed the event!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Archaeological Hike - Old Cahawba - Monday, 7/17/2017

 Hike: Nature Trail at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, Orrville, AL; Monday, 7/17/2017, 11:00-12:00CDT
Distance: 1.0 mile  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.0/5.0
Conditions: Cloudy to PCloudy.  Light breeze.  Very hot and quite muggy.  Trails/roads were in excellent shape.  (Nature trail is paved walkway.)  Other trails/roads are asphalt, gravel, and natural.
Gracie and I hiked the paved Nature Trail to the Canoe launch on the Cahaba River.  I was surprised at the swarms of mosquitoes that greeted us along the route.  If you took time to stop, you would be lunch!  Gracie did not seem to mind the flying plague, but I did not like them at all.  (Note to self: Bring DEET.)  Due to the heat and humidity, I was concerned that Gracie might overheat if we continued hiking the park.  We elected to explore the rest of the park via the truck.  (So technically this is a Hike/Road Trip.)

Old Cahawba is well maintained.  Roads of asphalt, gravel, and natural surface make travel through the ghost town easy.  Prominent ruins are located on the map and with signage.  We observed one active archaeological dig near the site of the old capital.

Canoe launch on the Cahaba is easily reached via the paved trail.  I did not observe a launch area on the Alabama River.  Adequate picnic tables and restroom facilities make this park a little-known gem.  I highly recommend visiting in Fall or Winter if you intend to spend time in the forest or rivers. 

Lake Jordan Paddle - Saturday, 07/15/2017

Kayaking: Lake Jordan Alabama (Put in at Rotary Landing); Saturday, 7/15/2017, 07:00-11:00CDT
Distance: 8 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.8/5.0
Conditions:  On lake at 07:00CDT, cloudy and mild.  Lake was extremely placid.  The cooler temperatures were greatly appreciated.  Light breeze by end of the paddle had ripples on the lake.  Motor boat traffic produced larger waves nearer the take-out point.  Temperatures were very warm by 11:00am as the sun began to assert its presence.
Enjoyed kayaking with my brother, Glenn, and a friend from church, Brian Goff.  Lake Jordan was unusually peaceful and still at the start of our paddle.  We launched from Rotary Landing without incident though Gracie proceeded to step off the kayak about 5 minutes after launch!  She managed to slip off the yak a total of three times within the first 30 minutes of the trip (one time by stepping off backwards!).  After this last event she settled down and rested against me for the duration of the trip.  (She wears here PFD at all times and is tethered to the yak.)
Observed bass, carp, and alligator gar jumping, as well as heron, egret, cormoran, and osprey.  Lake was about full pool thanks to recent rains.  Water was warm.

I was pleased with Gracie's behavior around other people (she is aloof at the beginning but warms up to strangers) and her actions on the kayak (slips off the yak aside).  She maintained a centered and still position for the great majority of the trip.  As she approaches her mature weight it will be even more important that she remain centered!  

After our paddle, all four of us enjoyed BBQ at Champs!  Great day on the water with friends.  

Summer Hike - Mountain Creek - Gracie(#2)'s First "Official Trail" Hike

Hike: Confederate Memorial Park, Mountain Creek, AL; Friday, 7/14/2017 09:00-10:30CDT
Distance: 2.1 miles  Difficulty: Easy  Rating: 4.8/5.0
Conditions: Clear to PCloudy.  Very warm.  Light breeze.  Trails in great shape.  
Gracie(#2) and I had the park to ourselves.  We did not observe any wildlife today but enjoyed bird song and gentle breezes.  This was Gracie's first "official trail" hike.  She hiked on-leash without any problem and then played frisbee off-leash in the grassy area.  She enjoyed playing in the small creek that runs through the park.  Shade and gentle breezes were appreciated by both of us.  Thank YOU, LORD, for this place and this special puppy.  I have a new "Hiking Buddy"!