Controlled Burns

    I am continuity conflicted. I love access to open spaces and therefore am drawn to public lands. I observe the managers of these lands first hand and am often baffled by what appears to be illogical behaviors. I’ll be the first to say I don’t have enough information to critique them. However, why close a hiking trail at 3pm each day to protect eagles nesting and then do a control burn on the same trail. Jokes on them the Eagles and I both moved over to another trail and we’ve not telling which trail. 

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    Reasons you are alone in the Woods

    I had a dorky boss that took one backpacking trip. He claimed is was the greatness experience of his life. He has never returned to the woods again.

    I was walking alone through the woods enjoying nature to excess. A thought came to mind “this is wonderful why am alone”.  I’m also a big reader of outdoor media (blogs, magazines, websites). I constantly run across an endless barrage of fear mongering.  Reasons you might not enjoy nature quite as much as you think. 

    I began to compose this list of why I might be alone in the woods. What is keeping people from putting on a backpack and spending a week walking through God’s creation?  Here is my list.  I welcome your comments because I’m sure this is not comprehensive.  Enjoy

    Reasons you are alone in the woods beside your personality and hygiene 

    Wildlife:
    Bears

    Mountain Lions

    Moose

    Snakes

    Scorpions

    Spiders

    Biting squirrels(Grand Canyon)

    Deer Flies

    Mosquitoes

    Ticks both spotted and seed

    Other reptiles 

    Sinks  

    Wilber’s and coyotes 

    Stinging wasp, bees 

    Weather:
    Cold

    Hot 

    Humidity

    Rain 

    sleet

    Snow

    Wind including breeze 

    Lighting cloud to ground 

    Ominous Thunder

    Hail

    Plants:
    Poison ivy

    Poison Oak

    Stinging nettle 

    Stickers

    Stick tights 

    Saw briers 

    Things with little potential:
    Big Foot

    Monsters

    Ghosts

    Ax Murders

    Rednecks

    Rangers (they usually are in patrol cars or directing traffic or practicing rescues) 

    Hunters

    Drug dealers 

    Moonshiners

    Ginseng hunters / mushrooms

    Calamity:
    Avalanche 

    Flash Floods

    Debris flows

    Trees falling (blow downs)

    Drowning 

    Falling (heights)

    Forrest Fires 

    Quick sand

    Weather forecast 

    Lack of civilization:
    No Wifi

    No hospitals

    No restaurants

    No showers

    No beds 

    Boredom

    Pooping 

    Disease:
    West Nile 

    Giardia

    Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

    Lyme Disease

    Powassan Virus “Worse Than Lyme Disease”

    Joint ailments or broken bones

    Hepa virus

    Chickmuga virus

    Diarrhea 

    Altitude Sickness 

    Blisters

    Hypothermia 

    Allergies

    Compound fractures (tripping)

    Chafing 

    Geography:

    Steep

    Narrow

    Slick rocks

    River Crossings

    Too old, too young or something better too do
    Fear of being un-prepared
    Fear forgetting a first aid kit

    Fear of forgetting a canteen 

    Fear you might forget to use your canteen 

    Fear of lack of map and compass skills 

    Fear of not having the right equipment

    THE END – additions?

    Outdoor showers at night have been suspended indefinitely due to excessive timber rattlesnakes

    I’m not a huge fan of snakes. I give all snakes a very wide berth. This week has been nothing but crazy. Everywhere I turn I see snakes! King snakes eating worms, copperheads under my garage floor, bull snakes, rat snakes, a monster water snake but tonight takes the cake. I built a outdoor shower so tonight like every night, I walk out to take a shower but forgot my towel. Walked back into the cabin to get it. Mind you naked, before God waiting for the water to warm, I look to see a rattler coiled to strike. I’ve stepped over this guy twice now!

    Like I say “Outdoor showers at night have been suspended indefinitely due to excessive timber rattlesnakes”

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    Fall is just around the corner

    We’re been out doing a little OHT trail maintenance lately. Few folks get in the woods this time of year. Ticks are still going strong, deer flies are mature, gnats at peak populations and snakes seem to be abundant. The real nuisance is spider webs, actually spiders. Hiking involves walking while waving a multi forked stick in front of yourself. Kathy bought us bug nets to wear over our heads. I tease her that it makes her look like she is wearing a burka but they work great. Sunday after church potluck we headed out for a quick 8 mile Jaunt. It had rained all morning. The wet rocks slowed our pace as well as a few king snakes eating earthworms in the middle of the trail which had us watching our step.

    Monday we walked to the Oark Store for breakfast. It’s a 50 minute walk one way. It’s the greatest idea for a hike. Eat a big breakfast at the half waypoint then walk it off. A huge copperhead was nicked by a car but found coiled to strike, dead as dead can be, right in the middle of the road.

    A Bull snake and a large rat snake were spotted around the cabin this week to go with the nice copperhead last weekend.

    The deer are getting use to us and are getting closer and closer to the cabin. Deer season (bow) starts Saturday and I got a new bow. Smile

    Of course, we lost our chickens to a predator. I think it’s a bear but maybe a bobcat. The house was turned over and the door smashed it. Five random plies of feathers was all that was left. We have seen both a bobcat and bear around.

    The cool wet summer has given us a bummer crop of muscadine grapes and black walnuts. Kathy picked a batch of grapes on Tuesday. Then Thursday we got even more serious. We are thinking we probably pick over 60 pounds of grapes so far. The black walnuts are great to pick out during football season.

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    ATV Ride to White Rock

    Overcast in the 70’s made what looked like a perfect day to ride the bikes from Fly Gap to White Rock Mountain. I recently purchased a good little trailer to shuttle the bikes a little further away from the cabin so we could see more country.

    This day didn’t disappoint though we did get rained on the pretty good and spent some time under a ledge trying to avoided the heavy downpour. We were pretty wet by then anyway.

    The wild flowers were everywhere with the wild azaleas being the highlight. The vistas were beautiful as the road found it’s away atop several mountain tops. We spotted a buck in full velvet.

    My son had a new GoPro camera which of course added to the the fun trying the new mounts and such. They are amazing pieces of equipment.

    I hadn’t been to White Rock Mountain in over 30 years. I won’t let it go that long again.

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    Thoughts from the Porch

    I’m sitting on the front porch of the cabin this evening having just returned from a 6 mile hike.   Steaks are grilling. Carpenter bees and hummingbirds are buzzing.  I’ve sat here most of the day working (real job).  I was ready to get up and move around.

    We headed up the mountain behind the cabin to find that our logging road paths have been over grown with seeded grass from the erosion control methods of the evil loggers.  Waist high grass is not enjoyable to hike in even with all the ticks. (sarcasm)   Every hike seems to be an entertaining adventure.  The Dogwoods have gone and the ground wildflowers have become amazingly gorgeous for what always seems like a short season.  We retrieved the Father in law’s seat cushion he left on the mountain from his futile turkey hunt a couple of weeks ago.  We had to practically shoo a turkey off the darn thing.

    Wildfire burned the field near the river early last fall.  The ugly fire has given way to green grass and fields full of Daisies.

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    wildflowers

     

    The Muscadine Grapes look to have set fruit.  We are always hoping for a cool wet summer so that the wild fruit is abundant., so far so good.

    Yesterday, I rented a tractor to fix the .6 mile long driveway then the gravel truck didn’t show.  We have an awesome driveway now until the next rain.  It was a great way to spend our 35th wedding anniversary.