Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wow.....
Time just zips right by, doesn't it? It has been a really long time between posts for me, and to be honest I'm not even sure anyone even checks this anymore, but nevertheless, I'm going to "post away".

So I'm down 100 pounds, did I go over that last time? No? Yes? Well I am, and I feel pretty good. I can ride a bike again, and I can even run, though I'm not tempting the knee gods by doing it too much. Bikes, and stairs are the order of the day.

I'm slowly getting back into Scouting; Outdoor Leadership skills training is coming up, and I've signed up for it, but after looking at the book, I think I pretty much know all of it by now. We'll see what the course holds for me. I'm ready for my son to be out of Cub scouts though, I really am. "Burnt out" would be the correct phrase, I'm burnt out. Don't want to attend any more Blue & Golds, or Pinewood derbies, just a little camping thank you. Is that bad of me? Should I feel terrible for wanting it to all be over? I'm sorry, but my idea of what the boys should be doing just doesn't jive with the current leadership of the pack, and rather than fight over it, I just want to move on.

Our beloved beagle Molly died back in July; she had degenerative disc disease and there was not a whole lot we could do for her..... I know humans I have not cried that much for when they died. That dogs death tore a hole in my heart that just......Words can't even begin to describe. Anyway, we were introduced to a rescue from the SPCA in December, an English pointer/boxer named "Snoopy" who firmly ensconced himself into our lives and hearts. He is currently working on chewing up anything that he can get his 50 pound puppy jaws around. Pictures will follow.

Is that enough for now? It's gonna have to be, because "Walking Dead" is coming on, and I have a standing date with my wife to watch it.

Cya!

Friday, May 10, 2013

I'm baaaaaack!

Well well well, It's been a Year and a half...Give or take a few months, since last I wrote in here. But things have recently changed (yet again) in my life, and I feel a renewed urgency to write in this blog.If you have followed me in the past, you may notice something is missing in the picture below....Give uo? Yeah, that'd be about 82 pounds of fat that is missing. I had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy in March, and am feeling better than I have in years. Im off of high blood pressure and cholesterol meds, and am becoming more and more active.
I'm feeling so good in fact, I helped instruct a Leave No Trace class in the North Carolina Mountains this past weekend! OK, so I didn't do a whole lot instructing per se, but I was there as an instructor, watching how to teach adults. So far all my experience in LNT instructing has been with Cub Scouts, who, BTW, are a whole lot easier to get up and talk to thatn a room full of adult leaders who are there to complete a ticket item for Wood Badge! Whew! tough crowd!

Anyway, it was a very good weekend, despite the fact that it was raining, and the temperature hovered right around 40 the whole weekend. The only negative was that I was cheap, and bought a tent footprint to use as a rain fly for my hammock. Well, the fly was too short, the rain ran down my hammock straps, and pooled up into the bottom of my hammock. Luckily, I went to bed fully dressed, with my rain gear on (A side effect  of losing so much weight is that Im always cold, so I dressed for a very cold night), so I personally didnt get wet, but a pack that had weighed 24 pounds when I first packed it had turned into what felt like 40 pounds of wet gear that had to be hiked out for a couple of miles.Anyway, here a couple of photos I took before my phone died.The one picture that is just trees? If you look closely, you can see a clutch of turkey eggs at the base of one of the trees. We startled a hen while she was nesting. Following the principle of respecting wildlife, we took one picture and beat it out of there so we werent disturbing her for longer than we had to.





 Anyway, I just wanted to say hello, and let y'all know I'm still alive! Im gonna post more as we get out and about more, so keep stopping by!







Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Sixth Ethic......

Yesterday a fellow Trainer and I had the opportunity to teach the Front Country guidelines of Leave No Trace to a group of scout leaders at a Scouting Success seminar. For the most part they were very open to what we had to say, but one fellow laughed a bit, made a joke here and there, and finally aid "I want to embrace this, but I'm having a hard time wrapping myself around this whole "Respect Wildlife" concept!". Personally, I don't see why anyone would need any help grasping the concept, but for those not in the know, here's what the 6th ethic sates:

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

So.....Whats so hard to understand? It seems to me that it's all rather straight forward. Take a look at the picture above, I took that a few days ago.2 Does, 2 bucks and a fawn. Now usually you don't see bucks, and if you do it's only for a few seconds before they crash through the forest in what can only be called a perfect display of self preservation. But these deer, they saw me in my golf cart, and they had absolutely no concern over my presence whatsoever. These deer have obviously had too much exposure to humans and civilization. I will be very surprised if I don't see any of them on the side of the road this season.

The Sixth ethic is one of the most important I think, and one of the most abused. I am of the opinion that if we, as a people, cant respect wildlife? Well then, we have no right to be in the wilderness at all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting to know you ♪ ♫......

Like my new friend? I was driving across campus in my trusty golf cart when I happened upon this fellow getting a sun bath. For the 15 minutes or so I sat with him (no closer than this mind you) he made no defensive posturing towards me, none at all.

Copperheads are very common in our area; in fact, they are the only venomous snake to be found in this part of North Carolina Rattlesnakes to left of us and cottonmouths and coral snakes to the right), but I haven't seen one in "the wild" for a very long time.

Resilient little critters; as I was watching him, a bike rider came along, and before I could warn him, completely ran over him with both tires! But I think that it happened so fast that he wasn't really hurt in the least bit, because he just sort of looked around like "What in the heck was that?!?" and went about his snakely duties. I sat with him for another 5 minutes or so, just to make sure he was O.K, and then shooed him off the trail and back into the woods so he would not get into trouble with all the people who use this greenway.

A few friends of mine of FaceBook declared me insane for not lopping his head off, but why? How is it my duty, my obligation -my right- to kill him? Is he in my house? Is he threatening my family? No! In fact, were in HIS house, threatening HIS family! He has more right to be there than any of the people who use that greenway, and instead of killing him, they should give him a very wide berth, and leave him alone.









Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's for dinner? ( A labored and forced review of the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist Cookset)

This is another little gem I picked up along the way; The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist Cookset). Coming in at a hefty 10.7 ounces, it's massive weight is only outdone by it's behemoth dimensions of 5.5 x 5.4 x 5 inches.

The fact that it can either be used on an open fire or a jet-boil type cooking stove without ruining the finish should make you no never mind; neither should the fact that the coffee mug/bowl has an insulated sleeve that comes off for easy cleaning. The fact that the whole thing comes wrapped in a waterproof cinch-sack that can be used for washing said set is equally as unimpressive. Overall, on a scale of ten stars? Eh, I'd give it a paltry 9.5, maybe 9.75.

(The sarcasm included in this review was completely non-gratis...Your welcome)

Friday, August 26, 2011

To Hammock, or not to hammock....

Since the last time i really and truly posted something of worth, I have entered the world of hammocking...

I had been batting the idea around for a while, and when Boudreaux ended up going to Webelo resident Camp, I gave him and two of his friends my small tent to use. I was only coming out a for a few nights, so I bit the proverbial bullet, went down to my local REI store, and got the ENO Single nest in Olive and Khaki (always mindful of the LNT ethic "Be Considerate of Other Visitors", I chose a hammock that had the lowest visual impact).

How does it feel? Well, it sleeps really well, the only problem is, right now it's just sooo hot, it's really not comfortable to sleep outside in any conditions! Webelo resident camp found the low at a frigid 89 degrees, and since then, Ive only had one other chance to use it, and that was on a family trip to Pisgah. I did indeed use it there, but unfortunately, the lights from the bath house were right in my eyes ( the position of trees in a campground plays a great factor in how your nights rest will be) the first night, and the second found us in the middle of thunderstorms.

Can I suggest that if you plan on getting a hammock, you go ahead and buy a rain fly for it at the same time? I only had a very small tent footprint to use (Tent footprints are just as good as a fly, and sometimes about 75% cheaper too), and things got a little bit damp. Thank goodness the kids and my wife had the Taj Mahal of tents set up or I would have been soaked through and through.

ENO also makes these things called "Slap straps" which are really cool. They are essentially a set of adjustable straps for your hammock that help you set up your hammock in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes, and also help minimize the impact you will have on the trees you are securing the Hammock to. I did not buy these, but immediately regretted that decision when I saw the marks I left on two trees (securing my hammock with rock climbing rope) the other weekend. They are now on my shopping list for the next trip.

One really cool benefit of it is how small the thing is! Wrapped up and put away in it's attached sack, it's about the size and weight of a softball. This can seriously cut down on your weight, which is a plus if you are trying to do the whole ultra light hiking thing.

I have also been over to the "Hammock Forums" (yes, there really is a forum for hammock users, and it is one busy site!), and seen it suggested that you replace the carabiners on your ENO with some serious rock climbing carabiners. The ones it came with work just fine, but I do intend on doing this as well, just to be safe...er.

Anyway, thats a short run down on the ENO SingleNest Hammock.. I'm hoping that this Fall I will get a few chances to use it; we are taking several scout camping trips, and my hope is to use the Hammock instead of the tent. I'll have to write more and let you know how it goes!
I took this picture two weeks ago in Pisgah, along the Davidson River Campground trails. Pisgah has always been one of my favorite places, and I still love it, but ever since I took my LNT training, I look at things differently. Has anyone else experienced this?

Its almost as if I've become misanthropic, because I love the scenery there, but the litter, the sea of ignorant humanity that comes through there disgusts me. I hate to sound like that, but when you go to Looking Glass falls, you want to see these great waterfalls, feel the cool mist on your face, not pick up batteries that people have thrown on the rocks when they changed ot the batteries in their camera!

So what do you in a scenario like this? How should you act?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Finally!!

For the longest time, I could not figure out the pass word to this particular blog, and lo and behold, today I remembered it!! So watch out, new posts are-a-comin!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You know, they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions....If that is indeed the truth, then I must be driving the asphalt truck, because I have been meaning to upgrade this blog for a very very long time!

So much has happened in the past year, I haven't really had time to think about anything but family. There were multiple hospital stays in my family, for my Mom, my dad, and-most seriously- for my wife, who quite honestly almost died on me. So please, please, please have some compassion and understanding, and know that while I always wanted to keep this up, it was simply not an option for the longest time. When it rains, it pours eh?

Despite all the calamity in my life, I did get some productive things done! #1, I got my BALOO (Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation) training out of the way, and Most importantly, I am now an official Leave No Trace Trainer! I took the BSA course a few weeks ago, and I am now able to teach the Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics to other BSA leaders, teachers, schoolchildren, just about anyone! I am planning on taking the Master Educator course in the next year or so, but I am going to go after my Wood Badge first! I've been wanting to do that for 2 or 3 years now, and I think the timing will be right when it is offered again next winter/ spring.

Oh yeah, and through a lot of dieting, I have lost 56 pounds since October. Pretty cool huh? Im having problems getting below 260 though. I waffle between 258 and 263 depending on the day. Im 6'3, so 260 doesnt look bad on me, but I'd like to lose another 20 pounds, all truth be told.

I have to play catch up with this blog, as we had a fantastic trip to the Smoky Mountains last October with scouts for the Elk rut, and I have tons of photos! Look for more over the next few weeks!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Road to Recovery.....Finally.


Dear friends, 3 days after my last entry, I got a call from one of the local Hospitals during a Den Meeting. It was concerning my wife. emergency surgery was required, could I please come down? Next of kin was needed, and the spectre of DNR reared it's ugly, pale head......

Long story short, she's OK now, but since her surgery, Bronchitis and strep throat have both plagued my family too. So to say that the proverbial road to recovery has been long and really mean is almost an understatement. The past two years have....well, they've sucked for my family. First, we lose my Father In Law, one of the greatest men I've ever known, then my back goes out (I have planters fasciitis in my left foot now because of the back), and not 3 weeks after I was cleared to go back to work, my wife almost dies.

I figure I owed you guys an explanation as to why I've been AWOL, so here it is.
With that being said, here's to us all! Happy New Year, and I'm hoping, praying, begging for a new year filled with blue skies and great hikes for everyone.

"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks"
~John Muir~