Unexpected encounters with nature on the trail…

The other day we went for a short hike in Connetquot state park, and had the amazing good fortune to see 31 deer! It was like a deer convention. There was a whole herd of them. We couldn’t believe it. (And I had told Cactus Killer that we probably wouldn’t see any because of the time of day!) As we started our walk we saw one or two in a clearing through the trees, then as we turned we saw the whole meadow was full with grazing deer… maybe eleven of them. That was so exciting in and of itself we were quite content with our walk. But then we saw another meadow area with a bunch more, we kept counting and couldn’t believe there were over twenty. At a certain point we walked right near a few of them, young ones, and only when we crunched some dry leaves underfoot did they look up.

We continued our walk, looping around behind the hatchery, and then back along the stream, and saw a few more deer, for a total of 31.

When we crossed the little footbridge and reached the intersection of trails we headed south, back in the direction of the main entrance of the park, and while we were walking suddenly there was a massive noise as an enormous flock of ducks rose up and flew overhead in formation shrilly quacking as they went. There were so many they seemed almost to darken the sky above. It was amazing.

Mother Nature was putting on a spectacular show for the adventurous souls who dared go walking so late in December.

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Ohio: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

posted by Blue Coyote in America the Beautiful and have No Comments

The Zion Narrows permit scramble…

Picture 28

Was up really early this morning, and had alarms and reminders flashing and beeping since yesterday, because today is the day the reservations for permits on the Narrows opens up! There are only 12 campsites and only 6 are reservable in advance… And we have to have the permit for a specific day because of our complicated trip plan!

I had tried the site last night after midnight, but it was not yet showing the August reservations calendar (perhaps it posts after midnight Utah-time… which is 2 time zones behind New York… and I just couldn’t stay up that late… was too tired!).

When I went on the site this morning around 6a.m., there were already days/sites that were full! Luckily there was still a 4-person site open on our required day, and I didn’t hesitate to reserve! SUCCESS! We have a permit for site 3!

Now we have to get a shuttle reservation to the trailhead. And get to the park from Las Vegas in time for the early a.m. departure (which may be earlier than planned because of road construction that has caused disruption to the shuttle schedule).

… And we have to hope the weather and river conditions cooperate … we are only allowed to hike the river if it is flowing at below 120 cubic feet per second and if there are no flash flood warnings in effect. So there is a fairly strong likelihood that even with our permit we may not be able to do the trip. We need to be prepared for that eventuality as well… and we need to be SMART about considering the weather forecasts with due caution (and not the usual unbridled can-do enthusiasm)… as we have “graduated” to “grown-up” expeditions and the Rangers will not make decisions for us here! We need to make our own go/no go decision based on conditions on the day of the trip.

Here is the link to a video (it may take a few moments to download)┬áthe Rangers put together about safe Canyoneering in Zion. It is worth watching for the section on Flash Flooding…

posted by Blue Coyote in Planning and have No Comments

Walking the walk…

Have been continuing to work on building up my endurance so that i will be ready when we hit the trail. I think the biggest challenge will now be the Zion Narrows hike, as that will be two days of walking 6.5 hours per day thru a river. It doesn’t sound so hard on paper, but I am sure walking thru water isn’t as simple as a walk in the park… and so I have decided that I will make sure that I am ready by training on a longer walk…

So yesterday for my “walk in the park” i took the backpack too… and did 6.5 miles (the actual distance we will have to walk each of the days)… 3 hours (on normal trails… not thru water)…

I have decided to train up for an 8 hour walk on normal trails…because I do these walks without stopping… and I am sure that the 6.5 hour time that the rangers estimate includes some stops (as they say so on their trail map)…

Then I will try one day at least to go down to the beach and walk along the coast in the water (with shoes, clothes and backpack)… just to get an idea of the difference…

posted by Blue Coyote in Shaping up for the Trail and have No Comments

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