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

The Storm is starting…

2010_1225_Marsh_02

Well, today there is supposed to be a Blizzard here on the East coast. Out on Long Island where we are based they are expecting about a foot and a half of snow! And it is the day AFTER Christmas (would have been great to have this on Christmas eve, but now it will just be a bother as folks are trying to get home and many are supposed to get to work tomorrow!!!)…

Early this morning the yard was full of squirrels and birds foraging for food. The animals could sense that there was a major weather event on the way and were scurrying about trying to eat as much as they could before they would have to take shelter. Skies were already grey and a few stray snowflakes drifted lazily down…

As more snow fell, the squirrels began looking for better shelter than the tree they usually live in. We saw one go up to the roof of the neighbor’s house looking for the way into the attic (which the neighbor had sealed up after the squirrels’ last stay a few years ago). It was the mother squirrel–she must have remembered it from when she was little, as her own mother, our “famed” Snacker Queen, had sheltered in there a few winters ago. Frustrated that the entrance was blocked, she looked to the chimney, which also was screened off, and then she ran on, to try elsewhere (we hope not on our own roof!!!!)…

The snow is falling steadily now, and only one lone squirrel is still stretched out on the squirrola feeder, nibbling away…

Meanwhile, nice and warm inside, we hunker down and wait and watch…

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Video: New York Departure

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

Some images from New York…

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

New York Heatwave

Heatwave-500w

I feel like we are practicing for Death Valley! Yesterday it was 106 degrees here on Long Island!

We were hot! The Jeep was hot! Everyone and everything was hot!

The day started out innocent enough… warm and sunny… a typical July day. In the morning we practiced putting up the tent (it wasn’t yet QUITE that hot)… but by late afternoon the heat was so bad that even I went into the pool (an extremely rare occurrence). Later on we learned that it hasn’t gotten up into the 100 degree range here since 2001 (see NY Times news article with details) and that in general it is quite rare for it to be over 100 here.

For comparison, yesterday it was 116 in Death Valley (so only 10 degrees hotter!!!!!)

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

Fireworks

DSCN0707_600w

Either because it was the Fourth of July, or because our trip is coming very very very very very very very very very very very very very very…. soon, we decided to make some fireworks, firecrackers and a few fountains. Here’s a picture… We did not use all of them because the two mothers began to be frightened : my mom cactus killer and blue coyote’ s mother (what???… you did not know coyotes stay with their mothers very long!?!?!?!?!…..) Anyway we had a lot of fun!

posted by Silly Squirrel in On the Road and have Comments (2)

Under the Hood…

With freedom comes responsibility… And I have the great responsibility of getting us all there and back again safely. Which is exactly what brought me to the Jeep dealership the other day.

We need to make sure our vehicle can withstand the grueling workout it is going to get. Our greatest concern is the extreme conditions of Death Valley in August where it can get as high as 130 degrees farenheit!

Our Jeep becomes more than  just a mode of transport out there. It becomes a critical tool for survival. So having it checked out by our mechanic is important. And it is also important that we be able to do some emergency service in case something breaks down out in the desert.

So that means, we’d better know how to change a flat tire, and it was also suggested by those more experienced with Jeeping in the desert, that we carry some spare hoses, fan belt and so forth… and following up on that, I found myself getting a tutorial in changing radiator hoses and replacing the fan belt!

It was interesting to learn about what is under the hood of my Jeep, even though I hope I will never have to use that knowledge in the field!!!! But somehow it just seemed appropriate to start the story of our road trip with the hood of the Jeep open…

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

The team is here!

So we are finally all assembled together here in NY!

It was a bit hectic at the end, as Cactus Killer and Silly Squirrel arrived kind of late… as in well after midnight!!!! But all was good… They were just a little tired (and I was too! … still nothing that a bit of sleep can’t fix)…

We drove out to Nesconset where the Big Weasel was waiting, and we shared a welcome drink before heading off to bed at 3:30am!!!!

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have Comments (2)

A chance encounter in the park…

photo-2So today i was inspired by the incredibly great weather to get out for a long long walk, working towards improving my trail endurance (now that i don’t have Cactus Killer’s hill to train on!)… Was up early, around 730am, and went to the nearby state park here on Long Island.

It was pretty empty so early on a Saturday morning in March, and i set off on a trail i had done before, planning to loop into a slightly longer trail further up. The skies were blue, and the sunlight filtered through the branches of the pine trees in sharp rays. All around were signs of spring. As well as some newly fallen trees — signs of a series of big storms that had effected this area only last week.

And i was just walking along enjoying the fresh air and morning light, when i had the sensation that i was not alone. It’s strange how you sense the presence of someone before you see them.deerInpark

But i heard no one, and looking up ahead on the trail, i saw no one either… i stopped. i listened. then i looked around 360 degrees, and at about my 3 o’clock, across the woods, there were four deer. the deer stopped. they listened. they looked up at me… we stayed for a moment looking at each other, then they continued eating… i went to continue on my way, but my motion must have spooked the leader, and he took off running, and the others soon followed him running along the tree-line of the parallel trail.

deerZoom

photo-3I considered myself quite lucky to see the deer this morning, and smiling I continued my walk. Eventually i hit the intersecting trail, and followed it around. This trail was a bit swampier than the other one, and though the last rain was several days ago, there were still patches of thick mud to cross. I was near the river. There was a small path leading off the trail to the water’s edge, and I decided to go over and watch the ducks… Looking across the water, i saw them swimming in a row… They were awfully BIG ducks… I looked a bit closer, and realized they were not ducks… nor were they swans or geese… I stared at the movement and realized i was just seeing the heads above water… it was the DEER swimming across the river!!!!

I have never seen anything like that before (I didn’t even know deer could swim!!!!)… I waited until they got across, then waded up out of the water — just to be sure i really DID see deer swimming… and then i returned to the trail and finished my 4-mile loop. What an unexpected surprise!

photo-4

posted by Blue Coyote in Shaping up for the Trail and have Comments (2)

New York State parks and rivers

So thinking ahead, I know I will be needing to continue the work I started on Cactus Killer Hill once I am back in NY, and have been doing some research into local state parks, rivers, and public land.

Once weather clears up a bit I will need to start using the local parks for “training.”

Canoeing on the Nissequoge River – there are several options listed on the site. The local canoe liveries offer trips on the river that last about 2-3 hours.

Trails in state parks – there are a number of state parks not far from our location that should permit me to keep up with the walking workouts.

Entrance Pass for NY state parks – Empire Passport will allow entrance to state parks for a one time fee of $65.

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

Videos, Slideshows and Podcasts by Cincopa Wordpress Plugin