Don't forget! From now through November 26, 2014 you can earn chances to win a copy of one of my books. See Blogoversary #6
Confirmed entries to date: 6

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Contest Day! - Win an Ad for a Month


Quiddler game

Two years ago my hiking friend Marie and I discovered a game called Quiddler. It’s a word game, and we really love it. I mean, we REALLY LOVE IT. So we’ve learned all kinds of new words trying to beat each other. We got to play a little bit this year before and after the hike. She even chose to play more Quiddler instead of me making homemade rhubarb pie for us! (Not that I minded... not many people will play with me.)

So this month’s quiz uses words that we’ve added to our Quiddler lists. I’ve made it mostly multiple choice so you can guess for fun if you don’t want to research. The first person to put the most correct answers in a comment before midnight EST Wednesday, June 3 will get a free ad for one month.

1. Which one is not a tree?
a. elm
b. elb
c. qat
d. gyb

2. Which one is not a letter of some alphabet?
a. vav
b. zed
c. pho
d. rho

3. Which one has nothing to do with books?
a. quern
b. quire
c. quarto
d. quadrat

4. List any four words of four or more letters where Y is the only vowel.

5.Which one is not a word that describes a geologic feature?
a. vly
b. vug
c. col
d. zax

See An Alternate Quiddler Solitaire
See Contest Day! - Win an Ad for a Month May Contest
See Know Your Weeds? - Win an Ad for a Month April Contest

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Early Yellow Minnesota Flowers


It was too early for many flowers to be out yet, but several were opening during the final week of our hike. I'm sharing these two because they are ones I had not seen before.

yellow corydalis in Minnesota

Above is Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis flavula). It is related to bleeding heart. I've seen Pink Corydalis on several hikes, but hadn't previously seen the yellow ones except in pictures. The pink ones are more delicate- almost so pale that they often are hard to see against the granite on which they like to grow. The yellow ones seem much more showy even though the plant is only a few inches high and each bloom about 1/2 inch long. We found them growing at the base of some rocks in the area that had been logged (see yesterday's post).

fly honeysuckle in Minnesota

The second one is American Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis). This is one of the native honeysuckles, much more welcome than the alien Tartarian Honeysuckle bushes that grow everywhere in Michigan. The flowers were very pale yellow, maybe that's not quite so obvious in the picture. Each trumpet is about one inch long, but the bushes were several feet tall. Somehow I had thought that the Fly Honeysuckle had a sweet scent, but they didn't smell like anything at all. Honeysuckle is easy to identify, at least in general because it is one of the few shrubs with opposite branching. Also the flowers and berries are in pairs, often looking like two berries stuck together.

Wow, tomorrow is the last day of May. It needs to be contest day! I'll try to make one that isn't so daunting. Hope some of you will play!

See The Moles Missed This One

Friday, May 29, 2009

Walking Into Spring


photo label

This is the first time I've taken this long of a trip in May. I've been out for five days in this month other years. But never before have I so completely walked from bare trees and the end of winter into green leaves and wildflowers.

The top picture was taken on our second hiking day. The view is of Lake Superior from the Superior Hiking Trail. As you can see it was a gray day and the trees are all bare and gray except for the conifers.

photo label

The second picture was on the last hiking day. We had just emerged from the greening trees in back of us into an area that had experienced a severe blowdown. Timber was salvaged, leaving the space looking about the same as if it had been logged (and difficult to walk through).

This afternoon I took a slow walk around my trail at home and picked some of the wild asparagus here. I thought that I might miss it all, so I was very happy to find some yet. It was rather mature, but I cut it up and made it into soup for dinner. I forgot to take a picture! Obviously I'm not back into blogging mode just yet-- trying to get my head around the schedule I was keeping before the hike.

I think tomorrow I'll show you some wildflowers from the hike.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home- The Hike Was Great!

 

hikers by Kekekabic Trail sign

We don't look like the brightest bulbs in the room in this picture, but here is the group (except me, I took the picture) that finished on the 24th at the Kekekabic Trailhead near Ely, Minnesota. We had a fifth hiker join us for the final five days. The weather warmed and the end of the hike was pleasant, for which we were not sorry!

Dinner at the Chocolate Moose in Ely was as wonderful gastronomically as the hike was wonderful hikin'omically!

We stayed in small motels/cabins on the way home with no web access. Marie and I arrived at my house last night, and spent today cleaning gear and putting it away before she left at 4 pm. It just all seems to have happened too quickly!

I've got so many things to catch up on!

spruce grouse

Here's one fun thing to share. This spruce grouse gave us a nice display on the next to the last day of the hike. After watching us for several minutes it flew to roost in a tree right over the trail where I guess it thought it was hidden. We hiked right under it! They are odd birds in that they are known for letting people get very close to them.

See Trail Work Day
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Did We Make It?


campers sitting by a lake

Well, if all went as planned we have reached our car this afternoon, and are probably warm and snug in a motel.

There aren't too many hikes I've led with as many unknowns as this one. As late as the day before we left home, I was getting conflicting reports of "2-3 feet of snow still on the trail" and "mostly bare ground with a few snow patches." We had read of Nimblewill Nomad's terrible experience just a couple of weeks before we began our hike. We know the trail is difficult to follow (marking is not allowed in the wilderness which makes it even more difficult). I'm sure we've had an adventure!

But I hope that you've enjoyed the tour while I was in the woods, and perhaps learned a little more about trails. I also hope that I can do a live post tomorrow, so I haven't scheduled one. You'll know in another day!

I'm sure we've enjoyed some evenings similar to the one pictured above from 2003.

As I write this, we need to pull out of the driveway in 4 hours and 45 minutes. I still have an hour of work to do, and then I will catch a couple of hours of sleep. I tucked Marie in long ago, so she will be fresh to drive. She is a morning person, and I'm the night owl. Hubby just got up (3 am) to do the paper route, and I need to sign off. See you soon, I hope.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Volunteers


photo label

So, how does the trail stay open at all, given wind, fire, water... The answer is "VOLUNTEERS."

Almost all of the work of any kind (trail building and maintenance, through making phone calls, landowner negotiations, leading hikes, etc) is done by volunteers. Why? They simply love to be able to be part of creating inviting places in the forests, hills, prairies... to walk. More often than not, they are hikers who woke up one day and realized that they wanted to give something back to the trails that gave them so much peace.

Next time you take a hike, think about who it is that makes that pathway safe and clear for your enjoyment. In a park, it may be your tax dollars. But on many trails, it is volunteers.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blowdown


photo label

In 1999, a devastating wind storm blew through the Superior National Forest. It flattened trees like a box of wooden matches thrown on the floor. This picture shows what some of the area looked like in 2003. It will take years for the forest to come back, and the fire danger has been so high that the question never was "will it burn?" But "when will it burn?"

There have been some controlled fires since then, and a couple of natural ones. In the spring of 2007 the Hamm Lake Fire burned across the trail. By now we will have seen the changes that wrought. I don't really know what to expect- a moonscape or a lot of fresh new green things. We do know that it makes the trail very hard to follow. We have GPS!

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Agamok Bridge


photo label

Tonight we are camping near Agamok Bridge. This is where the 2003 Volunteer Vacation trip ended. It's an amazing structure to come upon in the wilderness where no wheels or power tools are allowed. All the parts were brought in by dog sled one winter, and the bridge was assembled the next summer.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Begin the Kekekabic Trail

 

Kekekabic trail signToday we re-enter the Wilderness on the Kekekabic Trail. It was originally a fire road through the Superior National Forest, but decades ago was "lost" to the forest. Volunteers try to keep it open for hiking. Only hand tools can be used in designated wilderness.

Portions of this trail can be very difficult to follow. There was a huge blowdown in 1999, and portions have burned since then. Last fall two hikers were lost trying to follow the Kek. They were safely located the next day. We are using GPS to avoid their fate.



See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day Off!


trail lunch

Today we have the whole day off, and at a very nice place. This is the Gunflint Resort. We have picked up a supply box, taken hot showers, and will generally pamper ourselves today. I thought it would be fun to show the contrast between eating styles.

The first picture is from the Volunteer Vacation I was on, here on the Kek, in 2003. This is Derrick, with what got quickly nicknamed "wolf shit on a shingle," (um... for obvious reasons!) It's really black bean dip on a tortilla.
eating at Gunflint Lodge

Here is the restaurant at Gunflint Lodge. Have no doubts that we will be eating here today!

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Live Post! What a Hike!


hikers on the Border Route

We are at Gunflint Lodge, and taking a much looked-forward to day off! All nights have been below freezing, with only two warm days. But it is great! Another hiker we met took this picture of us. Here are a few samples.

View from Rose to South Lakes in the Boundary Waters

This was taken from two days ago's lunch spot. How awesome! We are looking west from Rose Lake across Rat Lake (the little one) to South Lake. The cliffs were about 500 feet high.

hikers checking a map

Here we are in the first of the burned sections we have to cross. We are checking the map. We weren't lost, but a side trail was blazed in blue and we followed it for a half-mile in the wrong direction (sigh). We were deciding if we were willing to bushwhack back to the correct trail or if we had to backtrack. In the end we backtracked.

Gunflint cliffs

Yesterday as we hiked into the Gunflint Lodge, we were first on the top of that big rock cliff, and then we came down off the back side of it and hiked into the Lodge. We hiked 12.8 hard miles yesterday. We are tired, but very happy and enjoying a day in the warmth, and ordering restaurant food!

Thanks to everyone who has continued to keep reading. I read all your comments this morning and have enjoyed them very much. I'm out of time now, but all is well with us (although we are chilly).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bunkhouse at Gunflint Lodge


photo labelIf we are on schedule we are sleeping in this bunkhouse tonight. It's offered as a low-cost option at the Gunflint Lodge, where most of the accommodations are much nicer. This is good enough for us! The picture is of one of the participants in the Volunteer Vacation.

It MAY be possible for me to do an "on the spot" post tomorrow. But if I don't get to, please don't be too disappointed.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Trails Get from A to B


photo label

Florida Trail? How the heck did that get here? Well, it's not, but I thought I would tell you today a little bit about the politics of trails, and this was the only "property boundary" picture I could find. Long distance trails need to be connected up, but the land is seldom owned by one entity.

This is today's topic because on the Border Route Trail, there is only one piece of trail that is not on National Forest land, and we will cross it today. The trail almost did not get completed because there was no way to get from Gunflint to Loon Lake. In 1992 a landowner donated the critical connection and the trail could be completed.

On the NCT the most common solution to crossing private property is with a legal easement, but there are a number of options. So I just wanted to say that the next time you are taking a hike on a trail, think for a minute about the legal relationships and discussions that may have occurred just to create a place for you to walk.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Vistas


photo label

I really don't know what today will be like. Several people told us that this section was very difficult and several people said it will be easy. There are supposed to be quite a few really nice vistas across the lakes into Canada.

This is a picture from the area farther west. It's very typical. Lots of spruce covered rocks and small lakes. I don't think I could ever get tired of views like this! However, it all looks so much alike that you need to pay attention to where you are.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Friday, May 15, 2009

...to Clearwater


map of campsite on Clearwater Lake

I don't know anything at all about this section, so I just posted a piece of the map. The map does show you that we are just one lake away from Canada. Clearwater Lake is all in the US, but you can see just to the north of the trail is Watap Lake, with the international border running through the middle.

Some of the spring work crews are out on the trail this week, so we may actually run into some other people, here in this remote section of Minnesota! In designated wilderness (this is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness), no power tools, or wheeled carts can be used. All the trail work is done by hand.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Northern WIldflowers


Great Spurred VioletPerhaps we will be passing through the area at the right time to see this beauty again. It is the Great Spurred Violet, Viola selkirkii. The blooms are quite large, and I knew the minute I saw it in 2003 that it was a new species for my life list!

pipsissewaHere's another northern treat, the pipsissewa Chimaphila umbellata. It had already gone to seed in May 2003. Maybe we'll see one in bloom this time!

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Entering the Wilderness


Boundary Waters signToday we enter the designated Wilderness of the BWCA for the first time. A permit is required for this. If one wishes to canoe it's best to apply for a permit really early, but hiking permits are much easier to get. It's not a highly traveled trail.

We will be in the Wilderness for four days, then we come out at the Gunflint Lodge, and then go back in again for another four days. That, of course, means that we get to buy another permit.

There are only a few places along the NCT where one needs a permit, but this is one of them.

Little John Lake

Just before we get to the wilderness we will cross the northern end of the Arrowhead Trail (a road). This is where we will pick up our first supply box. This beautiful bluff is at the edge of Little John Lake. I'm really looking forward to seeing this location again.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Beginning the Border Route


photo label

Today we head north on the Border Route Trail, one of the oldest long hiking trails in the United States. It is much less-well marked than the SHT, but we do have GPS points collected by two other hikers. We are quite confident that with the electronic data we won't have any trouble staying on or near the route. Of course we have good maps and compasses and brains as well, just in case the technology fails us.

Here are the words to a song that isn't as old as the BRT, but the words were published as far back as 1948. It's definitely been tugging at me ever since I learned it, and I hope our group will learn it. Marie and I like to sing, but I don't know about the guys! It's sung to the Irish Tune "The Road to the Isles."
Border Trail

It's the far Northland that's a-calling me away
As take I with my backpack to the road,
It's the call on me of the forest in the North,
As step I with the sunlight for my load.

Chorus:
By Lake Duncan and Clearwater to the Bearskin I will go,
Where you see the loon and hear its plaintive wail,
If you're thinking in your inner heart there's swagger in my step,
You've never been along the Border Trail.

It's the flash of paddle blades a gleaming in the sun,
A canoe softly skimming by the shore,
It's the tang of pine and bracken, coming on the breeze,
That calls me to the waterways once more.

Chorus

It's the hiss and glide of skis on newly fallen snow,
It's the sparkle of the sun on snow and hoar;
It's the snap and tingle of cold air upon the face
That calls me to the snow-capped peaks once more.

Chorus


See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Monday, May 11, 2009

End of the Superior Trail


Today / tomorrow we are making the switch from a rather new trail, the Superior Hiking Trail, to one of the oldest long trails in the U.S, the Border Route Trail.

photo label

We are camping here where the two trails meet, separated by just a few yards of road walking and the Swamp River. There is road access here which is why I have advance pictures. Lyle and I drove here in 2003 to check out possible places for supply boxes. We found a couple of established campsites with picnic tables, so we may be camping in relative luxury tonight. If it's still there the guidebook says there is even a latrine!

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Crossing of Arrowhead Trail


northern view with spruce and water

The section today I have very little advance information about. We are hiking from Hazel Lake to Woodland Caribou campsite. At least it begins with some downhill! If you look at yesterday's elevation map we begin by heading down to the dip at the middle. Then we climb again. In fact we climb to Rosebush Ridge the highest point on the SHT, although the guidebook says there is no view. Don't worry, the SHT has LOTS of great views from other locations. The picture above is not from this section, but it shows the kind of terrain we will be in for much of this entire hike.

The second day of hiking can feel bad, although we've decided that the third day is the worst. One winter I did a series of 3-day weekend hikes to walk across southern Michigan. At the end of them all I thought maybe I was losing my interest in hiking. Then I realized that I had set myself up to finish each one on the day that feels the worst. That was not a great plan!

I am also hopeful that there will be some greening up occurring. I'm thinking as I write this on April 30, that in another 10 days it might look here, like it does at my house, which is reasonably green with trees flowering. May in Minnesota can be goofy with freezing nights and 80 degree days sometimes.

I think I've written enough about nothing for today!

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Heading UP the Trail


northern section SHT elevation map

Today we start hiking for real! Here is the elevation profile for the first three days of our hike. Of course it's "squished," so the climbing won't be nearly as bad as it looks, but we'll be going pretty steadily uphill all day today. The very first part follows the Brule River with a special place to watch for named Devil's Kettle Falls.

mushrooms under yellow leavesThis was the first picture (other than a signpost) that I took in 2000 when Marie and I started here and hiked south. That was in September. This is May! We don't know how much snow we will encounter. Just 2 weeks ago Nimblewill Nomad reported hiking through snow, sometimes as much as 2 feet deep at what will be the western end of this hike for us. I sure hope that a lot more of it has melted by now.

Today four of us are hiking north. If everything has gone as planned we have supply boxes and cars placed at all the right locations, have our wilderness permit and are really on our way! I'm hopeful that this will be more enjoyable, and less of a trial than Nimblewill Nomad reported.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gunflint Trail


Gunflint Trail SignToday we will put our supply boxes out, and our 4th hiker will join us. There are two roads that go deep into the northern woods from the route that wends along the north shore of Lake Superior. These are the Arrowhead Trail, and the Gunflint Trail. When one leaves Grand Marais on the Gunflint, there is a real sense of entering a wild and special place because the road has a "gateway" even though it is almost 50 miles long. Here is the gatepost on the north side of the entrance. The road is paved, but very curvy and not one that can be driven fast. And that's fine... even though we want to put the boxes out and start, we also want to savor the surroundings.

Because these locations are so remote we have allowed a whole day to get the two boxes placed.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Thursday, May 7, 2009

About the Kekekabic Trail


Kekekabic Trail map thumbnail

I am going to use our travel days to tell you about the trails we will be hiking. Today is the Kekekabic Trail (KEK), Say KEK-kuh-kah'-bik. The map above is clickable to make it larger.

One piece of the KEK can be traced back to the 1880's, as a wagon road to the Paulson Mines, but was primarily a road for fire management, built in the 1930s. It's hard to believe that it ever was a road though... it's very primitive. It was soon abandoned for that use as airplanes took over fire spotting. In the 1960s it was converted to a hiking trail, and was popular in the 70s. However the Forest Service stopped maintaining it and it nearly disappeared until the Kekekabic Trail Club was formed in 1990. Now volunteers attempt to keep it open.

That is a real challenge. In 1999 a huge straight line wind blowdown occurred. First people said the trail would never re-open. Then they said it would take 5 years to re-open it. Two years later, the KEK was ready for hiking again, but the fire danger was intense. Also, all the ground that hadn't seen sunlight for decades was springing up with brambles and young birch. Keeping the trail clear enough for anyone to find it became a real problem.

In 2007, the Ham Lake Fire burned across several miles of the trail. We are expecting to encounter a number of difficulties on this rugged trail.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike
See Kekekabic Trail Club
See North Country Trail Association

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

About the Border Route


Border Route Trail map thumbnail

I am going to use our travel days to tell you about the trails we will be hiking. Today is the Border Route Trail (BRT). The map above is clickable to make it larger. On the big map I haven't colored any lines, but the thumbnail isn't really useful without some aid! The blue line is the Border Route. Red is the portion of the SHT that we are doing on this hike, and yellow is the Grand Portage Trail.

We are not hiking the entire BRT. It actually extends farther east and then joins the Grand Portage Trail to go all the way to the tip of the Minnesota Arrowhead at Grand Portage. But the SHT comes in about 1/3 of the way to the west, and the North Country Trail (NCT) uses that route.

The Border Route is an historic trail, that almost faded into oblivion. The current trail was re-established/built beginning in 1970 by a group that called themselves the Minnesota Rovers. They still do most of the maintenance work on the trail. It was the first long, non-motorized trail in Minnesota.

Many sections of the route follow old portages of the Voyageurs. The trail is now almost entirely within the Superior National Forest, part of which is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

About the Superior Hiking Trail


Superior Hiking map thumbnail

I am going to use our travel days to tell you about the trails we will be hiking. Today is the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT). The map above is clickable to make it larger. On the thumbnail, the section of the SHT that we will be hiking is in red.

The Superior Hiking Trail was conceived in the 1980's as a footpath to follow the north shore of Lake Superior. It is a rugged and narrow trail for the most part, with tremendous vistas of both forest and Lake Superior. It has received several national awards, with various rankings in the top 20 trails in the US. Its total length is about 200 miles from Duluth to the Canadian Border.

There are still several small sections to be completed off road, but it is an amazing accomplishment. It is promoted and maintained largely by volunteers through the Superior Hiking Trail Association.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike
See Superior Hiking Trail Association

Monday, May 4, 2009

And the Winner Is...


I'm sorry that more people didn't participate in this contest. I would like to offer a free ad every month, so please tell me what would make you more willing to play.

Here are the answers:
1. Trout Lily, Adder's Tongue, Dog-tooth Violet, Erythronium americanum
2. Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria
3. Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis
4. Common Toothwort on left, Cut-leaf Toothwort on right, Dentaria diphylla and Dentaria laciniata. The flowers are white, four-petaled bells on a stalk above the plants.
5. Pone can be made with any kind of flour or meal, it is a bread with no egg or milk, and baked, historically baked in the ashes of a fire, but when the option exists, on a stone or griddle.
6. The quipo is an Inca counting devise made of knotted cords. (A quoit is a riding whip, the Kikapoo Indians lived in Ohio and Indiana, and the word that fits with puns and repartee is quips.)
7. Socks and buskiners refers to the two types of vaudeville- comedians wore socks and tragedians wore buskins, a type of gaiter. (Puritan discipline devices were stocks and pillory, horses might be described as having socks, but not the buskiners, and a wind sock shows direction and approximate speed, but buskiners doesn't fit.)
8. A catamite is a boy kept by an adult man for sexual reasons. (Cardamine is a genus in the mustard family, Finnish bread might be seasoned with cardamon, and cat-mint is the common name of a mint.)

Let me say that the words I'm putting in the contests are ones that I really have come across in the past week. Pone was used in Growing Up in Mississippi by Anne Moody, I heard quipo on television, socks and buskiners was in a book of comedy sketches by O.Henry called Strictly Business, and catamite was in a mystery by Dick Francis called 10-Pound Penalty

OK, ta-da! I think the prize has to go to WiseAcre this month. He got Dicentra on question 4, and implied that he understood catamite. Julia and betchai each got one flower exactly, and Julia was close on some others, but since she had last month's ad, I'll give it to WiseAcre this time.

photo label

This picture was about 3 pm today when we were doing the "big sort" to divide everything into the three piles: carry right away, first cache, second cache. It's now all done and ready to go in the car in the morning. I just have a bunch of computer stuff to do. I'll be up till it's done and Marie will drive first in the morning. We have to be out the door at 8 am so that we can meet the other vehicle at 9 am.

This is it! Thank you for visiting, all my blog friends. I've got the posts all set to show up while I'm gone. Enjoy!

See Contest Day- Win an Ad for a Month

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Food is DONE -77 pounds

 

hiking food in boxes

Here it is... all the food for this hike. The total is 77 pounds and a few ounces. Sounds like a lot doesn't it? But I am really pleased. Remember, this is for four people for two weeks!

This came out really close to my target weight. It's actually 2 pounds light, but I think that's well within tolerances.

Here's how I figured it. Marie and I know from lots of experience that we should carry 1.2 pounds of food per person per day (ppppd). (That's the dehydrated weight, don't forget). But on this hike there are two other men going. I talked with them about how much they thought they would eat. One of them thinks he will be satisfied with the same amount as we are, and the other thought he would eat a little more. I agree with their decisions. So we now have 3 people eating 1.2 ppppd, and 1 person at 1.5 ppppd. We need to pack 15.5 days worth of food. So (1.2 x 3) + 1.5 = 5.1 pounds per day x 15.5 days = 79.05 total pounds of food.

The trick with backpacking is to carry enough food that you are not hungry, but not more than you will eat, because that is dead weight. You might as well carry rocks.

Marie arrived this evening. We are too tired to be very excited right at this moment, but tomorrow is another day! The remaining food task is to divide the stash into three piles: the one we carry first, the first supply box, and the second supply box. It's imperative to get the correct quantities in each one! I have at least a dozen other small to medium tasks to do as well.

That's all for tonight, folks! I'll do a post tomorrow with the contest winner and an "adieu." Hey, on the contest, don't forget to guess on the word part. A little online dictionary sleuthing should get you 4 easy points.

See Hot Meals Are Packed
See Hot Meals Menu- Expanded View
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Contest Day! - Win an Ad for a Month


This contest has a total of 10 possible points. The highest scoring entry (in the comment field) before 9 pm (EST) Monday, May 4, will win a free 125x125 ad for a month.

One of the few things I will regret about being gone for most of May this year is that I will miss many of the flowers that I thought I would share here. And WiseAcre has beaten me to the punch with most of the spring wildflowers, but I suppose I can't blame him just because northern New York decided to have spring before lower Michigan this year, although that seems pretty weird to me. His pictures are quite fantastic!

But I will test what you learned from him! That will cheer me up. So everyone should get the first 3 points.

1 - identify this flower - 1 pt (common name ok)
contest photo 01

2 - identify this flower - 1 pt (common name ok)
contest photo 02

3 - identify the flower that these leaves go with - 1 pt (common name ok)
contest photo 03

4 - 3 possible points - This question is harder... it might determine the winner! These two leaf pictures are different species of the same genus of spring wildflower, but they will bloom in May after I leave. The flowers will be almost identical, but as you can see the leaves are quite different. One point for the common name of the genus. The plant on the left is the common ____________. But there is another point for the descriptive name of the one on the right. The third point can be earned for the Latin name of the genus which can help you remember the common name of the genus, or vice-versa.

contest photo 04contest photo 05

The next four questions are the new words I encountered this week

5 - choose the correct use of the word - 1 pt
The first word is one that I've often heard, as in cornpone, but I discovered that I needed to refine my understanding of it.
PONE
    a. Cornpone is a gruel eaten with a spoon
    b. The cook baked the corn in a cast iron pone.
    c. Pone bread has no egg or milk and was traditionally baked in the ashes of a fire
    d. A pone of corn is one pint.

6 - choose the correct use of the word - 1 pt
QUIPA or QUIPO (KEY-puh or KEY-poo)
    a. The jockey urged his horse on with a quipo made of braided thongs.
    b. The Quipo Indians originally lived in Ohio and southern Michigan before migrating to Texas.
    c. She was a master at puns, repartee, and quipas.
    d. The Inca quipo of knotted cords was used for counting.

7 - choose the correct use of the phrase - 1 pt
SOCKS and BUSKINERS (SAHKS and BUS-kin-ers)
    a. Socks and buskiners refers to the two types of vaudeville- comedians wore socks and tragedians wore buskins, a type of gaiter.
    b. Puritan disciple was administered by the socks and buskiners
    c. Socks and buskiners are two color patterns on the legs of horses.
    d. Before electronic instruments, wind speed at small airports was measured by socks and buskiners.

8 - choose the correct use of the word - 1 pt
CATAMITE (CAT-uh-mite)
    a. Catamite is a genus of the mustard family.
    b. The Emperor kept the boy as his catamite.
    c. The Finnish bread was seasoned with catamite.
    d. Catamite is the common name of a member of the mint family.

See Words of the Week

The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike


photo label

I wanted to post this the day that I leave, but I need to get the link to this post for the subsequent scheduled posts, so I will need to do it now, making a double post for today.

I'm so tickled that many of you, my blogging friends, want to "come along" on this hike with us. So I have scheduled a post for each day that I'm gone. There is only one place along the way where I may be able to do a live post, otherwise this will all be things I know in advance. However, I have previously scouted this area in a car, and in 2003 took a Volunteer Vacation on the Kek to see what it was like. With that information and pictures, I've created something to show you each day. Here is our itinerary, just for the hiking days. There is a fair amount of travel time and two days to get a car spotted at the west end and our supply boxes placed.

DateStartEndHiking miles
Sat,
May 9
Judge Magney State ParkHazel Campsite8.8
Sun,
May 10
Hazel CampsiteWoodland Caribou Campsite9.3
Mon,
May 11
Woodland Caribou CampsiteSwamp River9.1
Tue,
May 12
Swamp RiverPigeon River7.8
Wed,
May 13
Pigeon RiverPine Lake12.5
Thu,
May 14
Pine LakePine Lake (day off)0.0
Fri,
May 15
Pine LakeClearwater8.2
Sat,
May 16
ClearwaterRose Cliffs9.8
Sun,
May 17
Rose CliffsTopper Lake10.6
Mon,
May 18
Topper LakeGunflint Lodge9.1
Tue,
May 19
Gunflint LodgeGunflint Lodge (day off)0.0
Wed,
May 20
Gunflint LodgeBingschick Lake10.1
Thu,
May 21
Bingschick LakeAgamok8.5
Fri,
May 22
AgamokStrup Lake8.5
Sat,
May 23
Strup LakeDrumstick Lake9.0
Sun,
May 24
Drumstick LakeFernberg Road8.5


Don't the words themselves just send a thrill through your bones? Clearwater? Rose Cliffs? Agamok? I've been planning this hike since 2004, and now, in just a few days it's going to happen!

There are four of us going. Marie and I, longtime hiking buddies, and two other veteran hikers, Ed and Lyle. This gives us a nice safety margin in case of trouble. There is currently a thru-hiker on the NCT, and he just came from the west. He found the snow still so deep that the trail was impassible, and he bailed out, to come back later. We are hopeful that the 10-day time lag between his attempt and ours will clear the snow. But you can read about his experiences at Nimblewill's Journal, scroll down to April 22.

This is a wild and dangerous area for hikers, and we are not taking this expedition lightly! Today I am also thinking more about this issue since the man who is currently missing on the Appalachian Trail Ken Knight is one step away from a personal acquaintance. I have emailed him, and I do know some of the people who have gone to help search for him. Even experienced hikers make mistakes. We are going to try NOT to make any serious ones.

So each day's scheduled post will link back to here in order for anyone who stumbles into the middle to be able to get oriented, if they so desire.

See Arrowhead 2009 Hike Route

Friday, May 1, 2009

No Bird in the Apple Tree


apple tree, shades of green

I've been chasing that silly Flicker around the back yard for days! Every time I see it I have to run get the camera, and by the time I get ready it's gone! So here's a picture of where the Flicker was just a few minutes ago. Do you like it? I was quite surprised to discover that it really is quite a nice picture on its own merits. I like the softness of the colors and the lack of depth. This was taken yesterday... remember, it was pouring rain?

But I can't leave well enough alone. So first I adjusted the color to bring out more details, and got my next surprise. It almost looks like the tree is ready to bloom. Well, it's not, but this is a nice picture too!

apple tree color enhanced

Then I just wanted to play. Here's something a bit eerie, yet still realistic. This is the posterize effect.

apple tree posterized

Forget realistic, let's just go for interesting. This one is contours. I really like this!

apple tree contours

And finally, my favorite. This one is the topography effect. I can't even really explain why I like it best. I like the contrast between the sections, I like the colors. I like the hints of lines and motion.

apple tree topography

So, there's no bird in the tree, but there is a link to a scavenger hunt. Canucklehead is hosting a scavenger hunt, and this is one click in the path to the prize.

And finally, tomorrow will be a contest right here for a free 125x125 ad for the next month. Last month, Julia won and got a link for Our Simple Life. It will only be open till Monday night because I'll have to wrap it up and post the link before we leave for the hike. So check back to play.

Hike Planning Report
Filled the dehydrator, packaged a lot of food. Full report tomorrow.

Hiked 1.5 miles with 45 pounds. It doesn't feel good, but it feels less awful than a couple of days ago.


See (Late) Winter Rainbows IIfor another color exercise
See Philadelphia Flower Show 2009 - 1for lots of color

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