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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Puzzles- Kittens and a Puzzling Puzzle

  I seem to be on a puzzle jag. Maybe I'm making up for all the years that I didn't do any. Jigsaw puzzles used to be my comfort purchase. Then I gave them up for a long time. The craving seems to be back with a vengence. I guess there are worse things to be addicted to, and now I get them from friends or at yard sales.

I've completed two more this week. This one is called "We're Gifted." It was just fun and easy. jigsaw puzzle of kittens

This one is called "Tennis Everyone," and I sort of have a problem with this one. Not with the puzzle itself. It was a lot of fun. The pieces are cut very strangely, which added to the challenge. Even so, it was pretty easy. I don't ever look at the cover while I'm doing the puzzle, but there were lots of clues with all the horizontal lines and little piece of people that you could usually decide which way up they needed to be.
igsaw puzzle of people playing tennis


My issue with this puzzle is the title. There are probably 100 cartoon people in this puzzle. Every single one of them is Caucasian. The copyright date is 1994. There were plenty of people of color playing tennis by then. Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe had won titles long before 1994. The Williams sisters phenomenon had not yet begun, but even so... I'm not much of an activist, but seriously... not one single dark face in the whole puzzle?

In other news: I worked on the web site for NCT Long Distance Hiker Recognition, got groceries, and read a book. Tomorrow, I think there will be something more interesting to write about.

See A Puzzle with Cathy

Saturday, January 30, 2021

A Worthy Sun Pillar

  Haven't seen a sun pillar in just over a year. And it was about a year before that for the next to the last one. Neither of those was very spectacular. This one at sunrise... well. You can judge for yourself. sun pillar pink and blue

I took a relaxing day. I wrote in the morning, but didn't finish a whole chapter. In fact, I only managed 303 words. Then I gave up trying to be disciplined. Started reading a new book, and then started another jig-saw puzzle. They are supposed to help us old fogies retain cognitive function. And, here, I thought I was just having fun!

See Sun Pillar posts

Friday, January 29, 2021

Chickens of my Walk

  Did my road loop this afternoon. I see these chickens most of the time, but they usually aren't grouped nicely enough to take a picture. chickens

I added an extra spur to increase the mileage and found another chicken. branch that looks like a chicken

What? You can't see it? Let me help. It could be some kind of crested dinosaur. After all, they're now saying that many dinosaurs are prehistoric birds. Or alternatively, that chickens are modern-day dinosaurs. branch that looks like a chicken

In other news: I wrote a chapter in the morning and worked on volunteer projects in the afternoon.

See Evening Wanderings of the Bag Lady

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Hodenpyl Dam Pond in Winter

  Loren and I hiked today along Hodenpyl Dam Pond, which is a really lovely stretch of the North Country Trail. I hadn't ever hiked it in winter. Of course, Koa was there too. She loves the snow! Hodenpyl Dam Pond

Warning: This is a picture-heavy post. Just to prove we were happy, here's another goofie selfie. The temperature stayed right around 20 degrees, but both of us had overdressed and had to shed a layer before we'd been out very long. friends

This bridge crosses an arm of the lake that isn't really a creek, it's more of a bayou. footbridge in winter

Here's the view out toward the lake from the bridge Hodenpyl Dam Pond

There was light snow falling almost all the time we were out. However, on our way back it started coming down a little heavier. This picture makes it look like a real white-out! That's kind of funny because the flakes never got really heavy, and it wasn't windy, but it sure softened the view. Hodenpyl Dam Pond

Now for the tree "damage" section of this post.

An energetic beaver has been hard at work here. I've seen them try to take down even bigger trees, but this one is certainly a long-term project. large tree chewed by beaver

We found this hemlock tree striped with yellow-bellied sapsucker holes. And here's where I learned something new. After I got home I looked up hemlocks and sapsuckers because I haven't noticed them drilling their lines of holes in hemlock before. Guess I just wasn't paying attention! They love hemlock. Sapsuckers, as beautiful as they are, do a lot of damage to trees. I found a table with the mortality rates for live trees drilled by sapsuckers. It's as high as 67% for gray birch and 51% for white birch (more common here). They also like red maple, red spruce and hemlock. But the mortality for hemlock is only 1%. The hemlock seem to tolerate it better. This tree was completely riddled with their holes, but seemed healthy. hemlock with sapsucker holes

And we saw another interesting burl. With the swirling snowflakes, it almost looks like it has white Christmas lights strung on it! burl

Now for the extended hike section of this hike!

So, we got back to the car after doing 6 miles. I wanted to do a little more. I wondered if I could make it to 10. I looked at the map, and I'd have to go beyond Eddington Bridge and back. Think DOWN to the creek, UP the other side, then ditto on the return. Decided I'd see how I felt. It was neat to look down and see Eddington Creek winding along the bottom of the valley (the wavy dark line in the middle). You can't really see the creek that well in the summer. Eddington Creek

Then up the other side, with a look back at the bridge. (But this is only the very start of the climb.) Eddington Creek Bridge

I had to go all the way to the top of the hill to get to the turnaround point! But I did it. I walked 10 miles in snow and don't even feel too beat. Yeah!

Hike 100 Challenge 2021 is at 46.5 miles.

North Country Trail, Wexford and Manistee Counties, MI, South of Eddington Creek to middle of Northern Exposure Campground and back. 10 miles

Believe me, there is no other news. I'm not whipped, but it was enough. Made a grilled cheese sandwich when I got home. Yum!

See Teeny's First Overnight

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A Long Distance Hiker I Never Met

  No pictures of interest from today. I wrote all morning, and then spent six hours on another project. It's still not done. What I'm working on is a revised web site for the people who have hiked long distances on the North Country Trail.

We have one legendary person, Sue Lockwood, who hiked 2800 miles of the trail with Ed Talone. (Ed was the second person to hike the entire trail.) I never met Sue before she died. In fact, I didn't really know what she looked like. It's almost a joke, that this was the only picture most of us involved with the North Country Trail had ever seen. She's on the left, with Ed on the right, at the entrance to Lake Sakakawea State Park in North Dakota where the trail has its western terminus. Ed Talone and Sue Lockwood

I knew that Sue hiked with some severe limitations. She was legally blind, and suffered from kidney failure. Her brother, Gordon, traveled with them in a van with a portable dialysis machine. She needed to be hooked up four times a day!

I stole this picture from an article that Ed wrote about Sue. This is the two of them on the NCT in 1994. Ed Talone and Sue Lockwood

Sue died in 2007. She hiked thousands of miles. It was her passion. Here's a link to the article Ed wrote, called A Hiker Like Anyone Else, which was how Sue described herself.

I also have discovered that Gordon wrote a book about her called Accepting the Challenge. This will be my reading material when I head to bed very shortly since I could get it instantly as an ebook.

And that covers today!

See Long Distance Hikers

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

New Views of Lincoln River

  Cathy and I took another urban walk today between her work and my bell choir practice. We did some roads that go along the Lincoln River. You don't get very good views between the houses, but we managed a few. This is from the west side of Jebavy drive, where we've walked several times. You can't really tell much from the picture, but this is about where the river starts to widen into Lincoln Lake Lincoln River

Then we crossed Jebavy Drive and took a road into a small development that we had never walked. Here, there were some interesting views. At least I think they are interesting! This little eddy has some textural interest. Lincoln River

The view from the end of that street was a totally new persepective to me. I'll have to explain this picture though. Cutting through the middle of the picture is a line, slightly lower on the left, that is higher than the river. That's Jebavy Drive. Jebavy bridge over Lincoln River

I was able to zoom in from a couple of steps to the side and get a little better view of the bridge. Jebavy bridge over Lincoln River

There was a second street in the development too, that went further upstream. So this is maybe a third of a mile east of Jebavy Drive. There's still a big stretch of this river that can't be seen between here and Fisher Road. (Points 3 and 4 on the map in the linked post) I did just see on a map that a public golf course backs up to it in that stretch. Maybe I can catch a picture from there some day. Lincoln River

I've thought about paddling upstream, but I looked it up, and technically, it's not open for paddling above the Jebavy Drive Bridge. Bother.

We walked 5.3 miles, and I still made it to bell choir on time!

In other news: I wrote a chapter in the morning and worked on another project before meeting Cathy.

See Lincoln River Continued

Monday, January 25, 2021

Not Quite as Gray

  Today wasn't quite as gray as yesterday. The sun put some effort into burning through, and it bored a flimsy hole in the gray a couple of times. sun through gray clouds

I walked a route that had a tiny bit different part. I started on the side of the road that gave me a view of the cemetery pond. You haven't seen many pictures of it recently because the shrubs have grown in so thickly you can hardly see it from the road, except in winter. (The rampant poison ivy keeps me away in summer.) small pond

The "new" part of the walk was on Cedar Lane. (I've driven this road plenty of times but not for a while, because it is a dead end.) I expected the usual "joke" about it being named for something that was no longer in existence. However, there is a long line of planted white cedar along the first quarter mile of the road. Lots of Norway spruce and red pine and autumn olive too. line of white cedar

This road takes you down to the level of Hackert Lake. This was the best picture I could get between all the houses. I wish you could walk around the lake, but several stretches are private. This route made a fairly nice walk even though I had to just backtrack to get home, because it has a decent amount of topography for a walk near home. Hackert Lake

Saw a lot of sandhill crane tracks. It looked like a herd of them had stomped through this area. It's probably true. This is only about a half mile from where I know they nest. sandhill crane tracks

But I saved the best for last, even though it happened first. This morning's sunrise was picture worthy! sunrise

In other news: I wrote a chapter in the morning, and worked on two other projects in addition to the walk. If I could be this disciplined all the time, I'd actually get a lot done.

See Gray But OK

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Gray but OK

  Today was anything but the sunlight edition. The sky was flat gray all day. It seemed like dusk began as soon as the sun came up. But it was an OK day to do my road walk.

Even the drainage ditch managed to look a little appeaing. sinuous stream of water

The barnyard grass held tight to brown instead of giving in to the universal gray. barnyard grass

I found three mourning doves hunkered down high in a tree. They were all fluffed up against the cold. See the link below for how sleek they look in summer. mourning doves

The biggest excitement was this lightning strike. Yeah, I'm pulling your leg. It's snow in the cracks in the road. snow filled cracks in asphalt

In other news, I wrote a chapter in the morning and worked on several projects in the afternoon. I felt really disciplined, despite not finishing any of the afternoon tasks. Progress was made. That has to count.

See Whose Silhouette

Saturday, January 23, 2021

McCarthy Lake and a Puzzle with Cathy

  Today was pretty wonderful! I was fairly sure that 3-Mile Road was plowed, but even if it wasn't open quite all the way to the trail, we figured we could at least walk to McCarthy Lake and back. But the road was nice and clear. The temperature was brisk, but look! Can you tell the other really exciting thing? That sun was shining again! I'm doing an amazing job of hiking on just about every sunny day we have had this month. The trail started out mostly level. trail in snow

But there are some ridges to cross in this section. Of course the lake is going to be in a low spot. This is a better than usual picture that shows how the little hills are all folded together. trail in hills

There is a little footbridge across McCarthy Creek. I was surprised to see the creek had water in it. Usually, it's only running in the spring. McCarthy Creek

One more good downhill, and then a small detour off the trail to get to the open area along the lake. I really like McCarthy Lake. It's another small glacial kettle hole, but there's a little more topography close to its banks than there is at Bowman Lake. However, you can drive to this lake, so it's not usually as quiet as Bowman. But today, there was no one there except us. There were snowmobile tracks on the road, though. No, those are not my tracks on the ice. I don't think we've had consistent enough cold to be going out there. McCarthy Lake

The trail swings around the west side of the lake and then follows the south shore before climbing back into the hills. Here's a view from the south side. Did I mention that I love this lake? McCarthy Lake

We walked on until we were 2.5 miles from the car, so that with the round trip we'd have 5 miles to add to the Hike 100 Challenge. But with the detour to the lake access we did 5.5 miles all together. It was enough. The walking was difficult in some places. Not a ton of snow, but it was uneven footing. Our ankles got a good workout!

Hike 100 Challenge for 2021 is at 36.5 miles.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI. 3 Mile Road south for 2.5 miles past McCarthy Lake and return.

Then we went to Cathy's and did another jigsaw puzzle. This one is cats "helping" to do a jigsaw puzzle of cats! It was 750 pieces, but pretty easy, so we breezed right through it. jigsaw puzzle

There is no other news. This was a scheduled total play day.

See All Day with Cathy

Friday, January 22, 2021

Best Events of 2020

  Most people had a really hard time with this year. For me, being told to avoid people and only recreate outside is like the ideal admonition. And a couple of my adventures managed to take place between the most stringent of the restrictions. Anyway, 2020 wasn't so bad for me.

Chronologically, then... here we go on the best events of 2020.

In February, the finished copies of North Country Quest arrived. Since getting this book done has been on my radar since 2010, when I finished hiking the North Country Trail, this was a really significant accomplishment. North Country Quest

Later in February, I went to Philadelphia for the Flower Show, and to visit with Marie, her son, David, and his family. In addition to the flower show, we took several nice hikes in area parks. It was quite an eye-opener that there were so many places to walk in the big city. The picture is some layered bridges along the Schuylkill River. bridges in Philadelphia

After I came home, things were shut down pretty tight for a while, but I hiked close to home quite a lot. Things eased up later in the summer, and I headed east again with Sunny, my trailer, to hike with Marie. I also renewed some acquaintances with other old friends. Marie and I hiked 100 miles during our time together. friends selfie

After that, I took on a volunteer botany project for the Finger Lakes Trail Association. I did a new inventory of the plant material in a special area called Huckleberry Bog. It was fun for me to do, and also boosted my confidence that I have enough botany skills to actually do that sort of thing. Huckleberry Bog trail register

Just a few days later, I headed for the Adirondacks to help with a North Country Trail trailbuilding project. This was a dream come true for me... to be involved in creating the actual route of the trail in its new corridor. Adirondack trail

When I got home, I knew I had some big projects waiting for me. First off, I had to finish the roof. As in FINISH. Got the last of the four faces done, and you have no idea how good it feels knowing that project is done. new roof

One more project that's been hanging over my head for decades. Yes, decades. This time, I fixed it correctly. The well pit cover. Regular readers followed me through that slog, step by step. And if you thought it feels good to be done with the roof, quadruple that and you might be close to how I feel about finishing this. well pit cover

And there you have it! For a year that has gotten a really bad rap, an awful lot of good things came my way. Can't complain!

In other news: I wrote all morning and worked on a project in the afternoon.

See True Blue Gumby II
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