A Sabbath trek…

On Saturday we went back to the trail head.  No, not me and the dogs, but me and Bob this time!  I had already decided that there was too much poison ivy, and too many ticks to risk taking the dogs on the unpaved trail!

And so, having donned hats, boots, and a day pack, we grabbed our hiking poles and took the unpaved path.  I am so glad I thought it a good idea to wear long pants!  The trail was a bit to closely grown with poison ivy, and I found a tick in our clothing too!

We hiked about a third of it before we got too tired and turned back.

I have a few things to share that we found along the trail.

I planted one of these in my yard last year.  She didn’t make it.  I think I might like to try again.  I hope Bennett’s has them again this year!

We passed another such outcropping of stone and heard water.  We looked carefully but no river or falls were evident.  We then realized the water we could hear was from an underground river!  The sound was coming right out of a large fracture in the rocks!

It is amazing how thick the vegetation on this mountain is considering that the whole mountain is solid limestone rock, but over time, rain, snow, and ice work on the stone.  They seep deep into its fissures, eroding and freezing to expand, and break it apart. 

Leaves fall and collect in the cracks and begin their process of decomposition. 

Seeds fall into the humus… and miraculously they grow!

and they will further the destruction of the stones.

This mighty tree fell in a storm.  I looked at her limbs and imagined a giant hand, fingers outstretched to the sky.  On closer inspection I realized that she was not dead.  She had refused to give up!   Notice the smaller branches?  The leaves have reoriented themselves to take better advantage of the sun.  I also noticed that the forestry service has tagged her for removal as she is laying directly across the trail.

I stumbled into this stone and noticed the odd breaks in it.  In places it seemed to have been incised by a knife’s edge.  It also seemed to have an outer coating, almost like a shell…

I picked it up and that is when I saw that inside this potato sized stone was a surprise!  On a nicked edge there were revealed crystal structures like jewels inside.


I wondered what else might be found if it were cut open.  Was it a geode perhaps?  I decided I didn’t need to know and carefully placed the stone back where I had found it. 😉

On our way back we took a wrong turn! The path is supposed to be just one long loop around the mountain, but apparently because of all the fallen trees from last year’s storms, there have been a few alternate paths made.  We realized that the area was small enough that we really needn’t worry, and we did have snacks, water and a cell phone.

However, later when I downloaded all my photos I found this one and thought about how very careful you must be when taking any unfamiliar trail…

Because after all, we wouldn’t have wanted to end up like this poor little fellow.  He climbed up the cedar, out onto a limb, was totally lost, and then expired!


OK, because some of you said you were inspired to get back into a routine of healthy living I am going to share some BEFORE and AFTER pictures with you.  This is a very hard thing for me to do, pride you know, but here is Buddy, and me in California when I was we were fit…

And here I am now, after no exercise and a lay-up from a back injury…

This is the fallen tree I mentioned above.  Climbing over it I wanted to just stay there, but forced myself to get up and continue on.  So I am not the same woman who left California.  However, I refuse to go down without a fight!


This was my third hike this week and the most strenuous!  I was tired and obviously out of shape, but my trekking poles really helped me both up and down the mountainside.   I woke up this morning to a bit of stiffness, but no pain, so I guess I haven’t overdone it this week.   Nine miles.  NICE!   🙂


Hint to all with bad knees and backs:  Get some trekking poles and use them!  They really help to take the strain off your knees and back, and give a little workout to your arms too!

Photo Friday: on the trail again

When I lived in California I used to go hiking, often.  I also rode my bicycle to work at least three days per week, and every weekend as well.  I went to Pilates classes twice a week and was in the best shape I had ever been in my life.

Then we moved.

Now before I say another word you must know that I adore where we live and have no intentions of ever going back to suburbia.

That said, I do miss the ease of being able to hop on my bicycle to go anywhere I liked, and my hiking friends who kept me on the trail as often as I was able to go.  Since moving I have been plagued with back issues and this finds me in not very good shape at all!  I have gained two inches around my waist, and lack the vigor I once had.

I am 59, and I believe too young to be this bad off.  So this week I have started a new path to regain my health.  I ordered two books which are:

  1. Hiking Alabama, 3rd: A Guide to Alabama’s Greatest Hiking Adventures (State Hiking Series) by Joe Cuhai    
  2. Rail-Trails Southeast: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, from Wilderness Press 

You may find these helpful books, or others for your locality, available through Amazon.  (I received no compensation for these endorsements!)

Now I am not going to jump into cycling marathons, or try to hike an 800 foot elevation change, but I have to start somewhere and so Wednesday I started here…

This is a paved, level, two-mile round trip.  I saw a total of two people here during my visit.

Now some might find that lonely, but  there were other encounters along the way…

A hawk

Silent sippers at a trail side Butterfly bar

One graced me by landing on my shoulder.  She was lovely!

A shy little turtle.  Don’t you find the pattern on his shell lovely?

A lazing caterpillar who warmed itself in the sun

And while I was busy with eyes looking through the lens of my camera, the clouds moved in and threatened rain!

I stopped.  “Just  one more shot.”  I told my companions.   “You see, I have been working on getting water droplets to clear up and pop in my photos.”   (I think I am very close with this one!)  I think they were unimpressed…

A tulip tree leaf that was still wet from the morning’s rain.

Stopping at the paved trail’s end,

I promised myself to return another day and continue on, taking the shady trail into the woods.

I turned to my companions and found them looking wistfully in the direction leading back to the car.

“Ok Boys, let’s go home!”

What do you enjoy doing to stay fit?
PostscriptToday instead of taking the car to the post office like usual, I took the little dog and we walked the two miles!  😉

This Misty Morning

I wake up to see Bob off to work with a sleepy hug,  and then with a kiss he’s off.   Looking out the window I watch him drive into the darkness…

Lingering I gaze through the glass as morning comes.   Slow and sleepy it creeps only to be met with mist and fog.  Turning from the window I throw on a jacket to break the chill and go out to do morning chores.  As I open chicken hutches, throw scratch, and greet the geese, the haze begins to burn off and reveal my surroundings.

What awaits me is a dreamy visage of this pastoral life.

Out behind us we have new neighbors who’ve been moved in just this week.

Content to be in new surroundings they chew grass

ignoring me as I spy on them.

I turn away from the fence to go in and chance to see Little Bit entranced with something up the tree…

The chattering tells me it is a little squirrel.   The anger in its chirruping sound tells me it is none too happy about being watched so intently.

Rounding the corner of the house my gaze finds…

the garden’s scarecrow.

Standing limp and faded she gives testament

to a hot, harsh summer we all survived…

The memory of which will also fade,

when fall gives way to winter.

But for now…

The season is dry grass with a slow burn consuming the leaves of the trees.