Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ocoee River, or Rafting in the Misty Mountains

Went whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River with my Scouts last weekend. Beautiful country. My imagination could get lost in there for weeks.
Misty view from our campsite


Monday, August 12, 2013

A Path Worth Traveling

Stumbling on a lichen-covered rock
started me thinking,
and I think I do not care for trails
that contain no rocks, roots, or fallen logs.

A path worth traveling
will not be easy or tame.

Martha's Pretty Point

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Glimpse of Autumn

Today as we picked our first pumpkin, I am reminded that autumn is coming. I always look forward to the next season with eagerness. Soon enough the air will feel crisp and the maple leaves will fill the forest with gold.

First Fruit

Autumn is coming!

Rainy Day Maples
Sunlight on Rainy Day Maples

Rainy Day Maples
Maple Leaves

Friday, August 9, 2013

Walden Published

On this day in 1854, Thoreau's journal entry was very simple.
Aug. 9. Wednesday. — To Boston. "Walden" published. Elder-berries. Waxwork yellowing.
I think this settles which book I take to read during lunch today. It also makes me think I should do more writing. Now where did I put that journal?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Time Together

My daughter, Hannah, who is only home for a few days this summer, suggested we go for a hike on my day off today. She knows my love language.

Hannah and me at the trailhead
The rainy, stormy weather wasn't very accommodating, but we were able to get in a short walk through the hollow. I am blessed.

Good Anytime

Boots and walking sticks
Always ready for a woodland saunter
Like a cup of tea, it's always a good time to go for a walk. I can't imagine turning down an opportunity for either one.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Idle Pursuits

Tiger Swallowtail on Dutchman's Breeches

"Children are attracted by the beauty of butterflies, but their parents and legislators deem it an idle pursuit. The parents remind me of the devil, not the children of God. Though God may have pronounced his work good, we ask. 'Is it not poisonous?'" — Thoreau, Journal, 1859


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Morning Music at Scout Camp

Birdsong. Beautiful birdsong in a chorus that fills the morning. In my tent this morning at Boxwell Scout Reservation I awoke to the music of birdsong.

Feeling peaceful. Thankful. I was thankful for the peaceful wakening of birdsong.

Morning campsite

Being a lakeside Scout camp, the morning chorus was soon disrupted by the roar of bass boats followed by boys yelling "shut up!" at a couple of crows pausing to check out our tents. Then a passing Scout tripped over one of the guy lines on my tent. Time to get up and find the coffee. The morning chorus was over.

Though their experience is different than mine, I trust that the boys also get their own special encounters with nature.
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” — Rachel Carson

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Harbingers of Autumn

I know it is only the second day of August, but this morning I was on the lookout for signs of fall. As the season gets to late summer, I am always eager to watch for harbingers of autumn.

Morning light in the forest
Morning light in the forest
Before there were columned cathedrals and stained glass windows there were forests.

Walnut with elm leaf
Walnut with elm leaf


Mushroom on trailhead log
Mushroom on one of the logs marking our trailhead

Tulip Poplar
Tulip Poplar
As I rounded the corner that leads into an area that always feels to me like chapel, I saw two yellow Tulip Poplar leaves falling to the forest floor. This is one of them, a promise of the changing of the seasons.

I was attacked by yellow jackets when I snapped this picture. I suppose I was too near their nest. Luckily I only received two stings, before I beat a hasty retreat, which was their goal I'm sure. Ouch!

Seasons of the Sun

The ever changing time of the rising and setting sun is a thing of wonder. How strange that modern men and women find it to be another reason to complain about their circumstances. Is it not a good thing that every day is not identical to the last? Everything in the universe is in motion, and it is folly to pretend otherwise.
"The year has many seasons more than are recognized in the Almanac." — Thoreau, Journal, May 31, 1850
"No one to my knowledge has observed the minute differences in the seasons. Hardly two nights are alike." — Thoreau, Journal, June 11, 1853

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hiking Tip - Walk in the Morning

DSCN1316Do you have a hard time hiking in the summer because it's too hot? The heat and humidity of summer can make a walk in the woods miserable, and when the weather is summertime hot, the humidity in the forest will be even higher, turning a shaded refuge into a dripping green sauna. This is no fun, no matter how much you love nature.

This seems simple and obvious, but I think it's worth mentioning:  The easiest way to avoid the heat is to walk in the cool of the morning. I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, so this doesn't come natural to me. When I have time in the morning, my tendency is to just sit and drink coffee. If I'm not careful, soon an hour has passed and I am in danger of letting the day slip away from me. The trick is to get out the door before the urgencies of the day take over the schedule. Whether or not the coffee has kicked in, my mood always gets better once I get outside and begin walking.

Time in nature, simply walking and wondering, is vital for my daily mental health. I would be wise to give it a high priority.

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
— Thoreau's Journal, April 20, 1840.