Monday, August 4, 2008

Appalachian Trail Scout

aka, Duffy.

I was bored today. I so looked forward to having the day off today, that I just couldn't decide what to do. So I sat around, bored out of my mind, until around 2:00 today. Then I decided it was time to return to the forest. Its been a while since I went for a walk, and since Chris is at work today (and Chris is my woods-walking partner), I decided Duffy should serve as my trail scout. The only problem is that Duffy gets very car-sick...... every time he gets in a car. For that reason, Duffy has only ever been on 'field trips' a very few times, and certainly not in the past 2 or 3 years.

So anyway, there's a little park and a summer camp just down the road from my house about a mile or two. I honestly think the last time I went there was about 12 or 13 years ago, even though I drive by it on my way to work EVERY SINGLE DAY. I'm very silly. So I thought that since that park is close to my house, maybe Duffy wouldn't have time to get very car sick; and we could enjoy the woods there. I didn't even realize the Appalachian Trail crosses through the park!

I am very fortunate, because I happen to live literally right off of the Appalachian Trail. Honestly, the trail passes within like 1/2 mile of my very house! It crosses the street that I live on. I guess it actually cuts right across the mountain I live on (and I live right at the tippy-top of it). So we went on our merry way; Duffy didn't get sick at all, and here's what we did:

Can you see the roof of one of the camp buildings across the street, in the top left ?
The mouth of the trail is tucked into a corner of the park, with only a tiny sign to mark it. The opening of the trail is wide and made of broken pieces of slate rock, but as soon as you get into the woods, the trail narrows and is mostly dirt and some gravel.

We walked a little ways and I spotted a little 'campsite' of sorts off the trail. There wasn't a shelter, only a fire circle and some leftover fire wood.

And there was this one tall mushroom, growing all alone next to the fire circle.

Trees sheltered us from the sun...

...but they let in enough light for tiny flowers to grow.

Soon we came to this rickety-looking foot bridge. Duffy wasn't so sure about this one, so I carried him across.

On the other side of the bridge was a little clearing....

...and a trail shelter! This is the first one I've ever seen, so I was pretty excited. Can you imagine sleeping in one of these? I'm not sure if I could......

Duffy found the creek, with a sandy little 'beach', down the hill from the shelter. Of course, he just had to test the water....

You can't see them in the picture, but Duffy is actually watching some small fish in the water. They were probably about the size of my hand...I'm guessing they were probably baby trout.

I spied something red out of the corner of my eye....a wild raspberry bush!
Did I eat some? Of course.
Duffy didn't want any, though.
Just look how huge the bush was! And it was growing right over the sandy beach.

Another flash of red, and I noticed these enormous flowers in the brush. I don't know what they are, but they look almost tropical! There were beautiful black-and-blue swallowtail butterflies fluttering all around them, and then.......

....I heard a loud buzzing noise whizzing by my head! A hummingbird! Can you see her?
Look closer......closer.....

Ok, its hard to see. Here's a zoom view:

So that's what I did today. It was really nice, and kind of made me feel like maybe I'd like to try walking some (read: a TINY portion) of the Appalachian Trail. Definitely only the parts that are very close to my house. Like, maybe spend one night on the trail. And that's it. Now I just have to convince Chris that it would be fun...well, he did say recently that he'd like to take a weekend trip sometime soon. Does hiking count? Hmmmm........
Now, I'm just waiting for him to get home from work so we can go out and so something this evening..... to the mall, perhaps? Starbucks again? Borders, perchance? We shall see!

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