Tag Archives: State Park

Ryder’s First Trip To The State Park (Part 2)

We're here!

We’re here!

"Mom, what is that?"

“Mom, what is that? It’s loud and jumps all over the place!  Will it eat me?”

"What's that, Ryder?  Let's go look."

“What’s that, Ryder? Let’s go look.”

"Yes!  Good Boy!"

“Yes! Good Boy!”

"It's wet!"

“Good boy, Ryder!” /  “Mom, it’s wet!”

"Are we done, mom?"  "Okay, Ryder, let's go!"

“Are we done, mom?” / “Okay, Ryder, let’s go!”

"Ryder, waaaait!!!"

“Ryder, waaaait!!!”

Ryder and Spider Bait checked out the cave.  Ryder goes on alert and shortly after people show up!

Ryder and Spider Bait checked out the cave. Ryder goes on alert and shortly after people show up!

The springs, of course!

The springs, of course!

Ryder checking out the view from the path that led up to where a hotel and spa used to be over 150 years ago.  The wall Ryder is standing on is very, very old!

Ryder checking out the view from the path that led up to where a hotel and spa used to be over 150 years ago. The wall Ryder is standing on is very, very old!

I found this really interesting lichen.  It was four inches across!

I found this really interesting lichen. It was four inches across!

We spent some time letting Ryder follow his nose on nearby trails. Dogs need to be dogs!

We spent some time letting Ryder follow his nose on nearby trails. Dogs need to be dogs!

And then Spider Bait and Ryder led the way back!

And then Spider Bait and Ryder led the way home!

Of course, this being me and all, it wasn’t quite that simple. 😀  Upon reaching the car we realized we hadn’t brought a towel to dry Ryder off with or a sheet to protect the back seat. *shakes head* So back down to the creek in a rocky spot to bathe the dog and then make sure he stayed out of the mud on the way back to the car.  That kept the mess to a minimum.  We’ll remember next time!

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Ryder’ First Trip To The State Park (Part 1)

A month ago, right before things went crazy around here again, Spider Bait and I managed to get Ryder to the State Park for the first time.  The walk to the Mineral Springs would be an easy jaunt along and over and through a creek.  The weather was gorgeous and with all the rain there would be plenty of flowing water to introduce him to.

Not far into the woods I came across this gorgeous patch of wild monarda.  The scent was heavenly.

Not far into the woods I came across this gorgeous patch of wild monarda. The scent was heavenly. You can’t see in this photo, but the area was alive with bees and flies and many other insects taking advantage of the nectar.

"What's that?!"  Ryder wasn't sure the 'brown' water was still just water. :)

“What’s that?!” Ryder wasn’t sure the ‘brown’ water was still just water. 🙂

Ryder finally decided it was worth dashing through.

Ryder finally decided it was worth dashing through.

Along the way was this gorgeous boulder.

Along the way was this gorgeous boulder.

I asked Spider Bait to see if he could get Ryder to investigate the boulder.

I asked Spider Bait to see if he could get Ryder to investigate the boulder. Notice how Ryder has his head down, nose glued to the ground.  I was waiting for him to wander into the water somewhere and get a snoot full, but he was paying attention and only snorted mud. 😀

"Ryder, what's that?" Our phrase to get him to check something out.  Very useful when he's spooked over something.  "Let's go up!"

“Ryder, what’s that?” Our phrase to get him to check something out. Very useful when he’s spooked over something. “Let’s go up!”

Of course with a slow loading camera I had to chose to wait for the 'up' part. There was a brief scrabble and slide off, but instead of being deterred, it fired him up.  A more determined assault followed.  Success!

Of course, with a slow loading camera I had to choose to wait for the ‘up’ part. There was a brief scrabble and slide off, but instead of being deterred, it fired him up. A more determined assault followed. Success!

Such a good puppy!

Shoulder rub! Such a good puppy!

Another interesting boulder with lovely growth on it.

Another interesting boulder with lovely growth on it.  It is amazing the places plants find to grow and thrive.

Spider Bait and Ryder traversing the creek.  Ryder now considering himself an old hand.  Not all the time in the creek was training time.  Where this trail is located, the creek is part of the trail.  Large rocks have been placed to help keep your feet dry, but when the water is up - expect to get wet!

Spider Bait and Ryder traversing a rocky portion of the creek. Ryder now considers himself an old hand. Not all the time in the creek was training time. Where this trail is located, the creek is part of the trail. There are two wooden bridges put up where the creek is too rocky, steep, or deep for easy crossing for the average person. You can see the one up near the cave in the background of this picture.  Large rocks have been placed to help keep your feet dry in shallower parts, but when the water is up – expect to get wet!  (and muddy!)

We're here!

We’re here!

More to come!

 

The Mineral Springs In Winter

I’ve been dealing with a case of cabin fever here recently as the weather has been bitterly cold and not safe for me to be out in.  But the sun was shining Wednesday with temperatures in the 20’s, so I figured I could handle it if I broke out the heavy-duty winter gear.  With winter coming to a close, I decided to see the mineral springs in all their winter glory. It was supposed to be a joint trip with Spider Bait as my companion, but a meeting beckoned and I was on my own.  So I bundled up against the nasty cold (I have circulation issues) and off I went.

It was a quiet walk through the woods.  It was midday on a weekday and I had the trail to myself.  Crisp clean air and no one talking over the muted gurgling of the creek and the occasional bird.  Heaven.

I love seeing all the little things that can live on rock.

I love seeing all the little things that can live on rock.

The left side of the springs.  I love all the colors from the minerals in the rock.  The cascade of frozen water on the right is the water from the creek that flows into the little gorge.

The left side of the springs. I love all the colors from the minerals in the rock. The cascade of frozen water on the right is the water from the creek that flows into the grotto.

The front view of the grotto.  Long frozen ice falls glittering in the sun.

The front view of the grotto. Long frozen ice falls glittering in the sun.

Here's a side view of the falls from the right.

Here’s a side view of the falls from the right.

Here's the bowl the flowing water from the springs has formed over time.  Notice the spring water hasn't frozen.  It is a constant 58 degrees.

Here’s the bowl the flowing water from the springs has formed over time. Notice the spring water hasn’t frozen. It is a constant 58 degrees.

Here is a picture of the back of the grotto cave.  The whole front was a nasty sheet of ice, so I wound up using the wee creek from the flowing mineral waters to creep into the cave.

Here is a picture of the back of the grotto. The whole front was a nasty sheet of ice, so I wound up using the wee creek from the flowing mineral waters to creep behind the ice falls.  Not that the inside was much better!  Though the grit falling off the ceiling helped give me traction.

The view looking out.

The view looking out.

The backside of the falls.

The backside of the falls.  That little sliver of creek to the left is how I got inside.

Ice!

Ice!

I had trouble with the lighting inside.  Gah!  These are feathery ice crystals that formed on the ceiling at the back of the little cave.  This photo was taken without a flash.

I had trouble with the lighting inside. Gah! These are feathery ice crystals that formed on the ceiling at the back of the grotto. This photo was taken without a flash.

Same crystals with a flash.

Same crystals with a flash.

At this point I left the grotto and went up a side path to sit on a bench above the grotto and take in some sun.  It was blissfully quiet except for a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers drumming and squawking.  But since they can be quite shy, I was more than happy to share space with them.  Sorry, no pics.  They didn’t get close enough for my cheapo camera to see them as more than just specs in the trees.

Eventually I was forced by the cold to get a move on.  I had gotten wet climbing around and wet plus cold is Bad.  So back down the trail to the grotto I went.

Say, "Hi!" to Spider Bait's stand in, his walking stick.  I grabbed this as an afterthought on my way out the door.  It helped me survive many treacherous spots on the trail and in navigating the ice in the cave.  Thanks for the help, Spider Bait!

I felt a need to acknowledge the absence of my son.  Say, “Hi!” to Spider Bait’s stand in, his walking stick. I grabbed this as an afterthought on my way out the door. It helped me survive many treacherous spots on the trail and in navigating the ice in the grotto. The walking stick is 5 feet tall, if you’re wondering.  Thanks, “Spider Bait” for the company and the help!

My first selfie.

My first selfie.  My son said there had to be a picture of me on my trip.  Ugh. (I won’t tell you how many times I had to do this to get my whole face in the photo.) Time to go home!

Beautiful ice patterns in the creek.

Beautiful ice patterns in the creek.

The way home.

The way home.

Hope you enjoyed the walk!  If you would like to see our summer pics of the mineral springs, go here.

Outing Part 2 – My Hike To The Mineral Springs

**********

Special thanks to Spider Bait for using his fancy schmancy new phone to help with the photos.  My camera was very finicky about the light there at the end and I got lots of dark photos.  His fancy phone did much better than my camera.

**********

After I had been on the lake with my new kayak long enough to feel guilty about leaving Spider Bait on shore all alone, I headed back in and offered up the kayak so he could take a spin.  He declined and said he wanted to take me hiking up to the mineral springs.  So I deflated and bagged the kayak and then changed back into shorts and shoes.

Back in the 1800’s the mineral springs were a big deal and boasted curative waters.  They even had a resort on the hill above them at one time.  Now it is all woods and a hike to get to them.`

Into the woods we went.

Into the woods we went.

One of the first interesting things I spotted was this tree.  It doesn't look it in the picture, but this tree is quite large with a huge hole in it.

One of the first interesting things I spotted was this tree. It doesn’t look it in the picture, but this tree is quite large with a huge hole in it.

 

And then I found a fungus among us. :D

And then I found a fungus among us. 😀

An interesting burl on a tree.

And an interesting burl on a tree. The wood framing you see to the left are supports for a bridge across a section of the creek.  It was a Boy Scout Eagle project.

I love how Mother Nature is reclaiming this tree.

I love how Mother Nature is reclaiming this tree.

"Come on, mom!"  "I'm coming, I'm coming.  There's a damn bug down my shirt!"  Did you ever notice how your kids always take these less than flattering shots of you?

“Come on, mom!” “I’m coming, I’m coming. There’s a damn bug down my shirt!” Did you ever notice how your kids always take these less than flattering shots of you?

We made it!  This is the main cave at the spring.  We have had a very dry couple of months.  Normally there would be water cascading off the top of the cave in a waterfall.

We made it! This is the main cave at the spring. We have had a very dry couple of months. Normally there would be water cascading off the top of the cave in a waterfall.

This is a pile of rocks that have broken off in the middle.  There is a smaller cave to the left.

This is a pile of rocks that have broken off in the middle. There is a smaller cave to the left.  You can also see the drips running off the edge to the left of the rocks from a small creek that runs down into the spring area.

Part of the steps from the  upper trail down to the spring are original back to when the resort existed.  You can see the springs at the end of the bench where the iron stains are.

Part of the steps from the upper trail down to the spring are original back to when the resort existed. You can see the springs at the end of the bench where the iron stains are.

These are the mineral waters that everyone came to drink.

These are the mineral waters that everyone came to drink.

Water and time have eroded an almost perfect bowl into this rock.

Water and time have eroded an almost perfect bowl into this rock.

Of course, after hiking through the woods in the heat we were both thirsty.  Spider Bait went first.

"Brrr, it's cold!"

“Brrr, it’s cold!”

Well, if he thought it was cold there was no way in heck I was putting my face in there.  So I dug out the ziplock bag I had for my camera on the kayak.  It made a perfect canteen.

Some for him...

Some for him…

And some for me!

And some for me!

We then decided to grab roots and climb up above the springs and look around. There was a creek up there with neat rock formations.

My son fiddled with his phone and got this picture of the same rocks.

I wish I had had a flash light so I could see how far back inside that little cave/overhang goes.

I found some interesting lichen up there.

I found some interesting lichen up there.

And a tree growing right on the edge of the rocks.

And a tree growing right on the edge of the rocks.

And then it was time to return Spider Bait to school and get home for dinner.  So one last look around…

The springs from the creek bed up above.  I'm going to want to come back after we get some rain so I can see the waterfall.

The springs from the creek bed up above. I’m going to want to come back after we get some rain so I can see the waterfall.

I managed to catch Ms. Bumble Bee just before we came out of the trees by the car. It was a nice end to the walk.

I managed to catch Ms. Bumble Bee just before we came out of the trees by the car. It was a nice end to the walk.

Hope you enjoyed the trip!  Night!

First Outing With My New Kayak (Intex Challenger K1)

My son and I spent an afternoon together at the local state park a couple of weeks ago (when it was still warm).  I wanted to christen my new kayak (even if it’s just a blow-up boat) and my son wanted to take me hiking to the mineral springs.  So I picked him up from school and off we went.

Did you know that it has been two years since my daughter Saver of Bugs first talked me into a kayak?  I was shocked when I went through the archives to see when my first venture into a kayak was.  (You can read about my first solo trip here.)  And I got this kayak for Christmas and it’s christening didn’t happen till now, the end of the season.  I really, really need to reorganize my life.  This is just sad. *sigh*

Moving on.

It was a transitional day.  Dark clouds were scudding across the sky in big swathes battling with the bright sunshine.

100_6781

Deciding to be smart about this, I headed to the beach for my first ride.  I had no idea how stable a blow-up kayak would be and figured I should find out where there were no rocks to hit my head on and where I wouldn’t have to swim lord knows how far if I couldn’t climb back in.

Blowing up the boat.  It's a hand pump, but it didn't take long at all.  There are also nozzles attached for blowing up the seat and the cushion you stuff into the nose of the boat for support.  That would be the green pointy thing by the paddle.

Blowing up the boat. It’s a hand pump, but it didn’t take long at all. There are also nozzles attached for blowing up the seat and the cushion you stuff into the nose of the boat for support. That would be the green pointy thing by the paddle.

Pump and seat attachments.

Pump and seat attachments.

Attaching the seat.  There is space in the back of the boat behind the seat to put stuff.  Like say the carry bag the boat comes in and the pump. Or a jacket or something.

Attaching the seat. There is space in the back of the boat behind the seat to put stuff. Like say the carry bag the boat comes in and the pump. Or a jacket or something.

Don't forget to attach the skeg!  I do believe I'm going to drill a hole in this, attach a string and tie it to the back of the boat.  I'm afraid if I get in the shallow marshy places (where a lot of the birds are) it might get knocked off.

Don’t forget to attach the skeg! I do believe I’m going to drill a hole in this, attach a string and tie it to the back of the boat. I’m afraid if I get in the shallow marshy places (where a lot of the birds are) it might get knocked off.

TaDa!  I am happy to report that shaking the boat from side to side did not tip it over.  I crawled up on the front and back and it wobbled and scooted around a bit, but still didn't flip.  I didn't stand up in it 'cause I was having a shaky leg day and would simply have fallen out of the boat all on my own.  There were no dramatic pictures to show you and my son refused to take any pictures that had my butt hanging out in them. :D  I was told several times to knock the skirt of my swim bottoms back down to cover up my bottom!

TaDa! I am happy to report that rocking the boat from side to side did not tip it over. I crawled up on the front and back and it wobbled and scooted around a bit, but still didn’t flip. I didn’t stand up in it ’cause I was having a shaky leg day and would simply have fallen out of the boat all on my own. There were no dramatic pictures to show you and my son refused to take any pictures that had my butt hanging out in them. 😀 I was told several times to knock the skirt of my swim bottoms back down to cover up my bottom!

One of the pictures you won’t see is of the people.  I turned out to be that day’s entertainment on the beach.  Quite a few people approached me about my kayak.  Where did I get it?  How much did it cost? ($87 on sale on Amazon a year-ish ago.)  How good was it? (We’ll soon see!)  So I had an audience while I tried out my boat.  They liked what they saw and I was thrilled with my Christmas present as well!  Spider Bait said while I was on the lake, people spotting the box came over to talk to him about the boat.  I think I will probably see more of these boats come spring!  On to the lake…

Isn't that beautiful with all the different color greens?

Isn’t that beautiful with all the different color greens?

And what's this?

And what’s this?

A Great Blue Heron!  They are regulars here at the park and he even let me get pretty close to get this picture.  Sorry it's fuzzy, but there was just enough wind to rock the boat.

A Great Blue Heron! They are regulars here at the park and he even let me get pretty close to get this picture. Sorry it’s fuzzy, but there was just enough wind to rock the boat.

This is what happens when you take that one paddle stroke too many.  Boy, was he pissed and let everyone on the lake hear about it!

This is what happens when you take that one paddle stroke too many. Boy, was he pissed and let everyone on the lake hear about it!

You can go here to listen to their alarm calls.

I could never get close to this bird and my long distance zoom on my cheapo camera sucks.  But from what I could see and much searching I believe it is a juvenile Double-crested Cormorant stopping by during migration.  If anyone knows this is wrong, let me know!

I could never get close to this bird and my long distance zoom on my cheapo camera sucks. But from what I could see and much searching I believe it is a juvenile Double-crested Cormorant stopping by during migration. If this is wrong, let me know!

I found this floating in the water.  A message winging it's way to me.

I found this floating in the water. A message winging its way to me.

One last hopeful look at a bird...

One last hopeful look at a bird…

One last look across the water.

One last look across the water.

And it's time to get out and go hiking!

And it’s time to get out and go hiking!

The next post will be about my trip to the mineral springs.  Hope you enjoyed the visit to the lake!

‘Me Time’ On The Lake

Random Thoughts

I have some more news on our internet troubles.  Apparently our neighbor’s tree has grown big enough to be a problem.  It means every time it rains or there is a heavy dew, we lose our connection (the tree becomes more ‘solid’).  Our roof is in too bad a shape currently to move our receiver up there and it’s possible that it won’t be high enough.  Our internet has been paid for by my husband’s company in a deal they had, but with financial problems at the company, we won’t be able to ask for them to pay for hardwire internet.  Which means at some point we are probably going to have to figure out a way to bring it in and pay for it.  For now we suffer till the leaves all fall off and we should be good to go till next May.

On the top of the hill, on the other side of the four lane is the hospital with our internet provider’s towers. No you can’t see it. That’s the problem.

*****

About three weekends ago, I decided to leave the Sat. football game after half time and take myself for a boat ride on the lake at our local State Park.  I love being near water and cruising along on it even though I have drowning issues.  When Saver had been home at the end of July, she talked me into a 2 person kayak, which I survived, so I decided to try a single person kayak.  They are not as stable as a two-person kayak and I was wobbly and muttering imprecations at my daughter.  But I persevered and began cruising around the lake at water level.  It was awesome.

Not shown in the pictures is a Great Blue Heron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Blue_Heron) that I was attempting to get close enough to get a good picture of when my cell phone went off.  (Note to self:  Put the damn phone on vibrate next time!)  Oh, and Saver, the bird you and I saw when we were out was most likely a Green Heron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Heron).  It is the only thing whose body shape and size matches what we saw. (It was in dark shade, so we couldn’t really see markings.)  Also not shown were the waves that came up with the wind when a storm blew past near by.  I was too busy not tipping over to take pictures.  They weren’t huge swamp-the-kayak type waves, but enough to keep me busy.  And the storms in the area meant I practically had the lake all to myself.

A small creek that feeds the lake and a good spot to find wading birds.

I have a thing for lily pads.

Heading out into the lake.

Can you see what’s on the tip of the kayak? They were constantly hitching a ride.

More lake.

I couldn’t get close enough for a good picture of this cave. The wind was up and kept blowing me away faster than I could paddle and picture take. But it goes in a little ways.

I love this eroded overhang.

Another little creek that feeds the lake. The water is really shallow here and little fish swim around your boat.

Hey, Saver! Remember this? (She tipped her kayak messing around when the cousins came to visit. We had to tow it to shore to dump it out.)

Time to head home for dinner.

Life At Our House

I am currently sick with a cold and crossing my fingers that it doesn’t turn into bronchitis.  This is what stress and lack of good sleep can do to you.

*****

Spider Bait has SAT’s this Saturday.  From there he goes to the stadium for Homecoming.  The Husband will be cooking and selling Boy Scout chickens from a float in the parade.  It is going to be really strange for me not to be doing parade and band things this year.  I will be on standby to pick Spider Bait up from the SAT test and then get him to the game.  One of the band members will have his uniform and instrument waiting for him at the stadium.  Weird.

*****

I am on a bruschetta frenzy as the tomatoes are going away.  *Sniffle*

And look at these beauties that I got at the Farmer’s Market.  You better believe I’ll be roasting some of these to make into a spread.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

Corn cob treat for the Hermies

This is what happens when you leave it in the tank for 24 hours or more.

Out In The Yard

Our header today is pink phlox that is invading my yard.

And since it is now past 11:00 pm I am calling it quits.  Here is our

Mug of the Day

By Marjolein Bastin.  Yep, I’m a fan.

Can you paint with all the colors of the Wind?

Random Thoughts

My son was playing Disney music this morning and Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas began to play.  Now I wasn’t hugely impressed with the film but this song never fails to bring me to tears.  I hate the way we humans treat the Earth.  Did you know there are rafts of garbage floating in the ocean?  Here’s one of them:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch

This also reminded me that at one time I was a regular woods tramp.  I tried to remember when the last time was that I enjoyed myself in the woods.  I couldn’t come up with anything more recent that when my son was young.  So we’re talking about 10 yrs.  That’s really sad.  So after I dropped Spider Bait off for an afternoon with his friends, I made a detour to a nearby State Park.  Things had changed since I was last there!  They’ve spiffed up the info center, evidently have more trails, and…. lol, they’re selling t-shirts!  Nice ones!  I chatted up the people at the center,  grabbed brochures, a map, and got the card of the educational dept. guy who handles classes.  It’s the same person from way back when!  I wanted to go pop in at the Wildflower Preserve but was short on time so since the rain had stopped, I grabbed a couple of quick photos from the hill in front of my car.

Trilliums

Trilliums and Bluebells

“…and we are all connected to each other / in a circle  / in a hoop / that never ends…”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkV-of_eN2w

Crystals

This is where I’ll give you a brief tidbit about crystals.  Hopefully getting me back in touch with why I started collecting them and educating and entertaining you in the process.

Today’s crystal is Rose Quartz.  It can be found in South Africa, the United States, Brazil, Japan, India, and Madagascar.  Astrologically it is associated with Taurus and Libra.  This crystal has no bad qualities.  It is the ultimate in healing crystals as it can help with both physical and emotional problems.  Rose Quartz is important for both your heart and heart chakra.  It can also draw off negative energy, is soothing for those in crisis or in grief, helps in self-forgiveness, and aids in acceptance of necessary change.  Wear it, especially over your heart.  Rose Quartz is also a crystal of infinite peace and unconditional love.  If you wish to draw love into your life, keep some by your bed or in your relationship corner (Feng Shui).

Polished. A bit bigger than a quarter.

Rough. Fist sized.

The color is somewhat light.  I’m still working on lighting.

Life at Our House

 Today I made bread.  A rye sourdough with molasses in it.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

 Stolen from the stash.  All my pics were a bust.  Damn dizzy’s.

Out in the Yard

No yard work today!  Our header today is pink phlox.

And here’s my mug for tomorrow.