Archive for the 'nature' Category

A Taste of the Future.

September 21st, 2012

Both our lives and the van’s are going to be very different. She, the van, will have a much easier life. No more nine to five for her. No more carrying heavy tools to and from construction sites. Hers shall now be a life of leisure.

Relaxing on the beach

Relaxing on the beach

It was a great day of doing absolutely nothing. We swam. We played with the dogs. Steve tried to get his dog, Zeke, to swim. Johnny set up a tarp, juggled, and used his backpacking water filter. I set the kitchen up outside, cut potatoes and made french fries.

Making fries for everyone


Chillin with 4xSteve and his van

Chillin with 4xSteve and his van

While I don’t have any pictures of it, we tested out the van’s AWD and positraction in the sand at the beach. And even though there were a few deep spots, Johnny said the van handled it like it was on pavement. No slippage at all. We also had to go on a “high clearance”, unimproved road to get to the water. The van handled herself nicely. So far so good. We’re jazzed!

Nice looking vans you got there

Nice looking vans you got there

The Morel of the Story

May 2nd, 2012

My first morels!

My first Morels. They are Black Morels… at least I think they are. I wasn’t actually looking for them. I was traipsing through the brush, looking for a spring on an old topographical map. When bam, they just happen to pop up in my path. I had never seen one in person before today, but somehow I immediately recognized it from the two or three pictures I had seen last year. I have spent the last couple of hours trying to find lookalikes. Seems there are four main groups: Gyromitra esculenta, Verpa, Hellvella, and Disciotis. These are definitely NOT them. Still, I have cut them all open, am soaking them in salt water over night and will only cook a quarter of one to have a couple of nibbles off tomorrow. This is all new to me as we don’t have them in south Florida. I guess I was wrong when I said I would NEVER collect mushrooms and eat them for dinner.

Our Rainbow Gathering

July 8th, 2011

July 4th Rainbow on Arches Trail

A July 4th Rainbow and Hoodoos

Another Independence Day has passed, and we still haven’t made it to a Rainbow Gathering. This year, the rainbow came to us. While hiking Arches Trail in the Dixie National Forest of Utah, this wonder appeared in the distance.

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Happy belated birthday, United States of America.





Schnebly Hill Trail

May 19th, 2011

Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ

The Cow Pie Vortex

This is a great trail with spectacular views of Red Rock Country and downtown Sedona, Arizona. Horses, mountain bikes, and dogs are allowed on this trail.

Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ

The trail up on the mesa

If you start at the trail head, you will need a Red Rock Pass to park there. I also suggest starting early in the morning. That way, the Mogollon rim will shield you from the sun as you walk the first 1.25 miles from the trail head. The rim provided shade until 10am or 11am on the day we were there.

If you take the trail head near the overlook on Schnebly Hill Road, it is 3.1 miles one-way. We didn’t. We traveled cross country from our campsite on top of the plateau. So instead of climbing up to the top of the plateau via the trail, we walked along the rim above the trail and got on the trail at the 1.25 mile mark. This is where the trail enters shade. There is also a rock retaining wall there. It was built to keep the old wagon trail, that the trail is based on, intact and level.

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West Clear Creek Trail

April 24th, 2011


This trail is supposed to be 7.5 miles long and according to the forest service, it should take about 4.5 hours to complete. That’s like 1.6 miles an hour. They rate it as Easy/Strenuous. In reality, The hike is easy/moderate if you are traveling in one direction. I you are traveling in the other, the trail becomes difficult at around the 5 mile mark when you start the 1800′ elevation trek up Bald Hill (understatement!).

Our experience was a bit different. After about 3.75 hours of hiking and four stream crossings, we had gone about 4.5 miles. That’s around 1.2 miles an hour. Not too bad considering the elevation changes and the scenery that constantly beckons you to stop and try to take it all in.

The trail is very diverse. We started out at Bull Pen Dispersed Camping area (car camping). The first part of the trail was a flat and sandy white sycamore forest situated along the creek. There are hike in dispersed campsites all along the trail. If you stay on the main trail, which can be hard to do with all the the offshoots to campsites, it will eventually open up to a flat, grassy/shrubby valley where you will walk past the old bull pen ranch house.

West Clear Creek Trailhead - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ

West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ

The trail makes it way back down to the river. When it does, it takes you to a very special place. I couldn’t capture the beauty of this part of the trail on my camera phone. The pictures don’t do it justice. There are crystal clear swimming holes with red rock sunning areas. Here, the red rock canyon walls are decorated with yellow columbine, prickly pear, scarlet monkey flower, and other plants that create a hanging garden and gives the area a tropical feel. Soon, you will find yourself wondering if you will be able to edge along the canyon wall. That’s when you will spot your first rock cairn which signifies the first creek crossing. Watch for those cairns. Otherwise, it can be easy to get turned around at creek crossings. They are rocky and you cannot see the trail as well. The trail crosses the creek again shortly after the first crossing. Continue Reading »

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