"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Taking a Hike

You can read my shirt two ways: One way, if you're sick of all my hikes, you know what to do. On the other hand, if you're still enjoying the treks, then lace up your boots, and let's:
Bear and Roe set off together on the Rocky Knob Picnic Loop trail on Wednesday.
Nan and Bear hike trough the woods,
We were discussing what might have caused this boulder to split, when suddenly a cold wind blew and thunder boomed...
We took a shortcut back to the parking lot and just made it before the rains came.
Back at the campground, after the rain, deer came out of the woods.
And the evening sky was ablaze with color.
No storms are expected today, so let's hike part of the Rock Castle Gorge Trail. I say part because the entire trail is almost 11 miles, much of it rocky and steep, and I know I won't hike that far.
 From the campground the trail descends over 1000 feet in 3 miles to Rock Castle Creek. There are a few obstacles along the way, like this downed tree. You can either go over or under this one. Roe and I went over.
How nice they built a ladder to climb over this barbed-wire fence. Roe caught on right away. Let's hope the cows don't figure it out.

 Stop and look at the tiny fungi that cover one side of this tree,
 Close up
 Choose your own stepping stones to cross two streams.
 Are you coming?
 Roe is hopping over these downed trees like a pup. Not bad for a dog who celebrated his 11th birthday yesterday. (We celebrate the day we got him...his actual/estimated age is 11 to 12.)
Two stream crossings have little foot bridges. Be careful though, because one of them wobbles. You'll know when you step on it.
 Roe chose under, I went over.
 The bank on the left is very steep.
 I recognize this flower that grew all over McIntosh. Do you remember what it's called?
 Getting kinda rocky here, Mom.
Watch your step.
 We've reached the ridge, and it's like entering a magic garden. The entire mountainside is covered with Mountain Laurel in full bloom.
 Yeah, it's pretty, but the trail goes straight down over jagged rocks from here. Roe's not sure he can make it. According to my GPS, we've come 1.5 miles, only halfway to the bottom, but it's 1.5 miles back up too. I think I'll turn back here, how about you?
 Roe's happy to turn back. He was beginning to slip on the rocks. I don't want him to get hurt, or cause me to fall either. I'm adventurous, but not stupid about it.
 We'll rest on this seat carved out of a tree. I brought water, cheese crackers, and dog biscuits. Want some?
Looking at the Mountain Laurel beside me.
 Not sure what this wildflower is called. Do you know?
 100 years ago 30 families called these rugged "hollers" home. There are still remnants of these old homesites. 
And clues about their lives. Pottery shards:
 Perhaps part of an iron stove?

 I like the pattern on these leaves.
 Oh look, a giant millipede!
 Butt shot
 Lotta legs!

Want to watch all those legs move? I wonder if they ever trip.
(Video wouldn't upload, sorry)

 Try to count the number of different plant species in just this little area. Amazing.

Here are some happy little birds that have been serenading our hike,
Perhaps this is an Eastern Towhee?
 I think this is a Brown Thrasher, but feel free to correct me.
 Someone has left a carefully peeled and smoothed hiking stick. Thoughtful, but our hike is over.


  1. The mountain laurel is so beautiful! I *might* get back to CA in time to see it bloom in the Sierra!

  2. So sad that the mountain families were forced out and relocated to lower areas. I've been both up and down the Skyline Drive several times,.. the history is amazing. I bought some books about that. I think you are still south of that area, but the story is still the same.

  3. So are you taking a day off from hiking? Roe tell you it is time to take Bandit and let him rest a minute?

    You guys are in a really great area and the season is beautiful for you. You have some great photos GF.

    Looking forward to keeping up with you. Is about 100* now here in San Antonio. Was 108* earlier when I was out driving...highway heat!