Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am currently taking a break from blogging because of Christmas, but I will get back to the Georgia hike in January. Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 12, 2008

To Shelter or not to Shelter

Shelters along the AT are wonderful structures, they provide a dry place to stay in case of rain or in case you just don't want to set up your tent. Some hikers even forgo carrying a tent and hike from shelter to shelter.

The shelters are often constructed using various construction techniques and materials and some are really amazing. This one is located at Deep Gap in GA and is a timber frame structure with a loft. The large deck on the front was a real plus for cooking.

The shelters are not without their problems--they can be colder than a tent, they sometimes get crowded, but the biggest problem is "rodents of unusual size".

These shelters quickly become the perfect home for rodents--food scraps inadvertently left behind by hikers, shelter from the weather, and usually a relatively close water source. You can hear them in the middle of the night chewing on wood, nuts, other items--running back and forth across the structure--and in extreme cases running off with watches, compasses, and other items.

This shelter atop Blue Mountain had an interesting rodent control method--a cat. There is a cat that has made the shelter it's home, works great for the cat (plenty to eat) and it works great for rodent control. The only downside was instead of listening to rodents all night long...we listened to the cat meow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Time & Timber

There is something majestic about the mountains, something that sings to your soul and exposes the beauty surrounding us every day. How many times have you walked out into your back yard and ignored the beautiful tree standing right there? Why, when the tree grows upon a mountain, does it suddenly become beautiful? I know that I am guilty of not taking the time to look around and appreciate the wonderful world around me...

On the trail, where time melts away into irrelevance, I take the time to observe and many times it amazes me--what I miss throughout my everyday life. There are no other distractions, no computers, no televisions, no cell phones--I can fully and wholly focus upon the world and people around me. That is why I especially enjoy hiking with my family...it is a great opportunity for me to focus on them.

We all have places that help us to just stop, be still, and contemplate...for my wife that place is the ocean. She loves to hear the waves crashing on the beach, the shifting sand tickling her toes, and the sun's warmth embracing her. Not the crowded vacation beach--the isolated, have it all to yourself, nobody but us in sight beach.

Meghann and I recently had the opportunity to visit the beach, just the two of us, it was a very healing time. This picture makes me realize a few things; my wife is absolutely gorgeous, I love being at the beach with my wife, and my cell phone takes very poor quality pictures.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fat Cyclist

One of the sites that I check on a regular basis is The Fat Cyclist. Hiking is just one of my hobbies, the other is mountain biking (and road biking), the Fat Cyclist gives a often hilarious view of these two sports and the people who enjoy them.

Currently Fatty is participating in a fund raiser for the 2009 Livestrong Challenge (see post here).

There is a ton going on in Fatty's life right now (please take a moment to read about Fatty) but he still finds time to do it all and write a great blog. The blog is not always about cycling, but that is his main focus.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hiking with Croc's Family

Did I mention that we really enjoy hiking as a family? I love hiking with my beautiful wife, she does day hikes with me and shorter weekend hikes when we can find someone to watch the girls. We also love to get out and have a lazy afternoon hiking with the girls and just enjoy some--often much needed--family time.

Morgan is a trooper and loves to sing while she is hiking, she is tireless...for the most part. Addie rides in the kidpack and seems to really enjoy the outdoors, she relishes the opportunity to get down and hike too.

Did I mention that I have absolutely adorable girls!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

AT the Top

Views at the top are breathtaking, is there a better place to stop and take a breather?