Sometimes I Lack Direction – – – the rest of the time I’m lost.

Earlier this week I got a glimpse of this bird as it flew past me at breakneck speed and took some type of varmint (probably a Chipmunk) on the forest floor. I was walking in one of the stands of White Pines that are prevalent in the Mohican Forest, when all of this happened in a flash. The bird stopped long enough to look me in the eye, then flew off with whatever it had caught.

Northern Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis ORDER: ACCIPITRIFORMES FAMILY: ACCIPITRIDAE

Just a quick note–I take 90% 0f my photos with a cell phone so although if the subject is sitting still and I can get reasonably close, in most cases birds don’t cooperate. The Goshawk above was very uncooperative. I got the pix off the internet.

The Northern Goshawk is the bigger, fiercer, wilder relative of the Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks that prowl suburbs and backyards. It’s an accipiter—a type of hawk with short, broad wings and a long rudder-like tail that give it superb aerial agility. These secretive birds are mostly gray with bold white “eyebrow” stripes over piercing orange to red eyes. Northern Goshawks flash through forests chasing bird and mammal prey, pouncing silently or crashing feet first through brush to grab quarry in crushingly strong talons.

So when I left the “Liar’s Club” at McDonald’s on Wednesday instead of just taking my normal morning walk, when I got to the Mohican Campground I decided to venture up to the “North Rim Trail” to see If I could catch another look at the Goshawk.

I didn’t, but having gone this far, I was close to the trail that runs along the river between Campground A and B, so I decided to hike it.

The River was serene, and the Summer Phlox are blooming in profusion.

I checked out the Covered Bridge,

and then headed toward the dam. Along the way to the dam, I ran across a section of the “Mountain Bike Trail” that I had not been on before. I decided to explore that for awhile and as I entered I noticed a mile marker telling me that I was on “Mile #12”. This is where this fellow appeared.

The deer was as interested in me as I was in it so we had a talk and I was able to take three or four pictures before it tired of the game. (Although it was only fifty yards away, the quality of this picture was the best I could get from my cell phone.)

I walked, mostly uphill, until I got to “Mile #8”. I came across the road where I had called Ted Byerly for a ride the other day, and discovered that I had already walked over 15 miles, so I decided I had better be headed back home.

I got off the trail at the “Ranger’s Station” walked back down the road to the “Covered Bridge”, through “Campground B”, back along the river, and came home on the “Loudonville Bike Path”.

By the time I got home I had walked 22.75 miles.

Not too bad for not having a plan when I started out,

Posted in adventure, Covered Bridge, Dumb Old Men, Northern Goshawk, Summer Phlox, White-tail Deer | Leave a comment

Mohican Forest – Early May

Hi Folks,

It’s Spring in the Mohican Forest and I’ve been recording it this week.

First a comparison of the walk that I enter into the forest most mornings:

You could probably have figured out which season was represented in which picture, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

On the north side of Campground A are swaths of color created by these Camassia Lilies:

And this yellow beauty (I’m not familiar with this one, but maybe one of you could shed some light.)

The following pictures were taken on the North Rim Trail Bike Trail which runs from Camp Ground A to the Covered Bridge and then back along the south side of the river.

        

I’m looking at this area as a potential star gazing campsite during one of the “New Moons” this summer. It’s facing the south-west, so the ambient light level at night should be low. We’ll see.

I was walking in this area on Tuesday when I ran across these “Little Guys” hiding in this tree. The story I get from the “Locals” is that there was some sort of event a few years ago where a number of “Caches” were hidden all over the area, and the object for the participants was to find them. This one is so far back in the forest it must have been a real challenge.

The rest of the story is that this is also where the knee that I injured on the AT suddenly went out, and I had to call my friend, Ted Byerly to drive out and rescue me after I limped to a nearby road. However, I took some Ibuprofen and rested the knee overnight and I was out walking the next day.

Getting Old Ain’t For Sissies, (George Burns)

Posted in adventure, Camassia Lilies, Dumb Old Men, Mohican Forest, Mohican State Park, Scenery | Leave a comment

Magee Marsh

Hi Folks,

On Sunday, May 6th Judy and I decided to check out Magee Marsh that is in the vicinity of Marblehead Lighthouse in northern Ohio.

It is the peak season during the “Warbler Migration” and this is the prime time to check them out at the marsh.

There were a couple of other Folks who thought the same thing.

When we first arrived we walked the trails for a couple of hours and saw the following “critters”.

    

   

They are left to right and top to bottom, a Black and White Warbler, a Prothonary Warbler, a Redstart, and a Catbird.

Judy also made friends with this guy:

I believe that it was just a common water snake, but Judy  immediately asked the question “Why does the water snake cross the path???”

Shortly after seeing the snake we moved on to the board-walk, and saw the following varmints

   

These were a Yellow Warbler and —you guessed it — Ninja’s

Just before you enter the board-walk, at the edge of the parking lot, these two Bald Eagles have built a nest. We couldn’t see inside the nest, but there was a lot of activity from the pair, fishing the shallows of Lake Erie which is just at the edge of the parking lot.

If you get the opportunity, Magee Marsh is a great way to spend a day,

Posted in adventure, Bald Eagles, Black and White Warblers, Catbird, Magee Marsh, Prothonary Warblers, Redstart, Walkers Walk-Abouts, Water Snake, Yellow Warblers | Leave a comment

The End of The Trail (For Now)

Good Morning Folks,

Last evening when I was coming off the Trail for the evening, I met an interesting person, and his group. He immediately got my attention by offering me a beer. (Which I accepted with enthusiasm.) You just can’t ignore that sort of thing. It shows great strength of character, and a kind heart.

I found from one of the other Folks in his group that TABA (His Trail Name), is a bit of a celebrity on the Appalachian Trail, and in the hiking world in general.

Meet Scot Ward (Trail Name=TABA There And Back Again) and his dog Kaya

 (If you would like to get to know Scot better, click on the TABA Link)

Scot describes himself as follows:

A modern day American pioneer. What is the definition of “pioneer”? I would say that a pioneer is a person who travels to new territory, that is already inhabited by someone else, to chart a path for others to follow, who are seeking out a new adventure or looking for a change of scenery, atmosphere or even a change in lifestyle.

I tend to agree in part with Scot, at least to the point of “seeking out new adventures”. That’s basically what I’m doing out here. I’m doing something that stretches my abilities, expands my horizons, and at the same time allows you to follow along on the adventure.

The bottom line is that shortly after finishing the beer, evaluating my accomplishment to date, and realizing that I had not seen my wife Judy for way too long, I gave her a call, and asked her to pick me up.

She said something to the effect of “It’s about time”, and then started the drive to Georgia to retrieve me.

“This is the end of this adventure, and I’m looking forward to the next.”

For those of you that have just discovered this Newsletter, Click on the “Subscribe to Walkers-Walkabouts” button in the upper right corner of this Newsletter, you should be able to read all of the different stages of this adventure. Enjoy yourself!!!

As J.R.R.’s Hobbit once said,

Adventures Make You Late for Dinner,

Posted in adventure, Appalachian Trail, Chattahoochee National Forest, Dumb Old Men, Hobbit, TABA, Walkers Walk-Abouts | 1 Comment

On the Trail Again

Woke up with the sunrise, had my breakfast of coffee, Oats and raisins, and more coffee, then hit the Trail. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”.

Things are getting greener

I traveled to Gooch Gap and turned north. The Trail lead through Grassy Gap and Liss Gap then began to climb Ramrock Mountain.

   

  

The top of Ramrock is appropriately named, with rock out croppings overlooking the valleys below.

 

         

I moved on up the Trail toward Woody Gap, and found these great springs and water sources.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but this entire rock face has water running over it.

   

I’ve got my water bottles full, and down the Trail, less than a quarter mile from here is the Woody Gap Recreation Area.

I’ll be tent camping here tonight,

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Chattahoochee National Forest, Dumb Old Men, Grassy Gap, Liss Gap, natural springs, Ramrock Mountain, Ramshead Mountain, Rock Outcroppings, Walkers Walk-Abouts | Leave a comment

Justus Mountain, Gooch Gap, and Points East

I thought that Sassafras Mountain was steep, but I soon found that Justus Mountain is steeper. (Maybe I’m still just exhausted from Sassafras, – – – – but of course I would never admit that.)

And then I found this:

This was just off the Trail a ways, and irresistible to my exploration instinct. Besides- – -What could go wrong??? So I decided to investigate with a forty pound pack on my back.

The overhang was neat and was probably a good place to camp, (in fact it looked like someone had already done so at some point) but I was set on getting to Gooch Mountain Shelter so I decided to push on.

This is when reality reared it’s ugly head.

I discovered that carrying a forty pound backpack down a steep incline and across a narrow path with a thirty foot drop-off on one side, was not the same as carrying the same one back out. (I found that I’m a bit squeamish about heights and the stability of 80 year old legs.)

The only solution was to take out some of the weight, then lift the individual pieces over a 3 foot shelf, carry them back up to the Trail, and then reassemble the backpack and the piecie-parts I had removed.

About an hour later I was back on my way to Gooch Mountain, after somewhat humbling experience.

On the way to Gooch I crossed Justus Creek and Blackwell Creek where I refilled my empty water containers, and got some pictures.

         

I don’t remember which of these are which, but “Ya Pays Yer money, and Ya Takes Yer Choice”.

I moved on to Gooch Mountain Shelter, and took up residence in the corner again. I figure if there are Bears, they’ll get the guys in the middle first. (Great plan but I was the only one there.)

Incidentally, there was a Barred Owl doing his thing even though it wasn’t quite dark yet, and the rain had cleared for awhile.

See you in the morning,

 

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Backpacks, Barred Owl, Blackwell Creek, Dumb Old Men, Justus Creek, Justus Mountain, Rock Outcroppings, Sassafras Mountain, Scenery, Walkers Walk-Abouts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Onward to Sassafras Mountain

It is still raining a bit after the storms last night, but it finally cleared at about 10:00 AM. I’m leaving the Hawk Mountain Shelter and beginning the climb up Sassafras Mountain. First a dip down to High Tower Gap,

Then up Sassafras Mountain, and on to Coopers Gap. Pete, the Trail Ambassador at Hawk Mountain, told me that hike up Sassafras was pretty steep, and there was no water until Coopers Gap, so I filled a couple of 32 oz containers at the spring.

     

The Trail is “pretty steep” as Pete said, but it is absolutely beautiful! I need to stop and rest every few hundred feet, but this is worth it .

Notice how the farther I get up the mountain the less the foliage is out.

On the way up the mountain, I’ve seen columbines, may apples, iris, jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium, blood root, soloman seal, and toadshade that covers acres of forest floor. Check these out:

               

This has been a great day, but my interest in my surroundings is greater than my sense of time. I am beginning to run out of daylight again. At least the rain has stopped. None-the-less, I’ll keep the “Tarp Under The Tent”.

Talk to you again tomorrow,

 

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Backpacks, blood root, Camping Gear, columbine, Coopers Gap, Hawk Mountain, Hickory Flats Cemetery, Hiking Gear, jack-in-the-pulpit, may apples, Sassafras Mountain, Scenery, soloman seal, Stover Creek, Three Forks Bridge, toadshade, trillium, Walkers Walk-Abouts, wild iris | Tagged , | 1 Comment