Friday, November 27, 2015

Hike #3 - Sweetwater Creek

Susan and I opted out of Black Friday and went hiking.  We loved REI's idea to spend the day outside rather than shopping.  Apparently, MANY other people loved the idea as well.  I have NEVER seen such crowds at a state park.  I'll bet records were broken today.  We had to drive around a bit to find a parking spot and even then, we ended up in a spot that wasn't officially for parking.

We followed the red trail today.  According to the state park site, the red trail is one mile one way. 1 to 2 hours each way. Rated easy to difficult.   That rating seemed curious, but I certainly understand it now.

The red trail stays close to Sweetwater Creek the whole way.  

The early parts of the trail were crowded at times, but not so bad that it hindered hiking.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't care for hiking around so many people, but today it was fun and exciting.  I was happy so many were choosing to Opt Out.  Also, everyone was in a great mood.   Hikers are happy people!

The old mill was about 1/2 mile down the trail. I wasn't pleased with any of my photos of the mill.  Maybe the next time I try this trail, it won't be so crowded and I'll be able to get some photos from better angles.  

The trail had been fairly easy to that point.  Casual hikers generally turn around at the mill.  

Susan and I kept going.  There were great views all along the way, but the path became more challenging.

A few places had wonderful bridges and steps.

MANY other places were trickier.  We went over LOTS of rock piles like this.  This is why the trail is labeled difficult.  It was not for the faint of heart (or weak of knee).  Thank goodness we had each brought a hiking pole.  There were a few places where those poles came in very handy.

But how could we possibly stop with even more fabulous views beyond every obstacle?

Getting to the end of the red trail took 1-1/2 hours.  We stopped to take lots of photos. It only took an hour to get back.  We only stopped at a few places n the return trip.  We both felt compelled to conquer this big rock. It had been occupied when we passed it earlier.   We knew the view of the creek would be great from there.  It was!  In fact, I think it would be a grand place to stop and have lunch on a future visit.

By the time we finished, we were spent.  Once we sat down, everything started to get stiff.  There was talk of Advil or Tylenol.  I  haven't taken anything yet, but it's still a possibility.  I took a long hot shower first and that helped a little.  Not enough.  Many muscles are talking to me tonight and it's not happy talk.  That's OK.  Today was truly amazing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Grocery Cart Ride

One thing leads to another.    Sharing a simple post on Facebook showing senior citizens riding on grocery carts can lead to unapologetically juvenile behavior in other supposedly mature adults.

This little post should have come with a warning.  Something like, "Do not try this at home." might have been good.  Or at least they should have pointed out that the little old lady in the photo had a spotter with her.

When I shared this picture, I noted that riding the cart was something I was always tempted to do.  Next thing I know, many others were commenting, some saying they did ride the cart and others saying I should go for it.  My mind swiftly went back to elementary school dares where your "friends" were urging you to do something they wouldn't do and your mother says afterwards, "If your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you  jump, too?"  But then, Glen Hatchell, who coincidentally, I knew in elementary school, posted a video of himself riding the grocery cart.   AND IT LOOKED LIKE  FUN!  There's no turning back now. I'm in.

The adult in me paused briefly to consider what could go wrong... worst case scenarios.  The bottom line, I'm too old to worry about being arrested and I don't think there are actual laws against riding grocery carts anyway.  If I ended up in the emergency room, I'd have one heck of a story to tell.  So my juvenile side and my adult side are both convinced.  I have to do it because life is short and good stories are priceless.

Today, I'm proud to say, I met my goal.  I rode the grocery cart!  I was not with anyone, so I had no friends to laugh with me or make me look a tiny bit more sane.  Have you ever noticed when you act silly in a group, it's a little less crazy than doing it all by yourself?  There were plenty of people in the parking lot, so I wasn't even able to be discreet.  Still, I went for it and clearly should get extra points for bravery!

Now, it's been a really long time since I've ridden a grocery cart, but I figured it would be like riding a bicycle.  It would all come back to me.  Turns out, I may have needed just a tiny bit of practice before making my screen debut.

Did You Know -   

A small amount of groceries 
pulling back on the cart handle while both feet are off the ground
a little extra "junk in the trunk" weight

I learned today that it does.

I'm sorry this video didn't capture the episode very well. It was hard to film while maintaining a death grip on the cart.  My ride must have been pretty entertaining because the truck full of landscapers parked next to me never stopped laughing.  They were still laughing as I drove off.  What's even better, I was, too.  I continued to laugh most of the way home.  

Is anyone else up for the challenge? Obviously age doesn't matter.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hike #2 - Line Creek

Susan and I went on another wonderful hike.  This time it was local since we were limited on time.  Line Creek Nature Area in Peachtree City has two trails.  The Bridge Trail is an easy .8 mile loop.  The Creek Trail is 1.2 miles each way and requires more sure footing.  It has slippery rocks and granite outcroppings.  Since the weather was so damp and we had limited time, we decided to just explore the easy trail.  The trail has several attached trails, which we explored, so our hike was definitely longer than .8 mile.  It took us an hour and 45 minutes, but that included lots of stops to ooh and ahh and take photos.

The entrance is marked with a wood sign with Line Creek Nature Park.
At the beginning of the trail is a nice duck pond.  There's a gazebo and picnic tables, which I'd definitely like to use in the future.  The ducks are so cute and friendly, but we really disappointed them by not coming with any snacks.  I promised them next time I wouldn't be such a thoughtless guest.  What's the healthiest snack to fee a duck.  I know bread crumbs are the traditional food, but is there something healthier?

It drizzled off and on during when we first started out.  We opened and closed our umbrellas over and over, but after a bit, it just didn't matter.  It was very humid the whole time, but it wasn't that big of a deal.  The temperature was nice.  I was a bit overdressed and in the future, I'd rather get wet than carry an umbrella around on a hike.

At this point, I wasn't even bothering to close up my umbrella.
The Creek was fabulous.  There were parts that were gentle and others that rushed over rocks.  The sound was so relaxing.  I could feel stress melting away. There were many spots along the way where we had to stop and admire.

This path was said to be easy.  It wasn't strenuous, but it definitely required us to keep our eye on the path.  The were rocks and roots and logs and a few slick spots.  Each time I wanted to gaze at scenery I would come to a full stop first!  I didn't mind the challenge.  It's rather zen-like to get lost in keeping your footing.

The path was fairly well marked.  There were signs in plenty of spots and there was really only one spot where we weren't quite sure what to do.  There's a path map online (see link at the bottom of this post) and that was very helpful!

The shoals were great.  Susan had a great idea.  She said this would be a wonderful spot to sit and read.  I agree.  Note to self - Next time, bring duck food and a book.  

The trail looped around back to the duck pond.  We had a treat.  Steve and Robin (our new friends) were on the gazebo singing - practicing for an upcoming performance.  They told us where they gather with other music lovers and Susan and I will definitely be going to see them again. We hope to take some friends along!  I'll post about it when we go. We listened to them sing several songs and the last one really got me.   It was a sad song and they sang it beautifully.  I could barely speak afterwards. If you know me, you know I don't like to get emotional in public, but this music got to me.   Susan knew I was struggling so she avoided eye contact with me til the end.  When she did look my way, she fell apart, too.  Good friends will cry with you.

Here's a little snippet of one of their songs -

Update: Thank you Glenn for letting me know this is "If I Needed You" by Townes Van Zandt"

Susan and I highly recommend hiking this trail!  If you do decide to check it out, this aerial view will help you see where to pull in.  The road to parking for Line Creek is off Hwy 54 - just down the road (west) from Wal-Mart and Home Dept.  The entrance is catty-corner to MacDuff Parkway.  You pull in after the entrance to the shopping center with the Flying Biscuit restaurant.  The road is right before the entrance to Meineke.  The Line Creek road goes back half a mile or so to a decent sized parking area.
Click for larger view.

Click Here for More Info on Line Creek - includes trail map and more

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Walking the Dogs

I have six dogs and I walk with them often.  Someone recently asked if I had them all on leashes when we walked.  Thankfully, I don't have to.  Our property is completely fenced.  We walk the perimeter and it's almost a mile.  There are cut-throughs and alternate paths and sometimes I go slightly different ways.  As many times as I've walked it, you'd think I'd be bored, but I'm not and neither are the dogs.  They get sooooo excited.  I don't have to say a word.  They know when I'm getting ready for a walk. It doesn't matter that they've had free reign of the property all day. They love it when I join them.

Here's a look.  If you come for a visit, bring your walking shoes and you can join us!

They all run like mad off the porch and then they start up the hill.  Teddy is in constant motion the whole walk.  I never can get a good close up photo of him.

Once up the hill, the dogs sniff everything to see if the neighbor's dogs have been around.  They stop to take a look across the pasture just in case there's any sight of them.  If there is, then things get very exciting.  On this day, the coast was clear.

By the way, the white dog is Jack.  You won't see him again for awhile. If I'm not diligent about keeping an eye on him, he sneaks away.  Jack is my dad's favorite.  They have a serious bond.  They talk to each other.

Cocoa sneaks away sometimes, too, but today she just rested anytime I stopped to take photos.  The others decided to speak to her about it.

Next, we head downhill towards the pasture.  Annie is one of the most faithful of the dogs.  She stays close by on every walk, no matter how many laps I make.  If she runs off to see about something important, she always runs back as quickly as possible.

Sadie stays close by, too.  Many people have trouble telling Sadie and Annie apart.  It's easy to tell the difference on a walk.  Sadie almost always has something in her mouth - a pine cone or stick usually. She thinks it's her job to carry something along and she's very serious about it.

George loves to walk, but he learned from Jack that boys don't stay with the crowd.  He's conflicted about it. He wants to be where the action is, but he has his pride, so occasionally he moves away and waits to be called.

There's a pleasant path leading to another dog meeting area.  Another neighbor has a bunch of dogs and there's often a showdown at the fence.  I've been using this area to tame the aggression in my dogs. I use my gadgets that make noises to distract them.  They are hardly ever rude there anymore... at least when I'm around.  It's a different story when I'm not there.

Once past the meeting spot, we round the corner and head towards the pond.  They are getting tired of me stopping for photos.

George joins us again and wants to know why I keep stopping.  This is not how our walks are supposed to go.

We get to the pond and then there's lots to do.  Some of them swim.  Some just get a drink.  Jack is the only one who doesn't like the pond, but he's nowhere to be seen.  Annie likes to go for a swim and then come back by my side and shake off the water.

I like to pause at the pond.  If I watch for a few minutes I usually see fish and turtles.  I love to take a look at the sky. Clouds are fascinating and there are often interesting birds to see.  Sadie likes to relax after a swim and she will even put down her pine cone for a bit.

This is the path beside the pond.  The paved road is on the other side of the fence.  It's pretty, too.

Once again, George is staying back, waiting to be called.  The pond sure is low. That drain pipe is really sticking out.

Now, we're heading towards home.  First we pass the barn, then head through the backyard towards the house.

George... come on!

Cindy Lou walks around the house while we walk.  She stays near the house, which is right in the center of the property, but tries to keep an eye on our progress all the way around.  When we start in, she walks out to greet us.

Also, there waiting is Jack.  I know he hides and watches us through our entire walk.  Then he sits on the porch looking very regal when we come in.  Only his wagging tail gives away just how happy he is that we're all back.

There's one more furry family member who has not been pictured yet.  I don't want to leave her out because she's definitely a VIP.  This is Sissy -

Sissy is the oldest.  She's very smart and extremely sweet.  Her conversational skills are impressive and she never interrupts.  As you can see, she's also a gifted snuggler. She likes to be held like a baby.

Having a house full of animals is quite an undertaking, but I sure do have a wonderful furry family.


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