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Posts Tagged ‘humor’

IN THE FIELD: Honey, Where Are The Car Keys?

November 2, 2012 10 comments

IN THE FIELD: The Views Were Worth It

October 19, 2012 34 comments

Quite a few years ago, I went on a weekend hiking trip with a few of my friends on part of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. We started the hike in Port Clinton and headed up the mountain and east to our destination, which is an overlook named the Pinnacle. It is perched high on the top of Blue Mountain, near the Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary.

In our haste to go hiking in super October weather, we neglected to do prudent research about this part of the trail. A few steps from the trailhead begins an almost vertical climb up. The trail consisted of pebbles, stones, rocks, boulders, and tree roots, with a sprinkling of gravel mixed in for good measure. Looking back, it would have been better to do this part of the trail during daylight hours rather than starting at 10:00pm. The flashlights we were carrying were feeble at best and barely illuminated the treacherous path in front of us.

After about an hour and a half of slipping and sliding, numerous scrapes and falls, we made it to the crest of the mountain to set up camp and rest for the night. Finding a flat spot on the top of a mountain is a comedy of errors, so we set up right on the trail. We figured the odds of another group of hikers coming by in the middle of the night were slim.

We awoke a few hours later, emerged from our tent, and were stunned to see how we had perched ourselves on the crest of the mountain yet somehow managed to stay there all night.

After eating breakfast on that glorious Autumn morning, we strapped on our backpacks and continued on our way. Five and a half miles later we met a few hikers coming the opposite direction. We chatted about trail conditions and they told us we should have an easy day of hiking. Knowing what was ahead of them, we advised them to lace up their boots tightly and find a walking stick for balance. We suggested climbing ropes for the way down would be handy also.

A few miles later we stopped for lunch. While dining on our rations, a man ran past us on the trail with no backpacking gear. We thought that was odd. Where did he come from and how did he get there? A few minutes later, another man ran by dressed in some official looking uniform. He stopped and asked if we had seen anyone. We advised him of the direction the first man was headed. The uniformed man sped off down the trail. Where did these two people come from and why did they not appear to be tired or out of breath. We were after all on top of a mountain.

We made our second camp a few hundred yards from the Pinnacle lookout in the daylight hours, thinking it would be easier to find a level spot to put the tent. Amazingly it was. Then we gathered our camera gear and headed out to the lookout to enjoy the views and watch the variety of migrating birds soar on the updrafts.

Another oddity of this trip was seeing a few dozen people at the lookout freshly bathed and in clean clothes. They had driven up to the sanctuary and took the relaxing stroll to the pinnacle overlook. Wimps.

I don’t recall the camera settings I used for this shot, but I do know I used a zoom lens. The farm buildings you see are several miles away from the lookout. I really like the patchwork of colors and patterns created by the harvested fields and those that are still green.

IN THE FIELD: Bigger Can Be Better

September 28, 2012 24 comments

My sister has a menagerie of critters in her back yard, and many of them are not shy of humans. You can walk right up to them and they rarely move from their position.

They are also very easy to take care of. She has mentioned in the past, none of the animals have fussy diets, and they really don’t mind where they sleep. As long as someone comes out to visit them from time to time, they are perfectly content.

This shot was taken with my 35mm lens. I was shooting in mid-day and the rooster was in bright shade, so I under-exposed the shot 1/3rd stop to saturate the colors.

IN THE FIELD: Night Sky

September 14, 2012 26 comments

Getting a good shot of the moon has been a quest of mine for a long time. Having the right lens, clear atmospheric conditions, a stable tripod, and minimal light pollution are the key to a good photograph.

One night last week I was finally able to get the shot I was after.

Liar, liar…pants on fire.

IN THE FIELD: Oh, to Be A Kid Again

August 31, 2012 18 comments

Back in the day I took a boat trip down the Intercoastal Waterway from Maryland to Florida. This photo was taken when we were in the Albemarle Sound, North Carolina. It is the largest freshwater sound in North America, roughly 50 – 60 miles across.

I was head cook on this voyage, and normally when I was down below preparing meals, the guys went easy on me. After all, it was up to me to feed them. On this particular afternoon lunch detail, something was a little different. Judging by the sounds of the engines and the pounding of the boat on the waves, I knew we were moving along at a good clip. Ripping across large bodies of water like this at full throttle can make food prep a challenge.

I heard conversations from up on deck which explained a few things.

“Dad, can we head over this way?” “How about over here?” “Can I turn the boat real hard and make it lean?”

“Ok Son, just go easy. Uncle David is down below trying to make us lunch.”

I came up from my station below decks with a pot of steaming shrimp we had bought fresh a few hours before. And there was my eight year old nephew at the helm, kneeling on the seat with the biggest grin I have ever seen on his face.

In fact, we got some pretty amazing looks and smiles from other boaters as the young boater zoomed past them…at a safe distance of course.

Well, that novice boater who had the smile from ear to ear while running the boat has grown up to be a fine young man. He is getting married in a few weeks and he still gets that big Cheshire grin whenever we bring up stories of boating and running at full throttle.

IN THE FIELD: Rusty Daffodils-A New variety?

August 24, 2012 28 comments

A few weeks ago we had a family gathering at my sister’s home. During time-outs between various sports and games, I managed to steal away for a few moments to appreciate her gardens and the new landscaping she and her husband have installed.

Somehow she has managed to force some daffodils into blooming in the middle of the summer. But I do think this part of the garden is a bit rich when it comes to iron content in the soil. I’ll be sure to mention something about soil nutrients when I talk with her this weekend.

IN THE FIELD: Dream Big

August 22, 2012 22 comments

I have been around boats of all sizes and modes of power most of my life. Storage and/or a place to moor a boat have always been my challenge in ownership. So, in order to satisfy the need to have a vessel to take out on the water, we settled for a 14 foot canoe. It has served us well over the years and brought plenty of enjoyment paddling and fishing the local lakes and waterways.

My ultimate boat to own would be a 21 foot wooden gaff rigged sloop. Or a 34 foot lobster boat style picnic boat. Come to think of it, any boat would do. Even something like the ship pictured here. She is just slightly larger than my ultimate dream boat, but she would do in a pinch.

If you’re gonna dream, dream big!

She is the CVN 72 USS Abraham Lincoln. I photographed her while she was in the Newport News Shipbuilding Yard in Newport News, Virgina.

IN THE FIELD: It Really Does Exist

August 10, 2012 24 comments

Last September, I wrote a post titled “Signs” and mentioned a sign we had seen just after going through a mountain pass named Lolo Pass. The sign stated “winding road next 77 miles.” You may have thought I had written the story in jest, stretched the truth a bit, was downright lying or was telling a tall tale. Well, here it is. Told ya…neener, neener, neener. The sign doesn’t lie. The road winds back and forth and back and forth and …….you guessed it. For 77 miles! Downhill.

Lolo Pass is at an elevation of 5,233 feet (1,595 m). It is a mountain pass in the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountaina and is on the border between the states of Montana and Idaho. Route 12, which is that winding road, follows the Lochsa River (pronounced “lock-saw”) for it’s entire length.

You can pull off into one of many vantage points to watch folks in canoes, kayaks plus the white water rafters braving the turbulent water. In the areas of calmer water, you may see folks fishing for trout and salmon. There are several camp grounds along the way, and the area is also known for it’s outstanding hiking trails.

Native Americans used the trail along the river to get to the plains of Montana to hunt bison, as well as to get to the salmon runs in the Columbia River basin, which the Lochsa and it’s tributaries feed into.

IN THE FIELD: I Say, Boy, Pay Attention To Me, Boy

August 3, 2012 26 comments

“Why aren’t my feathers the same color as uncle Foghorn’s you ask?”

“Yeah Uncle Spike…how come?”

“You see Boy, Foghorn Leghorn is my second cousin on my father’s aunt’s mother’s side.” “He’s loud and a prankster and always gettin’ into mischief, if ya know what I mean.”

“What kind of mischief?”

“See that barnyard dog over there?”

“Yeah”

“Well, it all started with Ol” Dawg and Foghorn. The Leghorn side of the family decided they were the big guys around the farm. Ol’ Dawg and his family would have nothing to do with that. Every time Foghorn and his siblings would come into the barnyard, Ol’ Dawg would give ‘em a chase. Foghorn, bein’ the sneaky sort, always had a trick up his wing. He tried everything to get back at that old dog, but he’s never been able to win the battle. It’s hard to tell anymore who starts the antics between the two, but they just keep on goin’. Almost like a habit.”

“Anyway, We’s always been prideful of our white feathers, but we dye our feathers different colors to confuse Ol’ Dawg. Some of us are red, orange, gold or pearly black like me. He doesn’t realize it yet, but we’re really Leghorns. Luckily, until he gets the real story on us, we have free range and get to be with the missy hens whenever we want to.”

IN THE FIELD: Revisiting The Neighbors Wildflower Garden

July 20, 2012 24 comments

In the area where I live, we have received very little rainfall this summer, except for last night’s deluge. It’s been super hot and dry, yet with high humidity. The weatherman predicts storms, and we see them on the radar, but they always seem to swerve out of our way. It’s either an attempt on the weatherman’s part to be funny, or there is a force field over the top of the mountain here.

Compared to earlier this spring when the neighbors wildflower garden was profuse with color, the lack of water this summer has dramatically affected the garden. The plants bloom, but the flowers only last a day or two.

Although, there are some late summer plants that are thriving in the dry conditions. With any luck, we will get some relief soon and the garden will have a chance to put on a show later this season.

Neighbor “P” and I discussed the idea of running a hose from his house to a series of soaker hoses out to the wildflower garden, but after we priced out 600 feet of hose, we felt mother nature would be the better route to take. Good thing is, last night’s storms confirmed our decision.