Friday, February 7, 2014

AT Thru Hike Preparation Purchase

Yesterday I received one of my first purchases for my preparations of my 2015 Appalachian Thru Hike.

It's a Camel Bak 3L (100 oz) water hydration pack, mouth piece guard, and an extra water bladder. I can hardly wait to practice the hike. I will go on a hike as soon as the temperatures allow.

Enjoy the sunset.

Charlton
















Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Mountains Call My Name

It's been a few days since my last post. I reckon it's time I paid a visit to the Appalachian Mountains. I hear it calling my name lately. There is something I've been wanting to do since I was a youngin' living in those mountains. Now seems to be the right time to do it. I am planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail as a thru-hike. Thru-Hike meaning from the beginning of the trailhead at Springer Mountain, Georgia until it's terminus at Mt. Katahdin, Maine. An approximate 2180 miles. The mileage is approximate since every year there are usually detours and changes in the trail for one reason or another due to weather, changing the trail to give parts of it a rest etc. It takes approximately (there's that word again) five to six months on average to complete the trail and of the average 2000 folks who do begin the trail only one in four actually end up reaching their initial destination. This could be due to any number of reasons from injury, can't physically or mentally finish. It's not only physically challenging it's also mentally challenging due to the long amount of time that one is alone on the trail with just themselves and their thoughts.

I'm already walking five miles a few times a week with just my camera pack. As I begin to acquire my gear for such an adventure I will up the weight that I carry as well as the mileage during the coming months between now and then. The start date is also approximate at this time but it will be in the early spring of 2015. That will give me enough time to save funds in order to pay my bills while I'm gone from home.

Woohooo!!! I can hardly wait for it to begin. I love the outdoors and hiking.

More updates will be posted in regards to the anticipated hike as time moves me ever closer to the launch date.

Charlton

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Not a Walk in the Park

Weeeell fudge!

Yesterday evening I walked five miles. I did my walk from the house to Indian Head Trailhead Parking Area.   I used my handheld GPS in order to measure the distance I walked and to calculate my walking speed. I also witnessed another fantastic sunset along with some interesting landscapes at sunset.  Since Big Bend National Park is closed I guess I could be arrested for walking into the park to Indian Head, sooo, I just walked to the parking area instead. Dagblasted politicians.

I finally was able to get some photos of the new chihuahua puppy that we adopted a couple of weeks ago. Someone named him Coco so I guess the name stuck and..well...yep.  Coco finally stopped moving and fell asleep in my lap so I decided to take advantage of the moment and snap a photo of him.


I'm not exactly sure what happened to the garden this summer but we didn't get squat from the plants. They bloomed but the bees just did not visit. Well, now,  as I walked out the door I spotted the mint with blooms from the little start that we planted and now that the season is almost over, the tomato plant is just now producing some fruit.

Mint with bloom stalk

Our Tomato Blooms

Seed Pod from Creosote Bush
I found some Creosote Bushes along the way on my walk. The desert looks green with all the rain that we've received this spring and summer.

A Mushroom of some type I think
Along the road to Indian Head it isn't exactly crowded with plants and the terrain is really flat so when I spotted something white sticking up from the dirt it was easily spotted. I walked over to check it out and the above pictured plant is what I found. I looked around to see if there were anymore and there was only one other a few feet away. Odd.  Mushrooms would be the last thing I would suppose would be sighted in the desert.

As the sun began to set at my back it lit up the surrounding red lava rocks that line the way to Indian Head.

Landscape as seen looking north from Indian Head Rd.
On Indian Head Rd as heading east to the trailhead
The sunset that followed was spectacular.

Terlingua Sunset as seen from Indian Head Rd.
I hope you all have a wonderful day. The world is what we make it.

...and those politicians better get their act together and make the world a better one by settling their dispute. I'm getting tired of having a one way argument with the tv.

Charlton




Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's October 1st! I'm In Need of a Wonderful Sunset Today...of all days.

Well, wasn't today an interesting day! The governments shut down. The National Park is shut down. The National Weather Service or NOAA is shut down. There goes the entertainment. Now I'll have to find something else to occupy my time besides watching the radar refresh every fifteen minutes. My toothbrush has lost a few bristles, I think I might have to count them since I never let it get below a 200 bristle count. That'll occupy me for a few moments. Sigh. Okay, I'm done being serious.

I did however, get curious about the health care drama...issue...thingy. You know, that thing that has got those politicians drawers all up in a wad.  Then I did some research and realized the venerated Governor is not going to expand Medicaid. Weeell. Ain't that jist lovely.

I know there are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many folks out there in the great state of Texas, and it is great, I love it here, I just have an opinion, sort of, about the folks up there in Austin, and there carrying on.  Well, there are some folks that love and praise the honorable and venerated and saintly Governor Perry. So when it comes time to go shopping for health coverage and you find out that you fall beneath the poverty line, would you please ask Governor Perry, you know, the governor who would like the state to become a country, why he isn't afraid of depending on the USA, you know, that other country, for Federal funds or subsidies for his state's population that would fall under the care of Medicaid? Or why he isn't in support of expanding Medicaid for his constituents?

I don't know, it was just a thought that came to me.

....oh, and here's another.  If he doesn't want or approve of Medicaid at all then he should be the proper governor, or, well...president of his country and come up with a proper health care plant. Or perhaps he hasn't thought to ordain or appoint a health care czar to take care of health care matter within his country, I mean state.

Just another thought. He can call me if he has any other questions in regards to health care.

Oh, you know it slipped my mind.  Why I must be crazy to think that Gover...I mean, President Perry, depends on the same health care plan that his constituents utilize...you know, Mexico's Health Care Plan. Well, I think I'm done for now. Have his office call my office if he feels the special need to chit chat.  Silly me, I don't have an office, tell him he can just call me at home. If he doesn't have my number then he can just get hold of the operator at NSA, I'm sure they have it by now.

Now, here's a great sunset.



This was a subtle but great sunset.

Have a great day and remember, no matter what happens, we can change the world because the world is what we make it.

Charlton


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Buggin' Out

I think it's shift change at bug central. Now I don't see the Striped Blister Beetle any longer or the Box Elder Bug which resembles a miniature Cone Nose Beetle. Nope. Now we have another kind of beetle visiting the Big Bend Area. It's interesting but still has a catch and it has a non-threatening name for such a stinker of a nuisance. It's name is Pyrota palpalis or Charlie Brown Blister Beetle. You would think that they could name it Lucy Blister Beetle for all those pranks she played or poor ol' Pig Pen but no, they had to name it after a famous baseball player who had a penchant for laying around on baseball diamonds while being covered by a winter blizzard.

Pyrota palpalis (Charlie Brown Blister Beetle)
Bless his heart. Charlie Brown always gets the short end of the stick. And that's not the only thing that will get the short end of the stick if I see this thing resting its laurels on my bath towel again.

The Big Bend area has seen it's share of rain the past few days and it was welcomed with open arms and catchment tanks.

Stormy Skies and Cooler Temps
For two days straight it rained and poured. The cooler temperatures were welcomed by many. By cooler I do mean in the 80's.

Tule Butte in the background
...and no, the mountain in the background was not named after someone's famous butt. It's called a butte (pronounced as b-yoot).

Wonderfully toned blue skies followed the storms. And what follows the calm weather are butterflies and bees. They were all out today busying themselves with gathering their stores before the winter sets in. By winter I mean cooler weather. By cooler weather I mean 70's.


I have shown this particular plant before but I couldn't help but show it again. This is the Texas Yellow Trumpet Bush. Not to be confused with the Trumpet Vine or reddish blooms of another type of Trumpet Vine. This is native to Texas and the Chihuahuan Desert. It thrives from very little water and if given more water than usual for a desert it will run you out of town. This growth you see here is since March of this year. It attracts Hummingbirds, Humming Bird Moths, all kinds of bees, Butterflies by the boatload. It really is a spectacular plant.

I caught a photo of this Sulfur Butterfly visiting one of the blooms of the Trumpet Bush.






A close up shot of one of the blooms on the Trumpet Bush in front of the Big Bend Resort & Adventure front lobby.


Now ain't the little critter below just a cutie! I've never before been able to catch a photo of a bee in flight. I don't think this is a regular honey bee. There actually are a varied array of bees that pollinate the plants and flowers here in Texas. I just find it interesting to know about these creatures that we seem to take for granted. Without them, we would starve.
A bee about it's business among the blossoms of our Yellow Trumpet Bush

Here is a sunset from yesterday evening.



I hope you all are having a great day and remember....
The World is What We Make It.

Charlton

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September Blooms as Summer Wanes

Raoul told me of some flowers that he had been photographing yesterday. I had to see them so we went on a small mini excursion into the desert...really just outside and a few hundred feet away. We were not disappointed this morning. It seems the late summer rains have tempted some of the flowers to bloom. With the exception of a couple of the flowers I had not seen these before. This summer really has been an amazing one. I don't think I have seen this such a profusion of blooms in the years past that I have lived down here. When I say that it makes me sound like an old timer...I've really only been here a tad past five years. But still...

The first thing we encountered was some water in a small culvert where a concrete path crossed a dry wash. I know! Imagine encountering a wild patch of concrete way out here. It was actually on the golf course of the Big Bend Motor Inn...I hope you won't be too terribly disappointed that there is no photo of it. You can Google it if you need to refresh your memory of what concrete looks like. It really doesn't even bloom.

Anyhoo...

I know a lot of folks don't like snakes but this was a cutie. It was so tiny. Barely the size of No.2 Ticonderoga and about as long. I will have to pay Google a visit myself for this one.

Update: I don't know for sure but this has the appearance (I'm just viewing the online photos at a Texas Snake website and comparing photos so this is by no means a scientific ID) of a checkered garter snake. I grew up in the Virginia Appalachians and black snakes were no stranger to us out in the country. I had always wanted a black snake as a pet. I never understood why my mother preferred that didn't happen. I didn't talk back to her about it either. Not if I wanted to sleep in the house and eat dinner or gather my own switch from the woods. Good times.

There were lots of frogs also. They were all checking us out and then diving into the water when their insecurity over took their curiosity. It wasn't the only tiny creature that checked us out today but that's for later.


The teensy weensy tiny blooms below were so abundant all over the desert hillsides. The blooms were seemingly suspended in mid-air if seen from a distance. The leaves for the plant were on the ground while the branches with the blooms at the ends grew upwards to about four feet above the ground. There was a barely susceptible breeze that would move them around which reminded me of dancing ballerinas. It was very difficult to get a clear photo of them since the slightest whisper of wind would move them from side to side.
I had encountered these out on my property but not as numerous as we encountered today. Just amazed by the color.
 It slipped my mind to take a photo of the leaves for identification purposes. I'll have to do that tomorrow.
Since moving to Terlingua five years ago I have encountered plants and insects here that are so unique to this area. Like the one below. I think this is what is left of the bloom. But I'm not sure. It is interesting none the less.
 This reminds me of the other bloom, Serpent's Sting, so I'm not even going to venture to touch it. It also reminds me of a clover bloom.
 This unique shape is the seed pod left behind after the bloom dies. The plant was devoid of blooms so I did not have anything to reference it with. Love it.
 This I have seen before but is becoming rare due to collectors picking them out of the desert for their private collection. It's a Living Rock Cactus. Alot of them are so flush with the ground that you may step on them and not even realize it. They also blend into the rocky terrain so well.
The bright yellow of this bloom was almost too bright for me to focus on for any lengthy time. Located as a bush there were lots of these blooms located throughout the golf course. The blooms were about I would say, a half inch across and the stems were thin and leggy. The leaves were grass like. Again, I had never seen these before today.
This very tiny bloom was so small that it was really just a speck of purple underneath another shrub.
 I was taking some photos and a curious passersby decided to stop and investigate me and seemed to want check me out. He was just a foot from me and chest level. Dragonflies are curious creatures and if deemed non-threatening will hover or even rest on the end of a branch as it is here. Wonderful graceful things. One year since I've been here and I'm not sure what time of year it was but I was on my way to Alpine and stopped to eat my breakfast on the side of the road. That's when I noticed them. Hundreds or even thousands of dragonflies were all flying past my truck as far as I could see. I looked it up later and found out that they migrated thousands of miles every year south and then migrate north.
 Another bloom we encountered. The thorns are really small hairs or bristles. I think this may be a Bristly Nama.
 The golf course is not advertised any longer and only four of the original 9 holes are playable. The remaining fairways and greens have been allowed to turn back into the desert. Hence the ground around this yellow blooming plant seems manicured even if it is brown. This I think, is what we call Limoncillo (pronounced Lee-moan-see-yo). If you pick this and crush the tiny thin leaves between your fingers you will notice a strong lemon aroma. It can be gathered and brewed as a tea with a lemon scent. It's supposedly has medicinal value. I enjoy see this bloom every year. It reminds me that it's summer still.
 I think this is what is called a Texas Sunflower. We found this one lone specimen with three or four blooms in the middle of tall grasses.
 Below is a Texas Sunflower bud on it's way to becoming a beautiful bloom
 This was one of the last things I saw on the nature walk today. It was so tiny and just a white spot on the stem that I almost overlooked it. But I decided to investigate with my lens and BAM! there it was. This wonderfully shaped blooms. It reminds me of my grandmother Rose and her hand crocheted lace doilies that she had on her table tops.
 I have taken photos of this plant and I think it is called Yarrow but I could be mistaken. But what I wanted was this small butterfly resting on the blooms. It wasn't shy at all since it allowed us to get quite close. It wasn't a very clear shot since the wind was blowing somewhat and moving the wings back and forth.

Wow. Today was a great day for a walk and here it is, the end of Summer and the blooms continue to bloom and show us that there is always something blooming here in the Terlingua desert.

Well, tomorrow is another day. I'm going to do my four mile walk tomorrow morning. You know, it helps to keep things moving. If you don't move...nothing else does either.

Remember that the world is what we make it. Have a great day and may it be blessed.

Charlton







Saturday, September 14, 2013

Life as a Sunset

Life gives us what it can. We only get one chance and I want to make the most of it. As there are countless sunsets and sunrises and there are numbered days to our lives, I intend on seeing as many as possible.

So here's two more....

Terlingua Sunset 091313

Terlingua Sunset 091413
I am just always amazed at the sunsets and sunrises. The colors and how each one is different each day. I never tire of them.

Have a great day and remember always...

That the world is what we make it. May it be blessed.

Charlton