Archive for April, 2008

links for 2008-04-23

April 23, 2008 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

links for 2008-04-21

April 21, 2008 at 2:31 pm 1 comment

Happy Birthday, John Muir!

Today is the birthday of preservationist John Muir (the founder of the Sierra Club). He would have been 170 years old today. Not familiar with John Muir? He may be closer to your life than you would think. Perhaps you have a California State Quarter loitering in the change pile in your car (He’s on the back). Or you might be like me– running across his quotes for years without realizing who he was.

My favorite John Muir quote was one of those accidental encounters. I saw it on a sign in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Clingman’s Dome:

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find that going to the mountains is going home.

I fancy it, because that is exactly how I feel about the Appalachian Mountains.

They are home.

April 21, 2008 at 9:47 am 5 comments

More McAfee Knob Poses

Sitting on the very edge wasn’t the only McAfee Knob pose that was overlooked in the Virginia Appalachian Trail License Plate designs.  Here are two more for your consideration:

Handstand on McAfee’s Knob (Photo by Sam E.)

A variety of options (Photo by studiofluid)

P.S. Does the color quality of the first picture make you suspect a fake?  Sam E. has another McAfee Knob Handstand shot from last October!

April 21, 2008 at 9:18 am 4 comments

Season Compare: Sinking Creek Valley

Two years ago, I took Penn out to see the Keffer Oak. Afterwards, we strolled a little further north on the AT and snapped this shot of Jimmie:

Sinking Creek Valley – April 2, 2006

On my 2nd Most Expensive Hike, I did try to snag the same scenery:

April 15, 2008

I’m not sure how accurate “Season Compare” is for this pair– because one shot was taken on April 2 and the other April 15, but there are definitely differences in the leaves.

And even though the later shot was explicitly intended for a season compare, my framing was off. Do you know what that means? This week, I more accurately matched a stranger’s shots than my own. 🙂

April 19, 2008 at 9:15 am 3 comments

Snubbed McAfee Knob Pose!

Earlier this week, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy revealed the design finalists for the Virginia Appalachian Trail License plate. Two of the designs featured McAfee’s Knob and they experimented with different poses for the hiker at the top. As a refresher, here were the two poses:

Option A Hiker

Option B Hiker

But there is another possibility that apparently did not make the final consideration- Sitting on the very edge with your legs dangling!

Okay.  Perhaps that pose isn’t exactly state-sanctioned license plate material.  🙂 But it does seem to be a Flickr user favorite.  Enjoy!

Photo by Knaptime

Photo by asafantman

Photo by engmike8

Photo by rasudduth

Photo by erskingardner

Photo by kokokestrel

P.S. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Virginia Appalachian Trail License Plate design!

April 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm 7 comments

Cows and Calves

Last weekend, I visited the farm of my ninety-one year old great uncle. The last time I was up at the farm was April 2006. It is not a coincidence that when I visit, I target the month of April. That’s when the baby cows are born! I keep hoping to get the timing just right to witness a calf birth. In 2006, I found a goop covered calf being licked my its mother, so I think I just missed it. This year, the closest I got was a 2-day old calf:

I was two days too late to see this guy being born.

I did get to see plenty of calves and calf-related activities:

A group of baby cows


And I saw some older, but still cool looking, cows:

Black cow by white barn

A brown cow eats

So…. so what if I didn’t get to see a birth? That’s what YouTube is for. And I did get to see something is more rare– my ninety-four year old grandmother getting to visit her ninety-one year old brother!

More rare than amniotic fluid bursting in pastures

More pictures from my visit to Great Uncle Chuck’s Farm are on my Flickr site.

April 18, 2008 at 8:12 am 1 comment

2nd Most Expensive Hike – Keffer Oak

What’s the best way to celebrate Jimmie’s 11th Birthday? Why, a hike of course! So on Tuesday, Sean and I took both Jimmie and Henry for an after-work outing– Keffer Oak on the Appalachian Trail. It was a short, easy stroll of about 1.8 miles. Nothing to brag about on the athletic front, but boy, it was a great day to be out and about.

The long branches of Keffer Oak

Blazed sign and in the background a blazed stile

The Keffer Oak is another example of a hungry tree— in its long life, it has absorbed barbed wire

Birthday pup finding the outing…uh… relieving

Unfortunately, on my way home from this hike, I managed to secure myself a speeding ticket. I haven’t had the heart to calculate the actual payment amount, but I know enough to believe this will be my second most expensive hike.

The most expensive would be Sinking Creek Mountain in 2004. After an 11.3 mile day hike with both dogs, I managed to skid on a gravel road and hit a tree. That damage ran around $1100.

Aftermath of my most expensive hike

Sinking Creek Mountain may hold the “Most Expensive” title for some time to come (at least, I hope so), but this tiny Keffer Oak hike has a decent chance of overtaking the “Cost Per Mile” category.

Sinking Creek Mountain Hike – 2004
$1100 car damage / 11.3 miles = $97.35 per mile

If my Tuesday speeding infraction ends up costing more than $175.03… then victory is sealed.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the incumbent…the underdog.

P.S. PassionPhish and his family are going to be spreadsheeting the financial and environmental cost of a backpacking trip shortly. Hopefully, they won’t have to add a column for “moving violations” or “body work”. 🙂

April 18, 2008 at 12:06 am 7 comments

links for 2008-04-16

April 16, 2008 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

Virginia License Plate – Design Finalists!

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Virginia DMV have come with with three designs for the new specialty plate.  The ATC is conducting a survey on the designs.  You can vote for your favorite here.

Option A

Option B

Option C

I like that McAfee’s Knob clearly made it in two of the three designs.  If you go by the image name, the last design was apparently inspired by Mount Rogers.  That was not obvious to me.

My favorite is Option A.  I love that it is McAfee’s Knob.  I like the slight green of the landscape.  The logo on the right is reminiscent of the old metal blazes used for the AT.  And– I find the hiker’s raised arms an extremely accurate representation of how you feel the very first time you make it up the to that view.

Polls on the plate design stay open until 5 PM on May 14th.  The winning design will be announced at Trail Days in Damascus on May 16th.  You could not get more fitting than that!

April 16, 2008 at 1:35 pm 11 comments

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