Archive for July, 2009

“Tide Compare” – Hopewell Rocks

The entrance fee for Hopewell Rocks at the Bay of Fundy is good for two consecutive days to allow visitors to see the rocks in both high and low tide. There are a number of potential “Tide Compare” combinations on Flickr, but I’ll share just one. This comparison is courtesy of Jim Loftus, who visited the park in 2005.

Hopewell Flower Pots: Low Tide and High Tide
(Photo courtesy of Jim Loftus)

July 29, 2009 at 5:00 am 6 comments

More Guns For Reproduction

Guns For ReproductionBringing back the perfect tree
Last February, I did a post entitled Guns for Reproduction where I talked about how a shotgun helped collect pollen for the American Chestnut Foundation‘s breeding program.

Yesterday, the Richmond Registry in Kentucky published an article with another example of shotguns helping the American Chestnut. This time, the firearm is used to spread collected pollen on flowers 35 feet in the air.

So, Willis, 37, floated a helium balloon filled with chestnut pollen into the flowering canopy and blasted it apart with his shotgun. If the tree produces chestnuts in October, he’ll know it worked.

Read the full article at the Richmond Register.

July 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm 2 comments

Survivor Trees: Bay of Fundy

Every 25 hours, 100 billion tons of water moves in and then moves back out Canada’s Bay of Fundy. With the water level changing on average 35 feet daily, it is one of highest tides in whole world.

The tides, along with glaciers, wind, ice and a whole lot of patience have created unique rock formations along the shoreline. The formations are called “Flowerpot Rocks“. Why? Although these rocks are isolated and are often surrounded by water, trees continue to grow on top.

Tenacious, determined and, most of all, beautiful. Meet the trees of the Bay of Fundy.

Lover’s Arch (Photo courtesy of YYZDez)

Flowerpot Rock (Photo courtesy of Marcus Frank)

Survivor Trees (Photo courtesy of Nancy Cleveland)

You can visit some of the Flowerpot Rocks in both low tide and high tide at Hopewell Rocks park. More information can be found at the park’s website.

(Hat Tip, Ryan Somma)

July 28, 2009 at 5:00 am 2 comments

Weekly Winners – July 19th – July 25th, 2009

This week’s Weekly Winners are brief and close to home. No big adventures like Jet Skiing were had. Just pleasant and peaceful summer days in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Elizabeth City - Tykee has a Pillow
My neighbor, Tykee, with a pillow

My friends and I maintain a Cats (and dogs) in Suitcases group on Flickr. Perhaps we need a “Cats in Coolers” group as well. : )
Elizabeth City - Mollie Yawns in Cooler
Mollie in Cooler

Be sure to check out more of Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

July 26, 2009 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

Halfway to the Sky Fact Checks

As I read Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s Halfway to the Sky, a book about a 12 year old girl’s section hike on the Appalachian Trail, I kept my eyes open for inaccuracies, particularly when the girl reaches parts of the trail I was familiar with. For the most part I was thwarted. For example, when I got to the May 1st chapter, I read this line when the characters arrive at Pine Swamp Shelter which is under the jurisdiction of my beloved Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

Vivi said, “Any bunks left for us?”

Wait a second, there are no bunks at Pine Swamp Shelter! I thought I had busted the author! Then I read on.

The one I later learned was named Jake said, respectfully, “No bunks, ma’am, there’s just a floor in this shelter.”

But I did find one tiny mistake later in that chapter. The author refers to a Pearisburg, West Virginia. According to Google Maps, there is no such place. I believe the author meant the quaint town that rests below the beautiful Angel’s Rest view– Pearisburg, Virginia.

Pearisburg Fail
WRONG! Pearisburg is in Virginia

In the author’s defense, it is pretty close to the West Virginia border. And I can forgive that mistake– especially since one of my favorite, but often ignored, mountains made it into the book – Sinking Creek Mountain! The author was dead-on about a characteristic of the ridgeline:

“Sinking Creek Mountain is part of the Eastern Continental Divide,” I told her.

Yup, it sure is:
Sinking Creek Mountain - Eastern Continental Divide
RIGHT! Sinking Creek Mountain is part of the Continental Divide

And it is a beautiful mountain at that. I’m thrilled it was included in the story. : )

July 24, 2009 at 11:01 am 8 comments

New! The Camping and Outdoor Adventure Carnival!

Symms Gap - Tents at SunsetEarlier this week, the inaugural edition of the The Camping and Outdoor Adventure Carnival published at Northern Camping.

I’ve very much enjoyed reading and participating in other blog carnivals such as the Festival of the Trees, the Circus of the Spineless and Berry Go Round. I look forward to having a carnival that focuses on outdoor activities!

And other bloggers– if you have or spot any great posts regarding camping, boating, fishing, hiking, hunting, or any other outdoor activity, be sure to submit them to the next edition!

July 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm 1 comment

Book Review: Halfway to the Sky

A few years ago, I bought a CD by a new punk band. It became my programming sound track, I listened to it for an entire summer while I did the backend for the Virtual IT website. To this day when I hear the songs, I feel energized and productive. The band was Good Charlotte. It wasn’t until much later I discovered the fanbase of Good Charlotte consists of me… and twelve year old little girls.

Well, perhaps I have even more in common with twelve year old girls than I had thought. Following a recommendation from, this weekend I read a book called Halfway to the Sky.

The main character’s brother recently died from a debilitating disease. Filled with grief and feeling alienated from even close family members, she decides to leave town without telling anyone and thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail to find some silence, some peace.

Her name is Dani. She’s twelve.

The people she leaves behind- her divorced parents.

Despite being young, Dani displays a lot of good hiking sense. She trained two hours a day for three months. She was well read on all the guidebooks and maps. She saved up money for the expenses and even showed great prudence with the contents in her pack. But she forget to delete her browser history. That dang Internet Explorer will get you every time. Before she was even off on Springer Mountain, Dani’s mother, rather unpleased, catches up with her.

After some drama, Dani convinces her mother to keep on hiking. Together, they complete 700 miles and finish up in an area I’m very familiar with– Catawba, Virginia. Along the way, they argue, they disagree, they grieve and they bond.

Some of the plot lines and conversations between Dani and her father don’t feel genuine to me. But I did enjoy the relationship and understanding that developed between mother and daughter on the trail.

Perhaps more than the storyline, I enjoyed this book as an introduction to the Appalachian Trail. I thought it did a great job of interweaving facts and trail culture into the tale. The whole book is formatted very much like a Trail Journal listing the current location, the daily mileage and the total AT mileage at the beginning of each chapter. It hit on so many little tidbits that made the story feel authentic and educational– GORP, trail magic, the infamous approach trail to Springer Mountain, the shelters, hanging bear bags with carabiners, Damascus Trail Days, trail registers, hostels, zero days, moleskin, what foods weather the best, mail drops, the logistics of doing laundry and even the thru-hiker smell.

Everytime I hike with a new person, I find a new trail food to adopt for future trips. Dani and her mother are fictitious hiking partners, but nonetheless I was introduced to another trail recipe.

Mom made the pudding in a zippered plastic bag with [pudding mix], powdered milk and water. We cut the side of the bag and squeezed it into our mouths.

!!!! YUM !!!! The thought of trail pudding alone makes me want to leave my house and go backpacking right now. I will definitely be trying that in the future!

This book is classified as a Young Adult title. Its target audience is pre-teens– twelve year old little girls. But like Good Charlotte, the author has attracted a significantly older fan.

One who’s suddenly craving pudding. : )

July 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm 9 comments

Weekly Winners – July 12 – July 18, 2009 – Jet Skiing With Neighborhood Kids

This morning I got choked up and emotional. I was thinking about all the kindnesses my friends and associates have given the children on my street, children they had never met. Christina at AmiExpat shipped them a box packed full of German chocolates. My friend Bill and his lovely wife Priscilla donated a laptop to our unofficial computer lab. The former proprietors of The Riverhouse Coffee Company donated an old laptop as well.

This week’s Weekly Winners document another kindness. My co-worker, ZJ, and his brother-in-law, Bruce, recently purchased a Jet Ski. And even though this equipment is brand new and probably very expensive– they invited some of the neighborhood kids to come up to First Landing State Park at Virginia Beach for a day of jet skiing.

I took fifteen year old Khalif, twelve year old Armani and eleven year olds Jacal and Jamonte. Bruce’s friends Ray and Vanessa came as well and brought their young daughter, Kristin.

Jet Skiing - Jacal on Parked Jet Ski
Jacal Poses on Parked Jet Ski

Jet Skiing - Kristin in Tube
Little Kristin in the Tube

Jet Skiing - Jamonte Smiles in Water
Jamonte Smiles in Water

Jet Skiing - Jacal and ZJ from Behind
Jacal and ZJ

Jet Skiing - Kids Look at Jellyfish
Bruce Shows Kids Jellyfish

Jet Skiing - Dolphin Spotting!
Dolphin Sighting! (You can see it too– it is above the boy on the left)

Jet Skiing - Jacal and Kristin on Shore
Jacal and Kristin “Fish”

Jet Skiing - Ray and Jamonte Get Ready to Leave
Bruce Takes Jamonte Out

Jet Skiing - ZJ Waves with Jacal
ZJ Takes Jacal Out

Jet Skiing - Armani and Jacal Watch Jamonte Leave with ZJ on Tube
Armani and Jacal Watch Jamonte and ZJ Leave on Tube

Jet Skiing - Khalif Drives with ZJ
Fifteen Year Old Khalif Gets To Drive

What amazing generosities my friends extend.

Once again, choked up.

More pictures of our Jet Skiing Adventure can be found on my Flickr site. Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

July 19, 2009 at 10:15 am 11 comments

Cats in Suitcases Milestone!

In September, I did a post discussing my animals’ innovation with seating arrangements in my near vacant house. Felines and canines alike took a liking to my suitcase.

Moving - Stench's Bed
Stench in Suitcase
Moving - Jimmie's Bed
Jimmie in Suitcase

Within an hour of each other, two of my friends on Flickr posted links to pictures of their cats (remarkably both orange) in suitcases as well. Chriggy took action and the “Cats (and dogs) in Suitcases” Flickr group was born.

Since then, suitcases have proven to be very appealing to our furry friends. This past week, the group passed 500 photographs in the pool! Although both dogs and cats are represented in the group, it seems the predominant suitcase users are of the feline persuasion. That doesn’t mean there isn’t diversity. Cats of all sizes, shapes, colors and ages find themselves drawn to luggage.

Here’s just a small sampling:

business travel
Photo Courtesy of Cam Seslaf

All packed...
Photo by /Sizemore/

Photo by She Who Shall Not Be Named

Packing for a trip
Photo by photofarmer

Photo by Woodenship

Want to peruse more? Be sure to check out the full Cats (and dogs) in Suitcases Flickr group. And Flickr users– don’t forget to add your shots to the pool!

July 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm 7 comments

Season Compare: Camden Causeway Park

I’ve been in Elizabeth City, North Carolina for eight months now. That means I now have an eight month stockpile of shots… that I can team up with new shots to make season compares! 🙂 Here’s a compare from Causeway Park:

Camden Causeway Park - Fence and Tree
Fence and Tree, April 2009

Camden Causeway Park - Season Compare 3
Fence and Tree, June 2009

July 16, 2009 at 1:25 pm 1 comment

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