Oct 4, 2014

Squirrel Hunting - Patuxent River State Park

Squirrel season has been open since early September. I held off from hunting them until this morning. Early-season squirrel hunting is difficult with all of the leaves on the trees; it's hard to get a clear line of sight through all of the foliage. But this morning, I could wait no longer. I took my Marlin, 17 caliber rifle and trecked over to Patuxent River State Park. It was a damp, rainy morning, and while I saw a lot of wildlife, I saw no squirrels. What I did see was a young hawk.  He, silently, glided through the forest and perched himself on a branch about 15 feet away from where I sat. I watched him clean himself for a few minutes, before he noticed me, and flew away.  I also saw a couple of doe that were bedded down in some dense brush.  Were they in season, and I had the right gun, I'm sure I could have taken one.  But the coolest part of this hunting trip was spotting an eastern box turtle. His shell was a perfect camouflage of yellow and brown but his bright orange head and legs stood right out.  This turtle was really awesome! I've found shells in the woods before, but never have I seen a live box turtle. He, of course, tucked into his shell when I knelt down to take a closer look at him.  What a cool looking turtle.  He has red eyes and orange stripes on his head and legs.  I picked him up for a closer examination and was amazed to see that, unlike the red-eared turtles I used to catch as a kid, he could totally encase himself inside his shell.  With his head pulled inside, his bottom shell shuts, similar to the cargo door on a C-130.  A little reading about box turtles, taught me that their bottom shell is hinged to allow for total protection.  Neat!  

Sep 27, 2014

My old hood

Back in Washington Heights again after being away for a few years. Jeez I miss this lifestyle. Still; I wouldn't trade it for my current situation in Westminster. Life is good. Living in NYC sure was fun and I've enjoyed many coffees at this overlook like I am right now (mobile blogging is too easy these days!) I'm in the big apple this weekend visiting friends. Tonight's probably going to get a little rowdy!

Sep 13, 2014

Back in the saddle

It's been great to be back on the bike lately.  I've ridden at my local stomping ground, Hasahawha, twice this past week.  Once on the fat bike, and once on the ol' Cannondale.  I forgot just how awesome the C-dale is.  Although, it sure felt twitchy compared the the fat bike.  The picture below was taken with my GoPro camera.

Aug 28, 2014

Backpacking the Black Forest Trail - Sog Fest!

I haven't had time to pee in my pants lately.  Work has been insanely busy.  But, I wanted to at least throw these images up on the blog.  I'll most likely come back to this post and spiff up the verbiage.  If not, this is all you're gettin'!  The weekend backpacking trip to Tiadaghton State Forest, last weekend was a total sog fest.  It rained non-stop, the entire weekend, and we bailed on Saturday afternoon, turning Saturday night into a bar crawl in beautiful downtown Lockhaven, PA!  It was a total blast!

Aug 21, 2014

Shenandoah morning light

while waiting for the GoPro to capture my time lapse images, in Shenandoah National Park last weekend, I snapped away with my Micro 4/3 camera.  Shooting in the early morning is, by far, my favorite time to capture the outdoors.  I had a great time playing with the depth of field, using my 85mm lens.  Good times!  

Aug 20, 2014

Packed and ready to go!

As I mentioned before, in a couple of days, I'll be driving up to Lockhaven, PA to meet two of Debbie's brothers for a weekend backpacking trip.  Tonight I finalized my gear.  I laid it all out, and through much scrutinizing, shuffling things about and chucking things over my shoulder, arrived at my final configuration.  My pack weight is an all-time, record-low 17 lbs.  I owe most of the weight savings to a bit of knowledge picked up over the years.  Each time I returned from a trip and unpacked, I'd realized that I packed gear that I never even used.  What I've learned reading online was to keep your main three light.  The main three are your cook system, sleeping system, and your pack. The cook system I use is a homemade beer can stove (1 lb) that runs on denatured alcohol.  My sleeping system is a lightweight down-filled bag (2 lbs), a hammock (16 oz) and a space blanket to use as a shelter from the ran.  My backpack is an ultralight pack called the Virga; made by Granite Gear (1 lb, 3 oz).  The pack is brand new to me and I've never carried it before, so I'm really excited to see how I like it!
Above:  This is the whole shebang.
Above:  Rain jacket, spare clothes, dehydrated meals, fajita wrappers, oatmeal & gatorade packets, Nalgene bottle, first aid kit, map & compass, bug net, head lamp, pocket knife, spork, titanium cooking mug, alcohol stove, denatured alcohol, spare batteries, gaters, GoPro, phone, 4/3s camera and my hat.
Above:  EMS MTN Lite 20° down-filled bag, Eno SInglenest hammock, space blanket, paracord & closed-cell foam sitting pad.
Above:  Fully packed at 17lbs & my trusty Asolo 520's.

Aug 19, 2014

Shenandoah sunrise time lapse

Have I mentioned that I love the hell out of my new GoPro Hero 3+ camera?  While in Shenandoah National Park this past weekend, Debbie and I got up early to catch the sunrise.  As the sun came up over Upper Hawksbill Gap, we sleepily watched with amazement.  Note to self:  Watch more sunrises.

Aug 10, 2014


In a couple of weeks I'll be backpacking in PA with two of Debbie's brothers.  We'll be hiking parts of the Black Forest Trail in the Tiadaghton State Park.  I'm pretty stoked!  I haven't gone backpacking in over three years.  Wow, I hate to even think about that sad fact... typing it makes me feel even worse.  But that's life; it gets busy.  While, perhaps, I haven't been doing one particular thing that I really enjoy, I sure as hell have been doing others.  But anyway, it's going to be great to be out in the woods again, trekking along, choosing my own adventure via map & compass and wearily falling asleep, in a swaying hammock with a million stars above me.  As pumped as I am to be back out there, I'm equally pumped to be connecting with Debbie's brothers a little more.  This trip is an all-around fantastic idea.

Aug 4, 2014

Mom & Dad's 50th wedding anniversary

This weekend, Debbie and I drove up to my hometown, of Sherrill, NY to surprise my parents with a 50th Anniversary party. All nine of us kids coordinated to pull off an excellent surprise party for them. It was epic. My mom was crying tears of joy and my dad had a smile on his face all day. It felt great to give them a nice surprise; they're a hell of a couple!

Jul 25, 2014

Moonflower time lapse

A couple of weeks ago a buddy at work gave me a few plants; two tropical, black-eyed susan vines and one moonflower plant.   Woahohohooooo Nelly...  Am I about to blog about plants?  Why yes; yes I am.  The moonflower plant is pretty awesome actually.  My buddy told me that this plant would produce flowers, one at a time, several times, before dying.  Last night it finally blossumed and I used my new GoPro to capture the time lapse.  The series of photos in the video were taken every 60 seconds, between 7:00pm and 9:00pm.  Pretty cool!