Category Archives: nature

September11 – geocaching?


Why is it that sometimes our geocaching is a complete and total failure?  That was today. Except it wasn’t a total failure because we walked nearly 3 miles and played in the river. 



July18 – Trees of Mystery Sky Trail


Today is or last day in Klamath, so we did something extra touristy.   

The reviews were really positive and made the tram ride sound really good.  It was ‘so so’ and gave us a different perspective of the trees. I wouldn’t rate it that highly, as an experience, but the walking trail was really nice. 

The kids all wore their new sneakers, and nobody complained about them. They give the memory foam 3 thumbs up.   


To help this page load faster, I only included 2 pictures. More pictures on smugmug

The Beehive


17sep1756aWe talked to an Acadia park ranger our first week here about all the wonderful things that could be seen in Acadia.  I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to do most of them with young kids, but I asked her to recommend a few hikes we could ALL do, and she gave us some great ideas.

We have seen a lot of awesome things here, including Thunder Hole and Sand Beach (including an astronomy talk on the beach – very cold).  We walked across the sand BAR of Bar Harbor at low tide and did a little exploring of the island by car and by shuttle.  We did a short hike near Bubble Pond and went kayaking on Long Pond.  Molly, Zoe and I got “lost” at Sieur de Monts and visited the natural spring there.  Mostly, it was just the girls and I because Phil had to miss most of our outings because he has a j.o.b.  Annie skipped as much as I would allow … but we have made a new rule about Wednesdays, being a required “family exercise day”.

So, since today is Wednesday … the park ranger had recommended the Beehive as something we could do in an hour, so we went! … Early into the hike, I started to doubt myself, but I thought the park ranger would not have steered us toward any real danger.  In hindsight, I have come to the conclusion that she didn’t have all the facts.

  • Maybe she didn’t see Zoe.
  • Maybe she thought I wouldn’t take Zoe.
  • Maybe she thought we were ALL really just very experienced hikers.

17sep1605aSo, when I read the WARNING sign at the beginning of the trail, I dismissed it.

  • dogs are prohibited
  • stay on marked trail
  • avoid hiking in dark or wet conditions
  • avoid climbing down — use alternative return route
  • wear sturdy hiking shoes
  • do not throw or dislodge rocks

Regardless, I don’t really blame her.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so headstrong – maybe researched it a little?  In the end, we were ALL very happy when we reached the top, and we are all proud we did.  It was challenging, to say the least, but it was also extremely rewarding.

As we climbed, we passed quite a few hikers coming down.  They smiled and said hi, but nobody expressed any concerns – out loud, at least.  Since the sign warned against climbing “down”, I just assumed they had done a loop to prevent that problem.  Finally, I asked someone if we were crazy to be doing this.  She assured me that it was just a “little” steep with some rocks that we would probably be a little difficult for Zoe.  Those “tall” rocks were not too hard, so we kept going.  Molly went first and checked out the trail every few feet, and we worked together to give Zoe a hand as needed.

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We saw amazing views around every corner.  Molly was having a blast!  Annie admitted she was enjoying herself, and I was just glad she wasn’t bored.  (her words, not mine)  There was a slightly nerve wracking short metal bridge, but still no rung ladders.  We had watched a video of someone climbing The Precipice, which has metal rung ladders along the entire climb.  I was convinced this wouldn’t be as steep as that, so we kept going.  Besides, Zoe wanted to climb a ladder, after all that anticipation.

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17sep1631aThe next person coming down assured me we were more than half way and that the trail did loop around a different easier way to come down.  Suddenly, the trail became very steep, and there were rungs!  We climbed slowly, one rung at a time, one rock at a time.

The views were getting more amazing, but I was getting more nervous.  My thoughts raced …

  • I hope that flutter was not a heart attack.
  • Or that one.
  • Or that one.
  • Wow. I am out of shape.
  • I hope the people who passed us don’t call CPS.
  • Wow! That view is amazing!
  • Oh shit. I should not have looked down.


After about an hour of hiking, there were hikers above and below us who were stalled by our slow progress, so it seemed logical to just sit.  And rest.  I had some cell reception, so I texted Phil.  I panicked a little, but the people above us assured me we were getting close to the top.  While we rested and took in the view, a man RAN past us.   Really, he was RUNNING.  He said he had already run up The Precipice and does this every day!!  Jogging might be a better description, but still!!!!


While we rested here, two people came down, who had passed us going up.  I couldn’t hide my shock and asked them why they didn’t go down the “other” way.  They didn’t realize there was an “easier” way … I am really glad someone told US there was an easier way.

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17sep1710Eventually, Molly couldn’t contain her climbing enthusiasm any more, so we went on.  There weren’t many more rungs, and the last part was definitely easier, or maybe we were just more confident … but I still had racing thoughts …

  • I hope Annie isn’t having a “real” panic attack.
  • I wish I could convince Zoe to wear better shoes.
  • Molly is amazing!
  • I hope I don’t have a heart attack …

Then, we reached the SUMMIT!!  The last part probably took us about 10 minutes.




Some relaxing, some photos, then we kept going!


17sep1739Then, we were astounded when The Running Guy arrived BEHIND us!  He had literally RUN UP TO the summit, back down to the Start of the trail (that took us about 30 minutes), and BACK UP to the summit again!  It had taken us over an hour to climb, and he did the round trip in 30 minutes or less.  He said he was impressed that we had done one of the hardest hikes in the park!  I have to admit that I am pretty impressed with us, too, but if I had known it was that hard, I probably wouldn’t have tried.

I would do it again, if we had time, but without Zoe.  And, without a backpack – that just made me off balance more than I was comfortable with.  (thank goodness, the kids weren’t carrying anything)

The climb down was much faster than up, but it was tricky.  Zoe and I each stumbled and tripped over rocks.  She actually cried, but she was fine.  Start to finish was about 2 hours.


Final note:  Zoe and Annie need better shoes if we are going to do anything even remotely as challenging as this.  Zoe wants to do everything in flip flops, and it was a challenge to get her to wear anything different.  I am going to insist now, though.  My shoes are new from LL Bean, but I’m thinking about buying Merrell Pace Gloves.  Molly inherited some really good Nike’s, but she really wants something like the “five finger” shoes – since she wears the same size shoes as I do, I plan to wait til I get the Merrells.  Annie is wearing Converse, which she said were really slick on the rocks, but she is just as stubborn about shoes as Zoe, so I’m not sure what to do for her.

Teenagers Take Triple Falls


I took Annie and 3 of her friends to find “The Rock” where Peeta lay camouflaged in The Hunger Games.  I won’t bore anyone with all the details, but I will bore you with photographs.

Triple Falls, North Carolina:

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Home Schoolers Obeying Signs:

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Finding THE ROCK:

IMG_5488   IMG_5494


Sliding Rock (there were many other insane people getting into the cold water, too)

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Annie actually slid down the rock twice!  Annabelle and I were the only sane ones who did not do this.

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The day ended with ice cream, but I don’t have any pictures of that.



1236Menchies is a favorite of our family.  (Unlike other fro-yo places, Menchies always has 2 flavors of sorbet, which pleases me, since I don’t like yogurt.) After only two days on the road, I needed a good treat for the kids, and I was really pleased to find a Menchies in Baton Rouge.

This is when the virus really kicked in for Molly.  She was coughing yesterday at the ‘gator place, but she was a trouper.  She especially enjoyed all the geocaches found or just attempted along the way, no matter how bad she felt.

One of the most awesome parts of today was seeing an alligator CROSSING THE ROAD!  It happened just before crossing into Mississippi, but I couldn’t get a picture before it disappeared into the grass.  A good ol’boy had stopped traffic to let the ‘gator cross without harm.

1911 I loved the backroads of Louisiana: lots of swamps, bridges, crawdad boats, etc in Louisiana. Mississippi was a little boring until we reached the Gulf of Mexico.  We stopped at the beach in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  I was completely infatuated by the deserted town, particularly eerie at sunset. – it was apparently wiped out by Katrina.  Molly and Zoe enjoyed the sunset walk on the beach.

The hotel in Gulfport, Mississippi had a 24-hour pool, and the kids did not want to leave!  The hot tub was extremely hot, so I did not enjoy it very much.  😦

And, more photos on Smugmug

1918a  1918b


Baby Alligators are Awesome


1335cMolly and Zoe were fascinated by the baby ‘gator education we received in Jennings, LA.  Annie stayed in the car …

Alligator mamas apparently feed their babies for 1-2 years!  The babies have “masher” teeth and are totally unable to bite flesh til older, so they are easy to handle as babies.

We drove 124 miles, ending up in Port Allen, Louisiana.  The kids enjoyed the hotel pool and Burger King for dinner.

More photos on SmugMug

(Occasional) Daily Tips for Living Small ~ ODTLS#1


This was going to be Living Small Tips of the Day, but that sounded like an odd STD, so I revised it … and, knowing me, it will probably not be “daily”!

This is a bowl of eggshells:


So, why would I care about a big bowl of eggshells?

1.  Most of us eat eggs.

2.  It is an easy adjustment to not throw the shells in the garbage.

She said what?  Don’t throw them away???

This bowl is an accumulation of about 4 dozen shells, collected over 2 weeks or so.  (good grief, we ate 16 for dinner last night …)  It is one of my biggest annoyances to send biodegradable stuff to a landfill.  Eggshells, in particular, are extremely nutritious for our environment.  Did you know that chickens can and should eat eggshells to increase their calcium to produce better eggs?  Google it. is a great resource if you want to keep chickens in your backyard …

… which I highly recommend.

… But I digress …

OK, so what do I suggest you do with your eggshells?

Trust me, they will NOT smell or attract bugs while they dry out.  Even in my tiny RV, I can spare a little counter space for a bowl or some other vessel to hold the shells.  They need a little breathing room, so try not to stack the halves inside of each other.  After a few days – (or less, if you choose to put the bowl on the hood of your car in the sun for an afternoon or two) – they will be dry enough to pound into tiny pieces.  This activity is an excellent way to work out your frustrations.  Kids love to do it, too.  No fancy tools required:  just use the bottom of a glass, or a jar, or a wooden spoon to pulverize them.  (a mortar and pestle will work better than plastic, but i said “no fancy tools”)  Try to get the pieces as much like powder as possible.

When they are not identifiable as eggshells, you can spread them in ANY flower bed or potted plant without anyone knowing what you are doing!  If you have a worm bin, this is excellent food for them.

**And as a bonus lesson, pay attention to where your eggs come from.  Did you know that “cage-free” isn’t necessarily a good thing?  Farmers can cram thousands of chickens in a barn, where they never see light of day – but they aren’t in CAGES.  Many still use antibiotics and most trim the beaks … and I won’t even tell you how short their lives are …  Start in your backyard, or at least your community.  Yes, they are probably more expensive, but they are BETTER!

Hooray!  Look what you learned on the internet today!!

Love, from your hippie friend,