Friday, March 2, 2012

Sign of the Times

Cara and I went with Kaya on a 7.5 mile hike around a lake. Apparently the only hiking trail of any length here in St Mary's County! It was a fun trail, lake on our left at most times, and bogs at our feet. Much of the trail had puddles and crossed many streams. At the start of the trail, I found this:

The Sign of the Times!!
The trail around the lake was also blazed white. So I could feel like I was on the Appalachian Trail already. The spring Peepers were out in force, deafening in one spot. We knew the frogs were in the pond in front of us, but could not see a single one, the noise emenating from the grasses and water. Further along on the trail there were frogs eggs in a puddle in the trail, I'm rooting for those little guys to make it back up into the trees! We didn't see anyone for the first 5 miles, so I suggested we break a cardinal rule and allow the dog off leash just to see how she would react. She freakin' LOVED it. The sheer joy she had to run circles around us, jump in every puddle, and sniff out every bit of excrement in the area made her one happy pooch. She listened very well and came when called. Seeing the happiness on her face makes me understand a bit better why people so often let their dogs off lead. I don't agree with it if there is even a chance encounter with other people. When she comes and visits on the AT she will be kept on the leash, but on the back few miles of a lake with no one else around late-afternoon on a Thursday, it was fine and fun.

We Found Winter

Last week end Cara and I drove up to Ridgway Pennsylvania to go to the Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. We got to the dog-friendly Comfort Inn the night before and went to sleep fairly early. The next morning we went to the next town over to see my brother. Over night snow had fallen and was still falling, from 70 degree weather the day before in Maryland to below freezing temps in 'Up-State' PA - what a shock!! The event coordinators shafted my brother and the couple other carvers where he was placed. He was on the out-skirts of town over a bridge, down by the river, in his old Dodge van. The only commonality these carvers shared was that they were sleeping in their vehicles. All the other carvers got preferential treatment. Cara and I walked the town after catching up with my big bro. There were many people wandering around the town despite the cold harsh conditions. Had he been over there he would have sold out his stock. I was surprised, though, seeing many of the other carvers that seemed amateur, not too surprised, that he still made fairly good bank, despite being in BFE. There were some amazing carving there also. One carver had carved a horse so life likfe, the muscles rippled, the mane seemed to be stirred by the wind. The piece transcended carving to sculpture. The event ran the gambit, from sculptors to people that just picked up a chainsaw.

Over the river, not quite thru the woods. And more signs!
It was good to see Kevin and support him, I hope he appreciated it. It's a tough business he's in, and he really does do some lovely pieces.

We left Sunday as it was warming back up. Winter really has skipped Maryland. We have flowers coming up and blooming, and the tree out front will be blooming probably tomorrow! Spring is here, and I can't wait to walk north with it!

Preparation Updates

I have all my gear squared away, I have checked and triple checked my drop boxes. I have all the money I need saved. I have time off from work and a job waiting when I get back. Fortunately all my planning for the trip is done, now it's just waiting. I am taking four certification exams for work between now and when I leave, give my company one last boost as to why to want to keep me around! Plus it'll keep me occupied for the next month to study and pass all these tests!

Gear pictures for your enjoyment:

Compressed clothing bag

The tent 

Slack pack bag/bear bag and food bag

El Packa

Ground pad



Steripen - needs a better case so the button isn't randomly pressed

Pocket Rocket

'Mess-kit' add salt shaker to this