Monday, September 29, 2008

WVU Alma Mater by Kevin T.

I just happen to capture Kevin T's beautiful voice singing the WVU Alma Mater song before kickoff.

"Alma Mater"
Alma, our Alma Mater,
The home of Mountaineers,
Sing we of thy honor
Everlasting through the years;
Alma, our Alma Mater,
We pledge in song to you,
Hail, all hail our Alma Mater,
West Virginia 'U.'

WVU Football

WVU Army ROTC knows how to tailgate

WVU vs Marshall Univ, Saturday September 27. Cool, overcast and the rain held off until the 4th quarter, and we won.
Valerie and Molly attempt to identify a WVU first down

Valerie and Molly get it right.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Got Game Photo

Well I bite the bullet last night and signed up for a internet domain name for my new photography business (if you want to call it that). It is linked to my Zenfolio site where in a few week I hope to be selling some of my photos. I will be focusing (HaHa) on local sports like high school Field Hockey and Soccer at first. I am also planning on talking Sam into sending me some of his panaromic Alaska images to sell.

Monday, September 22, 2008

James River Face Wilderness

Friday night I met Maggi in Big Island, VA, west of Lynchburg, about 7 miles south of the AT James River crossing and our starting point for the weekend. We lucked out and found a campsite just .3 of a mile north from the road parking. We had the tent up and we were in bed by 11:00. In the morning we went back to the car and moved them .5 mile to the bridge parking lot and had a cold breakfast of bagels with Nutella and Cliff Bars. We divided the load of tent, food and water and headed out. We crossed the James River bridge heading south on the AT. Destination Marble Springs.
Up, Up, Up and only a handful of switchbacks.
Why we punish ourselves, 2000+ foot climb in 3.5 miles
Another view of the James River
(click on any image to enlarge)
The Devil's Marbleyard was an awesome sight. A dozen photos doesn't begin to show the enormous field of broken rock.
This is just one small section, less than 25% of the "Yard".

"In terms of environment, western Virginia has nearly seen it all. The geology of the region tells the story. The various limestones, sandstones, and shales of the Shenandoah Valley and the Valley and Ridge province formed in settings still found on earth. For example, the Antietam Quartzite found at Devil's Marbleyard in Arnold's Valley is the result of a transgression, or rise in sea level relative to the land, that took place over 500 millions years ago. It was then a very pure quartz beach sand, similar to those found on the Outer Banks of North Carolina today. Proof of this setting may be found on all the blocks and boulders at the Marbleyard. The straight tube-like structures all running parallel to one another are the fossilized remains of cavities in which what was probably a worm-like creature lived. The Antietam Quartzite can also be found in the hill above Buena Vista and in St. Marys Wilderness Area."
10 miles on Saturday included the 30 minute, 1 mile down hike after lunch to visit the "yard". After the long morning climb up from the river we had lunch and stashed our packs and headed down. Even without our packs it took 45 minutes to get back up on tired legs.

We were visited Saturday evening while preparing dinner by two guys who yelled, "Make sure you hang your food tonight. We just had a 150 lb Black bear cross the trail about 400 yard away." If you click on the image you will see the red bottom bag suspended at least 10 feet above Maggi's head. Always the last thing you do before hitting the sack.

Sunday morning campsite at Marble Springs. Just 8 miles back to the car. Mostly down hill. Mostly.

Yes, fresh Black bear scat, 400 yards from our camp on Sunday morning. Sitting in the middle of the AT. It was not there at 4:30 pm Saturday on the way in.

Morning fog.

The last mile parallels the river and was a welcome relief after that long down hill.

Almost home. Crossing the AT James River bridge one last time. Just two more sets of stairs. The calves were screaming STOP. Lunch in Lynchburg for an all you can eat salad at Ruby Tuesday made up for all the pain.

Our Life Is So Plain All We Watch Is The Puddles Gathering Rain
Maggi's Comments
After a long week working to take care of other people, Dad and I set out on a long over due backpacking trip, to take care of ourselves. The mountains are breathtaking; every time I see them it reminds me how much I love being outdoors exploring God's creation. Friday night Dad and I met after dark and hiked .3 miles into a nice leaf covered spot to set up home for the night. Saturday we were up a little after first light to get started on our 10 miles, mostly up hill. The weather was perfect, mostly sunny 70's that became 60's the higher we went.

The Devil's Marbleyard was well worth the side trip we took after lunch. It blew me away, how the boulders/rocks came to lay there is beyond me. Only God could have created such an amazing site. We came across a Boy Scout troop of 37 boys of all ages (elementary-high school) climbing across and around the Marbleyard. All I could think of was, I would NOT want to be responsible for them and I'm glad I'm not their mother. For me it took all fours to feel comfortable climbing up, down and around the rocks, it was amazing.

I was relieved when we got to Marble springs, home for the night. Dinner that night was Mexican beans and rice, freeze dried so all we had to do was add water. YUM! is all I have to say. Very very good I didn't even notice that I hadn't had a fruit or vegetable all day. We had to put our bear bag high that night since a black bear was spotted by two locals ~400 yards from our camp, yikes! It got dark and I think both dad and I were ready for bed. I read for a little until my hands got too cold to keep outside of the sleeping bag.

Sunday was beautiful too and the steep down hill posed an equally challenging day. The whole weekend just gave me the bug to get outside more. I think Dad and I will be making this more of a tradition now rather than an occasional trip. It was a great way for us to catch up on our father/daughter time. Although our legs were saying otherwise, we didn't want the weekend to end, so we grabbed some lunch and much needed veggies at the Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar. We parted ways Sunday afternoon and this Monday morning it was back to reality, but with great memories that will last forever.

Click on Google Earth image above and or the track profile below to see our Sunday, 8 mile return hike from my Garmin GPS track.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bear vs. bike: Teacher riding to school runs into bruin above Miller Creek

This story reminds me of my near miss in the Shenandoah NP in 1985. Just before graduating from Agents class I did a 100 mile ride on the Parkway, into Big Meadows and back to Front Royal. It started raining on the way back. I was easily hitting 35-40 MPH down the longer hills when a deer walked out into the road. Even with my brakes full on I never slowed because of the wet. I let out a whistle as loud as possible. She stopped, looked at me as I went past her nose less than a foot away.
Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

By TRISTAN SCOTT of the Missoulian 12 Sept. 2008

Jim Litz has a broken bike helmet and bruised ribs to show for the 25-mile-per-hour collision with a 300-pound black bear Monday morning while riding his bike to work from his home in upper Miller Creek. “I was lucky. I was truly lucky, because I accosted the bear and he let me live,” Litz said, while recovering from his injuries Tuesday afternoon at his home.

Jim Litz is accustomed to pedaling past 300-pound black bears on his morning commute to work.“I've come close to them this time of year,” Litz said, clutching his side and grimacing. “I know bears. The entire creek bottom is just hammered by bears. That's the beauty of living here. But typically, they're crossing the road and I have plenty of time to avoid them.”

That wasn't the case during Litz's Monday morning ride down Bear Run Creek Road, up above Miller Creek. The 57-year-old man passes slender serviceberry branchlets and dogwoods festooned with bear feed, and frequently spots the animals noshing berries on his way to work at Target Range Middle School, where he teaches science to seventh- and eighth-graders. Usually, the animals barrel off the road and out of sight.

This time, however, Litz was clipping along the dirt road at 25 mph when he came upon a rise, spied a massive black bear 10 feet in front of him, and pedaled directly into the animal, T-boning its broad side.

“I didn't have time to respond. I never even hit my brakes,” Litz said.

He tumbled over his handlebars, planting his helmeted head on the bruin's back, and man and beast went cartwheeling down the road.

The bear rolled over Litz's head, and its mass cracked his helmet. As the duo toppled over one another, the bear clawed at Litz's cycling jacket, scratching his flesh from shoulder to buttocks before scampering up a hill above the road, where it stopped and whined.

Litz's wife drove by soon after and took her husband to Community Medical Center, and he immediately called Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to report the unusual collision. Game wardens told him they didn't think the animal was seriously injured, but was more likely suffering from some bruised ribs - just like Litz.

“Yep, that's my bear story,” Litz said Tuesday afternoon, too sore and bruised to go to work, but certain that he'd be back in the saddle by Friday. “That day it just happened to be on that particular corner of the road, and all the stars were lined up against me.”

The rib contusions are painful, and the scrapes down his back aren't pretty, but Litz figures he made out on top given the circumstances.

Litz's wife rides her bike to work, too. But she drives down past the feeding gauntlet on Bear Run Creek Road and parks along Miller Creek Road before pulling her road bike off the roof of her car.

As for Litz's bike, a cyclo-cross, it survived unscathed aside for the front wheel coming slightly out of true. But pointing to his cracked helmet, Litz hopes the story inspires his students to wear their helmets.

“I was lucky. I was truly lucky, because I accosted the bear and he let me live,” Litz said. “I truly respect them. They're beautiful creatures.”

Monday, September 15, 2008

Music Builds

We had a wonderful evening of Christian rock music last night at the Nissan Pavilion. Starting at 6:00 pm Jars of Clay, Robert Randolph, Switchfoot and Third Day played for 4:45. A totally awesome, spiritual and uplifting evening singing praise to the Lord. (click on any image to enlarge)

Molly would have love the free samples of Cheerwine
Old rockers never die, they just can't get out of the low chairs quick enough.
Jars of Clay
The place wasn't half full. Lots of church youth groups.
Robert Randolph Family Band
Full Moon

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Valerie's New Trek

We finally located Valerie's birthday present at a bike shop near Mount Vernon. After a hot test ride yesterday afternoon on the Mount Vernon bike trail we decided on the 2009 Trek 7.5 FX WSD (Women Specific Design) fast fitness bike. It's a beauty. Carbon front folk, aluminum frame, 27 speed, Bontrager alloy rims and 700x32c tires. This tire size will allow us to also ride the crushed gravel surfaces we like to ride on the Rails to Trails. I'll have to switch to my Trek 1000 road bike when we ride together. There is no way I'll be able to stay with her on my old, fat tire, Performance Mtn bike.

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Think Big

Paddle Magazine May/June 2008
We’re only approaching the midway point of 2008. That means you have at least six months to dream up something huge, and then plan and prepare for it before the year ends. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have the most fulfilling experience of your life. Whether you drop 30-footers or slowly J stroke along the calm shoreline, an awaiting challenge will break you, hurt you, and stir doubt in you, but in the end reward you like nothing else you’ll ever do. So go see the Northern Lights. Run the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. Or simply cross that choppy lake. Whatever you do, do it better than before. Do it now.

Ohio State University psychology professor Richard Petty says merely nodding your head up and down will give you more confidence in what you think. As for shaking it? You guessed it. You lose confidence. It makes you wonder about your own body language when you day dream about something on your personal Life List.