Alma, our Alma Mater,
Monday, September 29, 2008
Alma, our Alma Mater,
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Up, Up, Up and only a handful of switchbacks.
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".
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.
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
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
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
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Monday, September 1, 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.