Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nights 241 and 242

Hi and welcome back!

On Thursday a teacher my mom works with was driving along our road, and she saw a horse loose on the road! It must have escaped from a farm about a half mile away. She didn't see them catch it, but I didn't hear anything about it being hit, so it must have been OK.

Matt Greene
I forgot to mention that when dad and I were climbing on Thursday, they had pictures of Matt Greene hanging in the gym.  Matt is a local teacher who went missing in July while he was hiking in Yosemite.  My mom went to high school with Matt, and it turns out he is a member at the climbing gym that we go to.

Mom told me that when she took the dogs out this morning a little before dawn, she heard a noise that she thought was me sneezing.  It turned out to be three deer standing at the edge of the yard snorting at her!  Maisy saw them too, and she was trying to pull mom toward them.   She managed to get the dogs inside, though, and the deer ran away.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nights 239 and 240

Hi and welcome back!

While dad and I were hiking tonight, we noticed that about five miles to the east there were very dark clouds, and it appeared to be raining.  We stopped to watch, and almost immediately we saw a bolt of lightning come out of the clouds.

Later in the hike we saw even brighter lightning.  Even though storms usually go from West to East, it looked like it was moving West toward us.

Over the next few minutes we saw quite a few other bolts of lightning, and the storm was getting progressively closer.  We thought that judging from the speed the clouds were moving, we might get rained on during our hike.  We were worried about that, because we were only wearing t-shirts and shorts, so we would have gotten wet.

We were still dry when we got home about 8:30.  Just about an hour after that, we started to see almost continuous lightning near us.  Before long, it started to POUR.  I really hope that it stops overnight, because my fly sometimes leaks, which is no fun.

Dad and I spent about an hour and fifteen minutes at the climbing gym today.  It's just 25 days until we leave for Yosemite, so we're trying to go climbing at least once a week.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nights 237 and 238

Hi and welcome back!

Coyote (not my picture)
This morning when I woke up, I heard coyotes howling up on the hill.  It sounded like they were to the west of where we top out on the hill, and there were at least five or six howling at the same time.  They kept it up for several minutes, and then abruptly stopped.

Maisy ran away this afternoon, and when we told my mom, she was afraid the coyotes would attack her.  When we went for our hike this evening (my dad, J.A.C., E.M.C. and I), Maisy came running up when we were at the edge of our yard.  That made my mom happy, because she knew she was safe.

It's been warm the last few days, but overnight the temperature drops enough to be comfortable.  In fact, the nights are relatively chilly for this time of year.

Dad and I talked to Mark Smiley yesterday. He's in Jackson Hole, Wyoming right now.  He said the fires in Yosemite are almost two hours by car from Royal Arches, so it shouldn't affect the climb in four weeks.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Nights 235 and 236

Hi and welcome back!

Fire in Yosemite
We have been watching the news about the Rim Fire in California.  It has been growing for the last few days, and now it's 125,000 acres (or 510 square kilometers).  Part of it is now in northwestern Yosemite.  It's still far from the part of the park where we will be camping and climbing, but my dad and I just watched a video about it, and they said it may not be completely out until wintertime!

The other day while mom and I were riding, we went over a stream and saw a blue heron perched on a tree by the stream.  We stopped to try to get a picture, but as soon as we started walking toward it, it flew away.

About three minutes later, we were crossing the same stream (but farther upstream), and we saw another blue heron on a rock out in the water.  We're not sure if it was the same one, but again, when we stopped and started to walk toward it, it left.

Yesterday when dad and I hiked, we happened to be looking up and saw a satellite.  About a minute later we saw another one!  We stopped and looked up to see if we could see others, and about every 45 seconds for two minutes I spotted one.

It's been chilly overnight the last few days.  Last night my dad slept out with me. With it being colder, it's much easier to sleep. I always find it much easier to warm up, but you can only do so much to cool off in a tent.

Today when we were hiking, we were looking across the valley, and we saw a strange red glow next to a house.  We could see it for a few seconds, then it went away.  We watched it appear and disappear every minute or so, and then walked home.  It seemed like it was near my great aunt and great uncle's house, so dad and I got in the car and drove over.  It wasn't at their house, but it was back a long private road in the woods, so we never found out what it was...

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Nights 233 and 234

Hi and welcome back!

Last night when I went out to the tent I saw a mosquito flying around inside, but I didn't bother trying to get it out, because I was tired. I fell asleep, and a couple of minutes later I woke up to the mosquito biting me.

I pulled my sleeping bag higher over me so it coudn't bite me anymore, which made it go away temporarily. About 20 minutes after that I woke up again with it biting me, so I turned my headlamp on to see it, and then I killed it.

After that I thought that I would be able to get some actual sleep. But then all of my mosquito bites started to become itchy, so I was up for the next 10 minutes scratching until I was able to force myself to stop. While I was scratching them I counted almost 10 bites on my head, legs, arms, and hands.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nights 231 and 232

Hi and welcome back!

Wings Folded
On Monday I was going out to climb one of the pine trees in our back yard when I noticed a cicada that was climbing out of its shell on the tree.  I told my dad to come out and see it.  We wondered if it was dead at first, because it didn't seem to be moving.  Then we realized that it was moving very slowly.  We also noticed that its wings were all folded up on either side of its body.

It very slowly unfolded its wings and spread them out to dry.  We watched it climb out of its shell, again, very slowly.  It took about ten minutes in all because of how slowly it was moving, but after it was all the way out of its shell it clung to it and sat still while it dried.

Wings Drying
We didn't see it fly away, but we did get some video of it finally climbing out of its shell!  We also took a bunch of pictures, which I'll add here.

On Tuesday while I was sleeping a small puddle formed inside the tent, and I rolled into it, but that's not a big deal.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nights 229 and 230

Hi and welcome back!

My mom and I rode our bikes again on Sunday.  While we were going up a hill I saw a dog that looked like a very hairy yellow lab sitting on a porch.  It was looking the other way, but it must have heard me.  It turned around and started running after me.

Once it reached me, it ran next to me for about 30 feet.  It was trying to bite me, but thankfully it had a nylon muzzle on, so it couldn't open its mouth at all.  I started to ride as fast as I could, which was pointless, because the owner must have seen that it was gone.  She called for it, and it ran back to the porch.

Later, as we were riding over twin hills, I saw a rooster in the middle of the road.  I slowed down to get a closer look.  It watched me riding toward it, but for some reason it just stood there in the road watching me.  After I passed it it walked off the road, but for a minute I wondered if it was rabid, because it didn't move as I coming toward it pretty quickly.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nights 227 and 228

Hi and welcome back!

Congratulations to loyal reader Spryte, who guessed correctly that Ithaca is in New York state!  Friday we went to Ithaca, New York for the day.  Here are some pictures and descriptions from our trip.

We started at the Cayuga Nature Center, where they have lots of hiking trails.  This one led to a pioneer village.

Along the trail I found a good tree to climb.

Taughannock Falls, which looked much more impressive in person.   The falls are on the left.  The light on the right is glare from the sun.
We found these along the trail.  When the seed pods were closed they looked like green beans, and when they were opened they looked like milkweed.  I smelled one of the closed ones, and it smelled like a pepper.  Does anyone know what they are?

This trail led 3/4 of a mile along the bottom of the gorge to Taughannock Falls.  My mom, JAC and I hiked along it while my dad and sister went to get the car.
One of the lesser falls made by the water flowing from the Taughannock falls to Cayuga Lake. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nights 225 and 226

Hi and welcome back!

Before the Wind
During the Wind
On Tuesday night I set up my tent, but didn't think to stake out anything but the vestibules. On Wednesday morning it was very windy, and it caught the fly like a sail.

The tent started to blow around, and one of the vestibule stakes pulled out, leaving just one to hold the tent to the ground.  It would have blown away if it wasn't for that one stake.

I wasn't home, but my dad was.  He saw the tent was about to blow away and used some rocks to weight it down, because he couldn't find any of my stakes.

When I went out to the tent last night (Wednesday), the temperature was in the high 40s.  My 40 degree bag had been outside for awhile, so it was already cold.  I took the 20 degree bag out in case my dad would sleep out, but I ended up sleeping in it because it was warm from the house.

Overnight it got progressively colder, and at the coldest point I think it was in the high 30s, which is good, because I prefer it being cold.  While mom was watching the news this morning, the weatherman said the overnight low was the coldest it's been in two and a half months!

Even though I'm finally caught up with my posts, I won't be able to write one tomorrow.  We're all going to Ithaca, which is about three hours from here, and we're going to leave early and get home late, so there won't be time to post.

Here's a trivia question for tonight: do you know what state Ithaca is in?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nights 223 and 224

Hi and welcome back!

On Sunday night dad and I hiked all the way up the hill, and once again we had a very good time (about 11:40).  I was surprised that I was 10 seconds slower than my best recent time (11:30), because I didn't have a weighted pack on.

Perseid Meteor
The Perseid meteor shower was Sunday and Monday nights, so on Sunday I slept under the stars. I read that the peak would be around 1:00 in the morning, so I set an alarm to wake me up then.  When I woke up there wasn't a cloud in the sky, but I couldn't see any meteors, so I went back to sleep.

I woke up again about 45 minutes later, and somehow in that amount of time it had started to pour. I had the tent up with the fly on, so I quickly ran in there.  I realized that I'd left my sleeping bag out in the rain, but it was already soaked, so I didn't bother going to get it.

It was pretty cold, I was wet, and I had no dry sleeping bag.  To stay warm I laid down in the corner of the tent, and because it wasn't completely staked out, the floor was a little loose.  I wrapped myself in the nylon to save some body heat, and that worked well enough until morning.

I slept outside the tent again on Monday to see the meteors.  I woke up around 1:00 to watch them, but I didn't see any.  At least I stayed dry!

The Perseids aren't yet over, though,  I read in my grandfather's astronomy magazine that they actually go from August 10 to August 24, so there are another 10 days.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nights 221 and 222

Hi and welcome back!

It's been really rainy here lately, which is unusual for our area in August.  While mom and I were hiking in the woods the other day, another unexpected rain came.  We didn't realize it at first, because the leaves in the canopy blocked the rain.  But then the sound of the rain hitting the leaves was loud enough that we knew it was raining.

Canopy blocking the rain

Even though it's been so rainy, I've still been sleeping outside the tent.  I always check the weather before I go out for the night, because I may go for a few days without bothering to set the tent up.  I always look at the hourly forecast, and a few times it has said that it will be clear overnight, but it rained fairly hard on me.  When that happens, I pull my sleeping bag over my head and tuck the sides underneath my sleeping pad.  That actually repels most of the water.

Mushrooms that have grown because of the rain

On Friday afternoon I went for a long hike by myself.  I didn't even take Maisy.  I walked up through the hollow by the pond, spent some time sitting on top of the hill, and bushwhacked a bit coming back down to the christmas trees out back.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nights 219 and 220

Hi and wecome back!

On Wednesday night I was outside when an unexpected storm blew through. Unfortunately I didn't have my tent up, so I had to sleep in my dad's bivy sack. I also had a convertible chair that can be changed to a sleeping pad, so I put that over my upper body and head. That combination actually kept me really dry.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I found the rain had stopped and I was not really wet at all.  Mom and I hiked up on the hill first thing in the morning, and we had a really good time up of 11:30.  On the way we saw 3 deer, 2 of which were buck.  I also saw a newt--they seem to be much more active when there has been some rain.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nights 217 and 218

Hi and welcome back!

On Monday evening I slept over at C-Man's house. I went there after soccer practice, and right away we made a campfire. We stayed around the fire feeding it for a while until we set up the tent.

In the middle of their yard there is a hill that is level and large enough on the top for the tent, so we pitched it there. After that we went back to the campfire where C-Man told me that he had seen two bears on their property in the last few weeks. Just in case they came back, we got out our multi-tools and started whittling spears. Once we each finished a spear we put out the fire and went to bed.

Overnight it was very cold (mid 40s). I was in the 40 degree Slumberjack, and C-Man was in a 30 degree bag. I should have been fine, but without the fly on the tent the wind blew right through.

We woke up around 5:45 as the sun was coming up, so the temperature started to climb. We were a little bored so we made another fire out of the coals that were left over from the previous night.

Once we got it going we put two logs on the ends of the fire and wove sticks together and suspended them inbetween the logs. We then got a water bottle, put it on the sticks and filled it with water. Once it came close to a boil we dumped the water into a bowl and added paprika, ground garlic, and another spice that I can't remember.  It made a bland but still pretty good broth.

Deer at Dusk
On Tuesday, Dad and I saw five deer while we were hiking out back.  It was getting dark, and we could only make them out by their red coats against the dark trees.

Two of them appeared on a hill about 75 feet away and actually started walking toward us!  We took this picture of them.  It's not clear, because there wasn't much light, but you can definitely make out the deer.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nights 215 and 216

Hi and welcome back!

Mom Took This While She Was Riding!

Not much has happened over the last few days, so I don't have much to post about today. I've been riding, hiking, and sleeping out, but there's not much to tell you about.

Going All the Way Up

I will have a long post tomorrow, though, because tonight I am sleeping over at C-Man's house!

Thanks for understanding, and thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Nights 212 -214

Hi and welcome back!

When my mom and I were riding our bikes on Wednesday morning we saw a fawn about 50 feet off the road. We stopped to take some pictures, and then a second one appeared!  They stood there and looked at us f
or about 45 seconds, then we got on our bikes and left.

About 20 minutes after we saw the fawns, it started to rain. We were still more than a mile from home, which was bad. We were both on our road bikes, which have thin, smooth tires, so they're easy to crash on wet roads.  The rain stopped just a minute or two later, but when we were about a quarter of a mile from home it started to pour, so my mom and I sprinted home.

Dead Snapping Turtle
On Thursday morning,when we were riding over a small bridge I saw a turtle on the railing.  We stopped and turned around, and then we saw it was actually just a turtle shell that had been smashed. We assumed it had been hit by car and and then carried off the road.

Thursday evening my dad and I went all the way up the hill. Since I am training for Royal Arches in less than two months, I decided to put 13 pounds in my pack. We had to bushwhack through the corn to get to the woods, so I assumed that we would be kind of slow, but we finished with a phenomenal time of 12:59 seconds!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nights 210 and 211

Hi and welcome back!

I'm sorry that I didn't post on Tuesday, but I went to the Philadelphia Union vs. Stoke City soccer game with 
my dad, my friend C-man, and his dad, and we didn't get home until 11:30.

The other night it started to rain about an hour after I fell asleep. At first it wasn't too bad, but then it started to pour. Eventually it was raining so hard that the west wall of the tent was caving in. I tried leaning against it, but it still collapsed. I hate to admit it but after that I went inside for about two minutes to get the tent pole that goes between the other poles to give the tent more structure.

When I came in my mom was watching the weather channel, and she showed me the forecast to try to convince me to stay inside.  I had to go back outside, though. Thankfully once I put the extra pole in the tent it stopped it from caving in.  There was some water in the tent already, but that's not a big deal.

On Tuesday morning, when my mom and I were riding our bikes at one point I saw a large bird down the road. After it started flying I realized it was blue heron. I pointed it out, but she didn't see it until it was just barely in sight.

Thanks for reading!