Our summer has been spent with odd schedules, work obligations, limited transportation, and only a single day here and there to meet up for adventure. One thing we (fortunately) all love to do, and is abundantly available, is hit the hiking trails. Many weekends this summer we, or some portion of 'we,' found a trail and started walking. I wasn't always there...major holidays see me tied up at work...and I know Rob won't be doing the writing here, so I'm going to share some pictures and hope you enjoy!
Jennings State Forest was the destination for Labor Day. I was working, so Rob, Olivia, Chris, and Xandra made the trip north to add trails for their Trailwalker patches. They did some geocaching, too...even finding one that was broken apart and partially fallen down a ravine. Sad Xandra:
One particularly cool thing they saw on this trip was a snake. It caught their eyes because it was in an upright position, just testing the air and looking around. We've done some research and discovered it's an Eastern Coachwhip. Here's the snake and a few other photos from the day:
I was able to join in the next outing, which was hiking a portion of the Florida Trail. Our goal was to put in several miles and geocache, geocache, geocache, so Olivia spent a very indulgent day with my parents!
The first thing we noticed when we got out of the car were bear tracks down the forest road. Chris and Xandra, who joined us a little later, saw the bear on their way! A few photos:
I can't remember how many miles we hiked, but I think we got about 18 caches that day. I took a ton of pictures. Here are some more:
Banana spiders...a.k.a. Golden Orb Weavers because of the golden hue of their webs...were everywhere. Several times we almost walked into them!
Here's a picture of a banana spiderweb from the side, and you can see the color I mentioned:
On our way down a side trail, in search of a cache, we saw something pretty cool! I guess a bear had come through in search of honey, and we found the remnants of a honeycomb that had been inside a tree:
Aside from lots of animal tracks and tons of spiders, this was the only wildlife we saw. Thankfully it was a harmless black racer...Chris walked within a few feet of it without even realizing it was there:
One final group photo and our day on the trail was done!
Just a few days after our Florida Trail trip, Chris and Rob had the same day off. They took off across the state and did some hiking in the Goethe State Forest, again adding trails for their Trailwalker patches. Male friendship is a simple, quiet thing, really, and photography by said men is equally simple. They take pictures of funny things:
Things that make fire:
Things that make fire BIGGER:
Things that help them know where they are:
And things that help them know where not to go:
Our final hiking trip this summer was to the Bluffton Trail in the Lake George State Forest. Rob, Olivia, and I were met by Chris, and this was another designated Trailwalker trail. While we were waiting for Chris we took some photos:
On the hunt for ant lions!
Eventually Chris found us and we hit the trail. This one in particular is just over a mile in length, and we were scoping out places to hide geocaches for others to enjoy.
We found a beautiful, shaded trail, well-marked and just the right distance to keep a certain 7-year-old from complaining (too much).
While on our hike we saw a huge owl, although I wasn't able to get a picture of it or identify it. We also found some great caching hiding places, and pretty soon we're going to start camouflaging our containers. Another hike is in our future! On the way out of the forest Robert saw a snake in the road. We turned around to investigate, and I got a (not great) photo....it was a pigmy rattlesnake!! One of our handful of venomous snakes in Florida, lazily crossing the road.
The snake is the dark line just left of center. Once it realized I was looking at it, it took off, its little rattle just a'buzzing!
And there you have it! We may not have been able to get the adventures we wanted into our schedules this summer, but we were able to get in just the right adventures we needed.