Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Feet

 Maybe this post should be called 'Funny Feet', because I think these are pretty funny looking; they put me in mind of ape feet:

If you haven't seen them before, these are 'Vibram 5-Finger' shoes, all the rage in the barefoot movement.

They actually have a Vibram sole:

The sole is thick enough that it's no big deal to walk on gravel, but thin enough that I pay attention to where I'm putting my feet when walking on gravel.

I don't have to worry about glass or other sharps, but I still get the happy, care-free feeling of barefooted-ness. I'm hoping there's some truth to the idea that going barefoot can help your entire body stay in proper alignment. I sit on a ball when on the computer and it's much better for my back than a chair, so I suppose the same concept could apply for shoes (or no-shoes, as the case may be).

I just got these yesterday evening. I put them on right away and went tromping. I did my usual walk-loop, but made sure to wade through all the puddles instead of walking around them. Usually shoes feel pretty ick-y when wet and, with most sandals, my feet end up sliding around a bit. In these it actually felt GOOD to get them wet: no sliding around inside them. 

They are definitely odd-looking, so if you don't want people staring at your feet, these are not going to work for you. I've had a few comments today, but they have been positive and curious comments.

I've been curious about these shoes for a long time and happy to finally have a pair.
So far, so good. Nothing negative to report yet, but I don't have enough time in them yet to tell how I'll adapt to them. I'll update in a few weeks...

I have a marathoning friend who couldn't get past the odd look of these 5-Fingers and ended up with another style of 'Barefoot Shoes.' (Okay, she called them -with vehemence - ugly, but I think they're more odd than ugly. However, it's very likely that my sense of style is warped non-existent.) 

She's had them for a few weeks now, so maybe she'll jump on here and tell us how she likes them so far....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Half the Truth

"Freedom is only part of the story and half the truth...That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplanted by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast."

-Viktor E. Frankl
Man's Searching for Meaning

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'm finding time to play, but not finding time to blog about it. Some of that is because when you get caught in the rain, the camera needs to stay in the plastic bag; it's easier to blog with pics.

So, what have I done since last check-in?

Kayaking on Tygart Lake (and getting caught in a hail storm. oops).
Geo-caching at Pleasant Creek
Hiking and hill runs at Tygart Lake State Park
Hiking/jogging on the North Bend Rail Trail
Hiking/jogging on the Spelter Smelter Trail (can't find a link for the trail, but plenty in the news about the trial...since it's one of my favorite trails, there weill be more on this in the future...)
Running on the McTrail at Prickett's Fort
Jogging/walking (8 miles! - longest distance in years) on the Mon River Trail.
Hiking (again caught in the rain - but better than getting hit with a falling tree) at the Snake Hill WMA.
Hiking - just walking out the back door and going.

Wow. I really am getting some play time.

What's next?
I'm going camping this weekend, which means hiking.
I need to get in a couple of short intense workouts coming up.
Running the 10K in Clarksburg on the 18th (that's what this playtime is supposed to be getting me ready for).

I've found a few cool websites and I have a few fun things planned, so I'll keep things up-to-date. Mostly.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sleeping on the Ground in the Rain

I spent the night at Bear Heaven and it rained.
...and rained...
...and rained some more...
A lot of rain.

Not just a lot of rain for a little bit. An-unrelenting-lot from the time it started.

I put on the poncho and wandered around, looking for the other 2 geocaches at this little campground. I found the first one (Bear Haven - as it's named on a couple of different maps, but I prefer Bear Heaven as the Mon Forest Map and road signs call it - Bear Heaven sounds like Nirvana and Bear Haven sounds like someplace the Bears have to go to save themselves. What a difference an 'e' can make.), but the other (On the Rocks) will have to wait for another day (when it's not raining).
I set up camp in the rain.
It continued to rain.
It rained some more.
It rained all night.
It rained in the morning.
I took camp down in the rain.
It continued to rain.
I threw the wet tent and tarp in the car.
It continued to rain.
I loaded up and headed home.
It rained the whole way.
And it kept right on raining.....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sleeping on the Ground

I went camping and the main thing I'm still pondering over is sleeping.
In a tent.
On the ground.

When did sleeping on the ground become something I'd think about?
More to the point: When did it become noticeably uncomfortable?
And can it be reversed? Is it just because I, as I am inclined to (want to) believe, am not used to it?
It never bothered me 20 years ago and I don't want to believe that it's the 20 years, by themselves, that matter.
It's not like I haven't camped in 20 years, but I guess bedroll-with-a-few-extra-blankets-because-we're-car-camping is not sleeping-bag-on-ground-camping.

I will suck it up and get over it.

Noteably: It has been 20 years since I've camped alone.
I like the solitude and the quiet. I like it so much I will be doing more of it. I'm setting up my backpack for my next trip so I can hike in and ditch the car-camping.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mountain Spring Geocache

The next Cache in this Petty Family series is PFC4 (Mtn Spring) (on the way to Bear Heaven).

I filled up all my water bottles with this cold, crisp water and checked my GPS. This cache is a 'micro,' meaning it's tiny. I found it in a tree across the road. It was quite easy to spot because a hemlock bough was stuck in the crevice of a birch tree:

Look closely:

In the micro cache, there is generally just a piece of paper to serve as a log of finders. This one was no exception.

It was starting to rain. I signed the log and put it back just the way I found it before loading up my newly filled water bottles and heading down the gravel road, bound for setting up camp.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bickle Knob 2

I have to climb it because it's there.
This is actually one of the less scary fire towers I've climbed.

It's fully enclosed with real steps (as opposed to a ladder) and handrails.

There are about 100 steps....

...and the 360 degree view is totally worth it....

....And here comes the rain.....

And on to Bear Heaven...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bickle Knob

Oh, wait! Before I got to Bickle Knob, I stopped at the Coberly Sods grazing area for the next geocache in the series: PFC2 (Coberly Sods). The coordinates seemed to be good because I was right at the gate, but the only thing I found was a film container lid held down with a rock on top of the sign. Nothing else.

Alright, on to Bickle Knob....

(Bear Heaven :). Gotta love it. I'm going there.....)

More beautiful stonework, presumably a spring, but no water was flowing:

You can't quite see the tower when you start up the hill from the parking area:

There. Now you can see it through the trees: 

(wait for the next post....remember the 5 pic limit....?)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1/2 Blind Horse Pics 2 of 2

Whatever the disagreement may have been, these 2 seemed to kiss and make up (giving me even better views of the eye socket - yes, I'm fascinated with the odd):
The eye socket and surrounding areas seem to have no apparent injury or scarring; the entire depression was covered in skin and hair.
As a matter of fact, the underlying muscles caused the eye socket to twitch with an attempt to move the eyeball.
Kinda' put me in mind of those skulls in the cartoon desert-west.
Only this one was alive.

This other fella' was very pushy. After talking to him for a few minutes, I could see why there could be conflict with his fellows (this applies to people as well; it's just easier to deal with in horses - at least when they're on the other side of the fence):

He was not at all happy that I had no carrot or apple or anything.

I think he would have been happy to take off with my Life-is-Good water bottle if I hadn't pulled it down off the fence. I still have horse slobber on the hair-tie that was attached to the mini-carbiner that hangs from the lid-loop.
(It's a Nalgene bottle: I haul it with me everywhere. Wide-mouth, 1 quart, doesn't leak even though I've dropped it a ga-zillion times over the 4-5 years that I've had this particular one.
While I'm not much of a wine drinker, I have friends who use these Nalgene bottles as the perfect non-breakable wine-toting apparatus for backpacking. I should think it's worth the 2 extra pounds for wine by firelight.)                                                

Friday, May 20, 2011

Half Blind Horse (Play Time 2) Pics 1 of 2

I stood at the gate and made a sound like an apple.

Not really.
It was more like a carrot ;).

I really didn't feed them, but they must be used to visitors with yummies in hand, because it didn't take much to get them to come over and check me out. Can you see this guy's off side (right) eye yet?
Well, I guess you'll never see it, really, because it's not there. I, however morbid it might be, was fascinated by his eye socket. 
Although I told them I had no food, they refused to be deterred and continued to ask. It took a little while, but they finally went about their business and I was able to snap a few shots with a clear view of the eye socket.
In the next couple of pictures, I'm not sure what these 2 are disagreeing about (see the ears laid back?), but it gave me a good view, so I didn't ask: 
In addition to the laid-back ears, I think there is somewhat of an indignant look going on here.
Perhaps I'm reading too much into it.
Perhaps not. 

Bingo! Perfect View: 

(....Still following my 5 pic max rule...
One more 1/2 blind horse post coming up...)