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...)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Play Time :)

Everyone needs play time.
Over the past couple of super-busy years, I've almost forgotten how important play-time can be.
I'm on a mission to remember.

A trip to Monongahela National Forest.
I love this old stone work. Most of this type of stone construction dates to the 30s with the alphabet soup of The New Deal; the CCC in particular was responsible for most of these public area monuments.

There's supposed to be a geo-cache here, but I didn't find it (I also didn't post on the cache log at the web site). I've been known to overlook something right under my nose, so me not finding it is not a definitive 'it's not there,' merely a reason to go back later and/or follow along on the cache log.

I did, however, find the first cache in the series, a mini-cache at the turn-off from Rt 33 (onto old Rt. 33). These 6 (I think there are 6?) caches up along the Stuart Memorial Drive are a series place by the Petty Family (Thank You for the Hunt!).

Turning off of Old Rt 33 here:

Next in the PFC series is PFC2 (Coberly Sods).
BUT....this is where I got sidetracked....
...I donned the day pack and wandered off into the woods for a couple of hours (Yay for free time!)...

It hadn't yet started raining (yes, this is a presentient statement of what was in store for me at camp that night, all night, and the next morning, too ;)), so it was a beautiful jaunt down a closed forest service road.
No pictures; just take my word for it: No noise, no traffic noise, no nothing except birds and wind and the occasional scurry of a chipmunk or squirrel and the snap of a startled deer or two.

When I made my way back to the car, I was exchanging empty water bottles for full when I realized a few horses had wandered back into this part of the field. I'm not sure why I noticed from so far away, but this is what caught my eye:

I'm not sure if you can see; I'm not sure how I saw....

You have to wait for it.
The next post.... (I have a thing about posting more than 5 pics to a post. It's a pain-in-the-patootie and I don't like to do it. I don't care if Blogger changed their uploading format or not....)....
...will be up soon.....