Monday, July 20, 2009

This past weekend, Jeremy and I went on a little backpacking trip. We originally planned on doing a really short, easy trail in Cumberland Mountain State park. Jeremy called them on Thursday to ask some questions and said we were planning on doing the trail that weekend. When we got there Friday morning the lady at the office told us the overnight trail was closed. We were a little upset that no one told Jeremy that on Thursday, but got in the car to figure out a new plan. Another state park, Fall Creek Falls, wasn't too far away, so we drove down there. When we got there the Nature Center, where you fill out the back country permits, was closed for an hour for lunch. We waited. And waited. During that time we at least found out that they had two different overnight trails, 12 miles and 13 miles. We decided on the 13 mile trail since it was easier. The nature center finally opened, we filled out a permit, and were on our way, only about 2.5 hours later than we planned on hitting the trail.

We ended up doing more hiking than we planned on, but it was still fun. We had the campsite to ourselves and never even saw anyone else on the trail. We did, however, see a lot of mushrooms. Not many flowers or wildlife, but man were there mushrooms! Here are some pictures:





We also, unfortunately, saw a lot of ticks, mostly deer ticks. Jeremy pulled out 14 in him and I had 3. That doesn't count the countless other ticks that were just on us and our clothes, not actually embedded in us. I have never seen ticks that bad! For your viewing pleasure, here is Jeremy, burning a wood tick out of his leg:

Monday, July 06, 2009

I had a sad realization this weekend - I may never be in Gladstone for the Fourth of July again. No where does the Fourth like Gladstone. That being said, Jeremy and I had a pretty laid back Fourth this weekend. We got up, watched Serena and Venus in the Wimbledon finals, ate pancakes, and lounged around. In the afternoon we played disc golf in a park nearby. Usually there are a good number of others out playing, but since it was the Fourth, we ran into hardly anyone else so it was nice. We came back, grilled some salmon for dinner, and headed to the World's Fair Park downtown to watch the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the fireworks. The fireworks show was pretty disappointing - it only lasted 15 minutes. Knoxville has a huge fireworks show over Labor Day weekend so that might be why they don't go all out for the Fourth.

We also found out this weekend that we have a bunch of cardinals, of varying age, living somewhere around our house. When we came home from disc golf on Saturday, we saw one adult cardinal and an adolescent looking cardinal chasing each other around our roof and the nearby trees.



When we went to go inside, we saw a little bird sitting on our steps. It didn't move as we walked past to get inside so I thought it might be hurt. I came inside, and then went back out with my camera to take a picture but by the time I got back outside it was gone. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon - I was sitting on the couch when all of a sudden I heard something at the window. I looked over and it was the same little bird from the day before! I got all the way to the window and it didn't fly off. Here's a picture:


We think it's a baby cardinal, and obviously it has a lot to learn since it is in no way afraid of us.