Monday, December 30, 2013

Blue Licks State Park hike

Yesterday and today we visited my wife's in-laws in NE KY. Often I take my bike, but this morning's forecast was for mid-20s and I just wasn't feeling the bike thing. Instead I took some hiking gear, and this morning while everyone soundly slept, I did my early thing and drove down to Blue Lick State Park, which is about a 25 minute drive from the house. I was able to connect a few different trails and put in about 5 miles total, and along the way I had a nice time doing some birding. I was out for 3 hours in temps right around 30F, but I managed to dress very well, and aside a little occasional headwear adjustment, I was comfy the entire time. Following are some images, as well as a list of the birdies I saw.

Crossing 68

Bench I slept on a couple years ago after a bike ride

Northern Flicker, although it looks like a pigeon

Tanner Station with unfortunate graffiti of some kids who probably smoke a lot of meth. Notice the smoke.

Official vehicles from a group of reservists doing their weekend thing. I didn't take pics out of respect. The smoke from the "fort" is theirs.

In case you were wondering, this is what KY cedar scrubland looks like. Birds like it. Little brown ones I can't identify.

Tanner Station with backdrop of bend of Licking River, which the trail follows.

More wet.

New trail into a more wooded area.

Licking River at boat ramp

My path took me along the River Rd. for a spell.

Who's that?!? He's one of 4 who poked their heads out to take a look at what the heck I was doing along the river. Their snorts were louder than expected. 

Full body (river otter in case you weren't sure)

Didn't notice the dab of green along with the orange of the Fall and white of the Winter.

Indian Loop trail, which followed the river before headed up the hill. Loved this trail.


Interesting barn atop the hill across the river valley

E.bluebird and Juncos at parking lot

I would say it was a Sparrow and Woodpecker day. I still have doubts about my sparrow IDs, but it's my list and my blog, so there! I had a big problem, too, in a thicket below 68 (obvious pic above) in which I saw lots of little brown or dark birds that weren't sparrows, but I couldn't really tell what they were otherwise. I assume they were vireos and warblers, but who knows? No me.

**- first sighting
Downy Woodpecker- lots!
Red-bellied Woodpecker**
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Eastern Towhee
Golden-crowned Kinglet**
Song Sparrow
Fox Sparrow**
Field Sparrow**
White throated Sparrow

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JeffForestCo S24O

Very spur of the moment (well, one day in advanced) we decided to pop off a mid-HolidaysMayhem-get-out-of-the-house S24O. Not much to say, really, except that it might have been my favorite S24O for whatever reason. The route was a tried-n-true, leaving us few difficulties save some dark (early) skies on the out leg. Once set up, the food was good to great. Timothy brought chili fixings and did it all up on his Trangia. I used my mini-Trangia for some ramen and chicken. Patrick bought a couple kinds of sausages on the way out and we grilled those in the very hesitant campfire (which slowly came to life after we foraged for some drier wood). Dave made soup on his Esbit. That said, we all shared in the various dishes, including some of Timothy's bread and a bar of nice dark chocolate I had brought, and the very good beers Dave and Timothy brought too. After eating we stood closely around the fire and stayed warm from a somewhat biting wind coming from the south. Our smart toys claimed it was around 40F, but it felt a bit brisker than that.

military bivy set up, with tyvek groundcloth, 3/4 thermarest, full BigAgnes pad, and bivy/bag on top. 

ugly picture, good grillables

supper chaos

der 'Ville

Timothy and I both slept in bivvys and I was pretty pleased all in all. Yes, I was an uncomfortable as ever, but aside a mid-night nature break, I stayed in my bag in the bivvy for practically 9 hours, so it must have not been too bad. In the morning, Patrick fired up his stove and we made coffee as we packed up, with the 2 bivvy guys being packed up much more quickly. I wouldn't want to tour in a bivy, but I think it's perfect for a S24O. We bombed down the hill in the cold and worked out way back to the Loop, this time taking a route with a few climbs to get warmed up. We finished up with a hearty, warm breakfast at The Twig-n-Leaf, as often the case.  There isn't any one factor to make it any different from other S24Os. It just worked. Glad to have made the effort.

Buenos dias!

Ice along Holsclaw Rd. Seafoam developed a weird shimmy on the return that didn't exist on the way out. Bikes.

Timothy stopped to beat his hands into warming up. One layer in the mid-30s proved a bit cold.

Jefferson Forest Campground 

Monday, December 23, 2013


States visited site

**red pass through
**yellow- stayed, visited
**blue- visited more
**green- lived

A bit of an East/South bias. Some of these states are from college choir tours. It's pretty imprecise, anyway. I feel like I visited some more or less or I don't really know. I've actually done more *traveling* in Spain than I have in much of the U.S.  Hindsight I would probably bump Florida to blue given several trips down there.

A lot of white, with lots of forests, trails, mountains and sights available.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Muscatutuck Icy Ramble

Dave and I took fat rubber up to Muscatatuck to roam around. PJ was supposed to go, but some stuff waylaid his plans.  The various recent storms suggested that this area had more snow as opposed to our sleet, so I assumed there would be 6"+ of snow of the ground. Instead we found the roads ice-bound, with trucks having packed down the snow to an icy mess, and as the pics depict, much of the what should have been a 6-10" base had whittled down to crusty slush. We had to ride along the very outer edges of the road to avoid the ice, which poor David didn't early on. Ouch! 

After that we took to the paths for some off-road rambling. The Mukluk was getting the job done, but Dave's 2.2" Contid on the Fargo actually did a better job cutting through the crusty snow. Along the roads we used the Mukluk as an ice breaker. Forward Ho!  I did a little birding which is listed below. Afterwards we visited the customary Waffle House for our post ride.  Good stuff, I can't deny. Maybe the best of the week

There's a singleton Sandhill Crane somewhere in the grey.

Love that crooked, frozen creek backdrop.

Indicative of the coat of rough ice we had to work with. As seen, we hugged the gravel patch to the left.

Dark-eyed Junco (1st sighting)
N. Cardinal
Downy Woodpecker-3
C. Chickadee
W.B. Nuthatch
G.B. Heron
Sandhill Crane-1  (squawking singleton lost from the posse)
Hawk- too far to ID-Innumerable hawks along I-65, too
lots of little brown birds I couldn't get a look at without glasses or binocs (which were erroneously in backpack, as I had forgotten to attach handlebar bag)

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: