A spooky hike

Yet another day of sunshine and 80+ degrees. I put aside the work I couldn’t finish, and went to do the toughest hike in the community. Fall colors relaxed my eyes as the dry leaves crackled under my feet. But something was strange… The forest was silent. Completely silent. I puzzled over it, then realized that … read more A spooky hike

Lop lop loppers

On the drive in Friday, Tom flinched every time a branch scraped against Xena on Booger Hollow’s narrow and rhododendron-infested roads. So today, I got out the loppers to trim them back. It was a three-hour chore. But the destructive beast inside me was growling with delight to be off the leash. Loppers were unfamiliar to … read more Lop lop loppers

None can compare

When I see bright, fluorescent pink in the forest, it’s usually leftover trail blaze tape or an empty Energy Gel packet. I was huffing along the trail, trying to finish my eight-plus miles in three and half hours. Looked like I’d make it. I didn’t. Because of the pink. No, it wasn’t FIRE PINK. It was … read more None can compare

Secret garden

All along the road and trail, the ground was covered with black char. No green anywhere. So many of our drives and hikes in the Chattahoochee National Forest had been blighted by the sight of that fire. The U.S. Forest Service does annual prescribed burns in the Chattahoochee, and for many weeks afterwards hundreds of acres look barren … read more Secret garden

Pandas of the American forest

I just wanted to see one. My emotional state this afternoon needed a strong dose of nature, so I took a hike. And I was thinking about the showy orchid. I’d only seen one before, in all nine of my Appalachian springs. The orchid was an omen I longed for. Just one, to make me happy. I … read more Pandas of the American forest

At the speed of a cranefly

My day was saved by this leaf. Perfect day for a hike: sunshine and near 70 degrees. But I couldn’t bear the thought of hiking. Even after sleeping nearly 12 hours, I got worn out from just heating and eating lunch, taking a shower and distributing leftover cornbread to the birds. No energy left for … read more At the speed of a cranefly