Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

Birds, Bees, and the little things.

It’s the small things in life that bring the most joy.

When taking a shower this morning I noticed two small green frogs that have taken residence in the stall. Thanking them for all the mosquitos they eat, good job frogs.

 

Hiking through this park and enjoying the small flowers, the tiny insects that scurry through the trees and bushes, stalking their next meal. The green and black gecko that scurry on the path, hunting a bit of sun to warm themselves, and the aforementioned bugs for their next meal.

 

The birds are plentiful, finding this tree filled with black vultures, watching two of them fight and fuss over a dead fish on the shore.

 

Still waiting to see a gator, the best way to see them is by kayak, but I can’t leave Stanley and Edgar in the tent. Those two raided their treat bag, and my food bag this morning. I guess dog food is not as tempting.

As we close 2018 and open a New Year enjoy the small things in life, taking to time to remember our time here is limited, and you can’t take it with you.

Cathy, and Edgar, and Stan the Man

 

 

Hontoon Island State Park

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Rain, rain, and more rain. We spent our first few days here hunkering down in the big Kodiak Canvas tent, we were on an island on an island. The tent withstood the rain even though we had about 2 inches of water under our feet. I’m glad it was dry the day we arrived so I could at erect the tent.

Then the sun came out. Exploring the island with the dogs has been fun, keeping the dogs on the path and out of the way of venomous snakes, not so easy. The difference between venomous and poisonous is with venomous they have to bite you, with poisonous you have to bite them. There are pygmy rattlers here and they are good hiders, last thing I need is a dog snuffling under some branches and coming up with a rattler on its nose. Trying to get a picture of them is not so easy either so….

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We encountered an armadillo along the way, and two barred owls that visit the camp. There are black vultures, hawks, egrets, and lots of cranes. Mosquitos are the dominant animal on the island, the tent is secure and I’ve only had to murder a few of the bloodsuckers. I wouldn’t want to be here in summer

 

The rangers are super nice and you can ride back and forth on the little ferry as much as needed, service stops at 4:30, so after that your here until morning. When you arrive they lend you as many wheel barrows as you need for your gear and take you in the van to your campsite, picking you and your gear up your last day. The rest of the time you walk the short quarter mile path from the ferry to the campsites. They have a lending library, I’ve read 3 books already, and donated 2 that I read. There is a small store where you can get an ice cream, and ice is available. The tent site has no electric so the Camp Host, Tom, allows me to hook up my extra battery packs to his camper, thanks Tom.

The Island has this cool replica totem. There is a nice playground for kids, and lots of fishing is done from the banks. You can’t go in the water because of gators.

 

I don’t think it will be too difficult to spend another week at this beautiful park. Hoping to get more photos of the wildlife, having the dogs makes it a little tough, Stanley has quite a bark and he has decided I need protected from, well, everything.

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Cathy, and Edgar, and Stan the Man.

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Springs State Park

Our first stop in Florida. Blue Springs is about 40 minutes west of Daytona. One of the few class A springs, it stays a balmy 73 degrees year round.

The park is a manatee heaven, connected to the St. Johns River, the manatees spend their nights here and travel to the river to feed. Manatees eat 25% of their weight in vegetation every day. The spring does not support growth because of lack of oxygen.

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Blue Springs campground is well maintained, and I met a Ranger Morris on the boardwalk overlooking the spring, he’s an ornithologist, and knew all the birds by calls.

We spent 3 days watching the manatees, black vultures, baby snapping turtles, all kinds of fish including tarpon, and the invasive Plecostomus catfish and tilapia.

Spending only 4 nights here I set up the small tent, Edgar and Stanley are getting used to tent living, they have 2 beds and stole 2 pillows and a sleeping bag for their comfort.

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We didn’t see any alligators, but a bobcat walked through our camp one evening, Stanley alerted me, and I got a glimpse. We also had some racoons, there was evidence on my cooler in the morning, but being a Yeti, they left without a meal.

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Blue Springs is close to everything so I was able to get meals without having to cook for myself, which is a good thing. I did have coffee and yogurt in the mornings, and a few cookies at night. Everything here is Orange this or that which is why I went the wrong direction driving to Costco to pick up some meds for Edgar, only a 50 mile detour, and Costco here is like everywhere, I got a good cheap meal and enough samples to make a dinner.

Our next stop is Hontoon Island State Park….

Cathy

On the Grid

I don’t think you can be more on the grid than in New York City.

My adventure starts visiting my sister for her birthday in NYC. Coming in from rural PA can be a shock to the system, I’m so used to complete dark, millions of stars, listening to the bald eagle and turkey calls. Here there are a few stars, and the noise is off the charts, car horns, sirens, yelling New Yorkers, what a difference.

I still love this city. It’s gritty, real, young, fast, and fluid, keeps you on your toes at all times.

The Christmas Market at Union Square is always fun.

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I’m leaving here early next week to head south. Hope to get far enough south on the first day to camp at Pedro’s on the Border.

Cathy

I’m back off the grid!

Hi everyone, how y’all doing?

Been a few.

If you don’t follow me on Facebook, I may have seemed to drop off the earth.

Well, I moved back to my family property in Pennsylvania and built this.

 

The first time since 2011 that I haven’t lived on wheels.

Winters are harsh in PA, especially on the river. Living there would require a 4wd vehicle with chains on all 4 tires to navigate the road. And a chainsaw to get through this….

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So, I’ve decided to go back off the grid for the winter and pack up my tent and camping gear and head to Florida. Edgar is still with me, along with his cousin Stanley.

Off to a new adventure……  join us.

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Dr. Geri Puleo at TEDxSetonHillUniversity” on YouTube, or why I took my tent and ran away 3 years ago :)

Money is NOT everything!

Well, it has been far too long since my fingers and brain coordinated and decided to sit and write.
I had a really horrible day yesterday, my car needs repairs and, quite frankly, I just don’t know where I am going to find the funds. I cried for a while feeling sorry for myself, if you know me, that didn’t last long 🙂
I decided to take a long walk through the wonderful landscape at Ecola State Park. It is amazing how your perspective can change when you quit dwelling on the bad and dwell on the good.
My view is of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, elk come visit me, sitting in my back yard chewing their cud, grey whales swim by putting on a wonderful display, the pelicans, oyster catchers, puffins, and hundreds of other sea birds entertain me with their comings and goings. I get up every day to a volunteer job that brings me joy, meeting people from all over the world who come here to learn, picnic or just enjoy the view.
My health is terrific, I can easily hike 10 miles and still have the ability to climb steep terrain and scramble over rock and downed trees. Eating and cooking mostly vegetarian for myself and enjoying the simple pleasures of cutting an onion, breaking lettuce adding some seeds and cheese and relishing each bite. Fast food is a thing of the past along with soda, chips and the mindless eating in front of a tv.
The library brings me great pleasures, books about far away lands and times, books about self-improvement and just fun books like Harry Potter.
I have hundreds of friends, some close with who I can discuss my heart, some who engage me in mindful debate, some who drive me crazy. I cherish my family, my nieces, my sisters and brother, and am grateful my mom is in great health and mind at 82 years young.
I don’t have lots of “stuff” or clothes or shoes or all those other things that we are told will make us happy.
What I do have is a wonderful life, my life. It is raining today, and I am going to go out and dance in it!!

Cathy

Inspiration

Writing, for me, is a combination of heart and head put to paper. Finding the right words to express what my heart feels is always a struggle. There are times that the words come freely and easily taking their places on the page, sentences flowing across the sheet creating descriptions that take readers to new places, thoughts, and feelings. Other times the words sit at the spot between heart, head, and fingertips refusing to flow, dammed behind a logjam of unconnected ideas.

Overwhelmed by the beauty of Ecola State Park, my first thought was to write about it, the struggle for words began. How do you possibly describe the beauty of our natural world?

The informational board at Ecola tells us this was once a homestead, donated to the State of Oregon and preserved for all to enjoy. A young boy commented to his Dad he was glad no one lived there, his Dad replying with “it’s sacred” and agreed with his son.

Still at a loss for words, Ecola State Park, in pictures.

Moving an RV

Always get a kind of knot in the pit of my stomach when I have to move the RV. Edgar and I have been living at Ft. Stevens for 4 months. I moved the RV 3 months ago when I took the position as Park Host, but only about 1,000 yards.

This time we have been living in it and I have made a ton of improvements. Framed in the door, replaced shower and kitchen faucets, replaced toilet, replaced 3 blinds with awesome cellular shades that really keep in the warm and made 2 pairs of insulated drapes for the bedroom, replaced all the cabinet inserts, removed old wiring and got all the electrical systems, including changing out the breaker box (which is actually very easy) working. Put up a shelf where there was a hole and had to custom fit some cabinet door hinges to make it work. Painting – I hate painting, I end up with paint all over me, in my hair, but I love color and this place needed a good brightening, I still haven’t finished the ceiling.

So moving, things just don’t go in one direction, when we move, we move, batten down the hatches is no joke. Everything moves, everything, even the structure, that is why I am so nervous. I have glued, nailed, repaired and painted, crossing my fingers it all holds up. I tried to think about the movement when I made the repairs, compensating tight fit for flexibility.

Then there is your stuff in the cupboards, you learn quick when a bottle of olive oil falls over and leaks. I have mats in all the cupboards, but stuff still falls over if it is not stabilized. Everything hanging shifts and things on shelves go flying.

Then there is the hitching up and towing the car thing…but that’s a different story.

Glad we only have to go about 50 miles.

Cathy

Squirrel Attack

Getting up in the morning, I noticed the roof of the car was left open.  Opening the door and sitting down to start the car to close the roof really scared the dickens out of the squirrel sitting in my backseat enjoying a delicious organic d’anjou pear.  He scrambled up over the head rest and out the way he came in, scaring the dickens out of me!

All I had left of the encounter were some footprints on my car and chewed pear bits and hunks.  The attack occurred on the poor pears, it could have been worse….