Dauphin Island, Alabama

Gwen and I went to Dauphin Island, which is located in Mobile County, Alabama.  It’s connected to the mainland by the Gordon Persons Bridge.

Dauphin Island was named after Louis XIV’s great-grandson.  He was the heir (the dauphin) and future Louis XV of France.

This is a beautiful place to visit, with white sandy beaches, Sea Lab – Estuarium, a military fort dating back to the 1800’s, Audubon Bird Sanctuary, walking trails, restaurants and places to shop.

Why I go Into the Woods

I go into the woods alone, to sit in silence and listen.  I hear birds singing, bugs chirping, and the wind rustling through the leaves.  I can smell the freshness in the air.  The longer I sit the more at peace I feel.  I am becoming one with the nature around me.  I feel a longing to connect with the animals that hide or scurry about.  I close my eyes, and let all the stress leave my body.  In that moment, all feels right with the world.  That’s why I go into the woods.

Advanced Wilderness Navigation by Jack Perry

51LQ7MOu4ML._SL500_.jpg

Amazon has Advanced Wilderness Navigation by Jack Perry available as an ebook for free.  Before reading this book, you will need know how to use a compass and read a topographical map.

The book is short and to the point.  However, it is full of useful information.  It is easy to read and easy to understand.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys hiking, camping, or other wilderness activities.

Osceola National Forrest

Malia and I were heading home from our vacation and decided we had time for one last adventure, so we explored the Osceola National Forrest in Florida.

The forrest was amazingly beautiful.  It was full of swamps and foliage.  I was hoping to see an alligator, but the weather was to cold.  However, I did find a banana spider and had my picture taken while standing beside it.  The spider blended into the background, so it’s hard to see it in the picture.

As I walked along the trail, I listened closely to the sounds of the birds and any other animals that might be in the area.  I felt a closeness to nature, a feeling of being one with my surroundings.

I was intruder in another world and hoped to see that world play out in front of me.  I also wanted to tread softly, to prevent creating a disturbance in that world.

Walking through Osceola National Forrest was a fitting adventure to end our vacation.

 

Hiking Down Memory Lane

As teenagers, my brother and I spent a lot of time playing in the woods.  We went hiking, fishing, and swimming in the creek.

We also built a makeshift fort and took some of my mom’s old lawn furniture down there.  Mom never did figure out what happened to her chairs.

We spray-painted graffiti under the bridge.  We wrote our names, the names of our dogs, and noted each year we were there.

Basically, the two of us ran wild through those woods and we were having a blast.

That was 26 years ago.  Aaron passed away three years ago and his birthday is on Monday.  I decided to take his daughter (Gwen) out there.  She heard various stories over the years, but never got a chance to see the area.  It seemed like a good way to honor Aaron’s memory.

I was surprised to see a lot of our graffiti is still there.  Each step I took, felt like I was going back in time.  Even though the terrain has changed some over the years, I could still recognize different sections and areas.  I still remembered my way around those woods.

Memories of those days flooded my mind.  It was a surreal feeling.  I could almost see us and our dogs running wild.  I was excited to see it all again.  However, I felt the grief of my brother’s death.

I was hiking down memory lane and my heart was overflowing with mixed emotions.

 

Burritt Nature Trail – Huntsville, Alabama

Gwen and I took two of our dogs (Blue and Buddy) hiking last Saturday.  We followed the Burritt Nature Trail in Huntsville, Alabama.

It’s a great place to hike and explore.  You will find interesting foliage and caves.  However, the trial can get pretty rocky at some points, so you have to watch your step.

As you follow the trail, you will find a clearing in the woods and at the edge of that clearing is a massive cross.  The cross was built in 1963 by the Huntsville Ministerial Association.

The trail then continues behind the cross.  At this point it is steep and extremely difficult to navigate.  The trail takes you up to the top of the mountain.  The view up there is extraordinary and well worth the effort.

We took a rest break at the top of the mountain, then we went back down to the clearing, and continued to follow the trail.

It took us two hours to complete the entire trail.  When we got back to the Jeep, we were all sweaty, dirty, stinky, hungry, and completely exhausted.

FullSizeRender-8

FullSizeRender-10                             FullSizeRender-11

FullSizeRender-13

FullSizeRender

IMG_5283

IMG_5285                   IMG_5290

IMG_5294

IMG_5303                       IMG_5305IMG_5320

FullSizeRender-7

FullSizeRender-4

FullSizeRender-5           FullSizeRender-6