Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wilson River: Jones Creek to Wilson Falls

This was a pretty easy trail. The river was beautiful but you will find it crowded for the first mile or so. The waterfall was very pretty. It is 2 miles to the Wilson Falls mark but the trail does go on longer if you choose to keep going.

I was having a really great time with the under water camera. I am really excited about this picture. The camera I use is an Olympus. My Cannon Digital SLR is in the shop at the moment. 

The first thing that struck me about the river were the deep swimming pools and their rich aqua color. They were much like the color of Green Lakes in Syracuse, NY. The water was crystal clear with sandy shores and very little mud. The sand was heavy and didn't murk up the water.

The entrance of the trail had some really cute picknic areas set up with nice clean grill fire pit spots. There were really attractive benches along the trails that had memorial placks on them. When we first arrived the river was pretty quiet with only a few swimmers. Tubing seems to be a big thing here even with the really low water levels of this August afternoon.

There were quite a few fish in the water. I couldn't spot any over four inches in length but did see a father and son fishing on the other side. I imagin they were catching things with the abundance of minnows in the river. There were also lots of deep pools with nice rock outcrops for fish to hide in. I bet there were some big ones lurking under the toes of the swimmers. 

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The trail weaved away and back towards the river. There were enough spots for us to dip our dogs and let them get drinks on the hot day. The trail became more quiet as we reached the falls area. The forest smelled like celery. It was a really fresh nice smell. The trail was narrow and dry. It had been trimmed on the edges so it was easy to navigate.

I was goofing around with my underwater camera but it really shows how clean the water was and even with me walking around no silt was brought up even in the slower shore areas. 

Power lines and atv roads did interrupt the river hike but this seemed like a place where a lot of people with a lot of different interests could come and enjoy their day with out too much interfearence. It seemed that everyone was able to find their own private spot even with the quantity of visitors at the river. We found a couple areas where we could head down to the river and snack on our trail mix with out interruption.

I gotta mention that I have some kick butt hiking shoes. I wear the Solomon trail shoes and they really grip even on the crazy slippery rocks in the river. I have owned their water shoes as well and totally love them.

The mountains behind the craggily moss covered trees was breath taking. Everything has a green aura as the sun shone through the moss and leaves. The trail was nice and shaded keeping the really hot sun at bay.
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I bet this waterfall is even more fantastic in the spring. I am looking forward to revisiting these trails when the water is really cruising down the cliffs.

This is a little shelter made by larva in the river. 

I was so tempted to dive in here. I need to get in shape so I can start bringing a swim suit on river walks. :D

I really love the colors in this picture. 

University Falls, Oregon

There are quite a few hikes along Rout 8 heading south west. Today we hit two. I will cover the short one. You turn off of the main road onto a road that takes you to Roger's Camp. You follow the signs to University Falls. It is about a 4 mile drive. There is a really short hike to the falls about .3 miles but the whole trail is stunning. Some of the trail is for hikers and horse back riders and some of the trail can be mountain biked. There are separate trails for atv's and other activities.The falls were pretty amazing even in this weather we are having. I imagine it will be even better in the spring. Here are some photos of this hike.

Our MINI cruzin' down the dusty road. I have to say it looked a little out of place with all the huge big wheel trucks flying by. I am glad we waited to get it aligned till next friday.

University Falls

This guy was not happy. He was slowly crawling up the slippery rock. I had to get a picture. He put his lil pinchers up at the camera. He was about the length of my finger. Doin' well in this waterfall basin.

There were lots of charred tree stumps in the forest here. On most of the trails in this area the stumps have been cut down as part of the forest reclamation project. Here the towering charred remnents had a major impact on me. It was frightening to think of the amount of acreage burned in this massive fire decades ago. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ecola State Park

This could be one of the neatest pictures I have ever taken. I went to the ocean with my waterproof camera this time.

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Some photos shot with the camera submersed. They are kinda cool.

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Ozzy & Me

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


We are hoping to hit some waterfalls this weekend. The falls around here look like they will be monumental. I have always enjoyed the falls in Upstate New York. Tinker's Falls, Buttermilk Falls, Chittenango Falls and Pratt's Falls were all major hiking spots for Roger and I.

There is a Oneonta Trail here we have to hit since we lived in Oneonta, NY. I have heard several meaning for the word Oneonta. I think it basically means cliffs or a mountain of rock. The pictures of the trail look very exciting.

I buzzed my dog so he wont get so hot this time on the trail. King's Mountain Trail was a little rough on the guy. It was 87 degrees and even us furless folks were pretty hot. We will try and get a nice and early start as well. We purchased two stainless steal water bottles so we will be nice and ready!

I am still looking for a fun place to go caving around here. I tried caving once in Albany, NY and it was pretty nuts. I would like to try something a little less intense but still challenging. 

Monday, August 22, 2011


I wrote this in Arizona. Thought I would share it on here.

Funny Little Quails

Funny little quails,
on top of their heads are their tails,

They dart around in neat little rows,
The little baby quail in tow,

Their bodies look as if they might topple,
But through the brush they are just about unstoppable,

They are funny little quails,
On top of their heads are their tails. 

The Poor Artist Halloween

As fall is rolling in I thought I would talk about my family's frugal but amazing halloween costumes. I found not having a lot of cash to throw around can lead to some of the best costumes ever. I would always try to come up with the most insane idea ever and my mom and aunt would come up with a next to free way to make it happen.

I started getting awesome hand made costumes when I was just a baby. My mother hand sewed me a dragon costume when I was still just crawling. It had cute little bug eyes on top and everything. I looked pretty stink-en cute scooting around in it.

When I was small there was a little thrift store in a near by town called the mustard seed. You would go into this dimly lit store with worn wood floors that I imagine was built in the 1900's. The place was really old and looked as if it had been an old grocery store or something. At the mustard seed you would pay one dollar for a paper bag and what ever you could fit inside the bag was yours for that amazing price.

This was a treasure trove of dress up cloths for me. I had cocktail dresses with bright floral print on them. One was my absolute favorite. I would stand in the middle of the living room and spin in circles to make it fly out around me. The classic A cut 1950's dress would probably be worth a small fortune now days since collecting vintage clothing is a big deal. I kept all of my rhinestone decorated dresses, fur shawls from my great grandmother, purses and gloves in a chest in my room.

Aside from fabulous dress up clothing it was a great place to get supplies for halloween costumes. I decided on year to be a fortune teller. I bought the flimsy mask and a fabulous long black wig but found the complete black lace dress and amazing costume jewelry at the mustard seed. This was just the start though. Both my cousins, brother and I began putting serious time into thinking of things to be and some serious creative time went into making it happen.

The Pickle

Sometimes a costume was so good it would get reused. My cousins had gone out one year as a pickle and my brother reused the costume. The pickle was made from paper mache. It had fantastic rumpled texture to it and was a variegated dark green. It was the sweet kind of pickle in looks. The little ones you get at thanksgiving next to a tray of olives and some other small snack. My brother's whole body fit inside of it with a hole cut around his face and holes for his arms. About a foot of his legs stuck out of the bottom. It is kind of an alarming but funny story. We lived out in the middle of no where and so tricker treating sometimes required driving. The pickle costume was amazing but not super practical for getting in and out of the car so after several struggle stops and starts it was decided my brother would just stay in the pickle costume in the back seat. That night we were heading through the state land to go see my grandparents when my mom hit a deer. I clearly remember the silhouettes of candy flying around and my brother rolling around in the back seat in a giant pickle. No one was hurt. My mom wasn't driving fast at all. It was just a very unusual accident and kind of funny with a giant pickle rolling around in the back. This is a great idea for a classic halloween experiance. You can fit a nice coat under it if your trick-or-treating in a classic New York halloween where it will probably snow and sleet.

Beer Balls

Back in the 80's someone had a brainstorm to make beer balls. These made fantastic halloween costumes. Astronauts were the first things to come to mind. My family drilled holes to breath of corse and created a really awesome astronaut helmet from the giant yellow beer ball. There are other ways to make spherical shaped masks. A not so traditional Chinese dragon type costume and aliens were pulled off by stapling paper Dixie cups with the opening facing out together. This created gigantic hollow balls you could stand in. Cups could be left out as an opening for people to see through. Pipe cleaners glitter and other accessories were added to make it even crazier looking.

Leonardo De Vinci

This was not for halloween but still in the fall. We had to dress up as a famous person, list some facts about them and have our classmates guess who we were. With some old chunky yarn my grandmother had salvaged from something out of the thrift store we made an amazing white beard and wig using a old laundry soap bottle as the structure to attach the beard to. The costume was dead on though and I only had a second of glory as everyone guessed right away who I was.

The Villain For A Science Fiction Play

Also not for halloween but still awesome. I was the bad guy in a science based play for 4H. The villain was from space and was stealing scientist's brains. A colander with christmas lights stuck through it made the most excellent villain brain sucking hat ever.

The Leaf

Another recycled costume was the leaf. Large kind of thin foam was cut out in a leaf shape with a polyester type fabric stretched over it. Two halves were sewn together in a sandwich with arm and face holes cut out. It worked much better then the pickle because it was flexible and easy to slip on and off.


My aunt took the cliché out of the halloween ghost costume by adding a cut out plastic jug to the face of the sheets. She used her artistic talent to transform old laundry soap bottle sides into a plastic face mask. She cut out the eyes nose and mouth pieces and then used a black permanent marker to draw really skeletal looking features onto the plastic mask. The plastic then had the sheet attached around the onside edge and draped down around the rest of the body. I think she tied bailing twine around the waists of the kids  to keep the whole thing lined up correctly. All of these costumes happened a long time ago so some of the details are a little fuzzy. I was also in a sugar coma for most of it.

The Haunted Road

A friend of the family used to shut down their dirt road up in the hills of New York and host a haunted road. My aunt and mom created a barbecue bob prop for this. They used plywood to build three walls that soaped at the front. A large sponge with multiple tones of acrylic paint was dipped and then applied to the plywood to create bricks over the top of a grey base coat. a paper mashe man was maid and placed on a spit in the faux fire pit. My family dressed up as demons and barbecued bob for the haunted road. It was pretty amazing.

The Eyeball

The all time best costume I saved for last. I decided one year I wanted to be an eyeball. My mom took quilting material. The kind with padding attached to cottony filling and cut them into elliptical shapes. She sewed these together to make a sphere. There was a hole left at the bottom and some recycled mesh from a old tent was used on the face. The pupal was where the mesh was used and the rest of the iris was hand drawn with permanent marker as well as some dramatic blood shot veins. The rest of the tent structure was used to give the eyeball structure. The thin plastic pvc pipe that was used to prop the tent was bent in a circle and placed inside the eye to provide structure. This costume won me first place at the  new P & C in Cazenovia NY. I got a barbie doll and was SO happy.

Where there is a will there is a way. Just using the old containers around you can create some pretty amazing costumes. Structure is key and then just having someone artistic apply the details with marker, paint or even glitter gets the job done. Good luck on your projects!