Thursday, February 22, 2007

Joe and Kathy's

Looks like the first days of spring, here in Wilmington. Yesterday and today the temperatures were in the 70’s for the first time since I’ve been here. So, I took advantage of the opportunity to hike the woods behind Joe and Kathy’s house. They live between Wilmington and Hampstead and the rumor is that the woods behind their house extend uninterrupted for 10 miles. What a beautiful place to live, among the forest, deer and turkey.

On one hand the hike seems easy enough, just a walk in local woods. On the other hand this is the first time I’ve hiked unfamiliar woods with no maps or trails. And, the terrain was tougher than it seems, with dense undergrowth in areas, creeks and cypress swamps.

I’m not sure how far I went, since the woods were too thick to get consistent readings on my GPS. And apparently I messed up the waypoint, since it still indicated I was 4 miles away and going the wrong way when I arrived back at the house. Thank goodness for the old fashioned compass and navigating by the sun.

Anyway, despite the underbrush, stream crossings and cypress swamps, the hike was enjoyable, with plentiful holly and rhododendron under pine, cypress, gum. And, of course, the water worked with life of all kinds. Here are a few photos.
Flowing creek a few hundred yards from the house
Cypress swamps never cease to intrigue me, with their knees reaching above the water.
A sandhill crane fishing in the swamp

Nature provides a bridge across this part of the swamp.
An endless variety of mushrooms working to decompose downed trees.
More views of the creek and cypress trees.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Around the neighborhood in Wilmington, NC
You probably thought I had stopped hiking since I'm settled in Wilmington. You were nearly right, but I took the opportunity yesterday to explore my neighborhood. While in many ways it is just an ordinary starter subdivision, I found quite a few interesting things to see. Since the area is flat there are drainage ditches and small ponds everywhere. Since it is in a bit of a rural area, there are green areas through and around the subdivision. And, where there is water and green areas there is wildlife.

The pictures above are from a pond just a couple hundred feet from my house, with herons and ducks, along with a hawk who landed on a nearby fence just as I was leaving.
Also, I took these pictures of birds in backyards from the drainage/greenbelt area probably less than 100 yards from my house in the other direction. I believe the two red and blue birds are painted buntings, which I mentioned in my post about the Big Thicket. This proves once again that beautiful things are to be found in the most surprising places. It also proves I have a problem photographing birds, but hopefully it is clear enough you can imagine what they look like. As for the other birds, I'm hoping someone will identify them for me. They were a very interesting shade of light flourscent green when viewed in just the right light.

Then there were the other ponds, drainage ditches and green belts, along with Ogden park, a 15 minute walk from my place. How can you beat that, for a stroll around the neighborhood.
I hope soon to visit Joe and Kathy's, whose house I'm assured backs up to 10 miles of woods just waiting to be explored.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wilmington, Greenfield Lake Trail, Going Soft

Yes, this is the right place. I switched blogging sites and changed the template in the process. No, I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth. I've just been vegging out here in Wilmington, North Carolina with the kids. Nicole, Amanda, Jeannette and I did hike around Greenfield Lake Trail today, so I'll get to a few pictures of that.

Before that, though, I wanted to let everyone know that I've rented a house in Wilmington for 6 months, so my travel will slow down a bit. I do hope to update the blog occasionally to keep everyone up to date, but meanwhile I've started another couple of blogs. You can check them out by clicking on the links to the right.

For the procrastinators who've promised to visit me, but haven't made it yet- I have a spare bedroom again. I'd love to have visitors.

Ok, on to Greenfield Lake, a local park here in Wilmington. It is a beautiful lake surrounded by cypress, magnolias, azaleas, etc. in the heart of town. There also were cranes, herons, ducks and other water birds by the dozens. I'll just let the pictures do the talking.

Walking mates Jeannette, Amanda and Nicole along with Bristol, Jazz, Winston and Chaucer