Friday, August 31, 2012

Go Annex Yourself!

First, I saw this posted online.  A few days later a physical copy showed up in my mailbox.

The city wants to annex my neighborhood.  Why would I want that?

Apparently they are going to save me money and provide me with more services!  Hoorah!

Wait!  So I am going to pay less and get more?  Is there a catch?

On second thought I'll stay where I am.  OUTSIDE of the city limit.  Thanks for the offer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hiking Section 1

It was time to get back in the woods so Randy and I took a backpacking trip on the Foothills trail.  We hiked part of the first section of this 76 mile trail.  Section one starts at Table Rock State Park and heads toward Sassafras Mountain.  The stretch is roughly 10 miles long, but we had a shorter hike in mind.
Boulder that looks like the bow of a ship.
Camping in the state park is only allowed in their campgrounds.  Backpacking, or trail side camping is not allowed so we decided to hike the trail for about five miles.  That was far enough to get us outside the boundary of the state park.
Taking a break on the trail.
We hiked uphill all afternoon and we were rewarded with some great views.  The dog was doing pretty well overall.  There were a few times when she was on the leash that she would pull me one way or another but once we cleared the park and I didn't anticipate many other people and released her to walk on her own.
Standing on a large bald area looking back toward Table Rock.
We walked near the top of the Drawbar cliffs and then started downhill for about a 3/4 of a mile.
Looking over Drawbar cliffs.  Somewhere below the rock wall is where we would camp.
As we arrived in an area of huge boulders it started raining.  Within a few minutes it was thundering and the rain was coming down pretty steady.  I covered up our packs and Randy grabbed a tarp.   A few minutes later we had the tarp strung up between some trees and we watched it rain from there.
This would be our camp.
Our camp.
Fooling around under the tarp while it was raining.
Another angle of our camp.  Notice the large boulders surrounding us.
I tried a fire after the rain and actually got it going pretty well after a lot of work. After dinner we walked down the trail a little ways and hung our food.  It's kinda like a pinata for bears.
Follow the white rope in the center of this photo.  You will see a small bag between two tree trunks.  That's how you hang food!
Shortly after getting our food hung it started raining again. The rain steady rain was enough to completely wipe out the fire.   By 9pm we were in bed.
Getting dark.  This was before the final rain.  You can see the fire glowing on the left. 
Randy was in a hammock under his tarp, my tent was nearby, and the dog slept under the hammock.  Everything seemed great.  Everything except the giant root that I had placed my tent over.

At midnight I awoke to hard rain.  Did I mention there was no rain in the forecast, yet this was the third rain of the evening? Randy was getting some water in his hammock so he ran into the tent with me.  The dog stayed under the tarp.  There was no way I was letting a dog in my tent.

Thankfully no bears ate us or our food through the night.  After recovering our food bag and having breakfast we broke camp and headed back the way we came.  It was a quiet morning on the trail and we didn't see too many people on our way back to the car.   We did see a few small snakes, including one that had me scream like a girl when I almost stepped on it.
This is known as the Lighthouse.  It's a shallow cave at the base of Drawbar cliffs.  This was about a tenth of a mile from our camp.  With all the rain, we should have probably taken shelter in there.
Here's Randy collecting some water from a (low flow) waterfall into his filter bottle.
Our total trip was around 10 miles long and we saw some amazing scenes of nature.  Even with the rain we had a fantastic trip.  It just reminded me how much I missed being on the trail.
 This is looking back toward Table Rock.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

More to come!

Today's post is more teaser for later in the week than actual post.
Randy and I went backpacking on the Foothills Trail this weekend.  I would have typed up a post while we were out there sitting in the rain but I forgot my keyboard.
More stories of our adventure coming up in a few days.   Followed by video of our trip by the end of the week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Last Party Before School

Last weekend was the last weekend before school would start so we took one more day trip to end the summer. 

Our trip took us to Helen, Ga for a day of tubing in the river.  
Tubing in Helen is a great family activity for a few reasons.  It's relaxing floating down the cool river, the kids love it, and it only costs $15 for all of us to go!

We had a great time and plenty of company on the river during a beautiful day.  What a fantastic way to end the summer.  Now the kids can go back to school!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Get Wet!

As we continued to take my brother on a tour of the area last week we hit up downtown Greenville.  It's a great city to walk around.  We stopped at the Mast General Store for some candy before heading over to the park to see the Reedy Falls. 

Along the way we stopped at this fountain that the kids like to play in.  My youngest asked if she could get in.  We didn't have any towels or dry clothes for her so I said, "Sure!  Go for it!"  Five seconds later she had her shoes off and was soaked to the bone.  

She looked at me and said, "This is the best day ever!"  
There must be something about splashing around while fully dressed.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

YouTube this Week!

Here's a find that I think you'll enjoy.

This girl's name is Lindsey Stirling and I just found her music on YouTube.  She's an amazing talent and does some really interesting things to make great music.

I had a hard time choosing which video I wanted to share of hers, but chose this one because it is a lot different than how you normally hear violin.  She also has a great video of her remix of Phantom of the Opera that I suggest you watch.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Visitors from Another State

My brother and his family joined us for a few days last weekend.  They have never been to our house before, so we took the opportunity to show them a few things we like about the area.

First up was hiking to a waterfall.  During this hike we challenged each other to climb a fallen tree.  Not a problem for the teen.  He jumped up and stretched his arms out for a photo.  My brother on the other hand didn't have such an easy time with it.
After a bit of "almost there" moments, he fell and cut his leg.  That ended the game instantly.  It wasn't a terrible "take me to the hospital" kind of cut, but it was enough to end the game.  Thankfully I didn't have to prove if I could climb the tree or not.
We made it to Yellow Branch falls without much more incident but I was hoping we would see more water coming over the rocks.  There had been some thunderstorms rolling through almost every afternoon but it must not have been enough.
It's still impressive to sit at the base of a cliff with water streaming over the edge.
We saw some other hikers leaving as we got there.  A few minutes later, a lady had come back to the falls and told me to watch for a Copperhead snake laying on a log.  She said her friends poked it with a stick and tried to make it leave, but it was stubborn.  Great.  Now we'd be walking past an angry poisonous snake.  Sure enough on our way out, there was the snake.  Laying on a log.  
After escaping the venomous snake we made it back to the trail without injury.

Welcome to South Carolina!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shoeless Racing

While we were watching the band practice at the high school stadium last week my brother, nephew, and I started trash talking each other about having a race around the track.  This continued as we got home and the talk became about a race around the block.

A few minutes later the race (approx .6 miles) was arranged and we were lining up.  That's when my brother decided he didn't have the proper footwear and would just go barefoot.  To make a fair race, we all went barefoot and everyone not racing came out of the house to watch the excitement.

At the top of the hill my nephew had a decent lead with me in second.  As we went down the hill he extended his lead and by the half mark I was already losing sight of him.  I was getting pretty tired and I was ready to walk for a stretch.  Before slowing down, I looked back and saw my brother.  He wasn't that far behind me.  If I slowed down at all he would be all over me.

I ran to the 3/4 mark and looked back again.  He was gaining on me.  The next section would be uphill and I was hoping to gain some ground on him there.  I pushed harder and wouldn't allow myself to walk.  By the top of the hill I had pulled the gap to what it previously was.  My nephew had already finished.

In the driveway, the non-runners were cheering us on and I noticed that the neighbor had joined the group.  I certainly wasn't going to walk the last stretch now.  I ran the last flat section to finish in second.

We didn't earn any trophies that evening.  Just blisters.  Maybe next time we'll wear shoes.  Maybe.

Friday, August 10, 2012

End of Day!

After a long and crazy day at work I scroll my cursor to the lower left of the screen, I click the "shut down" button, and I start packing up.  After packing up I reached over to close my laptop and I stare at the screen.  It is time to go home.  Certainly the IT department could have pushed through an update at 8am.  Maybe even 1 pm.  But at 5 pm?  That's just not fair.

It got me thinking.  These IT guys are all huddled up in a dark room looking at their monitors.  They see it's coming up on 5pm and they've been answering stupid questions all day.  They push out eight updates, high-five each other and head home for the day.

I see how it is.  This game isn't over yet.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Faux Food Fight

For tonight's trick I will spit a grape into my son's mouth.  Drum roll please.

Monday, August 06, 2012


I thought I would spend some time this weekend catching up on the Olympics.  We've been watching off and on all week and I was hoping to see some more great events on the weekend.  Saturday and Sunday I was most excited to see the women's and men's tennis gold medal matches.

As it turns out, it seems like the majority of the times I turned on NBC to see what was happening I was presented a volleyball match.  Beach volleyball.  Indoor volleyball.  Men's volleyball.  Women's volleyball.  It started to feel like that was all that was happening in London.

I was getting news alerts on my phone that the men's track events were happening and some other things, but I guess we can't watch those things in real time in America.  We have to check out the next variety of volleyball.  Maybe they'll show us track events at 11pm after I go to bed.

Between all the volleyball matches, they did manage to show us the tennis games I was hoping to catch, so I guess I can't complain too much.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Moby Dick

I finished reading the book yesterday so I watched the movie last night.

As you would expect, the book was better.  It's just that the book had so much more detail and a lot of events from the book were not in the movie.  I kept waiting for such and such a part to happen, and it never did.

If you never read the book, I would recommend it.  But warning.  It's kinda set up like this:

action. whale anatomy. whale anatomy. action.  history of whaling. action. details on processing a whale at sea.  Importance of whaling.  action.  action. action.