What should we name our new pet?

ImageThe flowers are gone – many succumbed to the heavy frost that we experienced this past week,  but more than a few ended up being dinner for this lonely deer who has visited with some regularity the past few days.  By all rights, we should be angry with this guy, but we just can’t seem to adopt that point of view.  Perhaps, after living in town for 13 years, the country experience, including bear and deer in the yard is still just too exciting.    We already made the decision to focus on flowers rather than vegetables – due to a combination of limited sunlight and  the ever  present  population of  deer, rabbits  etc.   But it is still somewhat disappointing to arrive home to find that all that remained of the sunflower which had reached a height of 3 feet was a bare stalk measuring no more than 12 inches….


So we considered our options..   yell at it,   throw something at it,  ( not allowed to shoot it ) ,  chase it away,    feed it an apple….    well,  I am reminded of those tests that we took in school long ago  – look at the four pictures and decide which one does not belong..    –    hmm  what is he eating now?   Our new friend looks absolutely delighted..    No doubt, we will be kicking ourselves next summer  if he reappears to munch on our flowers..  but look how content he is!


A new Adventure…


Last night my wife and I began to discuss local trails and which ones might be good candidates for today.  The weather prediction was for a beautiful day, with temps no higher than 80 degrees.   For those not familiar with the recent weather pattern in north east PA, this is an incredibly welcome change!

After discussing a few options, we resurrected an idea from the past… the Loyalsock Trail.    We thought that we might use this trail to begin backpacking trips, but that plan never materialized.   So, instead of a multi-day trip,  we decided to tackle the trail through a series of day hikes.    The LT has a length of just under 60 miles, and its western trail head is about 90 miles from home.   

The first section of the trail is  4.8 miles.   We parked at the end of this section and walked the  1.3 miles along the road  to the beginning of the trail.   This served as a welcome warm-up.  We signed in and immediately began to climb.  Image

And we continued to climb for the first mile or so, taking a break for  a handful of gorp or a special photo from time to time.   You can tell by the fresh smile on my wife’s face that this was taken near the beginning of the hike!

Near the top of the climb is a spot known as sock rock..Imagea great place to stop for a snack!   When we were about to resume our hike, we heard a ruckus in the woods just behind us.  We paused, and then turned to continue.  As soon as we did, we heard more noise and turned to see to fawn  cross our path about 20 yards behind us.   No sign of the mother, but there is no doubt that she was close at hand.


We soon reached a level part of the trail  and picked up the pace.  Stopping for lunch at a nice soft spot and then continuing on to an area where we caught glimpses of the valley below.  Image  Just at the 3 mile mark, we heard a crashing noise ahead of us.   Something large had escaped down the steep embankment to our right.  We could not see anything, but we heard a grunting noise.  Each time we proceeded ahead,  we could hear movement below us, followed by more grunting.   Our guess is that it was a bear, but we do not have any experience with them, so it is difficult to say with much certainty.

We began a descent which was steep at times.   We were both happy to have brought along  a hiking pole to assist with the climbs.    In time, the sound of a stream  signaled that we were near the end of the day’s journey.    During the entire time on the trail, we did not encounter another human being.   

The goal that we set for ourselves was to complete the trail by the end of this year.   That may be slightly ambitious simply because the trail is a long way from home.  We may try to spend a couple of weekends camping in the area so that we can knock off major chunks of the trail.    Regardless of how long it may take us to hike the entire trail, it is a worthwhile goal which will help us to focus our planning for outdoor experiences throughout the rest of the summer and early fall.   Wish us luck!   jt


last year’s bear

last year's bear

this is for Flo, who is crazy about bears! You can see the bird feeder hanging above the window.. well, the bear spied it too.. climbed up the scaffolding ( i have yet to build the stairs to the deck ) and tried his hardest to get the feeder.. This was a curious bear, with that white necklace.. He ended up settling for our compost bucket which he dragged off into the woods. I am afraid that he was a bit disappointed with the few scraps that were in it…