Daily Archives: April 13, 2015

Immediate concerns

Should be a wetter week in Blue Mountain. Frank and Herman Parks are probably closed off until the weekend. That’ll put me at April 18th, but I might have to go to Mythopolis to help mom that day. Spring is progressing (!). I must think of how to use the Whitehead X-ing environment during warmer weather. I’ve created or traced the Contemplation Loop of the Crossing last August, I believe. Can I walk it more this summer? What about Concreek, which was a successful summer focus in 2012?

Living in the woods during the summer is not an option now. Maybe when I retire I can camp out again. But I have a history of this. In, let’s see, 1982, I lived from May through the middle of September in a tent in woods just west of Blue Mountain State College. Then in May or June 1984 I even built a kind of primitive teepee at another location near Blue Mountain, although I only “lived” there for a month. I stuck an umbrella on top to keep out the rain. Another stay in a tent ensued in August 1984 at roughly the same spot. I remember it being an extremely dry month, rare for August certainly. I have not taken pictures of these places for the blog. Maybe I should. Oh, there’s one of the tent location here (first 5 photos; but I didn’t produce any text for this particular post 😦 ):


Michael Two created several habitats in the local parks, including what I call Michael Won in Frank Park (where I first met him) and then Michael Too as well on a ridge of Wealthy Mtn. in Herman Park.

And now someone is building a teepee at Whitehead Crossing — not Michael Two in all likelihood. Another parallel self? I think so in a way, in a manner. One of my goals before retirement is to secure a location for a woods cabin or shed or equivalent. Perhaps a teepee will suffice.

When I worked at Maynard Jackson’s Cafeteria in the Blue Mountain Mall during the mid-80’s, a number of my friends were living in teepees, an inspiration for my own more humble attempt. Toy happenings have kinda replaced the desired for forest living quarters. But where is all this heading, I ask myself? I’m going to retire not too soon but not too far off in the future. I’ll have more time for camping. The wife will probably not join me for many of these excursions. How about just *buying* a cabin next to the woods. It doesn’t seem the same. Still I must think of practicality.

The woods stays ended when Edna and I began dating in 1986. Houses became a focus. Eventually we bought one, where we still live. A big attraction was the woods to our north, west, south however, that I’d already explored a bit beforehand. This is the intra-hiking space I mentioned in a recent blog post, the one that has been deactivated by neighborhood degeneration. And with it, the dreams of a permanent home in Blue Mountain have evaporated too.

A key word: permanence. Perhaps Frank and Herman Parks can provide it instead.

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Filed under Blue Mountain, Frank Park, Whitehead Crossing

Warmer Weather Hiking

Middletown/Ashville wilds are basically closed up to me until October. Even moreso for Mythopolis: November. I’m stuck with Blue Mountain now in terms of off trail hiking. I’m going to try to extend this into May up here.

What closes them up? The heat for one thing. Wearing shorts is not an ideal situation for off trail (Blue Mountain has a lot of mountain nettles, for example). Gnats for another. And a big one: poison ivy/oak. This goes triple for Middletown. This goes triple times triple for Mythopolis. Up here the poison ivy is around but scarcer. There’s some in Whitehead Crossing, for example, but you can pick your way around it, especially if you have a rough idea of its location beforehand. Growing up in Mythopolis was quite different. There you’d have vast fields of nothing but poison ivy sometimes to deal with. That’s a huge plus for Blue Mountain even in comparison with Middletown, where the poison ivy situation is between the two.

Then we come to the wildlife critters, and I think especially here of snakes. Don’t want to step on a snake in the undergrowth. Now Blue Mtn. has it’s share of snakes for sure, but again Mythopolis trumps it, and Middletown, once more, lies between the two in terms of the risk of stumbling upon one of the feared creatures. When I lived in Durham I found that snakes were all over the place — no chance of practical off trail hiking during summer months atall. In Blue Mtn. — Whitehead X-ing once more — you can get away with it.

So: gnats, poison, snakes. That’s the big 3 in terms of living things. I suppose we should add mosquitoes in with gnats, but they’re not as everpresent.

Other critters I’m semi worried about are bears, but I’ve only run across one in all my hiking days, and I encountered him/her on a designated hiking trail. This is one reason I don’t do a lot of off trail hiking at Granddaddy Mtn. Another is conservancy issues. Bees/hornets are also something to think about, especially ground nests. Wolves/coyotes are around; foxes. And I’ve found what is most likely a skunk hole recently at Drink Lake that I need to avoid in the future. Raccoons might be worth pondering.

The woods are just a more dangerous place in warmer weather. The now foliated trees do not allow rocks to dry as quickly, raising chances of slipping on them when wet. And heavy rain, often unforecasted, comes more frequently in the summer.

And so I don’t accomplish a lot of off trail hiking even in relatively safer Blue Mountain. Now *England* might be different. There’s not many snakes. There is *no poison ivy/oak*. The heat is much less of a problem, and I assume the gnats and skeeters as well. England would be *ideal* for summer, intra-woods hiking. If you had enough woods.

And that’s where the advantage shifts to Blue Mountain, once more. Blue Mtn. has woods in spades. Whitehead Crossing is still a center.

Still rock’n!

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Filed under Blue Mountain, Frank Park, Herman Park, Middletown, Mythopolis, United Kingdom, Whitehead Crossing