Happy 50th Birthday, Earth Day!

Two weeks ago Kristina and I went for a hike to celebrate Earth Day. Since we hadn’t had gone out on Easter Sunday the previous week – due to cold, stormy weather – we brought along our Easter baskets and boiled eggs and had a picnic.

We hiked to one of our favorite places. It’s nameless on the map, but we since we always seem to see coyote tracks there and once saw a coyote nearby we named it Coyote Canyon. We enjoy getting photos of coyotes and other animals with the trail camera that we have positioned there.

As we hiked I realized that while some things along the way were very familiar to me there were other things that I’d either forgotten about or never noticed before. I had thoughts like “I don’t remember noticing that little ledge before”. It’s fun to go back to the same area on a regular basis for the comfort of the familiar and the excitement of things that are new or hadn’t been noticed before.

Visiting natural areas and getting to know them can inspire us to want to protect them. And wanting to protect individual areas can help us to want to protect this great Earth that we live on.

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day here are fifty photos, with notes, from our hike (if you click on the first photo you can look at each of them one at a time as a slideshow and read the notes).

 

An Outstanding Feature

Employees of the Ashley National Forest (the Ashley) are working on a forest plan revision, and as part of that process they’ve been inventorying and evaluating areas for potential addition to the national wilderness preservation system.

Ever since I was a child I’ve felt passionate about wild places, Continue reading

Wonderful Lives

Kristina and I have made an annual holiday tradition of watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” – with its message about one person’s life making a difference to so many other lives. This seems especially pertinent to me now because over the past several months so many people I was connected with passed away – including a couple of cousins, three aunts, and my blacksmithing teacher – and I’ve thought about how each of them made a difference to me and to the other people around them. Continue reading

Oh Christmas Tree!

I’ve been humming “Oh Christmas Tree” a lot this year. It started two days after Thanksgiving, when Kristina and I went to the mountains to do a little skiing. After so much time preparing food, and so much time eating food, an outdoor adventure seemed like a good idea. I knew I could use some fresh air Continue reading

Thanksgiving on the Beach

As we start this new year I’ve been thinking about the past year. 2016 was a big year for Kristina and I as we got married and started our new life together. It was a year of a lot of firsts, including our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. We decided that rather than celebrating with either of our families it would be fun to celebrate a Thanksgiving with just the two of us – or almost just the two of us, since we were including our three dogs – Leo, Charlie, and Harley. We rented a cozy little cabin from some people who were kind enough to let us bring the dogs.

We did a lot of our cooking in advance, so we would have more time for other activities on Thanksgiving Day, and we decided a fun activity would be driving to nearby Moon Lake and spending some time there.

We drove through the Moon Lake Campground and took a little road down to the beach, where we got out with our dogs and walked, and ran, through the snow to the edge of the lake. As we made our way along the shore I spotted an old torn tennis ball and picked it up. Leo loves tennis balls and was ready to play with this one, so we took his leash off and started throwing the ball for him. We were grateful for that ball, because we had much fun playing fetch with Leo there on the beach, and it gave us a chance to work on Leo’s training at being off-leash (we knew the game would keep him with us). Running around on a snowy beach must not be everybody’s idea of fun, because we had the whole place to ourselves. The quiet and solitude were great!

We left the beach and drove down to an old side-road, no longer open to vehicles, that I was familiar with. Kristina and I and the three dogs hiked up the road a ways, enjoying the spectacular mountain scenery as we went. It felt so good to be out in the fresh mountain air. We returned to the car and headed back for the cabin, ready for a feast and some relaxation.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all kinds of healthy organic foods – including beets from our own garden. I was amazed at how sweet and delicious our apple pie was, with not a bit of sugar added – just the natural sweet-tart flavor of Granny Smith apples.

After dinner we played some intense rounds of a board game called Octi. It’s a great strategy game that my family discovered years ago, but that I hadn’t played for a long time. Kristina had never played it before but quickly caught on, and we each had our share of wins and losses.

Kristina and I both see the importance of spending time without the distraction and interference of electronic devices – and, other than a quick call to each of our families, we didn’t spend any time on our phones. And we didn’t watch any television or connect to the internet. Electronics seem to take over people’s lives so much! The Monday after Thanksgiving one of my students told me that her family was together on Thanksgiving weekend and that they were all doing things separately on their phones – when suddenly the wi-fi went down. She said that with no wi-fi they started socializing with each other… but then the wi-fi came back on they each went back to their phone. What a shame that the wi-fi had to come back on!

I’m so thankful to have married a wonderful woman who sees the importance of spending quality time together – and who enjoys running with dogs, and her husband, on a snowy mountain beach.