Saturday, January 15, 2011

Woods Walk

As I have mentioned before, we have a small piece of woods near our house I call Shram's Woods. Ginger loves to walk here as she can get off her leash, smell where ever she wants for as long as she wants and sometimes she is able to play with other dogs who bring their pets into the same woods for a walk.

We try to get into these woods at least once a day. Usually Friday, Saturday and Sunday are my opportunity to have a nice morning walk with Ginger. We do the trail in different ways depending on our mood. We always stop at our Personal Space (PS) to add a stick to the shelter or some kindling to the wood pile. It is a peaceful time.

The woods are made up of pine, oak and hickory mainly. There is a row of sassafras along the field edge and a persimmons tree or two. Holly is scattered here and there. It is a nice woods.

There is a path circling the woods with a few cross paths connecting the edges. It has been widened throughout for quad usage, but they are in there very often.

I enjoy the early morning peace the woods gives me. I love getting into the woods and my bush craft blood starts flowing as we pass the guard rail and strike off the paved school trail that connects the two neighborhoods. It isn't wilderness or remote, but I take what I can get, when I can get it.

We can have fires at the PS and one day soon, I will be trying out my Modular Sleep System (MSS) that I got for Christmas. It is just the Chinese one, but it seems warm enough. A night out in the winter woods, close enough to home so I can abort if needed will be the test.

This morning was very nice. It was a calm 25 degrees and I was dress properly so I stayed comfortable as we did our circuit.

I am most at home and feel the most profound peacefulness as I walk these and just about any woods. It is good.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pittsburgh New Years

I made my annual trek to Pittsburgh to ring in the New Year with my family. This year I was completely alone as everyone else had plans and couldn't come along. I left Baltimore just before noon and arrived in Bellevue after an uneventful trip.

I went over an old school friend's house and drank some beers that night and the next morning I took a walk down to the river. I started out going down River Rd which really isn't a road anymore. It is all torn up and they are dumping a lot of clean fill at the beginning of the road. I made my way down to the tracks and started walking south along the tracks as I carved a wooden spoon I am making. I got to the next road that comes to the tracks and started up that road. I noticed a few turkey tracks and as I got up the road, four of them crossed the road and headed up the hillside. It looked like 3 males and a female. It was a nice walk and when I measured it, it came out at about 2.4 miles.

After a great New Years Party, Tom and I headed back down to the river. This time we decided to head down Carson Ave, which is really just a path that heads under the main road and down to the tracks. Our first obstacle was a gully that had been cut by a broken sewer pipe. We had to drop down about 7 feet or so and it was a little scary. Next, we had to work through a wall of poison ivy branches that were empty, but still potentially poisonous. The path is basically gone after the bridge and I had some problems sliding down the hillside and got a lot of burrs on my jacket, but eventually we got to the tracks and started walking North this time.

We found a little place in the woods next to the river and made a fire. It had been raining all morning and everything was wet. We found some dry locust bark and I used a cotton ball to get something going. I had found some milkweed pods and used that as a tinder and it really flashes up cool like. You really need to mix grass and bark into the milkweed seeds to get a proper fire going. The cotton ball did the trick to have enough flame to get the fire going. It burnt slow and we had to dry out most of the sticks before they would burn, but we had a nice fire.

I had brought along my reusable space blanket, a 55 gal drum liner and some paracord and I set up the blanket as a cover to keep the rain off us. It was a good camp and we hung out for a while then walked up the old road near where we were and it was in just as bad shape as the road near the house. We got back to civilization and walked through the streets back to the house.

Of course I forgot my camera again, so I didn't get any pictures.

Some good bush practice and always a fun time to sit by a fire.