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One week from today I leave for Washington and Oregon – 48th and 49th state to visit.  My nephew and his girlfriend are coming along and I’m happy to have the company.  We’ll be backpacking in Olympic National Park – The Enchanted Valley trail and the Columbia River Gorge – The Eagle Creek Trail.  Nervous?  You bet. Have I mentioned the longest I’ve hiked in the past… ohhhhhh 20 years.. is about two miles???  Yep.  Of course, that doesn’t count the craft fair that comes to the Oklahoma City Fair Grounds every fall and spring.  It fills about seven of the buildings and I walk every single building, every single aisle!  Ends up being about five miles carrying armfuls of purchases!  LOL Does that count?  I’m just sayin…  But I digress.. I have wanted to go on this type of backpacking trip for years and years but never can find anyone to go with me and as a beginner backpacker I’m figuring going alone is not such a good idea.

I’ve been doing a lot of preparation… uhmmm not physical preparation mind you.. research.. the good stuff.. researching which trails to choose… what to bring… I’ve even been reading some fun books like A Walk in The Woods by Bill Bryson.  Hysterical and interesting recounting of the author’s trip on the AT (that’s how we backpackers refer to the Appalachian Trial).  I’ve also downloaded an Audible Book Lost: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trial (what we Backpackers would refer to as the PCT).  It’s not beyond my notice that most of my preparations involve sitting on my hiney.  That may be a problem.  But I’ll worry about that tomorrow (ala Scarlett).

All the prepping started, as usual, with a list.  I like using the spreadsheet function of Google Documents to keep my lists.  Especially if I plan on sharing the list with others because it’s simple to do via Google Docs.  If I don’t plan on sharing a list and want to easily sync between my Mac, my iPad and my iPhone then  an App I like to use is Wunderlist.   Once I completed THE list, I began making spin off lists… lists of stuff I already had.. lists of what I needed.. divided by the stores I needed to get them from… ahhhhh lists, glorious, lists.

So, here’s all my gear laid out on the table so I can check it against my master list prior to packing.  Click here to go to a picture where you can rollover each item and find out what it is and where to get it.  The picture doesn’t include my food or clothes.  Also missing from the picture are my “bear rope” to tie food and anything else that smells in the trees so the bears can’t get it, my Big Agnes Camp Chair, trashbags, whistles and all my techie stuff (iPad, camera, iPhone – the essentials!).

This is going to be an adventure!!!


A Serendipitous Obsession.. and Trail Report

If you have not tried, you are missing out!  I sooooo wish I’d had this app this past summer for my trip to Scotland.  Oh well.  Download the app for  your iPhone (and probably the Android too, you’ll have to look) and go ahead and pay the $3.99 for the “pro”.  Don’t be a cheapskate.  It plots your path (cycling, hiking, walking, travel by plane, train or automobile!) and if you use a geotag enabled phone or camera (like the iPhone or this 14.1mp Casio point and shoot) it plots your photos along the trail – and it’s easy.  Yes, yes, I know that the site has been doing it for years but absolutely not as user friendly as this app.  I stumbled across it while I was looking for some day hikes to do next summer either in Italy or Scotland (again).  You can even write/read extensive “guides” to some exciting places to visit.  Love your hometown?  You too can write a guide to entice others to visit.  The site is pretty intuitive in navigation and has some help pages for reference.  Try it out.  You won’t be sorry.

TRAIL REPORT:  I went to a conference in Arkansas this week and talked my colleague/friend into stopping for a short interpretative walk on the Serendipity Trail in Oden, Arkansas which is near Hot Springs.  It was a beautiful crisp fall day and a perfect place to experiment with my new obsession.  The Serendipity Trail is an interpretive nature walk.  The trail has two parts, A and B, that are shaped like the number 8.  Part A is the bottom half of the 8 and Part B is the top half.  You can just do Part A and it’s about a mile walk.  If you add Part B, the entire walk is about 1.8 miles.  The trail is graveled with several benches along the way.  Part B will take you to a scenic overlook and Part A takes you by a small pond.  Plenty of information about the flora and fauna is posted along the trail.  It’s an easy trail with Part B having a small bit of elevation.  Without further adieu I bring you the Serendipity Trail!  Click Here.

I’m still working out a couple of bugs with my new obsession.  For example, I want to embed the code so the trip shows on the blog but am having a bit of problem due to WordPress restrictions.  Hopefully, I’ll get some good help from the EveryTrail forum and all will be well.

This is the view we woke up to that morning… fog on the lake… the moon in the sky… magical!

View over the lake...

After our walk, we drove the Talimena Highway and we saw some color but were clearly pass the peak of the color.  My friend has a convertible and, although the temperature was about 55 degrees, we put the top down and enjoyed the sun.  It was a great day.

Talimena Scenic Drive

View from the Talimena Scenic Byway

Beautiful Day for a Drive

Beautiful Day for a Drive