Thursday, April 26, 2007

Head Luthier

Interesting article about Wes Lambe, head luthier at Music Loft. Who knew that he was around during the Civil War? He certainly doesn't show his age.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Appalachian Trail backpacking, Standing Indian to Dick's Creek Gap

Just back from a great hiking trip. Eleven hikers and ‘Gracie’ the border collie hit the trail at Standing Indian Campground in NC on Thursday, April 19th. The hike was a 36.3 miler through some of the most beautiful mountains that NC and GA have to offer. Here we are at the beginning, all fresh and ready to hike:
The weather was spectacular. Sunny and mild during the days and a bit chilly at night. Everyone was well protected from the cold with adequate shelter and clothing. Plenty of water along the way.

The first day, Thursday, we met up with our shuttle service from The Hiawassee Inn in GA. They shuttled the group in 3 vehicles to Standing Indian Campground in time for a 12:45pm start. A few of us took a side jaunt to see the second oldest dead poplar tree (or something like that):We hiked to Betty Creek Gap for a total of 8.5 miles and still had plenty of light left before sunset.

The second day we hiked to Standing Indian Shelter and bedded down for the night. We booked 11.5 miles on Friday. Some ups, some downs and plenty of great vistas to enjoy along the way, like this view off Standing Indian: Wildflowers were just starting to emerge. The leaves on the trees looked to be budding and getting ready to open in a week or so. Our evenings were spent around a beautiful fire having stimulating conversation.

The third day, Saturday, we hiked 9.9 miles and camped just past Rich Cove Gap. Everyone faired well except John ‘da mule’ did a number on his left ankle. It was touch and go as to whether we would shoot him or leave him to the bears. Actually, he made it out nicely with the aid of an ankle brace from Steve ‘gear man’ Miller. (post note: Nothing broken, just a sprain).

We saw plenty of northbound thru hikers while on the trip. Interestingly, when asked how they were doing, a majority responded ‘great’ but many said ‘OK’. The projection is for the ‘greats’ to make the whole 2176 miles and the O.K.’s to drop by the wayside along the way. We were hiking in the critical first 100 miles of their journey from Springer Mountain . We hope for safe travel for all of them. Sunday was our fourth and last day on the trail. We departed the campsite in clusters between 7 and 9am and made it out at Dicks Creek Gap near Hiawassee , GA. around 2pm. Here we are looking a little more ragged than at the beginning:We drove back to the Hiawassee Inn for showers and a cold one before hitting the local ‘all you can eat’ buffet. Arrived back in Raleigh around 8:30pm.

Here are links to various people's photos:
Link 1
Link 2

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

More goslings...

I know, I know, it's ridiculous to post so many pictures of goslings, but I just ...can't ...myself...

I mean, really, folks, how could I resist?


My building at work borders on an idyllic pond environment, and my work area is situated so that if I swivel in my chair, this is my view:
We often walk the pathway that runs between my building and the pond. On March 22nd, we spotted a Canadian Goose nest piled full of eggs on the waters edge right outside my window. We've been anxiously awaiting their arrival, hoping for Easter babies, but no luck.

Yesterday mid-afternoon we walked past and saw little yellow heads peeping out from below momma's wing. This morning when I turned the corner to my desk, there were at least 7 people lined up at the window jostling for a view - mom, dad, and 5 baby geese pecking around in the grass less than 5 feet from the window! Here they are taking their morning constitutional:

And here's the entire gaggle outside the conference room. You tell me, how are we supposed to concentrate on developing a communications plan with this going on outside the window?!

Needless to say, very little work will get done today for all the excitement! For example, we had to stop a meeting to watch one of the little guys clamber up under momma's wing. He shoved his head up there, then the rest of his body, till all we could see were his little feet sticking out and windmilling around searching for traction. The funniest part was when momma got up to walk away, and the little fella plopped out halfway and tumbled along for about a foot. All that work for nothing... Here's a closeup of the lil' nudger:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Neusiok camping trip

Went camping with Lory, Zoe, and Tsehaye last weekend (April 5-7). We had a great time, lots of big adventures:

1. We camped in a "day use only" area. Oops! Probably not the best idea to have a big fire and smores there after hours... The second night we were there, a trooper came by and gave me a warning citation, so I'm officially on the black list of the NC Park system. Bummer. He was super nice, though, and gave us good ideas about where else to camp and tips on the local foliage. And most importantly, it was 8:00 PM and he didn't make us strike camp and move. Thank goodness.

2. Saw a guy riding a horse in the ocean! That was a nice treat. He was also very friendly and let us pet the horse.

3. Survived a super-duper windstorm the second night. Check out the photos, it's hard to believe that there were 4 of us sleeping in that tent while it was nearly flattened.

4. Had a great time at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fischer. Got to touch fish, hear stories about shells, learn about turtles, and much more.

Here are ALL the pictures from the trip on Yahoo!