Sunday, July 25, 2010

Left Behind

"Are you kidding?" I asked frozen in disbelief. No, she wasn't kidding. "Leave No Trace," I’d heard that somewhere before. Through a fog of incredulity I tried to imagine how the phrase might be applied to me.

“Some people even carry out their solid waste."

Shit. Solid waste? “As in, they shit in a bag and carry it out with them?" I asked.

Tara nodded.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Well Marked Trail: AT 4.1

We tumbled out of the car, clicked a picture of ourselves and headed for the wide beaten path. It had been a while, and by golly, we were just happy to be out on the trail again.

“Huh," I told Tara, "they've switched to plastic trail markers." A hundred yards later the trail butted up to a chain link fence running north to south. We pulled our hats over our ears against the mid-October chill and headed north.

“This doesn’t feel right,” said Tara, “there aren't enough trail markers.”

We back-tracked nearly all the way to the parking lot.

“Well there aren’t as many blazes as we’re used to, but the AT marker is plain as day,” I said.

*Note to self, never listen to me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pink Piss & Mosquito Mystique

I thought I knew it all. Mosquitoes bite. They annoy. They carry disease. In their larval state, they wriggle about in puddles. And the vicious little beasties are found worldwide. Sound about right?

Wrong. As it turns out I knew very little about mosquitoes.

Have you ever seen a mosquito sipping nectar? I thought not. It is, however, the meal of choice for most mosquitoes. Their diet is quite similar to that of the butterfly.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wild Wandering Efts

There is nothing more American than a little rebellion. In honor of Independence Day, I’m protesting the misuse of the word red.

There seem to be two definitions of red, the standard, “red, white and blue” and the more troubling red as in “red head.” This second use of the word is wrong.

In a wave of patriotic fervor, let’s clean up our language starting with a name change for the Red Eft. Let’s call it like we see it. I hereby declare the salamander formerly known as the Red Eft is now the Explosively Orange Eft.

Whatever you call it, this eft makes an arresting sight on drab rainy moist days in the woods. Neon orange is more than striking against the backdrop of browns, grays and greens of the forest. Even their slow side-winding walk is deliciously alluring. It draws you in, but don’t do it. Don’t kiss the “Red” Eft.