Thursday, September 22, 2016

Working In the Park- Apple Trees and the CCC

It is Time to do Some Dam Work
I thought that title was pretty clever, but it is true. The lake will soon be drained as low as it is during the silt run to allow for work on the main gate.
We were in the park hiking on Monday, and the crews were bringing in equipment. I will keep everyone posted as to the progress and park accessibility.

Red Cliff Trail & Apple Trees
My wife and I first hiked the Red Cliff Trail more than 30 years ago and distinctly remember several apple trees near the walk bridge at the low point on the trail. The past few years we have looked and have been unable to find any sign of the trees. Well thanks to some friends, we have found, a single, quite large, apple tree in the area.
Now I would like to know how and who. Who planted it? The tree sets in heavy growth, all alone, meaning either it is self-pollinating, or we just did not find another. It is a foot or more in diameter and looks to be 20 or more feet tall, a fair size for and apple. And it produced apples.
There were a bushel or more on the ground and many still on the tree. We each tried one, and they were quite good.

Did the CCC Plant it?
As Shakespeare once said, that is the question, who planted it. We know the Civilian Conservation Corps planted millions of trees nationwide and hundreds in Guernsey State Park. Did they plant apple trees along this area of the trail long called the enchanted forest? I hope so. It would be interesting to find this trees story, is it old enough to have been here nearly a 100 years? Some of the old fruit trees did last a century or more. Maybe it could have grown naturally from a fallen apple from a CCC planted tree. Not sure anyone knows but it does make the hike interesting and the munching deer happy to have apples along the way. A few years ago, as part of my Master Gardener training, we grafted fruit trees and listened to an expert talk about historical fruit trees in the state. Think I will look him up and see what he has to say.
The Apples Tasted Pretty Good

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Round Top Mountain Hike

A Hike In The Park

Vitamin C In the Wild

Yesterday was cloudy, cool and at times, a bit of mist dampened the air. We missed too many hiking days this summer, with all the too hot days, and were not about to pass up a day in the high 40s.

Seems These Guys Are Always Watching When We Are Hiking - Maybe They Know Something We Don't

Round Top Mountain Trail

We stopped in at the Museum, always a great stop then headed up Round Top Mountain which is behind, directly east of the Museum.

CCC Worker Statue and Flags at the Museum

There was a CCC trail up to the top at one time but it has disappeared over the years. We first visited the park in 1983, and the trail was mostly gone then, now it is quite difficult to find.

The First of Two Sets of CCC Steps on the Trail

Hiking Can Be All About The View

I have often wondered why people use some trails and ignore others. Most hikers get to the top of Round Top Mountain now by walking the old road up. It is a pretty easy walk and offers some terrific views of the dam, powerhouse, and river.

Powerhouse and Glory Hole Spillway View From the Top

We hiked up to the top using the old trail, guessing where we couldn’t find it then followed the old road down, looped around to Evergreen Glade Trail and followed it back to the Museum. The entire hike can be finished in about an hour and is a nice, first hike of the year trail.

Foggy View of the RR Bridge on the North Platte River

Hey, You !  Take A Hike

We love Fall it is the best time to hike the great Guernsey State Park Trails. 
It Was a Perfect Day for Wildlife Viewing

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Enjoy The Park and a Free Read Too

I thought some of the loyal followers of this blog might want to know what else I have been up to. Here it is, hope you enjoy.

FREE – Download a free copy today & all weekend of  my newest western short.

Late Fall 1928 – Dodge City, Kansas
With the sun in early stages of setting in the west, a smallish and withered old man looked up from the rutted dirt street at the false-fronted building and smiled. It was in an old building, with some kind of blue or green peeling paint, his old eyes could no longer see a difference.  In all ways, the building was similar to those he remembered from decades ago. Maybe this would not be as bad as he expected. He tapped lightly on the door, beside the sign that read open, and walked in.
Once inside he pulled off his hat, squinted, trying to adjust to the lack of light indoors, then sat across from the reporter. The old man thought for a few eye blinks, about the first question then nodded yes, he shook his head no at the second question. He hadn’t said much over the past 60 years and now he was expected to answer questions from a young reporter, and a female at that. She smiled and wrote a few words in her notebook; he doubted that she wrote a yes and then a no.
Want to Read on?

Find it here – a nice 15-minute read – Read it while watching your favorite football team this weekend.
Enjoy the Day

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Morning On The Lake

We spent a wonderful morning on the lake today. Although we spent many hours in the park each week my wife and I have not been out on the lake for many years. How many? We believe the last time we were on the lake in a boat was in the late 1980s or early 90s. That would make it 25 or 30 years ago, quite a long time.
Out For A Ride, Billy at the Helm, Brandy as First Mate
Jan and I Passengers 

This morning we accepted an invitation from our friends to take a spin around the lake. The weather was beautiful, a bit of wind made the water ripple but not too much. After so many years of not being on the lake, I made a few observances.

First, the part of the lake that cannot be seen except by boat is much larger than the part that can be seen.
Blue Mountain Water

Second, the stonework by the CCC is incredible and much of it, especially the culverts on Lakeshore drive are a picture of workmanship.
This Culvert Almost Looks Like the Wall of A Great European Castle

Third, the bridge on Skyline drive is one of the great far off views in the park.
The Far Off Notch in the Line of Small Mountains is the Bridge
Photo From West Side of Lake

Fourth, wildlife does not look for danger from the water.
Paying No Attention To Us

Fifth, I have complained on this site before about the Vultures circling every time we hike. I keep telling them we are not that old, not yet or not quite. Well, today they seemed to simply sit and wait. But, once again we got away.
Vulture Giving Us a Look as Possible Lunch When We Cruised Past

After a terrific boat ride I watched a high school football game live, then some college football on television. We then took a football break and drove around on the west side of the park. 
And a Nice Rainbow and a Few Sprinkles as We Left the Park

Then it was home because the cowboys will be playing on television later.