Archive for the 'Outdoors' Category

Playing a little golf

Monday, October 30th, 2006

RT and I played 9 holes of golf yesterday afternoon with our son.  What fun!  My score for nine holes was 63.  It’s one of the few times I’ve kept an accurate score.  I tend to skip holes occasionally or give up on a hole after a few swings.  I actually made par on hole two, had a couple bogies and two double-bogies (which, for me, is excellent).  On hole #8, I kept “hitting the big ball before hitting the small ball” and ended up with TWELVE strokes on that one hole.  Other than that, though, I had a good game.  The last hole is over water — and my first ball went right into the water.  The second made it over, though – and I was thrilled about that.  The best aspect of playing golf – other than being outside on a beautiful day – was being with RT and Joey.  They both are so funny.  We laughed and joked around the whole time.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a good day.  Sunday School and church in the morning with the two grandkids, then lunch with our entire little family (daughter, son-in-law, son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters), then the game of golf followed by a quick walk on the land.  A very good day.

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The Sweet Sleep of Camping

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

RT and I went camping Friday night. We camped at the building site for our new house – which is less than three miles from where we’re living now.

The air was crisp, the fire was warm, and the mood was relaxing. There is something about relaxing by a campfire and listening to the night sounds around me that makes me chill out. I could feel anxieties and worries literally draining away.

We have a routine for setting up camp. I set up the tent – a quick and easy job – while RT gathered firewood and got the campfire going. Friday night, since we didn’t have a hammer with us, RT came around to give the tent stakes a final boot-shove to make sure they were deep enough. Once the fire burned long enough to have a good bed of coals, we started dinner.

Dinner Friday night was hoppin’ john (black-eyed peas, mild Ro-tel, sliced turkey sausage). Hoppin’ john traditionally includes rice, but I forgot the rice and it was great without it. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten any camp food that wasn’t delicious. There’s just something about food that’s been cooked over a campfire that makes it wonderful.

After dinner we heated water so RT could have some hot chocolate and I could have my camomile tea. Then we just sat by the campfire talking, sipping our drinks and enjoying the peace and quiet. Comfortable. . . relaxing . . . soothing.

We’ve got our camping “sleep system” figured out. We have two twin-sized inflatable mattresses and a cordless pump. It takes me about a minute to inflate both mattresses. I’m careful not to inflate them too much so that they will be cushiony rather than hard. That’s the secret! The tent is small – and both mattresses side-by-side completely fill up the width of the tent. There’s still a foot or so of space at the foot of the mattresses for our other stuff. We put our sleeping bags and pillows on top of the air mattresses, and we’re good to go.

As it got later, the air got colder, but we were warm and snug and slept wonderfully. There is something about sleeping outside on a cold night in a tent. As long as the bed is comfortable, the sleep is deep and restoring.

Breakfast Saturday morning was bacon, eggs and biscuits. The bottom of the biscuits were burned black, but the tops were perfect.

Another fun camping trip in the books.

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Going Camping

Friday, October 6th, 2006

(Note: Two weeks ago I wrote the following post and posted it. However, we ended up having to change our plans. TONIGHT we will finally go camping. No rain is forecast – but that’s okay. So I’m changing the date stamp on this post so it’ll show up for today! he he he I guess that’s the easy way to get a post in today – plus let my thousands of loyal readers – he he – know what I’m doing.)

(Originally posted on 9/22/06 – date changed and reposted on 10/6/06)

RT and I have decided to go camping tonight. It’s supposed to rain, but as RT said this morning, that just adds to the fun of it. Amazingly enough, I agree with him. And I can’t believe that I truly agree with him. However, I’m looking forward to camping tonight and I hope it rains.

Here’s a photo from last fall when RT and I camped near the Ocoee River which is near Chattanooga. We stayed at a state campground then. Tonight we’ll be camping at the site where we plan to build our home. So tonight’s camping will be a little more rustic than this photo.

Camping on our land is decidedly easier now than it was last year. Since last year RT has built a road that will take us right to the place where we will camp. We also put a picnic table up there which will make things a little easier. I’m looking forward to it. Food tastes so good cooked over a campfire, and the sleep is so sweet.

If you’re curious about my other camping adventures, follow some of these links:
Traveling the Backroads of Middle Tennessee – Camping?
Satellite dishes next to the tent
Tents, sleeping bags, lanterns, camp stoves
Preparation for camping – putting up a tent
The Camping Trip
Another Camping Trip & Another Birthday Party
Camping With PawPaw
Ocoee Camping
The Camping Trip – Lightning, Thunder and Rain, OH MY!
Winter Camping and Weekend Fun

LATER NOTE: Change of plans. No camping this weekend – will try again soon, though.

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A Wedding Photo

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Our Wedding
Here is a photo of RT’s and my wedding at McHugh Park outside of Anchorage on September 5th. Don’t you love my wedding gown? -) I TOLD you it was very casual. However, it was beautiful and meaningful, too. There was a waterfall behind us -the ocean (actually a bay) in front of us – and the ceremony was incredible.

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The wedding that DID happen

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

While I was downstairs at the hotel in Anchorage writing the previous post, RT was upstairs in the room on the phone. When he puts his mind to it, the man can get things done! And that’s what he did. Within a couple hours, we had a minister, a location for the wedding, a professional photographer, and new wedding clothes – since by that time the only clean clothes left were our absolutely least favorites.

I firmly believe that God works things out in His own time. Neither RT nor I felt “right” about how things worked out at Camp Denali. They said they could still do the ceremony, but it sounded like it was questionable as far as being legal. Someone was going to make it look like the copy of the marriage license was received prior to the wedding – or something like that. Who wants a wedding of questionable legality?

So we didn’t get married there. And it really wasn’t a big deal because neither of us felt that it was the thing to do.

RT found a minister in Anchorage who was happy to perform the ceremony. NOT a Methodist minister because the one he talked with didn’t even ask any questions, just very stiffly said NO Methodist minister would perform a wedding without a minimum of three counseling sessions. He wasn’t interested in any details of our story. I’m glad he was so obnoxious, though, because otherwise things wouldn’t have happened the way they did.

The minister – Michael Mitchell – was perfect! He’s a retired minister – Methodist turned Catholic. He basically used the Methodist wedding ceremony, but with his own “sermon” added to it – which was absolutely wonderful! Even though he met us less than an hour before the wedding, he personalized the service and made it incredibly meaningful. RT and I had also written out things we wanted to say to each other, and the service ended with that. I, of course, cried through my vows. I tend to get quite emotional at times. It was good crying, though.

RT and I got married yesterday afternoon at McHugh Park in Anchorage – outside with Michael and his wife, Nell, and our photographer, Govin, as witnesses. Govin is another good story. We met him at Camp Denali. He’s a retired physician and currently a professional photographer. He was a part of the photography workshop with us, and we left Camp Denali, he happened to stay at the same hotel in Anchorage. I saw him in the business office when I was writing the previous post – so we knew he was there and that he didn’t have any pressing plans for the rest of the day. We asked him if he would take pictures at the wedding, and he was delighted.

I’ll write more details later. However, I HAVE to say that the wedding and the whole day was just perfect.

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September 5 & 6 – Anchorage and then Home

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

We’ll have most of the day to sightsee around Anchorage. The day is unplanned. We want to do a little shopping. We have a friend who wants some salmon jerky made by the Algonquin. I figure we’ll look around for that whenever we’re in a store during the whole trip.

Tonight (Tuesday) we’ll head back to the airport for our flight to Chicago. It’s an overnight flight – getting us to Chicago on Wednesday morning. From there we’ll take a flight back to Nashville.

Tomorrow (Thursday), it’s back to the real world of work and responsibilities.

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September 3rd and 4th – Camp Denali

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

We’ll spend all day Sunday at Camp Denali and then leave for that 90 mile trip back to the entrance of Denali Park on Monday morning. I hope we get to fly, but if the weather’s bad, we’ll take the bus again. We’ll get in at least a couple hikes on Sunday, and we might even do some bike riding. Actually, I can almost guarantee we’ll go bike riding. The scenery is spectacular.

Once we get back to the entrance of Denali Park on Monday, we’ll get our rental car and head back to Anchorage. It will be our last night in Alaska. Sigh!

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September 2nd – Our Wedding Day

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

Somewhere and sometime today RT and I will get married! As I write this, I don’t know the details yet. It’ll be an informal ceremony, but it’ll be nice. The location (Denali) is special to both RT and me, and it will make for a wonderful wedding. We’ll be staying in a cabin like this at Camp Denali.

We’ll honeymoon with the photography group on a hike planned for today. I hope to get some great shots of a moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bear, beaver – whatever wildlife we happen to see. I also want to get some shots of fall in Alaska. The colors of the landscape is supposed to be beautiful. We’ll most like go on a hike of our own, too.

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September 1 – Headed to Denali

Friday, September 1st, 2006

We’ll be up early this morning to make the four hour drive to the entrance to Denali. Once there we will take a short plane ride to take us the 90 miles to Kantishna. If it’s too stormy or foggy for the plane ride, we will ride a bus the 90 miles which will take about 6 – 8 hours.

We took the bus ride last year, and it was phenomenal even though it was a LONG trip. We saw several grizzlies with cubs (similar to the photo above except the grizzlies we saw weren’t on the road).

Once we get to Camp Denali from Kantishna we’ll start scouting around to determine exactly where we want to have our wedding the next day. Maybe Nugget Pond:

Maybe Wonder Lake:

Maybe North Face Lodge:

We’re staying at Camp Denali with a photography group led by a reknowned nature photographer, and most likely the group will get together tonight to see what all is planned for the next couple days.

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August 30th and 31st – Afognak Island and back to Anchorage

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Wednesday and Thursday will be nonstop (almost) outdoor adventures – hiking, fishing, and photography at Afognak Island.

I’m looking forward to seeing the wildlife. We’re going to a extreme wilderness area – only accessible via boat or floatplane. The photographic opportunities should be unique and plentiful.

Late in the day of August 31st we will fly back to Kodiak Island (via float plane) and from there back to Anchorage for the night. We want to get a good night’s sleep because there is much to do on Friday.

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