My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bears and Blue Blazes

We arrived after lunch to Standing Indian Campground just 031in time to set up our tent and go hiking with the group. We went to Laurel Falls,  Mooney Falls, the AT, and Pickens Nose. It was quite an adventure because we hiked along the AT before we found out that we were not on the trail to Pickens Nose. Along the way, Ron tried to find some geocaches but was unsuccessful at that.

056Right before it got dark, Don and Jean found fresh bear scat in front of their car. Then we found out that bears messed up the neighboring campsite because they left their coolers and food out. All this bear talk really creeped me out especially since we set up our tent near older bear scat in a mushy kind of field. There were only two tents in this field and one of them was ours. During the night a car alarm went off forever before stopping at 1:45am. Then at 2:30am, it went off again. I just knew the bears were back but it wasn’t our car alarm so I stayed in the tent. At 4am, it went off again but was shut off quickly. I finally left our tent around 5:30am when I saw that Jeff had gotten a huge fire going and I felt safe. Don apparently wasn’t worried because he slept soundly.

Around 9am, we started our hike to the summit of Standing Indian Mountain. Six of us started up the trail and hoped the others would catch up. After about 20 minutes, I realized that I had forgotten my camera and I was disgusted with myself! After about a mile, Bill said he was going to wait for the others and that we needed to just keep following the blue blazes along the trail so we kept going. We headed down the Park Creek Trail before turning on the Park Ridge Trail which led up the mountain. There was lots of evidence of fresh bear scat and disturbed areas where they hunted for food. At a clearing, Steve, Don, and Jean along  with us met another hiker whole told us that we couldn’t reach Standing Indian along these trails and that ALL of the trails were blue blazed! After waiting about 30 minutes for Bill and the rest of the group, we decided to do a loop back to the campground. After we started again, it began to rain so we decided to shorten the loop and head back to the campground sooner.

Steve was way ahead when he was attacked by bees. He dropped his hiking stick and ran back to us. After applying stingeeze on his stings, we headed back up the trail to get his stick. Right at his stick, he was stung again and we all ran back along the trail. We decided to ford the creeks rather than go through the bees but Don ran through them without being stung. Jean went around the trail and back up the steep bank. Steve, Don, and I chose the water route even though we got our boots and socks wet. Other than that adventure, nothing else happened the rest of the way back. We did stop along the water and ate some snacks which helped give us energy to get back to camp. We hiked about 7-8 miles so it was a good hiking day.

After a shower, we had an early dinner of tacos around 4pm and it tasted so good! Bill finally appeared and told us that he realized that we were on the wrong trail so the rest of them turned around and did another trail which took them to the top of Standing Indian (about 11-12 mile hike) so I’m really glad we did the trails that we were on. Even though we had a wonderful campfire, everyone was happy to turn in early. That night there were no car alarms or bear visits.

100 On Sunday morning, we took down our tents and packed up. Don moved the car where the sun hit it and we draped our tent and footprint on it so it could dry up. Then we headed up the road to Gatlinburg and a night in a hotel. After checking in Microtel on Historic Nature Trail ($39 for the night), we walked around Gatlinburg in the heat, crowds, and noise. How different this is from a night in the woods!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Shoelaces for Teachers Campaign

SHOELACEFLER_1 I recently got an email from Laurie Murphy about the “Shoelaces for Teachers Campaign”. She writes the following message:

“Members of the Shoelaces for Teachers campaign are collecting shoelaces in honor of educators who work hard every day to help students to have a better future.  These teachers understand the true meaning of education and put the needs of students ahead of politics and savory sound-bites.  

However, teachers could not succeed if not for the support of the community.  Therefore, shoelaces are also being collected in honor of people who are speaking up on behalf of education-people who demand that teachers receive the support needed to do their job and who insist that public education remains adequately funded and available to all. They also understand that, while some aspects of education (such as creativity, independent thinking, engagement and compassion) cannot be easily measured, they represent some of education’s greatest achievements.

When combined, all of these shoelaces become a “virtual march” in the name of education. 

The string of collected shoelaces will be measured and revealed during the world premiere broadcast of the documentary "I Just Keep Going" on July 30, 2010 on Ustreamtv.  The stories of several of our honored teachers and supporters will be featured as part of this documentary.  

We would be honored to include a shoelace representing you and your ongoing efforts in our campaign.  We would also encourage you to submit other shoelaces on behalf of other educators who have made a difference in the lives of students or who have worked hard to improve our educational system.  We encourage you to write your name on the shoelace you submit (or on an enclosed piece of paper).  We also would ask that you submit the name of other people being honored, should you submit additional laces.

Shoelaces may be old, new, plain, or creatively decorated. That part is entirely up to you!

Shoelaces should be mailed to: Laurie Murphy, 6414 Foster Road, Sebring, FL 33875. 

The Shoelaces for Teachers Campaign is sponsored by the SOS Million Teacher March, an organization made of up teachers, parents, students, and other concerned citizens who are rallying together in support of education. To learn more about the Shoelaces for Teachers Campaign or the SOS Million Teacher March, please visit us at  Should you have any questions or wish to discuss this further, feel free to contact me by telephone at (863) 386-4806 or by email at”

So please send your shoelaces in!

(crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker)