Sunday, April 23, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Vacation is always fun, and we had a great week in North Carolina, but it is always nice to be back home. Got in a nice run *on dirt!* this morning out in the Cathance. Great to be back on the trails! No snow and really not even much mud - it was mostly just slick out there from yesterday's rain. Things are greening up out there but nothing blooming yet. The river was roaring and the sun was shining. A good 7 miles to finish up a 41 mile week. Now if I can just keep it up...




Friday, April 21, 2017

Last Full Day of Vacation

Well, it's official, I am tired out ;) It's been a fun and busy vacation week, and we are so lucky to be able to spend this time down here with Mom and Dad. It has been a blast!

Got up this morning and ran the same loop through the neighborhood and along the berm as I ran yesterday, except in reverse. It was muggy out and I was admittedly feeling a bit sluggish after not sleeping well last night, so although I wanted to get in some speed, my legs weren't super willing ;) But another 6 miles with some good wildlife sightings one again, so I'm not complaining too much.

Then it was off to the beach to enjoy the warm and sunny day. Sam spent a fair amount of time in the water and had some fun building a sand castle with Neenie. Not a whole lot of shells to be found today but two other jellyfish washed up on the beach. A fun way to finish up a great week!







Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fort Fisher Aquarium Fun

Up and out into the misty morning around 6:50am for a run around the 'block.' Took it nice and easy. Got in a muggy 6 miles, getting in some good wildlife sightings along the way - the alligator, only eyes and end of snout visible in the berm pond, four great blue herons, a great heron, osprey, several redwinged blackbirds and a bunny!

Then it was off to Fort Fisher to visit the Aquarium. It's a neat aquarium with one whole level devoted to local NC wildlife and aquatic species, a touch tank, a big tank of fish, sharks and rays, a turtle exhibit, etc. They also had a special lorikeet exhibit - a little bird house you could walk through with cups of nectar in hand, and have the birds land all over you and drink it up. It was pretty neat, although both mom and I left there with lorikeet poop in our hair 😂😂  It was a fun way to spend a few hours!
















Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Holly Shelter Game Land Exploration

Ryan and I took advantage of a cooler, overcast morning and headed out to do a bit of exploring on the sand and dirt roads in the Holly Shelter Game Lands. This is a huge tract of land, managed for forestry and traditional uses like hunting, trapping, etc, with a large swamp in the interior and some immense long pine and pond pine forests throughout. We parked at the Bear Garden Road entrance outside of Burgaw and took off down the very flat dirt road for 3 miles before turning left to run a loop along the Hine Kiln and McKoy roads, and then making a loop on the other side of the road along the Wolf Den Loop before returning to the car. This yielded us 15.2 miles, and only scratched the surface of this one section of land.

It was neat to explore this fascinating, rather desolate, yet obviously utilized area, but it was really, really flat and I think it would have been unbearable had it been hot, as there was no shade anywhere with the wide open roads. The land, although not pretty in a traditional sense, was interesting and we ran through a fair number of burned pine sections regrowing with green undergrowth, swampy areas filled with bushy undergrowth, sections with lots of swamp laurel, blueberry bushes, swamp azaleas and big bushes that were obviously in the magnolia/rhododendron/laurel family. We heard a lot of bird call, but saw no wildlife other than a large black rat snake, one eastern box turtle and numerous Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies along the way. We also came across two hunters in their vehicles, one of whom stopped to talk to us for about 10 minutes - he was out turkey hunting, to no avail, and was very friendly and talkative. I imagine him going home and telling his buddies, well, I didn't find any turkeys, but I did run into these two kids out running 5 miles out on Bear Garden Road. Crazy! ;)

All in all, a fun way to spend a morning and always good to check out a new place!

The starting gate

Game Lands running


Sheep laurel

Hines Kiln Road

"Trail" sign

White swamp azalea

Palamedes Swallowtail on thistle

Eastern box turtle

Bear Garden Road junction (ie the middle of nowhere)

Dirt roads forever...

Clear cut area, heading onto Wolf Den loop

Burn area to the right, swamp to the left




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Quiet Day

Quiet day here on the vacation front... got in some very muggy, soupy miles this morning on the Landing course cart paths, as the course is closed today for maintenance. Nice to have some undulation of terrain (maybe 50 feet of gain, ha ha ha!) but the paths are concrete to offset that... Regardless, a nice 10k for the day, complete with some good wildlife sightings - two red-headed woodpeckers, two fox squirrels, a big group of goldfinch, several bluebirds, a catbird and some mockingbirds.

There was even a bit of relaxing after I had finished up payroll and while Ryan, Sam and Dad were off golfing and Mom was taking a nap this afternoon :) Ah, vacation...


And to keep this post a bit more exciting, here are some photos from my parent's yard...

Three baby bluebirds hatched today!

Tree frog napping

Camoflaged green anole

Oh hi there...

In bloom



Monday, April 17, 2017

Wilmington Fun

No running but a fun-filled day down in Wilmington, including a sunny 3 hours at the beach...

Pelican fly-by

Jellyfish still life

Sun, waves and sand

Whee!

Contemplation

Splash!

Beach fun

...strawberry picking...

Strawberry fields forever... (or at least a long distance ;0)

Happy strawberry picker!

Gorgeous berries

Full basket!

Red and white

Full of sweet goodness

Yum!

...huge burritos at Flaming Amy's...


...and of course, no visit to Wilmington is complete without a stop for delicious ice cream at Boombalatti's! YUM!

Ice cream heaven :)

Yet another pretty darn good vacation day!