Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trip report: Ozark Trail, Middle Fork section

Last weekend a friend and I took our 7th-graders on a 2-night trip on the Ozark Trail--23 miles total on the Ozark Trail Middle Fork section from Hwy J trailhead to Hwy DD/32 trailhead.

There was much beautifulness and I confirmed that my oldest is an awesome hiker. No complaining all weekend.

Day 1: Hwy J trailhead to Little Creek, 5.5 miles
The heat was brutal on Saturday. We hoped to make it to Gunstock Hollow but we were going just over a mile an hour with stops.

This snake was stretched out across the trail when we came upon it not long into our hike on Saturday. He moved out of the way pretty quickly and then encouraged us to move along.

Crossing Strother Creek.

We left the trailhead at 12:30 and trudged along for almost five hours. On the way we passed Strother Creek; the maps recommend not drinking from this water source because it's downstream from a lead tailings pond. It was the highest creek we crossed and might have been difficult if water was high.

We were drenched in sweat and about to collapse when we got to Little Creek, but the established campsite was already taken, so we had to improvise and create our own up on the bluff. This wasn't too bad, all things considered. We were still close to the creek and up a bit on the bluff, so we didn't have to worry about flash flood if the rain got crazy.

Day 2: Little Creek to Wolf Pen Hollow Waterfall, 10.5 miles
We had some rain Sunday morning but it was just a drizzle by the time we woke up and it was done before we set out for the day at 9 a.m. The cooler temps were a huge relief.

The hiking for the day was more of the same--up and down, cross a stream, pines and hardwoods. It was a day for appreciating the large variety of environments--mix hardwoods, some pines, and several low streams to cross. The changing colors made it even more special.

With the temps 25 degrees lower than Saturday, we made good time. We stopped at Henderson Creek just before the bridge at an established campsite and cooked spaghetti for lunch. I took care of an emerging blister and we had a restful hour or so before the last easy three miles to the falls.

Since there has been so little rain in recent weeks, the falls were not super-impressive. Our camp site was lovely, but had one problem -- it was too close to the highway and we heard a lot of traffic noise.
Wolf Pen Hollow Waterfall

Day 3: Wolf Pen Hollow Waterfall to Hwy DD trailhead, 6.5 miles
It was chilly but dry when we woke up Sunday morning. We left again by 9 a.m. and had a relatively easy day. The finish was a long but gradual uphill but we felt great at the end.

In retrospect, it might have been better to take this hike in the opposite direction, especially given the heat on Saturday.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Why I Love Bob Costas

After discussing my weirdest celebrity crush at book club, writing group and the family reunion, I decided to try to help those struggling to understand my deep and abiding affection for Robert Quinlan Costas.

While there is not documented evidence, it's fair to say this started on June 23, 1984: The Sandberg Game. One of the biggest moments of the Cubs' division championship year. I was 8 years old. Look at this face!!

How does a young, impressionable girl not fall in love with that face while high from the victory of her favorite team??

You may be wondering why my love for Bob has been strong for 30-plus years. Well, I'll tell you.

Bob is smart. I mean, he wrote a book and it was utterly brilliant.

Bob is funny. See "Pootie Tang," "Baseketball," and various cameos and appearances on sitcoms and talk shows.

Bob does not pull punches or back down from controversy; see his comments on Kapernick, guns, OJ, etc.

Bob does serious journalism. See his Sandusky interview and his long run as an interviewer on his own shows, and guest hosting Larry King's show.

He's not afraid to take chances in the fashion department:


Bob is fun-loving and does not take himself too seriously.

Also, look at this face! He's 62 years old and adorable as can be.

Bob in 2016. Yes, he's probably had some botox but who cares. I personally know lots of people who have, and the guy's on TV! You'd do it, too.