Drought

Drought of Posts

I know it is has been a while since I posted anything! I even have drafts written I never submitted. I have no excuse, I have simply not felt like posting things. This happens to me a lot when I am at my parents. Keeping up any kind of schedule is almost impossible, mom works on spur of the moment and she smokes so much I immediately am assaulted with respiratory problems and sore throats. I need to get over it, so here I am in town spending some time smoke free, dog free, dog poop free, and mostly going places to use the free, unlimited and fast internet. Such an easy solution.

Drought of Photos

This drought is over. I had a hard time misplacing things when I got to Michigan because you have to get everything away from the dogs who will chew everything and anything. I lost my phone and batter charger for my camera. I am happy to announce though I have been taking pictures for the last couple weeks and the drought is over!

Nashville Nights ( I was just passing through one night, it’s even crazier than New Orleans)

Mammoth Cave (Really not good photos – I am not good at that lighting, the tour was rushed, and honestly it was boring, more to come about that.  Oh and I forgot to reorient pictures into portrait.  I am sorry.)

Michigan Summer

Drought of Cash

I have been hesitant to spend much since I know I will have to have enough money in savings to go to pay my loans for 2 years while in the Peace Corps. So I have been a very boring person.  I have been reading a lot of 99 cent and free Kindle books.  Going for walks. Spending time with family and my dog.  Also trying to keep up with the unemployment thing. I actually had to fly down to Florida for a meeting to learn how to apply for jobs on the internet.  The Florida unemployment system seems ridiculous, they have all my information and yet someone hacked their account and changed the settings so that everyone spoke Polish, was Hispanic and a migrant worker. And the letter they sent me used text type (pls).  Hopefully I can get into the Peace Corps and get a part-time job for in between once I get back.  There are no jobs in my field available at the moment for my level.  Seem to be above or below me.  I have to search for five jobs per week for unemployment. So far no hits. Lots of spam and scams.

But, I am thinking of going up to Sleeping Bear Dunes north of here if I can let my mom borrow one of her cars or get my car to act normal.  Oh, did I mention in Asheville I found out my car has seven, yes SEVEN, oil leaks. My dad just put two quarts of oil in for me.  Such a nice guy.   Either way, Sleeping Bear Dunes is a national park voted Good Morning America’s “Most Beautiful Place in America” contest in 2011.  It is on the coast of Lake Michigan and has dunes, bluffs, forest and apparently a lot of ticks this year because of the mild winter.  I have never been.

Real Drought

While driving through Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana is was very apparent that there was a horrible drought occurring.  It honestly was as brown as fall.  Where I am at now it is not too bad, but south of here in Michigan it is pretty bad. Thoughts and hopes of rain for all the farmers and those who depend on the agriculture market for survival.  Everything here is so green and luscious looking.  I can pick fruit and vegetables out of the garden and wild blackberries on my hikes through the woods.  It is sad to see so many places so brown.

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Saying Good-Bye Part II

“This love is always right here with you, just breathe it in”

Today I moved on.  I moved on and I did not even realize I had.  I blame that on driving though a tropical storm.  I had been going through all the motions of telling people good-bye.  Last dinners, last yoga classes, last Bones marathon, last massage…  And I finally realized all of those butterflies that I did not think I was feeling, had built up in my body because I did not see them.  I have been scanning myself to see where my anxiety was related to my upcoming trip.  It is a huge adventure with a lot of risk.  I kept going over everything I knew that will make the trip amazing and safe as a preventative measure.  But today I realized, as I was approaching the Florida/ Georgia  border, that I was nervous about everything I was leaving behind.   Worrying that no one cared, that I would never be able to replace the people in my life, that I was imposing on people, and that I was ending of the sweetest part of life I have experienced ever.   When would I come back?  Would I come back?

I could have prolonged my departure because of the storm.   I had a nice family letting me stay with them in a safe place.  But, I felt that I had to move on and for me the border was some symbolic line I was crossing on my trip.  I had not felt those excited butterflies about my trip because I was saying good-bye, not starting out on my adventure.  I was afraid I would never start.  I knew I would not make it to Savannah with my camera today because of the rain, but I could at least get over the Florida border.

As it turns out though, the one good reason to delay a trip that is always okay is tropical weather.  It was a white knuckle, floating across the road, white wash spray kind of drive.  At one point I was passed on both sides by cars and the spray from those cars made it seem like my entire car was underwater.  When the rain let up for a small amount of time, I looked for a mile marker to see how far I had gone.  I was already 14 miles over the border and I had not even noticed.  I was not worrying about having to say good-bye or to force myself to let go of something, I was moving on.

My detour took me to the most amazing hostel that is in tree houses with community buildings, gardens, kitchen, composting bathrooms, outdoor showers, a glass room for yoga and massage, a lake, a pool, and so much lush green forest you are surrounded by frogs and crickets.   Yet, from the time I set foot in this amazing place, I could feel those people I had been saying good-bye to with me on the journey.  I had spent too much energy trying to find closure on a part of my life in places I did not want to close the doors.  I never realized that, not only do I not need to close those doors, I could never close them if I tried.  For the first time, I am not trying to end part of my life.  I am simply moving on to a different place in the world; moving on to a different place in myself.

(Written June 26, 2012 in my little hut in the forest)

Seminole Wekiva Trail – SR 434 to Lake Mary Blvd

After being on the computer for days for the same amount of time I was when I was working, I realized that I was wasting my time off.  I know I need to blog and social network and apply for unemployment, but I need to take the time off to accomplish the goals I want to accomplish and use the time to just explore the world.  So after sitting on a couch for almost two days, I got off my lazy butt and did something I have meant to do for a while.  I did not feel too bad, as it had been raining every day I had been back for a large portion of the days. I walked the Seminole Wekiva Trail to Lake Mary Blvd. from SR 434 or Starbucks to Panera as most people will recognize it. And in my true fashion I took photos along the path.

The Trail

The Seminole Wekiva Trail in in Seminole County, Florida and starts at the San Sebastian Trail head near SR 436 and ends at Markham Woods Road Trail head on Markham Woods Road.  Total distance is about 14 miles.  The portion I walked was almost 6 miles (or 12 there and back).  Along the trail there is the Seminole County Softball Complex, Sanlando Park, an Altamonte Springs Leisure Center, and several restaurants.

Trail heads include:

  • San Sebastian Trailhead
  • Seminole County Softball Complex
  • Jones Trailhead
  • Markham Trailhead

Goals

My goal was to walk there and back, carry a pack (just my computer, wallet, Kindle and camera), survive, and take pictures.  I was successful! I did not think the pack would affect me as much as it did, but it did.  I felt so sore the next day.  I decided in the future to carry my laptop but no cords for anything and carrying the laptop and Kindle is a bit redundant.  The light was so bright that day the pictures were not so good, but helpful.

This is where I get a bit upset the Eye-Fi card did not work better.  I could have just uploaded my pictures to a map using the GPS location of the pictures.  Too bad it crashes my camera all the time.

Off to a Late Start

The day started later than I had wished, I could not sleep the night before so went to bed very late and woke up very late.  I did not get to the trail until almost 11:00 a.m. And it was hot.  God was it hot.  I started off in the parking lot behind the Starbucks on 434 in Longwood.  There is plenty of shade there and its seems like most of the businesses are vacant.  It was Sunday anyway.  I see people park there a lot.

And I headed north towards Lake Mary Blvd.  There is a nice underpass under 434 so you do not even have to cross the street.

I was awfully upbeat and chipper at being out of the house.

The trail was bright and sunny.

There were pretty flowers out.

The light was sparkling as it filter through the lush green leaves.

Miles are marked for you every half mile (this one is just after the SR 434 underpass).

I am always amazed to see what is at the houses once you get going.  I did not take pictures of other people’s houses and property, but there are people with goats, chickens, huge houses, giant pools, people with huge self-made solar systems, etc. I did get a picture of a some art someone put on their fence.

I thought it was awesome.

Chasing Shade

Then, around noon, I realized it was really hot and I had not put sunscreen on.  My neck was kind of burning.  Around this time my tactics changed.  I walked fast through the sun and strolled through the shade. Luckily there are a lot of shaded areas with benches.

Then as you keep going the path get hilly.  Everyone I know from Michigan will laugh at this, since its not like most of the area gets to more than 25 feet above sea level so hills are not really hills. But, when its 90 something degrees they seem like mountains.

Right when I ran out of water and thought I was going to burn to a crisp, I reached Jones Trail Head.  There were two nice bikers talking and the lady gave me sunscreen, a water bottle, and a frozen water bottle.  It was so nice.  I keep hoping I see her again so I can repay her.  There is a working water fountain at Jones Trail Head also.

The clouds were still gorgeous but the shady areas were becoming far and few between.

Then suddenly the trail got much more Urban.  There were really nice looking condo and apartment complexes…right across from a ranch with cows and horses.

You Have Arrived

And then you are there.  You can tell you are at the right place because of people waiting in line for a spot on the bike rack.

There is a shopping center where there is a Panera, another cafe which had a line out the door when I was there, and a bunch of other shops.

View from Panera’s patio.

Long Way Home

So I stopped and ate and cooled down and drank tons of water.  And then I was off.

As I said, the clouds were gorgeous.  However, they were moving quickly and a nice cool breeze blew up.  Since it was much later in the afternoon, and this was the first day since I had been back it had not rained, I was worried.  So I started moving quickly and did not take many pictures on the way back.  It was fairly quiet since it was the hottest part of the day.

The last part seemed to take forever.  Finally I could see 434 ahead.

I was so happy to get to my car, though it was hot as a sauna inside.  It was also still sunny and clear.  It did not start raining until around 8 p.m. that night and it had some pretty impressive lightning, thunder, and a nice 30 minute downpour that is typical for Florida and floods everything low-lying within minutes.

Google Maps

My Google Map with helpful locations, trail heads, water fountain and bathroom locations, and pictures.  Updated as I get the time and walk the rest of the trail. The map can also be found on my “Maps” page under “Seminole Wekiva Trail.” If you click on the camera icon you can see pictures. I plan on doing the northern portion of the trail this Saturday from Panera to the Markham Trail Head. Ignore the parts in the directions which make you take a road. For some reason Google will not let me keep the path on the trail but it always runs next to a road in those instances. For instance, you do not need to cross Lake Mary Blvd. because there is another underpass.

Photo Update – Michigan Almost Summer Day 7 and My Trip “Home”

So here are the photos from the day I left Michigan.  One final walk with Jack and then butterflies in the raspberry/blackberry patch.  Then off to Florida on a long journey that involved a trip to Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP) airport from Grand Rapids (GRR) for a 2.5 hour lay over.  Though there was a lot to do at MSP including arcades and food courts and lots of shops, I am too cheap for that so I edited photos and worked on the blog. The one thing I dislike about the airport is that the end of the terminal I was leaving from (“G” I believe) did not have enough seating for all the people from 4 or 5 gates. I love leaving from GRR though.  Small, spacious, short lines, easy security.  The seating was really only adequate for one or two flights.  Plus the food options for healthy food was not very good and mostly involved tofu (I do not eat soy).  But, time flew by and then I was on the plane on my way “home.”

Home this week has been one night at Ms and then the remainder with my friends C and J and their cute baby I.  He is adorable and smiles and laughs at me whenever he sees me.  I think I am in love.  I love babies who like me.  C has a friend in Cartagena (they are both from Venezuela) who will help me around and with Spanish if I help her with English and bring her some fish oil tablets.  Apparently they are cheaper here.  So that will make a good start to the trip!

Other Photo Journal Days from my trip to Michigan to visit family:

Here are the final pictures from Day 7!  You can see all the files in Photobucket or peruse the selection below!

Jack on the trails!  I miss him so much but he loves going for walks in the woods.

My sister and I used to make moss houses for our Polly Pockets when we were children.

This is a really bad picture of the robin but they were flying around a lot trying to distract me from their baby which was flapping around on the ground trying to learn to fly.  I stayed until I thought they might attack :).

Mom’s cat Rudy.

Photo Update – Michigan Almost Summer Day 6

I am behind.  I know.  But, there have not been many picture opportunities because of rain.  My grandma is doing great after her surgery.  She had two organs and a cyst remove and she is in her 80s.  She is one strong woman.

I did go for a walk yesterday and today and took a few more pictures though. Here is Day 6 (of 7) pictures!  If you missed it, there is also Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. There are not as many pictures because I walked with my dad and he is always imparting bits of information and wisdom as we walk.  Like what type of trees are there and their health status and which trees he needs to cut for firewood next year and which trees he needs to cut to make sure they do not fall on the trail or their shed/house. Dad had to patch the roof of the shed this weekend because a branch from a dead tree fell on it.  It makes me nervous when he goes up a ladder.

The most notable moment of this walk was watching Jack fall into the swamp.  He did not even know what was happening.  He was chasing a frog or something and suddenly splash!  He stuck his head out of the algae and plant covered green water confused and then pulled himself up to the shore.  Jack hates the water so I was surprised that it only took him a few moments to get over the shock before he shook it all of and started running after a squirrel.

Jack is really happy in Michigan with all his friends (mom has four, yes four, dogs), walking through the woods, and my parents which feed him anything he wants.  He absolutelyloves going for walks in the woods.  He gets so excited when you ask him if he wants to go for a walk.  I am glad to see that.

Here ya go!

 

Photo Update – Michigan Almost Summer Day 3

Here are day 3 photos!  Maybe I will get tired of going the same few paths from Day 1 and Day 2 so I will take pictures of something different.  Until then here are more pictures of the beaver pond and trails.  Also added some pictures of my moms iris and hibiscus.

Photo Update – Michigan Almost Summer Day 2

These pictures and the pictures from my first day in Michigan are from my grandparents and parents property.  Jack and I like to take long walks in the woods in the evening.  I walk along and he runs around and when I call him he comes running back and head of me.  He looks back at me like I need to hurry and catch up.  That means he just scares away most animals.  I did see something maybe mink or something and a couple of white-tailed deer and some herons and geese from afar.

Here are pictures from day 2.